A motion for a cut in the salaries of Leaders in Government and Parliament will be moved by the Leader of the Opposition in accordance with clause 35 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
1. The Members of Parliament of the Republic of Vanuatu recognise that the whole world is going through uncertain and difficult times caused by the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic;
2. The unprecedented closure of international borders to stop the spread of the virus has led to the collapse of many world economies, and has put our own fragile economy on the brink of an unknown precipice, with hundreds of businesses now either closed down completely or drastically scaled-down in their operations and thousands of our citizens losing their jobs;
3. Many homes and families have little or no income coming in for the foreseeable future and many people are undergoing traumatic social and mental changes in their lives because of the Covid-19 lock-down and economic downturn;
4. Government revenue has effectively ceased while the Government has committed itself to massive unanticipated spending of more than 5 billion vatu on the implementation of the Covid-19 economic stimulus package and on relief and recovery for communities affected by TC Harold;
5. The Government cannot accurately predict how long this crisis will last, nor can it predict with confidence the full extent of its devastating impact it will have on the national economy, nor can it predict how long the Government will be able to continue spending limited public funds to support the economy and provide essential services to the population;
6. In this context, it is important that the Government and the Parliament demonstrate to the people that they understand what they are experiencing and show that they care. Now is the time when the Government and the Parliament needs to show leadership and empathy with the population. This has been done in a number of other countries through Leaders in Government and Parliament agreeing to cut their own salaries; in our region, for example, the Government of Fiji has agreed for the Prime Minister and all Ministers to take a 20% pay cut until the end of the year and the New Zealand Prime Minister has announced the same 20% cut for herself and her whole cabinet;
NOW THEREFORE THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION BY PARLIAMENT IS NOW MOVED:
1. The Parliament of Vanuatu express its sympathies with countries and families throughout the world that have experienced the loss of loved ones to the virus;
2. The Parliament acknowledges with gratitude and humility the hands of friendship and assistance given to Vanuatu by many nations and international organisations;
3. That there shall be a 50% cut in the position allowance (under the Official Salaries Act) for the following Government and Parliamentary Leaders:
– the Prime Minister,
– the Deputy Prime Minister,
– the Speaker of Parliament,
– all Government Ministers,
– the Leader of the Opposition, and
– the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
4. That this salary cut comes into force on the day on which it is passed by the Parliament and finishes on the 31st December 2020.
5. That the savings made by this salary cut be contributed to the Government’s Economic Stimulus Package for the benefit of the people.