Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will not cut pay for federal government ministers and public service chiefs.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced all ministers and public service chiefs will have their pay cut by 20 per cent for six months.

Mr Morrison was asked if he would follow the move this week, but he said the government prefers its current pay freeze for politicians and top-ranking public servants, rather than a cut.

He said public servants are working hard.

“They do a great job and they're as much on the frontline saving people's livelihoods frankly as nurses working in hospitals,” the prime minister said.

“Everyone is working hard here. Everyone who is in a job is in an essential job. I just want to support them in those jobs so I'm not keen to get into a competition.”

Ms Ardern said the pay cut was intended to show leadership, but admits it will not make a meaningful change to the budget.

“It's an acknowledgement of the hit many New Zealanders are taking right now,” she said.