Following New Zealand: should all leaders take pay cuts?

Faye Navesey discusses the New Zealand PM’s decision to take a pay cut amis the COVID19 pandemic.

Faye Navesey
20th April 2020
In recent times it has become rare to see leaders genuinely seem to care about the people they represent. Jacinda Ardern has become an example of such a leader: the decisiveness and compassion with which she has faced this crisis is an example of excellent leadership on a political stage filled with incompetence.

Unlike Ardern many leaders seem to be more concerned with the state of the economy than the millions suffering. For example, an Indiana congressman recently described letting more Americans die from coronavirus as the ‘lesser of two evils’ compared to hurting the economy.

One of the key things leaders must grasp is to put people's health and wellbeing before financial matters

Though largely symbolic, the pay cut taken by the New Zealand Prime Minister shows that her priorities lie in the right place and is a promising display of solidarity with workers who are suffering under the current circumstances.

However, while this is a clear step in the right direction and all world leaders should be encouraged to do the same thing, more needs to be done to ensure all workers are financially protected throughout this crisis. This includes a change to the tax system so that billionaires across the world are doing their bit to lessen people's suffering.

While New Zealand may be taking the right measures when it comes to this crisis, the same cannot be said for the UK. For example, the crisis the NHS is in shows just quite how unprepared we were to deal with a pandemic like this and how little thought the government has given to the health of its citizens.

A crisis like this either proves how capable and worthy of power a government is, or completely embarrasses them. For Jacinda Ardern it has proven her to be a competent and compassionate leader who is effectively dealing with an unprecedented situation while also reassuring the people of New Zealand. This kind of effective leadership shows the correct way to deal with a crisis and sets the standard we should expect from our own leaders.

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