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

Posted in Women's issues | Leave a comment

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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More Kiwis approaching retirement with money trouble

Sylvie O'Donnell says it has become harder to find well-paying work as she has got older.

Sylvie O’Donnell says it has become harder to find well-paying work as she has got older.

Sylvie O’Donnell is turning 65 next year but don’t assume she is looking forward to a carefree retirement.

The Wellington woman says as she has got older, the work opportunities have fallen away. She is now stuck contracting, in a position that is below her skill level, with no security. She has applied for more stable work but has been passed over in favour of younger applicants.

She cashed up her superannuation fund 20 years ago to pay off some of the mortgage on her house. But she then had to sell the house 10 years ago to pay off debt. She now rents, paying $290 a week.

A redundancy over 50 can severely derail retirement plans.

A redundancy over 50 can severely derail retirement plans.

 When she qualifies for the pension, $780 a fortnight after tax, there will be little left over to pay for anything else.

Older New Zealanders battling bigger mortgages
Mortgage at age 55? No way

“The prospects are grim for many women,” she said.  “We are the people who have worked all our lives, supported families and we are the ones who have ended up being forgotten.”

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell says financial strife is a source of distress for a significant number of older people.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell says financial strife is a source of distress for a significant number of older people. 

She said she had not got into debt by living beyond her means. She had raised four children alone.

“Everything was fine until my job was disestablished. I had a high mortgage which was a millstone around my neck and certainly would not have been paid off before I was 65, so I faced the option of selling it while I was in my 50s and quit all debt or face the prospect of selling it when I retired because I would not have an income to sustain the mortgage payments…Our fortunes can change so quickly so it is just another cross we have to bear.”

She said, with so much financial strain, there was nothing to look forward to.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell said O’Donnell was not alone in suffering financial hardship in later life.

“Many New Zealanders reach their 50s in good shape financially, particularly if they are homeowners and have managed to pay down all or most of their mortgage. Children may have left home, household expenses have come down and they may be at their peak earnings after 30 years working,” she said.

“However, we know that for others that is not the picture. A job loss or ill health, a period of unemployment where they may have burned through their savings, can leave people in a precarious position.”

She said the Commission for Financial Capability’s research showed that 18 per cent of people aged over 55 struggled to make ends meet.

“What people tell us is that being in financial strife in their 50s affects their mental health and wellbeing, particularly if they are surrounded by peers who are mortgage-free and enjoying life. They feel they don’t have time to ‘fix’ things, and that they face discrimination in the hunt for jobs. This can be accentuated if the skills they have honed over years of work are no longer in demand as jobs are changed by automation.”

Financial adviser Shula Newland said many of the people she saw in that position had recently been made redundant and did not have a plan. Some were still paying off consumer debt, she said.

“Sometimes they can be living quite a good lifestyle but if you look at the bigger picture, they don’t have any assets, they don’t own a house, things like that.”

Another adviser, Liz Koh, said relationship breakdowns were a significant cause of financial distress for people over 50.

“People that for whatever reason lack resilience, that means they can’t take the hits, they get off track and they don’t have the strength or resilience to get back on. That could be because of the sudden death of a partner or ill health or the loss of a job. They don’t have the resilience to get back on their feet and have another crack.”

She said it was becoming more common to see older people with financial problems.

“They are still a minority of the population but a growing minority and that’s what concerns me.”

She said the Baby Boomers approaching retirement now had had more upheavals through their lives, and less job and relationship stability, than their parents. “Restructuring and redundancies are all our generation.”

Many had found a way to cope day-to-day but would hit retirement and realise they did not have enough savings to last the next 30 years. “That’s where the rubber hits the road and they are called to account, facing 30 years of poverty.”

Newland said many people did not realise how much money they needed to save to give themselves a comfortable retirement.

But she said, conversely, some people thought they were in a worse position than they really were.

Some information that was circulated about how much money people needed to retire on were misleading.

Some calculators, such as Kiwi Wealth’s Future You, assumed that people would have to pay rent, she said, while, in reality, many would be mortgage-free by the time they retired.

