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Minor Parties - Proportion Of Women In Parliament

July 25 2002

Minor Parties Will Determine Proportion Of Women In Parliament

Alliance MP Liz Gordon is urging women considering backing a minor party on Saturday to look closely at the gender balance of their party lists before casting a vote.

New Zealand compares well with other South Pacific countries when it comes to women in Parliament, at about a third of MPs.

"But our target as a country should be 50 per cent, same as the proportion of women in our population," she said.

"Neither of the major parties have managed anywhere near fifty percent, which is a shame because they should be offering leadership in this regard. However, votes for minor parties are really going to make a difference to the gender balance in the next parliament.

"Apart from the Alliance and the Greens minor parties have really let women down when it comes to putting forward a well balanced and representative top 10.

"We won't get anywhere nearer truly representative numbers unless women voters back parties that have party lists that give women a real shot of making it into parliament."

Winners in the "top five" stakes are the Alliance and the Greens at three women each, followed by Act at two. The PCP and United Future have one woman each, and New Zealand First has none.

Alliance and the Greens are also the "top ten" winners, achieving gender equality. Act and PCP manage four women each, United Future two, and New Zealand First again trails the field at only one.

Liz Gordon said New Zealanders should use their party vote to improve women's representation in parliament.

"More women MPs means a parliament that better reflects New Zealand's population makeup, and will give women the voice they deserve when it comes to important policy decisions."


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