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Labour Allows Entrenched Sexism

Labour Allows Entrenched Sexism

ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today questioned why Labour's women MPs - staunch feminists of old - remain completely silent over Capital and Coast District Health Board's men-only rule on the construction site of the Kapiti Health Centre.

"Why is Health Minister Annette King too scared to comment? Where is the "Minister of Women's Affairs", Ruth Dyson? How about the champion of civil liberties, Margaret Wilson? Why is our Prime Minister prepared to condone such blatant sexism when it is disguised as cultural tradition? And what excuse does Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia have?

"The excuse by Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai spokesman Jack Rikihana is that this sexist rule "has been brought down through generations". This excuse is clichéd and untruthful. If all traditional Maori mores were scrupulously "brought down through generations", there would be a human sacrifice on the construction site and the workers would be banned from having sex until the building is completed.

"Equally if all European traditional mores were preserved, we would still be burning witches at the stake.

"Instead, a sexist protocol has been selectively retained, doing nothing but delivering a message that a woman's place is on the floor with her head bowed.

"ACT New Zealand believes in one law for every New Zealander. We stand against racism, sexism and bigotry of any kind. I am calling on the Minister of Health and her colleagues to deliver a clear message: protocols that rely on and promote the denigration of women must go," Mr Shirley said.

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