Others assumed that people wanted to leave their savings intact, and only live off the earnings.

“That would mean you would need $1 million saved.”

Koh and Newland said it was not too late for people to make changes but it was significantly harder to get back on track at 50 than it was at 30.

Koh said there should be more support, in the form of affordable housing or low-cost finance.

* This is the first in a Stuff Business series looking at the problem of debt and financial stress in people over 50.

Comments have been closed. 

 – Stuff

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Nowhere for Labour to hide on TPPA in election year

16 May 2017

As Prime Minister Bill English heads off to Japan with trade minister Todd McClay in their quest to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) minus the USA, ‘the silence from Labour is deafening’, Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey observes. ‘In an election year, they had hoped the TPPA was dead and buried. Now there is nowhere for them to hide.’

Earlier this week Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten confirmed in his budget reply speech that his party will not back the Coalition Government’s efforts to revive the TPP without the United States.

The New Zealand Greens and New Zealand First have also both rejected the government’s move.

Labour voted against ratification of the TPPA in the Parliament, saying the economic case did not stack up. Now, the prize of access to US markets that National used to justify the trade-offs for the right to regulate on many other issues has gone. Minister McClay has admitted the government has no analysis to back their pursuit of the deal without the US.

According to Professor Kelsey, the latest reports from Japan say a statement has been drafted that commits the remaining trade ministers to implement the TPPA by the end of this year. New provisions for entry into force and for original signatories to become parties are designed to expedite the US return to the fold. Trade ministers from the eleven countries will be asked to adopt the joint statement when they meet for APEC in Hanoi on 21 May, and finish the process in time for the leaders’ meeting at APEC in November.

‘Unbelievably’, she says, ‘they plan to retain the existing text, with all the toxic rules the US insisted on that undermine affordable medicines, grant foreign investors special rights to enforce offshore, prohibit requirements for data to be held onshore, and more.’

‘But why would the US want to re-join if its corporations have already got the benefits of the rules without paying anything for them?’

Minister McClay has conceded that this would be a new agreement to be put before the House, but that only means another process of impotent submissions and staged debate. The legislation has already been passed. Nothing seems likely to happen before the election, meaning Labour will have to deal with it as government or as opposition.

Professor Kelsey called on Labour to take a position now, so voters know where it stands – and, as with Australia, so the National government knows that it cannot claim any bipartisan support for its ideologically-driven attempt to keep the deeply unpopular agreement alive.



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Countdown latest to back Green’s domestic violence bill

Countdown backs Green Party's domestic violence bill

Countdown backs Green Party’s domestic violence bill

Supermarket chain Countdown is the latest to make a submission to select committee to back Green Party MP Jan Logie’s proposed domestic violence victim protection bill.

National backed the bill in March taking it through to the select committee who will be hearing submissions until early July, Logie said.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said the bill is worth discussing but needed work.

Domestic violence cases reported every 5 minutes in New Zealand.

Domestic violence cases reported every 5 minutes in New Zealand.

The Green MP calls it is an “ambitious draft bill by an opposition member” and said it is too soon to tell the outcome of the bill.

Taking a stand against family violence
Women’s Refuge and The Warehouse team up to help victims of domestic violence
Call for more employers to consider needs of workers affected by family violence
U-turn sees Govt support first stage Green Party bill for additional leave for domestic violence victims

The bill aims to standardise the support some employers are already implementing for their staff by providing 10 days of paid leave to those affected by domestic violence to move house, attend court hearings and consult lawyers.

Green Party MP Jan Logie is hopeful her bill will amount to legislation but says it's too early to tell.
Logie said Countdown’s recent support has been encouraging and that she is “quietly confident” National and Labour will support the bill as the select committee continues to hear the submissions.

Foodstuffs has also made a submission, but the big name to have been one of the first to provide staff with 10 days extra paid leave The Warehouse isn’t lobbying for legislation.

The Warehouse chief executive Pejman Okhovat said although the retailer is not supporting Logie’s bill, it continues to actively lobbing for change among employers by holding panel discussions and sharing resources on supporting staff with other companies. It will be holding another panel discussion later this month.

