Equal Pay Events: 12 August 2017 Wellington, Auckland, Whangerei and Palmerston North

  photos of Wgtn rally 12 August   Photos of Auckland 12 August    Whangerei & Palmerston Nth

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Spread the word: The 87th BPW Day is just ’round the corner!

Dear BPW sister,

We’re now in August, and you know what that means: The 87th BPW Day is just around the corner!

In case you didn’t know, this milestone event is happening on 26 August, and when our calendars turn to that date, we hope you’ll join this worldwide celebration by…

– Snapping a photo of you wearing something yellow and your BPW Pin
– Uploading and sharing the photo on social media with the event’s official hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride

And since it’s definitely much better if more people join, we do hope you’ll share the good news. So go out there and spread the word online or offline so that your fellow BPW sisters won’t miss out!

For 87th BPW Day updates and BPW news, please visit our Facebook page.

Kind Regards,
BPW International Executive Board 2014 to 2017

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Equal Pay Week of Action: It’s time to pay the sisters the same as the misters

Media advisory : from Council of Trade Unions

 Equal Pay Week of Action: It’s time to pay the sisters the same as the misters

 Kiwis care about fairness. Ensuring that women are paid fairly and equally will be a key election issue. A week of action, Saturday 12 – Saturday 19 August, focused on the issues of equal pay will see events happening all around the country.

2017 has been a big year for equal pay with the huge success of the care and support settlement which saw union member Kristine Bartlett’s win equal pay on behalf of over 55,000 working women.

Most of the events planned will be celebratory; colourful, with music and dance. However they will also be future orientated. “The road to achieving equal pay for all continues to have potholes in it,” CTU President Richard Wagstaff said. “The National Government seems determined to pursue a new law which will make achieving equal pay much more difficult. We will ensure that working woman and all those that support fairness and equality have their voices heard.”

For more information about what’s happening locally please refer to the table below – including local media contacts


Where When What Media contact
Toyota site
Carruth Street
(Opposite Pak’n’Save)
Saturday 12 August10am for 10.30am start Flash mob dancing to ‘She Works Hard for the Money’
Wear red!
Liz Boutet 021 416 541
Gather at Takutai Sq behind Britomart – march up Queen St to rally at the Suffrage Memorial Te ha o Hine Place off Lorne St
Saturday 12 August
11am – 12.30pm
March and rally MC – Michelle A’Court Speakers -Jacinda Ardern (Labour), Jo Goodhew (National), Jan Logie (Greens), Tracey Martin (NZ First) and Cinnamon Whitlock (Maori Party) Carol Beaumont 027 275 7374
Methodist Centre, 62 London St, Hamilton
Wednesday 16 August
4:30pm -6pm
Drinks & nibbles with Jackie Blue [EEO Blue. Commissioner]; Prof Margaret Wilson [UoW]; and Carol Webb [school support worker] Huia Welton021 524 502
Palmerston North 
Meeting at the Te Awe Awe quadrant of The Square and marching to George Street
Saturday 12 August
March with flash mob dancing to She Works Hard for the Money at start and finish. Dance led by Public Service Association Youth (PSAY) Lisa Wilde 027 475 1884
Cuba St stage – near bucket fountain
Saturday 12 August
Rally & dancing Confirmed speakers –Kristine Bartlett, Vanisa Dhiru (Vice President National Council of Women), Suzanne Snively (Former Wellingtonian of the Year) & Richard Wagstaff (CTU President)Wear purple! Angela McLeod 027 497 2761
Pomeroy’s Cafés –Pomeroys Coffee and Tea Co

Crema coffee cart (Church Steps)

Pomeroys City Store (Montgomery Square)

The Coffee Factory (16 Elms Street, Stoke)

Monday 14 –Friday 18 August Men pay $0.50 more per coffee.Action supported by the Breeze Nelson Pip Jamieson 027 247 2450
Cathedral Square
Sat 19 Aug 10.30am for 11am start Speakers Ruth Dyson, (Labour); Jan Logie, (Greens); Liz Gordon, (Pillars Children’s Charity) and Nancy McShane followed by The Equal Pay Dance. Wear red and black for Canterbury Nancy McShane 021 0816 2938
At the Exchange, corner of Princes and Rattray Street.
Saturday 19 August
Tea partyDress theme: a woman who inspires you. Lucy Gray021 207 3651



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Equal Pay Week of Action

Other Locations  Equal Pay Saturday Aug 12 locations

Whangatei flyer  EP Flyerfinal

The Equal Pay Week of Action 12 – 20th August

From 12 – 20 of August all around the country our network of  equal pay campaign hubs are running events to draw attention to the issue of equal pay in the lead up to the General Election.

