Christchurch City Council chief executive Dawn Baxendale says she will take a 10 percent pay cut for the 2020-21 financial year.
The council said the reduction in the chief executive's pay would equate to a 20 percent cut over a six-month period.
Baxendale said the council's finances, as well those of the council controlled organisations, had been severely impacted, and many of its ratepayers were suffering financial hardship.
She said it was the right thing for her to do on a personal level.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she wanted to take a pay cut and expected the Remuneration Authority would give elected members authorisation to do that.
She said the council would be looking at making savings in every part of the organisation.
"We have to look at everything - there are no 'no-go' areas," Baxendale said.
"We are working in a constantly changing environment but we have been doing detailed work for the past few weeks so that we provide advice to elected members that will help them to make decisions on the annual plan and how they shape next year's long term plan."