14 May 2020

Bill introduced to enable MP pay cuts

11:48 am on 14 May 2020

The government will today introduce a bill that will enable elected politicians and senior public officials to receive a temporary pay cut.

Chris Hipkins at Parliament 21 may 2019

Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Last month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that all ministers would take a 20 percent pay cut for six months.

State Services Minister Chris Hipkins said the legislation was about showing leadership at a time when many New Zealanders in the private sector were losing their jobs or facing pay cuts.

Hipkins said the bill would make changes to the Remuneration Authority Act.

"It will allow the Remuneration Authority for a limited time, to make a temporary determination that results in a reduction in pay up to 20 percent for six months for a group of top public officials covered by the Act, including MPs and elected local government members.

"We are aware that a number of elected local government leaders have also indicated they would like to take a temporary pay cut. This legislation will allow the Authority the discretion to do that," he said.

He said the Authority would also have the discretion if they felt appropriate, to apply different deductions to different roles.

He added this was a one in one hundred year shock to the economy and these would be short term measures.

"This isn't about pay cuts at the front line, as we start to get our country moving again, we don't want people on low and middle incomes to bear the brunt.

"We will continue to work towards fair pay for lower-paid workers, especially the people we have been relying on as essential workers," Hipkins said.

The bill is expected to be passed on Friday.

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