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Rural Women NZ calls for fair deal for rural

Media release

Rural Women NZ releases 2014 manifesto

18 August 2014

Rural Women New Zealand today released its 2014-2017 manifesto, focusing on thirteen areas for action to ensure a fair deal for rural.

“At the heart of our manifesto is the need for the government to take into account the specific circumstances of rural communities,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan. “It’s important that the rural voice is heard, because the impacts of policy decisions can be very different in rural areas, compared to urban centres.”

“We believe all new government initiatives should pass a rural impact assessment before they are enshrined in legislation.”

People living rurally and working in the primary sector are faced with extra challenges including isolation, additional costs and distance to services, as well as adverse weather events that can have a huge impact on incomes and wellbeing.

“Given their importance to the New Zealand economy, primary producers must be supported by strong, resilient rural communities - an area where women often play a major role,” says Mrs McGowan.

The Rural Women NZ manifesto covers key areas of concern and recommended actions, including:

• a call to implement the 10 recommendations from ‘Caring Counts’ and for DHBs to pass on annual funding increases to homecare providers;
• more flexibility in the use of the early childhood 20 hour subsidy, recognising the seasonal nature of agriculture and travelling distances to early childhood centres;
• building an agri-education strategy into the NZ science curriculum from early childhood onwards so that the role of primary industries and eventual career opportunities are well understood;
• guaranteeing an alternative supply where any rural power lines are disestablished after 2015;
• the need to amend the Domestic Violence Act 1995 to include pets and farm animals in protection orders;
• resourcing a dedicated mobile mental health workforce to be deployed in local areas following an adverse event;
• a call for cellphone coverage to be available to 99 percent of rural areas by 2018 and financial assistance to cover the added costs of accessing rural broadband outside the RBI.

A copy of the full Rural Women New Zealand Manifesto for 2014-17 can be found on the website http://www.ruralwomen.org.nz/.

Ends

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