Demos leader makes ‘conscience’ decision to take 15% pay cut

Friday April 17, 2020 Written by Published in Politics
Tina Browne says it is up to individual Demos MPs whether they follow her lead and take a pay cut. Tina Browne says it is up to individual Demos MPs whether they follow her lead and take a pay cut. KATRINA TANIRAU 20022835

Opposition leader Tina Browne says she will take a 15 per cent pay cut over the next six months in response to the Covid-19 financial crisis.

Browne was responding to questions from Cook Islands News and its readers.

She said other Opposition MPs could decide for themselves if they want to take a pay cut. “I’ve asked them to make a conscientious decision, this is a personal matter they need to decide for themselves.”

It comes after Airport Authority chief executive Joe Ngamata revealed he and his 120 staff will have to take a pay cut of up to 50 per cent, if they don't get more air traffic revenue or government assistance in the next three to six months. In the private sector, many companies have been reducing staff hours or laying them off.

Browne is the first Cook Islands parliamentarian to volunteer to forfeit part of her salary to show solidarity with her country that’s in a serious economic downturn due to the global impact of Covid-19.

“Our country and people are taking a big financial hit at this time, it is only right that we parliamentarians also make a sacrifice given that the entire country has undergone belt tightening, hundreds have lost their jobs and have uncertain futures.”

“I believe that we are all in this together and I urge all members of Parliament to be actively doing our part to show unity with our people.

“These are very difficult times and as members of Parliament we have to lead the way and show support and compassion.”

Last year, MPs accepted a 45 per cent pay rise, recommended by the Remuneration Tribunal.

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