The Waikato District Council chief executive Gavin Ion has taken a 20% pay cut for the next six months.
Ion made the decision within hours of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement today that she and other government ministers, as well as central government ministry and department chief executives, will take a 20% pay cut for the next six months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“For me, I believe this is one way I can acknowledge that there are people and businesses in our district who are hurting.”
“My family support me in making this decision,” he added.
The Prime Minister explained today the pay cut for the next six months is recognition of New Zealanders who are reliant on wage subsidies, taking pay cuts and losing their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Ion stressed that during an emergency, councils carry out a major role in supporting the local, regional and national Civil Defence efforts.
“Like other essential services such as energy and telecommunication providers, Fire & Emergency, NZ Police, the district health boards, and many other government services, we have not stopped during the lockdown,” said Ion.
Council continues to provide essential services that keep people safe and healthy, such as drinking water, wastewater, rubbish collection, burials, animal control, essential roading and safety repairs and flood protection.
“Many of our other activities have also been able to continue albeit remotely. For example, we’re able to process building & resource consents, deal with customer queries in our contact centre, work on our Long Term and District Plans, and continue with council meetings,” he said.
“Central Government has told councils that they will be crucial to the local economic recovery once the Covid-19 threat is at an acceptable level, so we simply can’t slow down, we must be ready to take up that leadership role in the recovery of our communities.”