New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern takes 20% pay cut due to the coronavirus

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds up informationon COVID-19 alert levels during a press conference at Parliament on March 21, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Hagen Hopkins | Getty Images

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, announced she and other lawmakers will be taking a 20% pay cut for the next six months in solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus. 

Ardern announced in New Zealand's daily Covid-19 press briefing that she, along with New Zealand's government ministers and public service chief executives, would be cutting their salary. 

She said this recognized the New Zealanders who were reliant on wage subsidies, taking pay cuts, and losing their jobs as a result of the global pandemic. 

Ardern acknowledged that while this action in itself would not change the government's financial position, she said it was about demonstrating leadership. 

"If there were ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now," Ardern said during the announcement on Wednesday. 

Ardern has an annual salary of $471,049 New Zealand dollars ($281,047), according to New Zealand's Remuneration Authority which decides pay for the country's key office holders. So this would equate to a pay cut of $47,105 New Zealand dollars. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters takes home a salary of $334,734 New Zealand dollars, meaning a drop in pay of $33,473 New Zealand dollars. 

Ardern said the government had paid out $9 billion New Zealand dollars to 1.5 million citizens in wage subsidies, which support employers in helping them to continue paying staff, as part of its economic relief package to combat the effect of the coronavirus. 

There have been 1,386 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in New Zealand and 9 deaths from the virus, according to latest data from Johns Hopkins University. The country has been in lockdown for 21 days. 

Other world leaders who have also committed to taking pay cuts due to the pandemic include India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who along with the country's other members of parliament, agreed last week to take a 30% drop in salary for the year.

Malawi's President Peter Mutharika and government ministers are said to have taken a 10% pay cut for three months.