WELLINGTON – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, minister in government and chief executive officer of his public service will take a 20% salary cut for the next six months amid the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealand offices, schools, and non-essential services have been closed for the past three weeks, and economic activity has stalled because the country is doing one of the most stringent lockouts in the world.
The government has estimated unemployment will increase due to global and domestic slowdown.
“This is where we can take action and that is why we do it,” Ardern told a news conference announcing the decision.
“We recognize New Zealanders who depend on wage reductions, receive pay cuts, and lose their jobs due to the global pandemic,” he added.
New Zealand on Wednesday recorded 20 new cases of COVID-19, a disease caused by the new corona virus, bringing the total number of cases to 1,386. It has recorded nine deaths.
The government is expected to decide next week whether to extend the closure of the current “Level 4”.
In his address to the New Zealand business community the previous day, the finance minister said that if the government decides to relax restrictions, the emphasis is on allowing safe economic activity.
Grant Robertson also said the annual budget, which will be announced on May 14, will focus on recovery.
“This will include funding for cost pressures which are an important part of keeping our country ticking. But we will devote much of our resources to start this recovery,” Robertson said in a speech delivered to business leaders.
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