You can support these activities by letting other people in your networks know and by attending.

There will be more information to come – but we wanted to make sure that you have as much advanced notice about these events as possible.

Some unions are planning their own equal pay events at worksites during the week of action too.

We will keep the CTU website updated with the detail of events here http://www.union.org.nz/equal-pay-week-of-action-event-schedule/

If you have any questions or would like more information please email me Sue O’Shea sueo@nzctu.org.nz or call 021 569 277

Equal Pay Saturday Aug 12 locations

Many of the regional actions will include dancing to the Donna Summers song She Works Hard for the Money (Treat Her Right). If you’d like to join in you can practice with others (some regional hubs are holding practice nights) or learn the dance moves in the privacy of your own home.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1wQxIAnKeg

Not your thing? Being there, bringing friends and whanau to support the action in your area all makes a difference.

We want to make as big a splash as possible, so join in the action (and have fun too) This will get the message through loud and clear that Kiwis are committed to winning equal pay!

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National’s Proposed New Law Disappoints

Media release: Pay Equity Coalition (Wellington)


The Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill tabled yesterday by the Government doesn’t do what the Government promises it would do, says the Pay Equity Coalition (Wellington).

“The Coalition is disappointed because this Bill will fail to deliver equal pay for many women,” says spokesperson Angela McLeod.

“The Bill makes it harder and more expensive for women to make a claim by introducing additional barriers for women to take pay equity claims.”

“We question if the government is committed to achieving pay equity in New Zealand if this Bill does not enable a better process and pathway to equal pay.”

“Unfortunately, this Bill is a step backwards in achieving equal pay. Working women deserve better, we deserve a law which supports equal pay for work of equal value,” McLeod said.


For further information please contact

Pay Equity Coalition Spokesperson Angela McLeod – 027 497 2761

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Submission on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill

20th July 2017

  • Justice and Electoral Committee
    Parliament Building
  • Wellington 6140 New Zealand

    E-mail: Justice.Electoral@parliament.govt.nz

    Re: Submission on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill

    This submission is from the NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) Inc.

    Executive Summary

    BPW NZ supports Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill, as it helps protect minors from forced or coerced marriages.

    However, BPW NZ believes the legal age of marriage should be eighteen, so that it is not legal for minors to marry under any circumstances. UN protocol states that a minor is anyone under the age of eighteen and should a minor be married it is effectively forced/coerced marriage, as they are not equipped to make a decision about marriage at a young age.1

    We believe the best way to protect adolescent children is to ensure they cannot, for any reason, enter into a contract with such lasting consequences.

    General Comments

    Our policies

    1.1 16.15. urges the New Zealand Government to revise the legal minimum age of marriage to eighteen years without any exception for parental consent and to introduce legal measures to prohibit underage and forced marriages and promote measures to protect women harmed by polygamy and dowry-related violence.

    1.2 In 2013 we brought a resolution to the National Council of Women New Zealand (NCWNZ) which ask that the NCWNZ:

Responds to Clauses 21 and 37 of the July 2012 New Zealand “Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women” by supporting measures to prohibit underage and forced marriages and through the promotion of measures to protect women harmed by polygamy and dowry-related violence.

1.3 In 2014, we took the issue of forced marriages and child brides to the international stage and along with BPW Africa, brought a resolution to the BPW International Congress which was subsequently passed.

The resolution reads:

The BPW International General Assembly 2014:

is mindful that action to stop and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls is a BPW International priority policy; that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child considers marriage before the age of eighteen a human rights violation; and that child marriage, described by UNICEF as “perhaps the most prevalent form of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls”, is one of the biggest obstacles to development, destroys the innocence of millions of girls in Africa and worldwide and often condemns them to lives of poverty, ignorance and poor health;

recognises the loss of opportunity for child brides to reach their potential, the economic impact of child marriage on the woman and her children, and the effect on the economy of the disempowerment of whole communities of women through child marriage; shares the global concern on the ills of child marriage; and therefore, notes with grave concern the rationale for prevention of child marriage and resolves to address the issue as a top priority policy issue through:

a. advocacy – creating awareness and sensitizing traditional and religious leaders, government officials, women’s groups, opinion leaders and other stakeholders on the implication of child marriage; and advocating for free and compulsory basic education for the girl child.

