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A day for women in government to make a difference

A day for women in government to make a difference

The Green Party is calling on the Government to make a commitment on International Women's Day [Monday, March 8] to introduce pay equity across the state sector.

Sue Kedgley, the Green Party Women's spokesperson, welcomed the release of an Action Plan for New Zealand Women, with its commitment to improving the economic independence of women, but she said specific, concrete actions on pay equity were now needed to put this commitment into place.

"There's no point in having a woman as Prime Minister and women as senior government ministers if they won't use their power to advance the cause of women and remove gross injustices, such as the pay gap for nurses," said Ms Kedgley, who will deliver the keynote speech to the breakfast meeting of the UN women's organization, Unifem in Christchurch tomorrow [Monday].

"Nurses are the most glaring example of an entire, largely female, profession that is undervalued and significantly underpaid. While nurses salaries start at around $30,000, police start at $40,000 and can earn over $60,000 on the basic salary scale. This is a clear case of discrimination that needs to be rectified with a pay equity settlement for nurses."

Ms Kedgley is fully supportive of the public petition being launched Monday by the Nurses Organisation, which calls on Parliament to ensure DHBs are adequately funded to pay nurses and midwives fairly and to ensure safe staffing levels.

"Nurses have been campaigning for years to be fairly paid," said Ms Kedgley. "With a robust government surplus, this is the year to deliver a pay equity settlement for nurses, and we call on government to make that commitment on International Women's Day."

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