“We didn’t wait for any changes to happen around us, this was a complete start by ourselves and hopefully we can encourage other businesses to take the next step too,” Okhovat said.

“You may have a legislation that doesn’t work if you haven’t already provided a supportive, safe environment to allow people to come forward with their issues. If legislation comes that’s great too,” he said.

Logie said having some employers implementing this isn’t enough and that legislation would ensure consistency and provide a standard for all employees.

“There have been concerns raised, but I am confident that the need to address domestic violence in this country will trump these concerns,” Logie said.

A case involving domestic violence is reported every five minutes in New Zealand.

While the Foodstuffs does not have a set amount of extra day paid leave available for all employees, spokesperson for the company Antoinette Laird said it supports employees on a case by case basis.

Countdown on the other hand has been providing full time staff up to 10 days of paid leave and five days for part time employees.

Countdown general manager James Walker said the company is in support of the bill as it exposes the greater issue and encourages victims to continue their employment and have financial independence.

Despite The Warehouse lacking political stance on the matter, Okhovat agrees providing resources for other company’s to take action and starting the conversation is the most important goal to address New Zealand’s “horrific” statistics of domestic violence.

Whether backing the bill or not, all three agree that businesses bear the cost of domestic violence and proactive action prevents lack of productivity because the biggest win is retaining talent.

 – Stuff

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Nurse’s personal plea for domestic violence leave law change

2 Jun, 2017 5:00am

Ann Simmons, who is advocating for a law change to provide domestic violence leave. New Zealand Herald photo Nicholas Jones.

Ann Simmons, who is advocating for a law change to provide domestic violence leave. New Zealand Herald photo Nicholas Jones.

 A nurse has spoken about losing her job after suffering violence and rape at the hands of her partner – urging Parliament to back domestic violence leave.

MPs on the justice and electoral committee thanked Ann Simmons for her bravery after listening in silence to her story.

The committee is working through dozens of submissions on legislation that would allow victims of abuse to get up to 10 extra days’ leave a year and would classify family violence as a workplace hazard.

Simmons, family violence prevention coordinator at Capital & Coast DHB and a registered midwife, appeared on behalf of the NZ Nurses Organisation, a union representing 48,000 nurses and strongly supportive of the change.

She recalled the experience of a woman with two young children, who came home from an afternoon shift as a nurse an hour later than expected.

“The busy shift was not an excuse her partner would accept. He punched her in the face, in the stomach, threw her across the room and raped her. Soon after he passed out as he was extremely drunk,” Simmons told the committee.

“The nurse rang a friend and within half an hour the friend’s brother arrived. He stood guard while belongings were hurriedly thrown into bags.”

The woman’s partner was arrested and charged, but released once he sobered up and still “incredibly dangerous”, Simmons said.

“She needed to tell her boss she couldn’t go to work. A white, university-graduate woman with two children needed to say, ‘I am the victim of domestic violence, I cannot come to work’. That is so hard to do. She had no annual leave, she had used most of her sick leave due to previous assaults and staying at home to protect her children.

“Her work suggested she resign. If there had been any leave available to her, she may have been able to hold onto her job and not become yet another solo mum on the DPB. This story is me.

“Women need their employers to understand how hard it is to maintain a normal life in the eyes of society when all they know is violence in their home life.”

After the committee, Simmons told the Herald the described events happened around 30 years ago, when she worked for another employer. She hadn’t told them of previous domestic violence incidents, but had revealed the attack just prior to the suggestion she resign.

Simmons said she decided to tell her story to help continue the “slow change” in society’s attitude to domestic violence.

In a reversal of its previous position, National supported the bill in the name of Green MP Jan Logie at its first reading in March. It would have passed without National’s support, because Labour, New Zealand First, the Maori Party and Act had already committed to voting for it.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said the bill “needed work”, and did not commit to supporting it into law. But she said it was an issue worth discussing. Prime Minister Bill English has previously said Government was against the proposal, because employers could already offer the specialised leave.

