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Ministry of Women’s Affairs to be strengthened

12 August 2003 Media Statement

Ministry of Women’s Affairs to be strengthened

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs will be retained as a separate ministry and strengthened, following a review of the agency, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard and Women’s Affairs Minister Ruth Dyson announced today.

Trevor Mallard and Ruth Dyson said the review had examined how the Ministry of Women’s Affairs could most effectively deliver on its role and purpose, and contribute to improved outcomes for women.

“The government has agreed to the review’s recommended option for improving the performance of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs by internally strengthening the ministry, under the leadership of a new, change-management focused chief executive,” the ministers said.

“The ministry will also examine ways of working more closely with other government departments on collaborative work programmes.

“The way forward now is for the State Services Commission to begin the appointment process for a new chief executive with a clear mandate for change.

“The chief executive will be responsible for initiating and reinforcing the capability development under way, building the ministry’s reputation and credibility and working closely with other departments to support and encourage their active participation in policy programmes impacting women,” the ministers said.

The capability needs identified in the review which was undertaken by the State Services Commission included improving policy development processes, management systems and processes, organisational culture, and cross-governmental relationships.

The review found that these had had major impacts on the credibility and reputation of the ministry and reduced its ability to influence other government departments.

“Collaborative working relationships between the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and other government departments are crucial if New Zealand is to achieve equality of outcomes for women,” the ministers said.

The review looked at a range of options to improve the government’s performance in this sector.

Absorption of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs' functions across a range of departments was not considered feasible given the role and purpose of the ministry. The review found that without a specific women’s ministry there would not be a sufficient focus for work identifying implications and opportunities for women in the policy process.

The appointment of a new chief executive is expected to take three to four months.

The government today also announced that a new Ministry of Youth Development will be created out of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and youth policy functions of the Ministry of Social Development. The new ministry will be within the Ministry of Social Development. (eds:see separate press statement)

Background information is attached. The cabinet paper relating to this decision is available on


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