b. education – building capacity through training key stakeholders on human rights abuse and rights protection, and alerting them to existing laws and platform they can use to protect their rights or rights of their children; specifically building capacity of mothers through sensitization and knowledge sharing to equip them to serve as agents for the prevention of early marriages; providing platforms for men to advocate for the prevention early early/child marriages.

c. conducting community mobilization programmes and evaluating interventions.

d. media campaigns – promoting national discussions on gender violence; increasing public awareness through campaigns designed to change attitudes and behaviours.

e. lobbying and engaging governments and other relevant policy decision makers, through existing platforms, networks and coalitions for the inclusion of human rights in school curriculum and for enactment of policy and law prohibiting child and forced marriage.

f. locally adapting, adopting and distributing all charters, treaties, policies, laws and agreements targeted countries have committed to.

g. identifying and working with agencies that can provide legal support to young girls whose rights are violated through forced marriage.

h. collaborating with credible local and international organizations working on prevention of early/child marriage i.e. FIDA in Nigeria, Tostan in Senegal and other research institutions.

i. conducting research on existing programmes aimed at preventing early/child marriage in developing countries; facilitating cross communication and learning to improve efficiency of intervention.

2.0 Child Marriage in New Zealand

2.1 BPW NZ believes the legal age of marriage should be eighteen, because sixteen and seventeen-year old are classified as minors and should not therefore be able to marry. In New Zealand, sixteen and seventeen-year old cannot vote, buy alcohol, sit on a jury, buy fireworks, or be fully bound by a contract.2 The age of majority in New Zealand is 20, and generally, anyone under the age of eighteen is considered a minor.

2.2 It is difficult to find public statistics around the prevalence of child marriages in New Zealand. Statistics NZ reports on marriages for those 19 and under; in 2016, there were 117 males and 282 females married who were 19 or younger. The

explanatory note in the Bill advises that there are about 80 marriages per year involving sixteen and seventeen-year old’s.3

2.3 Much of the anecdotal evidence for forced marriages in New Zealand indicates that they are more prevalent in non-Maori or NZ European cultures. Priyanca Radhakrishnan worked for Shakti, a national not-for-profit community organisation specialising in the area of women’s development, empowerment and domestic/family violence intervention, with particular cultural awareness for children and families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin. Ms. Radhakrishnan’s Master’s thesis Unholy Matrimony spoke in detail about cases of forced marriages in New Zealand and the challenges migrants have because they are often required to live in more insular, smaller communities. She described how migrant women struggle fit in among English speakers, to find work and further their education and consequently they become more reliant on their family and a smaller network. These communities, faced with adapting to a different cultural environment, may even experience a backlash supporting traditional cultural practices which claim to protect women and their cultural identity, such as forced marriages.

2.4 Child marriages and forced marriages, which often go hand-in-hand, does happen in New Zealand. Girls are primary impacted; eighty percent of minors married are female.4 Some of our most marginalised people are a target too—young women who are migrants. Poverty is a factor, the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) finds that, globally “girls living in poor households are almost twice as likely to marry before 18 than girls in higher income households”. In The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report titled Early Marriage: A Harmful Traditional Practice it was found that domestic violence is more common for women who had been married as children.5

3.0 Child Marriages: International Perspective

3.1 New Zealand is a signatory to the following international agreements and lists them as guiding documents in the Government’s efforts to prevent forced marriage.6

  • Universal Declaration of Human Right
  • United National (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • UN Convention on consent to marriage, minimum age for marriage and registration of marriages
  • UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

3.2 In The State of the World’s Children UNICEF reported that:

  • • Girls who marry early are more likely to abandon formal education and become pregnant
  • • If a mother is under the age of eighteen, her infant’s risk of dying in its first year of life is 60 percent greater than that of an infant born to a mother other than nineteen
  • • Children born to child brides are more likely to suffer from low birth weight, under nutrition, and late physical and cognitive development
  • • Child brides are at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation and are often separated from family and friends, lacking freedom to participate in community activities

3.3 The UN is clear about its stance regarding marriage, it considers anyone under the age of eighteen a minor and if married, consent is not possible as the marriage that cannot be ‘free and full’ when one partner is immature.7

3.4 The global economic cost of child marriage is billions of dollars, annually.8 Costs of Child Marriage – is an ICRW and the World Bank initiative aimed at researching the economic consequences of child marriage to support the economic case for ending child marriage.9

In their words:

When girls are forced to marry, they often drop out of school, may face serious health complications and even death from early pregnancy and childbearing, and are at greater risk of HIV infection and intimate partner violence.