Countdown, the Warehouse Group, ANZ, Vodafone, the University of Auckland already offer family violence leave to their staff.

Deborah Beegling, general manager of HR for Countdown, which has 18,000 staff, appeared before the committee and revealed one of the reasons the policy was introduced in November last year was the suicide of a staff member who had been assaulted by an ex-husband.

“Her colleagues were quite impacted by that. And what made it very real…was her family asked if they could bring her children in to the workplace where their mum worked. So that was almost devastating to the team that worked with her.”

Countdown developed its policy with input from the Warehouse. The policy had not been used inappropriately in the seven months after implementation.

The only concern has been the low levels of staff using the leave. As a result, managers have had training to spot the signs of domestic abuse, and in how to sensitively raise the topic.

Labour MP Poto Williams asked how Countdown dealt with recording who took the leave, and disclosure requirements. Beegling said nothing was recorded on a system or personal files.

“We encourage our store managers, if they have a conversation, is to make some notes and keep it secret, because we know that could be called upon at a point in time.”

Business NZ does not support the law change, saying appropriate provisions are already in place through changes to working arrangements and sick leave, and businesses hiring more less skilled, lower paid workers could bear disproportionately more costs.

“Sick leave already encompasses…the consequences of domestic violence,” the written submission states. “It is through education and empathy that the greatest good will be found. Neither of these can be legislated for effectively.”

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SSC MEDIA STATEMENT                   

30 May 2017

 New Chief Executives appointed for Ministry for Pacific Peoples and Ministry for Women

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has today announced the appointment of two new Public Service Chief Executives.

Laulu Mr Mac Leauanae has been appointed as Chief Executive of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

Ms Renee Graham has been appointed as Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women.

“I am very pleased we have been able to recruit outstanding young leaders for these roles,” Mr Hughes said.

“These are important roles for New Zealand and the Public Service, and the new Chief Executives bring diverse experience and strong leadership skills,” Mr Hughes said.

“I am confident they will be able to engage staff, stakeholders and communities and lead their agencies to help the Public Service deliver improved services and better outcomes for the New Zealanders their agencies serve,” he said.

“Both new chief executives will bring unique perspectives to the team of Public Service chief executives working together to give New Zealanders excellent public services.”

“These are young chief executives, both with significant potential to develop further and achieve even more for New Zealanders and the Public Service during their careers,” he said.

Chief Executive of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples

 Mac Leauanae is currently the Chief Executive of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation. In this role he works closely with New Zealand based Pacific communities, Pacific governments and New Zealand government agencies. The Foundation is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and works throughout the Pacific delivering sustainable economic development initiatives.

“I am very pleased to welcome Mr Leauanae to the Public Service,” said Mr Hughes.

“Mr Leauanae is a very talented young leader who has deep connections and networks with New Zealand’s Pacific communities as well as Pacific Island governments and experience working with New Zealand government agencies,” Mr Hughes said.

Prior to taking up his role with the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, Mr Leauanae held senior management roles in a Pacific based horticultural product business and an Auckland based Primary Healthcare Organisation.

Mr Leauanae is of Samoan descent and holds the Chiefly title of ‘Laulu’.

He has been appointed for a three year term commencing on 3 July 2017.

Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women

 Renee Graham is currently a Policy Director at the Ministry of Education. Ms Graham has a strong background in leading complex strategic policy development in both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Development.

As well as her policy expertise, Ms Graham also has experience in operational roles in Work and Income, before moving into project and management positions after starting her career as a frontline case manager.

“Ms Graham is a skilled Public Service senior leader with a track record of successfully leading the development of solutions to complex policy issues,” Mr Hughes said.

“She also has skills and experience in operational roles and working in frontline public services which will give her a practical perspective on the work of the Ministry for Women,” he said.

Ms Graham has been appointed for a three year term commencing on 19 June 2017.

Ms Graham is of Ngâti Toa, Ngâti Raukawa descent.



Laulu Mac Leauanae

Mr Leauanae is currently the Chief Executive of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, a role he has held since March 2014. The Foundation is focused on delivering economic sustainable initiatives in the Pacific region, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

Prior to his current role he was the General Manager of Pure Pacifika Limited, a company that exported horticultural products from the South Pacific primarily into Asian markets.

