Gender Justice Collective Te Roopu Manatika-ā-Ira is an independent, non-profit network drawn from all walks of life. We have completed the #YouChoose2020 survey, where we heard from 3,500+ women, wāhine, trans women & non-binary people what they needed to live to their best life. At the same time, we’ve taken some of the recurring issues and themes that we’re hearing, and put those to our political parties. The answers that they provided are below (unabridged). Please note that the invitation was put to all major, registered parties that are not single-issue focus. To date, three responses were received.
Answers provided by Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party:
Labour is deeply aware of the injustices and inequities that women, wāhine Māori, transgender, intersex and non-binary New Zealanders have faced and continue to face in our society. These include everyday discrimination, the persistent gender pay gap, the disproportionate burden of unpaid and care work, our high rates of family violence, and access to reproductive and other healthcare. In the past three years in government, we have made progress on all of these issues and are committed to the continued advancement of the rights of women, transgender and non-binary people.
While there’s still more to do, we’ve achieved significant milestones for gender equality over the past three years. We’ve passed equal pay legislation, delivered record pay settlements for female-dominated workforces, and required public sector agencies to develop plans to close the gender pay gap, and increase flexible work. We set a goal of 50 percent women on state sector boards and committees by 2021, and we’re on track to achieve that, with the most recent stocktake showing 49 percent. This is an important achievement, and the equal representation of women at all levels of our government is essential to realising New Zealand’s potential.
We will continue to work hard to bring an end to the systemic discrimination that has seen women paid less than men for the same or equivalent jobs. Just last month, we passed the Equal Pay Amendment Bill which institutes a modern and effective system for dealing with pay equity claims.
Labour is committed to ensuring that all everyone is safe from family violence and sexual violence, which is why we have significantly increased support for all aspects of preventing or responding to sexual and family violence. In our first Budget, we provided the first major boost for front-line family violence agencies in ten years, which made a big impact in those agencies being able to support affected New Zealanders. In the Wellbeing Budget, we went even further – announcing the largest ever investment in family and sexual violence and support services to deliver even more support services to more New Zealanders, major campaigns aimed at stopping violence occurring and major changes to court processes to reduce the trauma victims experiences. We know this is a long-term challenge and we can’t afford to stop now, so Budget 2020 committed $183 million to support victims of family violence and investing in services to help people to stop using violence. Labour will continue this important work in our next term of government.
Alongside our ongoing work to eliminate inequities faced by New Zealand women, we also acknowledge other groups in our society who have experienced profound disadvantage and disempowerment – including our Rainbow community. No young person should be subject to verbal or physical abuse, but the realities of bullying for Rainbow youth have tragically contributed to suicide and self-harm. We know that LGBTQI+ people are more likely to experience mental distress due to discrimination, and that’s why we’ve increased support for OUTLine to provide their free peer support phone line, a transgender peer support service for trans and non-binary people in Auckland, and specialist counselling exploring gender and sexuality for LGBTIQ+ people across Aotearoa/New Zealand. We also know that in order to develop policy that is appropriate for everyone, including the most vulnerable in our communities, we need accurate information. That’s why from 2023, the Census will include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, to ensure transgender, intersex and non-binary New Zealanders are seen and represented in the data we gather, and in decisions that are based on that data. We’ve also lifted the gap on gender confirmation surgeries to ensure our health system better meets the needs of transgender New Zealanders, and we’re committed to reviewing the Human Rights Act to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and intersex status. We’re also taking action to prohibit conversion therapy to help keep LGBTQI+ New Zealanders safe. Labour continues to listen to and advocate to the needs of LGBTQI+ New Zealanders.
We believe that the empowerment and inclusion of women, wāhine Māori, and our Rainbow community in Aotearoa/New Zealand benefits all of us. Labour remains committed to dignity, equality and security for all.
Watch our livestream Q&A with the Labour party:
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