Happy International Women’s Day!
I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the wonderful people and organisations around the country that work every day to improve the status of women in New Zealand.
Yesterday I asked the Minister of Women’s Affairs during Question time about the government’s performance in advancing issues facing women in New Zealand.
Over the last few months I have continued to meet with many individuals and groups who are passionate about empowering and supporting women.
This has included the Women’s Refuge, National Council of Women, The Council of Trade Unions Women’s Committee, Plunket, NZ Federation of Multicultural Councils, Breast Cancer Network, Association of Administrative Professionals NZ, BreastScreen Aotearoa, National Cervical Screening Programme, National Association of Women in Construction, Pay Equity Challenge Coalition, Women’s Health Action Trust, Pan Pacific South East Asian Women’s Association, NZ Pacific Women’s Watch, Wellington Women’s Lawyers Association, Rural Women NZ, PACIFICA and the Women in Law Committee of the NZ Law Society.
Labour believes that good policies for women come from engaging with women and the people that work women at a grassroots and community level.
I look forward to continuing to hear from you about issues facing women and ideas for responding to them.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to arrange a meeting.
Carol at the PACIFICA conference with members of the Tamaki branch
In opposition we are constrained in what we can achieve in Parliament.
One of the most effective ways we can keep pushing forward an agenda for women is through progressive members bills.
Readers of Bread and Roses will know about the important work Sue Moroney has been doing on the Paid Parental Leave Bill.
Labour’s policy is the increase paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 26 weeks.
The bill has gained wide spread support from the community with the 26 for Babies Coalition coordinating the campaign to support the bill.
Finally, the select committee process has come to an end, with the majority of submitters supportive of the extension to paid parental leave.
Sue Moroney, the sponsor of the bill, agreed to an extension requested by the government to the select committee review of the bill, in good faith.
Despite the extension of time and the further opportunities to consider the bill, National parties on the committee have rejected the recommendations of the bill.
Extending Paid Parental Leave is part of Labour’s Best Start package.
Labour will continue to push for an extension to paid parental leave. We will continue to update you on our efforts.
Eliminating violence against women
Like you, Labour takes the issue of sexual violence very seriously. The personal, social and economic costs of sexual offending are huge.
Reducing it must be a priority.
Unfortunately the government has failed to respond to the issue appropriately.
Labour is working on a comprehensive and long term package aimed at making New Zealand a world leader in reducing sexual offending.
Meanwhile there are changes that can, and should be made immediately. These measures all have evidential backing and are long overdue.
A critical immediate step is to provide more funding for rape prevention education particularly in schools and for support services.
Please get in touch if you have any issues you’d like to raise with me or would like to arrange a meeting.
P.S. You may have noticed that Bread and Roses has had a makeover. We hope that our new format will be easier to read while still updating you about Labour’s policies for women and my work as the Labour spokesperson for Women’s Affairs.
The office of Carol Beaumont MP
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