Over the course of the coronavirus crisis, we’ve seen some world leaders go into meltdowns and use the pandemic to attack the media and spread their own propaganda.
Well, that’s mainly president Trump, to be honest.
It’s not like all world leaders have risen to the task during this crisis, though. Boris Johnson has seemed unsure of himself and inconsistent with his advice. Far-right leader Victor Orban has used the virus to turn Hungary into a virtual dictatorship. Bolsonaro has ignored the virus to such an extent that criminal gangs are now enforcing Brazil’s lockdown.
But New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has shone like a bright light in these troubling times.
Arden has just announced that she and her ministers will be taking a 20 per cent pay cut for six months in light of the crisis.
Explaining her decision, she said:
If there was ever a time to close the gap between different positions, it's now.
She said the the move was to acknowledge New Zealanders who have lost jobs, taken pay cuts or who were reliant on wage subsidies during the Covid-19 outbreak.
And while it in itself won’t shift the government’s overall fiscal position, it is about leadership.
The pay cut will also affect “public CEOs” but not frontline public-sector workers such as nurses, police and health care professionals.
This isn’t the first time Ardern has won praise for her handling of the crisis.
New Zealand entered lockdown before it recorded its first death from coronavirus and has been quick to test people. Ardern’s human but direct approach has reminded people of the empathy she showed in the aftermath of 2019’s horrific mass shooting in Christchurch. She even reassured kids that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are “key” workers who’ll still be working during lockdown.