They are often isolated, with limited opportunity to engage socially and to participate in the economic development of their communities. Child marriage thus hampers efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable global development.

4.0 Proposed Bill

4.1 Our question for the committee is: where the burden of proof will lay when a case for marriage involving a minor is taken before a Court? Will the bridal couple, or their family, be required to state the case for marriage? What will be considered an acceptable case for a sixteen or seventeen-year-old to be married? Will they have to prove true love and a lasting, equal commitment? Or will the judge be assessing whether force or coercion is involved? Is a judge able to ensure they can identify more complicated cases of coercion?

4.2 One of our members, a teacher, reported a student being encouraged by her mother to marry the girl’s teenage boyfriend, so that he would be better eligible for a NZ visa. The children are close, their families are close, and the coercion is not violent or outwardly abusive. The girl and boy may be manipulated into a decision with long-term consequences, as well as abetting visa fraud, because they want the best for one another as friends or a young couple in love. Cases like these are much more ambiguous.

4.3 The above questions lead BPW NZ to believe the bill does not address the issue of forced or coerced marriage as definitely as outlawing marriages among minors.

5.0 International Status

5.1 BPW NZ is affiliated to the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) which has General Consultative Status at the United Nations (UN) through the UN Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC). This enables BPW International to appoint official representatives to UN agencies worldwide and to accredit members to attend specific UN meetings.

5.2 BPW International upholds the outcomes of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee at state party level. BPW International upholds the outcome documents of the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which evaluates progress, identifies challenges, sets global standards and formulates policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

5.3 BPW International also upholds the UN Resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriage, the UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. In addition, Article 16 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

6.0 Recommendation Summary

BPW NZ believes this legislation is an attempt to prevent minors from being forced or coerced into marriage, which on its own, we support. Alternatively, we recommend the legal age for marriage be raised to eighteen. This would mean New Zealand leads the way in following through on its obligations to UN protocol and most importantly, would be a much more effective and humane approach in preventing forced or coerced marriages.

Our Organisation

BPW NZ is a group with over three hundred diverse members throughout New Zealand. Our organisation’s aims are to link professional and business women throughout the world so that they may provide support to each other, lobby for change and to promote the ongoing advancement of women and girls. We work for equal opportunities and status for all women in economic, civil and political life and the removal of discrimination in all countries. We promote our aims and organise our operating structure without distinction as to race, language or religion.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to our submission and we hope that our comments are of use to you.

On behalf of New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc.

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Wear Yellow and Be Proud: Celebrate the 87th BPW Day with your fellow sisters!

Dear BPW sister,

Fast fact #1: Did you know that BPW International was founded in Geneva, Switzerland and is now in over 90 countries worldwide?

Fast fact #2: Did you know that BPW International is celebrating its 87th anniversary this year?

That’s right, sisters! The 87th BPW Day is fast approaching, and we’d like you to be part of this momentous occasion! So, on 26 August 2017, show the world you’re loud and proud of being a BPW member by…

– Taking a photo of you wearing something yellow and your BPW Pin
– Uploading the image to social media with the celebration’s official hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride

Got that? Please share the news with your fellow BPW sisters so they’ll be part of the event as well, no matter where they are!

For 87th BPW Day updates and BPW news, please visit our Facebook page.

Kind Regards,
BPW International Executive Board 2014 to 2017

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BPW NZ Newsletter article for July 2017 – Janet Gibb VP Issues

Kia Ora Koutou

I have just returned from a USA holiday. We travelled across many states – we saw a lot and spoke with lots of people, both friends and strangers. Reflecting on this proves to me that we all have the same goals in life: to be happy, healthy and treated fairly in everything we do.

Much of what we saw and heard endorsed for me that we have to keep on fighting the good fight or we slip back.

In New Orleans, on the paddle steamer on the Mississippi River we sat with a retired policeman and his wife who worked in the health system. In our conversation BPW came up and they had heard great things about our organisation and impressed with the commitment shown. Our tour through the Whitney Plantation focused on the African Slave story. Our guide was an amazing younger African American who brought to life the journey and stories of these people and the treatment they endured: isolation from family, their religion, their birth name and no education. They were not treated as human being but as possessions. Females were mated to breed strong children – this was likened to breeding horses or cattle for better outcomes choosing strong genes!

