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Eamonn Farrell

Pay cuts for politicians not ruled out by minister

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today she will take a 20% pay cut.

FINANCE MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe has said he will consider the actions taken by other governments in terms of pay cuts for politicians. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today she will take a 20% pay cut in a symbolic act of solidarity with people struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ardern said her personal salary, those of her fellow ministers and of top public servants would be slashed by a fifth for six months.

The move will see Ardern’s annual pay fall from around NZ$470,000 (€258,000) to NZ$376,000, costing her about NZ$47,000 (€25,000) over the six-month period.

When asked about reductions in wages for office-holders, Donohoe said the government “haven’t had any discussion on that issue… but we will look at what other governments are doing”.

“It is not something to date which has been considered. Those of us who are members of government have for quite a while not been participants in the wage increases that have been made available as part of the Fempi legislation for ministers.

“So that has been in place for all members of this government, since it came into office. I haven’t to date considered whether reductions are merited or needed for TDs or Senators. It is the case that a number of TDs and Senators are handing back to the state increases which they were due. It’s also the case that some of us cannot do that,” he added. 

Donohoe said he “absolutely” understands that many people all over the the country are facing a very severe reduction in their income.

“I am sure the government will discuss this and other matters in the coming weeks,” he said.

The minister was also asked about a number of TDs seeking new allowances to allow them to purchase office equipment while they work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak, as reporting in the Irish Examiner today.

Donohoe said the Houses of the Oireachtas is not planning on bringing in any new expenses, something the minister said he supported. 

He said for many years politicians have been provided with laptops and mobile phones to allow them to work in different places “and that is the way that equipment should be used now”.

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