Disasters & Accidents

New Zealand PM, ministers take 20 pct pay cut in COVID-19 fight

Sydney, Australia, Apr 15 (efe-ea).- The prime minister of New Zealand, her cabinet ministers and public service chief executives will take a 20 percent pay cut over the next six months in the fight against COVID-19.

“While this cut in itself won’t shift the Government’s overall fiscal position it is an acknowledgement that every person and organisation has a part to play as we unite to stamp out Covid-19 and save lives,” Jacinda Ardern, who has been praised for her decisive and early handling of the crisis, said in a statement.

Ardern underlined that the total donation, estimated to amount to some NZ$1.6 million ($972,000), would go towards efforts to combat the novel coronavirus.

“It is the right thing to do, and I acknowledge chief executives for volunteering to take the pay cut alongside us,” Ardern said.

“I feel acutely the struggle many New Zealanders are facing and so too do the people I work with,” she added.

The measures approved by the authorities in the face of the crisis include a NZ$9 billion wage subsidy to 1.5 million people in the country.

The prime minister earns a monthly salary of about NZ$39,250, while that of her ministers start at NZ$20,800.

With more than 1,380 confirmed cases and nine deaths, New Zealand has managed to contain the spread of the coronavirus by implementing strict measures such as the lockdown that began on Mar. 26.

In recent months, several other countries’ governments have also decided to donate a share of their salaries towards efforts to combat COVID-19.

In Singapore, government ministers, members of parliament, senior public service officers and the president all took cuts to their salaries, while Thailand’s government in early March announced Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and cabinet ministers would donate of at least a month’s salary.

Earlier this month, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte announced a donation of one month of his salary of some $7,800 towards efforts to combat the new coronavirus.

Singaporean leader Lee Hsien Loong is the world’s highest-paid head of government with a monthly salary of about $129,000. EFE-EPA

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