Reminders that Jacinda Ardern and ministers in New Zealand took a pay cut at the start of the pandemic have been circulating on social media after the UK’s Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority approved a £3,300 pay rise for MPs.
Back in April, as the extent of the crises became clear and businesses were shut, Ardern took a 20 per cent pay cut lasting six months in solidarity to the workers hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
She said it was important the government’s most highly paid politicians show “leadership and solidarity” with those on the frontline and those who had lost their livelihoods.
25 deaths 42,760 deaths pic.twitter.com/LNgK35rf2e— James Felton (@JimMFelton) October 11, 2020
The pay cut reduced Ardern’s salary by $47,104. Cabinet ministers would take a cut of NZ$26,900 each, while deputy prime minister Winston Peters’ salary would be cut by $33,473.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health who has led the elimination response to the crisis, confirmed he would “definitely” take a pay cut too, as would opposition leader Simon Bridges.
Ardern said: “If there was ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now. I am responsible for the executive branch and this is where we can take action … it is about showing solidarity in New Zealand’s time of need.”
IPSA was described as being “tin eared” after it recommended that a £3,300 pay rise for MPs should go ahead while Brits suffer devastating coronavirus cuts.
The Commons watchdog proposed that MPs’ wages should continue to be linked to the average rise for public sector staff as it launched a consultation on salaries.
It is expected to base next year’s pay rise on October’s public sector three-month annual growth figure of 4.1 per cent.
This would mean MPs, including those working at home, would get an extra £3,360 on top of their £81,932 salary.
Following the news several MPs pledged to donate their pay rise to charity if they are unable to donate it.
This isn't right. Millions face job uncertainty and to give us MPs a payrise now just sends the wrong message and highlights the economic divide in our country.— Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (@DrRosena) October 9, 2020
I'll be refusing this payrise, and if I'm unable to refuse – I'll donate it to charity.https://t.co/4ctwWKcbNa