As the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern deals with cost pressures due to economic slowdown, she and other ministers in her government and public service chief executives decide to take a 20 percent pay cut for the next six months.
Ardern in a news conference said, “This is where we can take action and that is why we have. We acknowledge New Zealanders who are reliant on wage subsidies, taking a pay cut and losing their jobs as a result of the global pandemic.”
New Zealand’s offices, schools and non-essential services have been closed for the last three weeks and economic activity is at a standstill as the country undertakes one of the strictest lockdowns globally.
On Wednesday the country recorded 20 new cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 1,386, according to a report. It has recorded nine deaths so far. The government is expected to decide next week whether it will extend its current Level 4 shutdown.
Given the goverment's forecast that joblessness may surge because of the global and domestic slowdown, the decision the ministers have taken seems to be wise. In fact many other leaders have taken similar decisions to support the workforce and the economy in this time of crisis.
For instance, Marriott's President & CEO Arne Sorrenson who has forgone his salary, and ministers and lawmakers in Singapore who let go a month's salary to show solidarity with fellow countrymen who suffer losses due to coronavirus outbreak. In India as well the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared an ordinance to slash salaries of parliamentarians and ministers by 30 percent for one year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Taking pay cuts is one of the many ways in which leaders can support their workforce and the community at large in this time of uncertainty. COVID-19 pandemic has arm-twisted leaders to rethink how they look at every small business, people and economic decision. When all of this will be over, leaders will be remembered for what they did during the crisis for their community.
Image: Ministry of Justice of New Zealand