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Appalling sexist behaviour must not be tolerated

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

25 June 2001

Appalling sexist behaviour must not be tolerated

The sexist and intimidatory behaviour by Cabinet Minister Steve Maharey and the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Mark Prebble must surely be sackable offences, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"While these claims are being made as part of an employment dispute - the fact that they appear to have occurred requires the Prime Minister's immediate attention," Mrs Shipley said.

"For almost two decades Labour and National governments have strongly supported equal employment opportunity legislation. The breaches that appear to have occurred by people at the most senior level of ministerial and public service responsibility are inexcusable, indefensible and require immediate action by the Prime Minister.

"The comments attributed to Mr Maharey and Mr Prebble by Christine Rankin, who was speaking in court and under oath, are shockingly sexist. There is no way on earth they would have made similar comments to a male working in the public service.

"New Zealand has not seen this sort of Neanderthal behaviour at a senior level for a great many years. It constitutes seriously improper behaviour which demands decisive action by the Prime Minister.

"The women of New Zealand will demand the firing of Steve Maharey and Mark Prebble after today's revelations. I join with them in that call," Jenny Shipley said.

Ends


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