IMAGINE yourself being isolated from all you know and being treated as a possession or as a breeding machine! The strategy to not educate was to ensure there was no broadening of minds which would create hope and goals to better their lives. Self-worth was destroyed as best that it could be.

Travel certainly broadens the mind and not everyone has that opportunity, but in New Zealand we all have access to education. Not so in many other countries. Education is the key that opens doors for people to improve their lives and create self-worth.

Our objectives are still extremely relevant:

  • Improve the quality of life for all women
  • Advocate for equal social and economic opportunities for women
  • Eliminate all forms of discrimination against women

In Colorado an old friend of my husband gave me a book which basically states that if women were in charge, there would be no wars.

In Denver I found the Tattered Covered Bookstore “Books are humanity in print” and a little book called ‘We should all be Feminists’ in which it says “I would like to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A

Path of Perseverance

world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently…”

And then in Seattle, on a café wall,while I sipped the elusive Flat White (hard to find in USA) a painting called:
“Path of Perseverance”

Let’s keep persevering … Janet Gibb

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Use the hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride as these will be the two official hashtags for the 87th BPW Day.

So again, on 26 August 2017, in celebration of this important event, don’t forget to…

– Take a photo of yourself wearing something yellow and the BPW Pin

– Upload and share the photo on social media with the official hashtags!

Share the news with your fellow BPW sisters as well!

Please visit our Facebook page for BPW news and 87th BPW Day updates.

Kind Regards,

BPW International Executive Board 2014 to 2017

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A Strategy to Prevent Suicide in New Zealand:  Draft for public consultation

26 June 2017

Suicide Prevention Strategy Consultation Ministry of Health PO Box 5013 Wellington 6140  via email to suicideprevention@moh.govt.nz

Re: A Strategy to Prevent Suicide in New Zealand:  Draft for public consultation


This submission is from the NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) Inc.

Our Organisation

Our organisation’s aims are to link professional and business women throughout the world, to provide support, to lobby for change and to promote the ongoing advancement of women and girls. We work for equal opportunities and status for all women in economic, civil and political life and the removal of discrimination in all countries. We promote our aims and organise our operating structure without distinction as to race, language or religion.

International Status

BPW International has General Consultative Status at the United Nations through the UN Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC). This enables BPW International to appoint official representatives to UN agencies worldwide and to accredit members to attend specific UN meetings.

BPW International upholds the outcomes of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee at state party level. BPW International upholds the outcome documents of the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which evaluates progress, identifies challenges, sets global standards and formulates policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

Our interest in this submission is because we are committed to advocating for equal opportunities for women and girls and for the health and safety of women and girls.

General Comments

BPW NZ acknowledges the efforts of the Ministry of Health and its partners in working to reduce suicide in New Zealand. We recognise that this draft Strategy to Prevent Suicide in New Zealand is a continuation of those efforts.

BPW NZ notes that suicide is a mental health issue. We believe the mental health sector is at a point of crisis in New Zealand and there is no indication of improvement. We do not believe this strategy and a continuation of the previous efforts will result in change. We recognise that mental health issues affect our most vulnerable, such as youth, those in poverty, Māori and Pasifika, older New Zealanders, new mothers, children in the foster care system and so on1.

BPW NZ proposes that the Ministry consider a much more comprehensive and focused approach to mental health, which will have a wider ranging benefit for New Zealanders who suffer from mental health problems and in turn support potential victims of suicide. We believe the Ministry of Health understands this2, but does not have the leadership impetus or mandate to act with the courage required to achieve real improvement in this sector. We recognise the significant economic cost of mental health issues3 and believe in a prevention rather than crisis approach, but the health sector needs support to achieve this change. Our recommendations below provide an approach to how this might be achieved.

International Commitments

BPW NZ acknowledges The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for which Article 25 states:

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

New Zealand was one of the 26 signatories of the original UN Declaration in 1942 and has made a commitment to support the work of The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right and other key UN organisations in upholding the declaration.

4  In addition, the World Health Organisations Constitution enshrines “…the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.” This includes “The right to health – includes access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality.”

