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Ministry must add value to policy debate

Dr Jackie Blue MP
National Party Women’s Affairs Spokeswoman

5 December 2006

Ministry must add value to policy debate

The National Party’s new Women’s Affairs spokeswoman says the Ministry of Women’s Affairs needs to start making a real difference for Kiwi women – and be seen to do so.

“For many Kiwi women, the Ministry of Women's Affairs’ policies must seem irrelevant, toothless and failing. It could be doing so much more. When was the last time this ministry stood up to the Government and took a serious stand on behalf of Kiwi women?”

Dr Blue’s comments follow the annual review of the Ministry of Women's Affairs at the Government Administration Select Committee.

"A glaring example of this ministry’s utter failure is around the issue of domestic violence.

"The former Governor-General called it our 'dark secret', but the truth of the matter is the deteriorating statistics have been obvious for many years, and Labour’s just watched it happen.”

Under Labour, reported family violence has increased 65%. Legal aid lawyers are turning their backs on domestic violence work, and the number of protection orders has reduced by a third.

"Clearly, women do not feel supported by the justice system. In the meantime, grass roots organisations like Plunket and Women's Refuge, which are funded only for part of the work they do, fight to survive.”

While it is apparent that women have returned to the workforce in droves, a recent study confirms that family incomes have not improved under Labour.

“For working mothers, the promise of Labour’s 20 free hours of child care must seem a cruel joke, with only 40% of centres surveyed willing to take up the offer.

“And, ironically, the 500 parent-run playcentres, which serve to provide support and education to stay-at-home parents, are excluded from the empty ‘20 free hours’ election pledge unless they become teacher-led - which is against the ethos of this valuable organisation.

“And where was the leadership on issues like women being sent to Australia for radiation treatment, on the cruel cull of those waiting for breast reconstruction, and on the subject of potentially lifesaving Herceptin funding?

“As one constituent summed it up to me in a letter – ‘we didn’t hear a peep from them’.”


Attached : Parliamentary Question 3706, 13592 & PDF Table – 6 pages

PQ 3706 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister of Police (10 April 2006)

Kate Wilkinson Written Question

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