Before this Mr Leauanae worked in the primary healthcare sector for ProCare Health Limited. He was initially the Pacific Health Manager and within a year was promoted into Senior Management roles.

Earlier in his career he worked in Pacific community & business development with a role at the Pacific Business Trust. He started his career practicing as a lawyer.

Mr Leauanae holds an MBA from Henley Management College, UK, with his dissertation focusing on ‘Community Participation in Governance’. He also holds an LLB from Auckland University.

Ms Renee Graham

 Ms Graham is currently a Policy Director for the Ministry of Education, a role she has held since June 2014. In her current role Ms Graham is responsible for developing strategic policy and systems to improve the performance of the education sector.

Ms Graham spent the majority of her career at the Ministry of Social Development. Before joining the Ministry of Education she was the General Manager of Income Support, Employment and Skills Policy and prior to this was the General Manager of Youth and Employment Policy.

Earlier in her career she worked in a variety of operational and operational policy roles. She moved into more strategic policy roles after spending time in the Office of the Minister of Social Development and the Office of the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Work and Income.

Ms Graham started her career as a Work and Income Case Manager based in the Porirua Office.

She studied at Victoria University of Wellington and holds a Master of Public Policy (awarded with Merit) and a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration.



Photographs of Mr Leauanae and Ms Graham are available.

Please email ssc-media@ssc.govt.nz to receive a copy.

Media contact: Tim Ingleton (04) 495 6648

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Submission on The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill

29th May 2017

Health Select Committee

Parliament Building
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

E-mail: health@parliament.govt.nz

Re:       Submission on The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill

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

Our Organisation

BPW (Business Professional Women) is an international organization with representatives in over 100 countries. 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 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 for 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 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.

BPW International upholds the outcomes of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which came into force in 1981. In it, Article 11 provides that States:

Shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular:

(d) The right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to equal treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work

Our international commitments are reinforced by BPW NZ’s promotion and administration of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles: Equality Means Business which holds as one of its principles “treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination.”

  1. Executive Summary

BPW NZ supports this legislation as the natural outcome of the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Agreement (hereafter referred to as “Settlement”). The Settlement and this draft Bill are important steps in recognising the proven disadvantage women have in the workforce in regards to pay[1].

Our federation is pleased that the Settlement is being enshrined in an act of Parliament. This gives the Settlement status and makes clear the Government’s obligation to fund fully the Settlement, as well as employers’ obligations to pass on the full Settlement to workers.

We also support the mechanism to keep pay rates up with the Labour Cost Index; the recognition of qualifications; the requirement for employers to support workers to acquire relevant qualifications; and the inclusion of penal rates.

We have several recommendations that we believe will help the Bill better reflect the intent and language of the Settlement.

In our submission below, we discuss our work for gender pay equality, New Zealand’s commitments to pay quality, BPW’s experience with equal pay/pay equality, and explain our recommendations in further detail.

  1. BPW NZ and the Gender Pay Gap

For the past sixty years, BPW NZ has supported and at times provided leadership to the gender pay gap movement. BPW NZ is committed to representing the interests of working women and advancing and empowering women in the workplace.

Examples of our work are:

  • 2.1   1959, the National Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity was set up by the                    Public Service, trade unions, the Federation of University Women (NZFUW), the            National Council of Women (NCW) and the New Zealand Federation of Business             & Professional Women (BPW NZ), to work for equal pay for work of equal value,             and equal opportunity in employment.
  • 2.2   1960, representatives of BPW NZ worked on the Council, lobbying, discussing                 and making submissions to the Minister of Labour on behalf of working women.             This was instrumental in persuading the Government of the day to pass the                       Government Services Equal Pay Act, which provided for most women working in             government positions to receive the same pay as their male counterparts.
  • 2.3  1969, BPW NZ prepared and presented submissions to the Commission of      …….Enquiry into Equal Pay.
  • 2.4  1972, BPW NZ worked towards the establishment of the Equal Pay Act for equity            of pay in the private sector.
  • 2.5  1989, BPW NZ adopted a policy that urged the Prime Minister, the Minister of                Labour and the Minister of Women’s Affairs to enact legislation before the end of            that year, embodying the principles of equal opportunity in appointment, training          and promotion, and pay equity in the workforce. Further, that measures be taken            to ensure that the necessary resources be available and mechanisms in place, to              implement the provision of the Act immediately upon legislation being passed.               (Policy 14.4.5.)
  • 2.6  1992, BPW NZ adopted a policy that requested the Ministers of Women’s Affairs,          Labour and Employment to undertake a study of how equal pay is being retained            within the public and private sectors, given that employment contracts are now                required. (Policy 14.4.2.)
  • 2.7  2000, BPW NZ adopted a policy which recognised that the gender pay gap is                    continuing to widen, to the disadvantage of women. (Policy 14.4.4.)
  • 2.8  2012, BPW NZ with UN Women Aotearoa New Zealand launched the Women’s              Empowerment Principles: Equality Means Business.
  • 2.9  2012, BPW International announced its collaboration as a Gender Expert with                the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) to bring the voice of women of          business as an expert resource on gender diversity.

In addition, BPW has policy specifically for Aged Care Worker’s pay:

  • 2.10  2015, urging the Minister of Health to increase funding to Aged Care Providers             to provide pay equity for all aged care workers and to change the funding model               to ensure any funding increases to include ring fencing for pay increases and                     accountability.
  1. National Gender Pay Gap Commitments

Historically, the New Zealand government has been working to address the gender pay gap for over fifty years. We believe any legislation should strive to meet these commitments:

  • 3.1  Initial legislation introduced to address the gender pay gap was the Government          Service Equal Pay Act (1960), which was intended to ensure “women were to            be paid the same as men for doing the same work under the same conditions”.                  Further legislation that addressed the gender pay gap includes the Equal Pay Act        (1972), the Human Rights Act (1993), the Employment Relations Act              (2000), the State Sector Act (1988), and the Crown Entities Act (2004).        The broad intent of all of this legislation was to “reduce the gender pay gap”.[2]
  • 3.2  In 1967, the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW)             was established and its Committee of Inquiry into the Implementation of          Equal Pay in New Zealand provided recommendations which led to the Equal Pay         Act. The Committee noted that the narrow distribution of women’s work across               occupations contributed to the gender pay gap by enforcing societal views about t           the value of women’s labour.
  • 3.3  In 2016, the Human Rights Commission issued the Tracking Equality at Work               Key findings showed:

Pay differences exist in both the broader labour market and the public service. Men are paid more than women, European New Zealanders are paid more than other ethnic groups, and disabled people have lower incomes than non-disabled people.

  1. International Gender Pay Gap Commitments

BPW NZ presents that the New Zealand government has adopted a number of international gender pay gap initiatives:

  • 4.1  The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention concerning              Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers of Equal Value                  (ILO 100) was ratified by MBIE in 2015. ILO 100 requires equal remuneration to          be paid to men and women workers for work of equal value without discrimination        based on sex and notes that differential wage rates that correspond to differences in        job content are not contrary to the principle of equal remuneration.
  • 4.2  BPW International upholds the outcomes of the Convention on the                              Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).          The New Zealand government signed CEDAW in 1980 and ratified the Convention          in 1985. Article 11 (d) of the Convention, states that parties shall ensure, on a basis          of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular “The right to equal              remuneration, including benefits”
  • 4.3  The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights               was signed by New Zealand in 1968 and ratified in 1978. Article 7 recognises the             right of everyone to “fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value               without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions           of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work”.
  • 4.4  Ratified by New Zealand in 1948, Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of                Human Rights states that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without            any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” Article 23 states that “(2)                      Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.”

The above commitments are significant and our government is responsible for upholding them.

  1. Recommendations

We would like to acknowledge and support the work of the New Zealand Public Service Association and Pay Equity Coalition Auckland (of which BPW NZ is a member) in the preparation of these recommendations.

