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 Judith Anne Collins, Leader of the New Zealand National Party:
What policies, projects and programmes of work has your party either been responsible for instigation or delivering that specifically improves the lives of wāhine Maori and takatāpui?
While National was in Government, we held proud record of promoting and increasing the number of women in leadership positions. This will continue to be a focus for our party. We believe women deserve that same opportunities as men and deserve to be supported to achieve their full potential. The previous National Government saw an increase in girls achieving NCEA level 2 in 2017 from 70.5% to 81.7%. Through obtaining NCEA qualifications there is a greater chance of improving career opportunities for women.
After three terms of a strong National Government 46 per cent of women now sit in senior leadership roles within the workforce. For wāhine in particular, National provided funding for InsideOUT Koaro, an organisation that work to help the youth Maori who belong to the rainbow community who may be dealing with issues such as mental health. Whanau Ora was established under the Key/English Government which empowers Maori communities and guides wāhine towards building on their strengths and achieving their aspirations.
What policies, projects and programmes of work has your party either been responsible for instigation or have developed that specifically advance gender equity (including transgender, non-binary and intersex people)?
I’m very proud of the different projects and programmes that National has been involved in and supported. We have excellent female MPs who fight for other females to be able to achieve in New Zealand. The Dame Hilda Ross Memorial Fund is currently chaired by National MPs who help raise funds to support aspiring women candidates and provides them with additional training and support. The previous National Government also gave additional funding to RainbowYOUTH to develop and increase their services. We are aware of the bullying and trauma that our rainbow youth go through and how this can damage ones mental health.
National initiated the “Mates and Dates” programme which looks to keep women safe in their relationships. This can include family and friends, and works to further educate women on how to protect themselves from unwanted sexual advances or sexual violence. We are pleased that this programme has been kept and now administered by ACC who focuses on young women in particular. This was one of our best initiatives to tackle youth sexual violence.
Please provide examples of when you or those in your party have improved the quality of life for women, trans women, wāhine and nonbinary (those who walk between the binary worlds) and intersex people. Those who walk between the binary worlds. Please be specific.
We understand how important the Rainbow community is in New Zealand. At events celebrating the rainbow community like Pride parades and the Big Gay Out, the National party always has a strong turnout. We support people being who they want to be and who they really are. National brought in anti-bullying legislation to tackle the growing issue of cyber bullying. This was particularly helpful to members of the Rainbow community who suffer from cyber bullying attacks frequently.
We voted in favour of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill which was a crucial step towards achieving pay equity in New Zealand and further closing the gender pay gap. If National was currently in Government we would not have taken the full three terms to pass such an important piece of legislation which was first introduced into the house by the National Government in 2017.
Please list the initiatives your party intends to get done in the next three years to provide to improve to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand is the best place in the world to be a woman, trans-women, wāhine and those who walk between the binary worlds (including non-binary and intersex people.
We have a whole lot of plans ready to go once National is back in Government after this year’s election. We will continue to work with the private sector to promote more women in senior management positions, leadership roles and board roles. We will make a transition into motherhood easier for women by increasing post-natal stay to 3 days so mothers feel more supported into their new job as a parent.
We plan on expanding the Integrated Saftey Response cross-Government approach to work towards preventing family and sexual violence. We will make the non-disclosure of child abuse a criminal offence, we have zero tolerance for child abuse and will not condone it in the slightest once we are in Government.
We support women’s health and will establish an independent Cancer Agency which will have primary responsibility for better access to diagnosis, treatment and care, which will report to the Minister of Health. Last month we also announced that we will commit an extra $20 million to support raising gynaecological cancer awareness and access to treatment trials. This will benefit all women, but particularly rural women for whom access to healthcare can be more limited. On top of this, we will dedicate $200 million to cancer drugs. This will go a long way to support positive health outcomes for women.
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