New Zealand’s Top Officials Are Taking a 20% Pay Cut, Ardern Says

Date: 2020-04-15 22:59:55

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday confirmed she and other top officials are taking a 20% pay cut for six months in acknowledgment of the community’s sacrifices in dealing with the new coronavirus.

“If there were ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now,” Ardern told reporters.

Ardern said the pay cut is symbolic and won’t much affect the country’s overall financial position.

She said it applies to government ministers, chief executives of government organizations, and also that Opposition Leader Simon Bridges had volunteered to join them in taking the cut.

She also confirmed that the pay cut wouldn’t apply to any frontline staff like doctors or nurses.

Ardern’s salary is 471,000 New Zealand dollars (286,000 US dollars), a comparatively high amount for a country with a population of only 5 million people.

New Zealand currently has 1,386 people infected with the new virus, with a total of 9 deaths.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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