5.1  Clause 4 definition of care and support services: this has excluded the term  “home like setting” which is provided in the Settlement Part 17, Services, (a) (i)  and (ii).

Recommendation: that “home like setting” be inserted into the Bill, Clause 4 (a), after “person’s home”.

Rationale: this is to ensure that the Bill aligns with the Settlement.

5.2  Clause 4 definition of employer: paragraph (b) states that the definition does not include “a natural person who receives funding directly from the Ministry of Health, ACC, or a DHB towards the cost of care and support services for the person or a family member”.

Recommendation: that (b) be revised to read “does not include behavioural support services, caregiver support, child development services, environmental support, funded family care”

Rationale: the Settlement did not intend for “family care” to refer to individuals receiving funding to provide care for family members.

BPW believes it is unfair to discriminate against those carers, who are doing the same job, in similar settings.

5.3       Clause 11 how employers provide training: states that “An employer must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a care and support worker is able to attain [qualifications]”

Recommendation: insert a new clause 11(c) that states:

In this section, reasonable steps include, but is not limited to:

(a) paying the fees of training course; and
(b) providing paid study leave or training leave where required; and
(c) providing adequate access to supervisors and assessors.

5.4       Clause 18 funding arrangements:

BPW NZ PECA submits that employers must be fully funded so that they can pay care and support workers in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement. There would be no benefit to these undervalued workers if other terms and conditions were reduced – for example, cutting hours of work.

Recommendation: that the word “towards” should be deleted from clause 18(1).

Rationale: this is to ensure that employers are fully funded and the achievement of pay equity and recognition of qualifications gained, is not subsidised by the reduction of other terms and conditions of employment, including hours of work, resulting in cuts to service delivery to people in need of care and support.

Our federation has concerns that funding increases are ring-fenced to ensure that there is accountability for the funding.

5.5       We would also like to acknowledge and support the work of CEVEP (coalition for equal value equal pay) (of which BPW NZ is a member) in the preparation of there recommendations.

  1. Concluding summary

BPW NZ is hopeful that this Settlement and this act will serve as a model for future pay equity claims. The same gender discrimination and low wages suffered by care and support workers is the lot of tens of thousands of other women in Aotearoa.  Those women are disproportionately Māori, Pasifika, immigrant and disabled women.  We look forward to pay equity through many other occupational areas and the rewriting of the Exposure Draft of the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill.

BPW NZ supports this legislation but urges the Committee to consider our recommendations in order to ensure the intent of the Settlement and the rights of all carers is preserved.

We wish to end this submission by acknowledging the important and often challenging work of carers throughout New Zealand and the dedication to service that their role requires.

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.

  Contact detail:-

Hellen Swales 027 528 6799


[1] https://www.employment.govt.nz/hours-and-wages/pay/pay-equity/gender-pay-gap/

[2] http://women.govt.nz/work-skills/income/gender-pay-gap/what-government-doing

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Bullying, harassment a problem for a third of Kiwi workforce – survey

  • 5 hours ago

More than a third of respondents identified bullying and harassment as a significant workplace issue, the latest NZ Diversity Survey shows.

The figure of 36 percent in the April survey was up from 26 percent last October.

Diversity Works NZ chief executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says conflict in the workplace is inevitable and it can help promote new ideas and innovation.

“However, it can escalate into bullying, harassment or violence, which has serious impacts on individuals and organisations,” she said.

Ms Cassidy-Mackenzie was speaking ahead of the 10th anniversary on Friday of Pink Shirt Day, an anti-bullying event launched in Canada.

She said New Zealand organisations were becoming more aware of the business benefits of creating an inclusive culture.

However, allowing bullying and harassment to continue unchecked would undermine their efforts in this area.

Just under 30 percent of people surveyed reported that there had been recorded incidents of bullying and harassment in their workplace in the previous 12 months.

Reporting was more frequent in public-sector organisations (37 percent) than in the private sector (23 percent).

Large organisations were more likely to have recorded incidents (45 percent) than medium-size (38 percent) or small organisations (9 percent).


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