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Women Council Candidates Need Community Support

Press release for 108th Anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand

Only one in four Council candidates across the country are women, even though Council policies have significant effects on family lives, says Alliance MP Liz Gordon. She also notes that the figures for regional councils are even worse.

In marking the 108th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, Dr. Gordon said that only one Council - in the Chatham Islands - has an equal number of men and women candidates standing.

"These remote islands are the gender equality capital of New Zealand in the 2001 local body elections", she said.

Dr. Gordon noted that the Waitaki District Council brought up the rear, with only 4 women in the line-up of 33 candidates. Fortunately, she said, things are better in other areas.

"Of the city councils, Auckland, Christchurch, Hutt, Porirua, Palmerston North and Waitakere have done the best, with around 40% of all candidates being women. Dunedin, Manukau, Hamilton and Wanganui are around the 30% mark.

"Overall, however, the average rate for councils is 29% and for Regional Councils 22%, which is pretty poor".

Dr. Gordon said she hoped that the community would "vote with an eye to good gender representation" at the upcoming elections.

"As they say, women hold up half the sky. We are also the primary consumers of a range of Council services, from pensioner housing (because women live longer) to childcare facilities to roads, footpaths and civic amenities. Women contribute unique perspectives to the Council table, and I urge New Zealanders to redress the balance by supporting good women candidates in the upcoming local body elections".


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