NZ public service heads take 20% pay cut

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday April 15, 2020


Chief executives in the New Zealand Public Service have volunteered to slash their pay by 20% over the next six months in response to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday.

Government ministers and Ardern will also take the reduction, with the PM’s pay packet going down by $47,104.

Ardern said the move was “the right thing to do”.

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

“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.”

State services commissioner Peter Hughes thanked public service chief executives for offering to take the cut.

“I am proud of the way the public service workforce has mobilised to respond to one of the biggest challenges New Zealand has ever faced. Many are volunteering to do more than their normal duties and coming up with innovative ideas and solutions to get the job done,” he said.

Hughes and the deputy state services commissioner Helene Quilter have also committed to slashing their salaries by 20%.

The pay cuts are expected to save $1.6 million.

Ardern currently earns $471,049. Her pay will be reduced to $423,945. Meanwhile, deputy prime minister Winston Peters’ salary of $334,734 will go down to $301,26.

Cabinet ministers will take a cut of $26,900 each from $296,007, making their salaries a total of $269,107.

Minister for state services Chris Hipkins said people on low and middle incomes should not have to “bear the brunt” of the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“They make up a huge part of our essential workforce. We need to sustain public sector jobs and ensure services continue to be delivered,” he said.

“The decision we’ve made is an in-principle one. We will now work through the mechanism to make it happen.”

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