BPW New Zealand Policies: Suicide Prevention

BPW Policy on suicide advocates:

15.28 Mental Health Services

15.28.1. Increase Funding for Acute and Non-Acute Services:

15.28.2. URGE the Government, through the Ministers of Health and Finance to increase funding for Mental health as a matter of urgency, in both acute and non-acute services, and require District Health Boards to:

(a) Increase the number of acute beds AND

(b) Increase salaries, and post graduate educational opportunities for mental health staff to attract a greater number of qualified people to the specialty.

15.28.7. Mental Health: Reducing Suicide       THAT BPW NZ urges the Ministry of Health:

  1. a) To include in their 2014/2015 targets for the DHBs an objective to Reduce the level of suicide, and the incidence of self-harming in their District, by 50%
  2. b) To urge the Ministry of Health and the incoming Minister of Health to make the reduction of suicide and the incidence of self-harming a national health priority from 2015-2016.”

In February 2015, BPW NZ provided a submission on UNCROC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) 5th Government Draft Submission and noted:

We have The NZ Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006 – 2016 as well as a NZ Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013 – 2016 BUT we still have some of the highest statically suicides in the OECD Countries.

  • NZ statistics are appalling when you start looking at gender, age groups and ethnicity.
  • Our Maori and Pacifica people are even higher by 54% over there non-Maori counterparts.
  • So what has all the energy, funds, focus of resources achieved when on an International level we are not achieving significant inroads?
  • Where are the KPI’s, targets reductions that are meaningful when translating this data?
  • Reviews every five years are too long a period when we are losing too many of our future minds.

The District Health Boards have targets for shorter stays in emergency departments, improved access to elective surgery, shorter waits for cancer treatment, increased immunisation, better help for smokers to quit, more heart and diabetes checks.

  • Their performance against these targets are measured and published and the latest statistics indicate a significant increase in performance in all the above areas.
  • There should be similar targets relating to outcomes for mental health and youth suicides.

We also draw to the Ministry of Social Development’s attention the success of the Mental Health Foundation’s Mindfulness in Schools pilot programme. Initial research is indicating major changes in attentiveness, self-control and respect for other classmates as a result of this programme. Focus on extending the reach of this work is vital.

Over two years has passed and we believe the above comments to be very much still applicable, signalling a disappointing lack of improvement in the approach to suicide prevention and consequently a lack of change in the outcome (no reduction in suicide rates).

Strategic planning for suicide prevention

As part of this submission, BPW NZ reviewed the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006–2016 and the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013–2016. BPW NZ wishes to particularly note that the Action Plan was released seven years after Strategy was initiated.

BPW NZ’s summary of the Strategy is that it was at best high-level, but largely unspecific and irresolute, lacking concrete ideas to improve suicide rates or turn-around the mental health crisis in New Zealand. The Action Plan provided initiatives without timelines, responsibility delegation or goals/metrics of success. The only implementation detail is a month and year of supposed completion of implementation. There is no detail about whether the initiative was successful, whether it should be carried forward or how it could be improved.

Our member who attended the public consultation meeting in Auckland, for which three hours was scheduled, found that the Ministry of Health did more talking than any members of the public. The meeting was more about the Ministry sharing their plan than engaging the public.

This planning process appears to be a “ticking the box” exercise. New Zealanders share this concern and a recent poll found that six out of ten respondents find the government is failing in providing mental healthcare and only one of every ten respondents believe they are on track.6

The Ministry, DHB’s and the wider network is not being held accountable for its efforts, or lack of effort, to improve suicide rates and mental health issues. Our consistently high suicide rates and shocking rates among youth, men, Māori and Pasifika in particular, are cruel evidence.

In 2015 National Council for Women passed a remit to encourage the government to:-

  • Increase Funding for Maternal Mental Health Services
  • Increased access to existing maternal mental health services in New Zealand and
  • Increased and ongoing sustained funding for provision and evaluation of maternal mental health services.

Supporting research shows the flow on effects of unaddressed maternal mental health issues for families, children and communities are reaching unacceptable levels and not enough checks are in place to identify these issues before they turn to crisis situations for families and individuals.

Having reviewed the 2017 draft Strategy, we note the unfortunate similarity to the 2016 plan in its toothlessness. We do not believe that the draft Strategy will result in the much-needed change.

Recommendations: –

BPW NZ recommends a strategic and action planning process that has initiatives that are forward-thinking, targeted, measurable and with delegatory powers that can be held accountable and has an action plan that’s prepared alongside, released immediately, and provides public accountability for the actions.

