The Prime Minister won't rule out taking a pay cut alongside her Cabinet Ministers and other MPs, as pressure mounts on them to "feel the economic impact" of COVID-19 that other Kiwis already have.
Magic Talk host Ryan Bridge launched a petition on Monday, imploring New Zealand's MPs to take a voluntary pay cut of 20 percent for the next three months, with the possibility of extending that another three months pending a review.
Bridge says it's an appropriate response to the thousands of New Zealanders who have lost jobs or taken pay cuts in the weeks since coronavirus first wrought havoc on our economy.
"Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other Government MPs have stated publicly that 'we are all in this together'. This seems a mere platitude," he wrote.
"Until MPs, including the Prime Minister, feel the economic impact of the disease in the same way the rest of us do, then these are hollow words."
But while the Finance Minister last week admitted the Government hadn't considered pay cuts for public sector workers, Ardern is open to the idea for herself and fellow MPs.
"I haven't given any specificity on numbers or reach, but I won't rule it out, because I think I know well the people I work with," she said in her post-Cabinet press conference on Monday afternoon.
The Prime Minister's salary, if the petition had its desired effect, would drop from $471,049 to $376,000 pro rata. Cabinet Ministers, many of whom earn about $300,000 a year, would see their annual pay packet fall to $240,000.
Bridge says his petition was launched following widespread support for the idea from Magic Talk listeners.
Earlier in March, the Government introduced a wage subsidy to help businesses survive the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However that hasn't saved some of New Zealand's workforce, with Air New Zealand, SkyCity, Bauer Media, NZME and Flight Centre among the major companies to announce job losses here in recent weeks.