It’s been a strange time, and one filled with uncertainty.
But one certainty throughout is that many in our community are feeling a lot of pain at the moment.
Businesses are really hurting, and many people are losing jobs or on reduced hours.
Times are tough, and will continue to be tough for a while yet.
Today the Council’s leadership team decided unanimously that we wanted to personally recognise the pain in our community.
That’s why myself, Councillors, our Chief Executive Barbara McKerrow and her Executive Leadership Team, have unanimously agreed to take a voluntary 10% pay reduction for the rest of 2020, and we’ll be redirecting that money to help our community.
There will also be voluntary pay freeze for the Chief Executive and Executive Leadership Team for the first six months of 2021, and earlier I wrote to the Remuneration Authority to ask that there be no increase in Wellington City Council’s elected member remuneration when it is next considered.
The total contribution from elected members and executive team members will be around $340,000.
The money will go to the many community welfare organisations facing increased demand for their services at this time.
It will also go to some of our wonderful community groups, many of which will lose direct revenue and sponsorship. Council itself will also benefit through there being no remuneration increases.
So we’re delighted that our collective support will benefit a range of organisations that are doing fantastic work in our city.
Barbara McKerrow has also signalled she will be conducting a thorough review of all Council costs, something I strongly support.
As I’ve said before, we’re looking at a potential $70m Council shortfall caused by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I want to finish today’s update with a heartfelt message, for all our essential workers who are keeping our city moving, providing crucial services, and caring for – and protecting – our people.
And that message is: Thank you.
Thank you to our health workers, to our hospital staff, to our police officers, and our firefighters.
Thank you too to our supermarket and pharmacy staff. You’re doing a great job under really trying circumstances.
Thank you to those in public transport, our train and bus drivers, getting our other essential workers to where they need to be.
Thank you to our volunteers – you guys are doing a brilliant job, and we’re all extremely proud of you.
Thank you to our local businesses who are hanging in there, helping each other out, keeping on staff, and adapting to operating in the lockdown.
Thanks to the couriers who are getting all their goods to us.
And finally, thank you to our central and local Government workers making sure our city and country are safe, and that all our essential services are still working as they should.
So on behalf of all Wellingtonians, I want to say to all of you who are doing those essential jobs, whether on the frontline or behind the scenes – thank you.
And finally a big thank you to you all for keeping on doing the right things, staying safe, staying home, exercising local, keeping separate.
Looking at what is happening globally we are so fortunate to live in this beautiful country.
As the Prime Minister has reminded us, we are doing really well, now is the time to keep it up, and finish the job, and eradicate this virus.
Keep up the good work Wellington.
I’ll be back tomorrow with another update.