BPW NZ recommends that Mental Health is introduced as one of the Ministry of Health’s national targets for action.

BPW NZ recommends that the Minister for Health commission an inquiry into Mental Health Care and Suicide Rates.


Mental Health funding is in considerable shortfall. The increases in the 2017 Budget leave little increase for mental health, after inflation and the Care and Support Workers settlement is considered.

8 A 2016 review by six prominent industry health leaders and researchers found that health funding is falling as a proportion of GDP and that the overall health budget is low compared to other countries.

9 Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) have found “Real per capita spending in health will fall slightly the coming Budget year (-0.1%), but over the forecast period is projected to fall to 7.5% below current levels by 2021”.

10 Many of our members described cases in which crisis responses team were ill-equipped to deal with suicides and as a result, people were likely to call the police instead of crisis response. In the decade leading up to 2014, attempted/threatened suicide calls to NZ Police had increased by almost three-fold.

11 Why is the Ministry for Health abdicating its responsibility to the Ministry for Justice?


Recommendation: –

BPW NZ recommends the Government provide an urgent mental-health sector funding increase, particularly acute and community based mental health services.

Mental health and suicide training, funding, representation and reporting

Our members have a number of additional concerns about the mental health sector:

  • Health professionals are not adequately trained/equipped to recognise, manage and refer patients with mental health problems, including those at risk of suicide.
  • DHBs often lack board level expertise in mental health and management level representation in the sector which consequently is relatively neglected
  • DHB targets may not specify mental health support, which is consequently underfunded and this contributes to the inability of DHBs to manage the growth in mental health issues
  • DHBs are not required to report about mental health care in a meaningful way, contributing to a lack of data and understanding about mental health issues in New Zealand
  • Suicide rates are under-reported which skews outcomes for people of certain demographics; for example, if an older person refuses to take medication with the purpose of bringing on end of life, this is not classified at suicide

BPW NZ notes a lack of independent research into the overarching facilitation of mental health care in New Zealand and believes an inquiry is urgently required.

Recommendation: –

BPW NZ recommends that the Minister for Health commission an independent inquiry into Mental Health Care and Suicide Rates in New Zealand.

Reference to the draft Strategy to Prevent Suicide in New Zealand

Page 4: “Causes of suicidal behaviour”, add the following:

  • Poverty (Kuruvilla & Jacob, 2007)
  • Delay in treatment or untreated mental health conditions (Goldsmith, 2002)
  • Loss of access to children and death of a family listed under “stressful life events” (Bilsker D & White J., 2011)
  • Family violence (Bilsker D & White J., 2011)
  • Homelessness (Eynan et al., 2002) ● Bullying (Kim & Leventhal, 2008)
  • Significant illness (Foreign Affairs Publisher, 2017)
  • Loneliness and isolation experienced by the elderly and those in rural areas (Ministry of Health, 2005)
  • Mental illness and suicidal thoughts (Australian Government: Department of  Health and Ageing, 2007) (Ministry of Health, 2005) ● Insecure infant attachment during the first three years of life (Stein, Gath,  Bucher, Bond, & Day, 1991) (Fergusson, Horwood, & Lynskey, 1995)

Page 5: “Some areas that help to prevent suicidal behaviour are those that promote or provide:”, add the following:

  • Promoting school bullying prevention (Kim & Leventhal, 2008)
  • Promoting workplace bullying prevention
  • Family violence education (Gulliver & Fanslow, 2013)
  • Assistance with homelessness (Eynan et al., 2002)
  • Raising mental health awareness and education and reducing stigma in rural communities (Ministry of Health, 2005)
  • Promoting protective factors, including well-resourced mental health and social services and early, adequate, sustained treatment of depression (Ministry of Health, 2005)

Page 11: “focus on the following population groups”, add the following:

  • Boys and men, who have a higher rate of suicide (Ministry of Health, 2005)
  • Victims of sexual abuse.

