Coronavirus: Here's what Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges will earn after their 20 percent pay reduction

Jacinda Ardern's new salary for 2020 is $423,945 while Simon Bridges will earn about $266,400 this year, after both agreed to a six-month 20 percent pay reduction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister earns $471,049 annually but has agreed, along with other ministers and public service chief executives, to reduce her salary for six months in solidarity with Kiwis hit by the economic impact of COVID-19.

National Party leader Simon Bridges, who as leader of the Opposition earns about $296,000, has informed the Prime Minister of his intention to also reduce his salary by 20 percent for six months. 

It's important to note that their annual salaries have not been reduced by 20 percent because the pay cut is only for six months, therefore the annual reduction is only 10 percent.

Since the pay cut applies to Government ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' new salary for 2020 will be reduced from $334,734 to $302,261, saving $33,473. 

Cabinet ministers' salaries for 2019 will drop from $296,007 to $269,107 while ministers outside Cabinet will have their salaries drop from $249,839 to $224,856.

Cabinet ministers and ministers outside Cabinet will save a total of $51,833. 

The six-month 20 percent pay cut also applies to the likes of the Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield - a decision that was made voluntarily by those leaders rather than it being imposed on them.

Dr Bloomfield is one of the highest paid public service chief executives earning around $528,000 - more than the Prime Minister - and his new 2020 salary will be about $475,200 with the voluntary 20 percent reduction.

The other high earners include the Treasury Secretary, who is currently Dr Caralee McLiesh. Her salary is not recorded in the latest data, but her predecessor Gabriel Maklouf earned $681,000, which after the six-month reduction is $612,900.

The Prime Minister said on Wednesday the six-month 20 percent pay reduction decision has been made "in principle" and that work will be done to enact it through legislation.

"The Remuneration Authority and the legislation that underpins that authority is the way that we would need to make this happen," she said during her daily press conference.

"A lot of people are taking a huge hit right now and I do not want the people who feel that to be the people on the frontline, our lower income earners - it should be about leadership and that means people at the top."

ACT leader David Seymour, who drafted legislation earlier this month proposing a 20 percent pay cut for MPs, said while the Prime Minister's announcement is "well-intentioned", it should extend to all lawmakers. 

"Businesses across the country are suffering from a sudden halt in revenue due to the lockdown. New Zealanders are doing it tough... It is only fair that all MPs show solidarity." 

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes and Deputy State Services Commissioner Helen Quilter, whose salaries are set by the Remuneration Authority, have also committed to taking a 20 percent pay 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," Hughes said.

The State Services Commissioner earns $630,000, and after the six-month 20 percent reduction, his new salary for 2020 is $567,000.

The Government has already made changes to the way MPs are paid. 

In August 2019, the Government repealed a John Key-era law tying MPs' salaries to the average wage to restore independence to the Remuneration Authority.

It followed the Prime Minister freezing MPs' salaries in August 2018, after the Remuneration Authority planned to give MPs a 3 percent pay increase.

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