New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reportedly announced that she and her ministers will be taking a pay cut in solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Although the nation has a comparatively lower number of coronavirus cases, the country is still under full-scale lockdown for weeks to prevent the spreading of the virus. Due to the strict measure, country’s economy has been hit hard and in order to revive the economy, Ardern announced that 20 per cent pay will be cut for next six months for all her ministers.
While speaking to international media reporters, Ardern said that if there was ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in a different position, it is now. She added that as she is responsible for the executive branch, she has taken the action. She reportedly said that the pay cut is in order to show solidarity in New Zealand’s time of need.
Currently, New Zealand has more than 1,300 coronavirus cases and the deadly virus has claimed nine lives in the country. The nation has witnessed comparatively fewer coronavirus cases and it has been in full lockdown for three weeks, meaning no one is allowed to leave their homes except for necessities or a brief respite of fresh air.
According to an international media report, Arden’s decision will reduce her salary by $47,104. The cabinet ministers would also take a cut of NZ $26,900 each. On the other hand, deputy prime minister Winston Peters’ salary would also be cut by $33,473.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Arden also announced the demotion of Health Minister following a breach of nationwide lockdown order imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus. Ardern said that the minister, David Clark, had offered his resignation for flouting the social distancing rules to drive his family to a beach.
However, New Zealand PM was of the opinion that the sacking of the Health Minister could cause a massive disruption in the government’s response against the pandemic, which the country can not afford in the current situation. Ardern added that she would sack the minister under normal circumstances as there are no excuses for what he did. But he does need to pay a price. He broke the rules. While he maintains his Health portfolio, I am stripping him of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoting him to the bottom of our Cabinet rankings,” said the Prime Minister in a statement.