From page 13: “potential areas for action”, add the following:

Support positive wellbeing at all life stages

  • Funding for services delivering early intervention assessments and recovery programmes to women with ante- and post-natal depression who do not fit Maternal Mental Health criteria in the Primary Health sector (Jones, 2009) (Stein, Gath, Bucher, Bond, & Day, 1991) (Fergusson, Horwood, & Lynskey, 1995)
  • Support for anti-bullying programmes (Kim & Leventhal, 2008)
  • Support for attachment programmes eg. Circle of Security (Stein, Gath, Bucher, Bond, & Day, 1991) (Fergusson, Horwood, & Lynskey, 1995)
  • Support for counselling/therapy (Hollon, Thase, & Markowitz, 2017) and online cognitive behavioral therapy gaming programmes for children eg. Brave (Fergusson, Horwood, & Lynskey, 1995)
  • Support school programmes teaching/encouraging boys to share feelings, regulate emotions and develop problem-solving skills
  • Investigate child/adolescent mental health services, especially training and implementation of suicide assessments of children/adolescents per the survey findings by Parents of Children with Additional Needs
  • Investigate gaps identified by the People’s Mental Health Review as per their recommendations
  • A national education programme to support all New Zealanders to understand what mental health is, and what mental health services provide, that operates in the education system and wider society

Strengthen systems to support people who are in distress

  • Mandatory professional development training of midwives in the onset, prevalence, identification, screening, treatment and intervention of ante- and post-natal depression
  • Ensure training and implementation of suicide risk assessments of children/adolescents
  • Increase the number of staff so that wait-times improve
  • Investigate technological options for improving access to care, such as mobile apps, e-therapies and online resources which may be particularly helpful in rural areas
  • Increase counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists on-staff for child and adolescent mental health services
  • in all DHBs so that children and young people (often experiencing anxiety or depression) have ongoing support as an alternative or in addition to medication
  • Subsidise (free) counselling for all women experiencing ante- and post-natal depression or anxiety ● Develop fully independent oversight of the mental health system in line with minimum obligations set out in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Initiate an urgent independent inquiry into the structure and provision of mental health services in New Zealand
  • Initiate an urgent funding increase for mental health services for acute and community based mental health services nationally – this requires a focus on increasing community based service access and treatment choices for people using mental health services to provide interventions early

Build and support the capability of the workforces in the education, health and police sectors and in the wider justice and social sectors

  • Ensure adequate staffing to improve wait times, especially reducing wait times to see the local acute mental health service following the declaration of suicidal ideation and/or referral from health services indicating present suicidal ideation
  • Ensure adequate staffing so when people are calling the crisis team number, they go through to a mental health nurse immediately rather than no answer or a voice message where people are called back 15-30 minutes later (or worse) and ensure the crisis team are following up and contacting people regularly as needed

Strengthen and broaden collaboration among those working to prevent suicidal behaviour

  • Follow recommendations as given by the People’s Mental Health Review to address current gaps in services

Add a 10th Action Point:  Continue research into community, gender and ethnic groups that have a high rate of suicide

  • Funding into research on the nature, prevalence, treatment and interventions of child mental health disorders (of which there has been no research undertaken)
  • Funding into research on health professionals’ attitudes, knowledge and training around child mental health disorders (of which there has been no research undertaken)
  • Funding into research on the experiences of parents and children of child mental health disorders including issues around cultural diversity in the context of New Zealand (of which there has been no research undertaken)

Thank you for the reviewing our submission; we hope to have the opportunity to speak to it in person should the Ministry for Health agree to hearing oral submissions.

On behalf of New Zealand Federation of Business and professional Women Inc.

Contact detail: – Hellen Swales 027 528 6799 President@bpwnz.org.nz

Other submissions BPW New Zealand supports

BPW NZ strongly supports submissions by the POCAN (Parents of Children with Additional Needs Collective) and MCAGNZ (Maternal Care Action Group NZ).

  1. https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/assets/Uploads/MHF-Quick-facts-and-stats-FINAL.pdf
  2. http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/mental-health-and-addictions/working-prevent-suicide/understandingsuicide-new-zealand
  3. https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/assets/ResourceFinder/like-minds-cost-benefit-analysis.pdf
  4. https://www.hrc.co.nz/your-rights/human-rights/international-human-rights-legislation/
  5. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs323/en/
  6. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/92911867/Most-people-believe-the-government-is-failing-inproviding-mental-health-care-survey
  7. http://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/health-targets
  8. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/92972655/frustration-disappointment-over-health-funding-in-budget-2017
  9. https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2016/vol-129-no-1435-27-may2016/6891
  10. http://www.victoria.ac.nz/news/2017/05/budget-2017-analysis-of-real-per-person-spending-shows-realwinners-and-losers
  11. http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/nz-police-mental-health-team-newsletter-issue1.pdf
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