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Blue woefully ignorant of women's affairs

Blue woefully ignorant of women's affairs

Women's Affairs Minister Lianne Dalziel has offered to help the National Party's spokesperson on women's affairs to "swot up" on the portfolio before she embarrasses herself further by making more ill-informed statements.

Lianne Dalziel said reports of Jackie Blue's performance on the government administration select committee today showed she did not understand the role of the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

After her appointment last week Dr Blue said in a press statement she wanted to spend some time "swotting up" on the work being done by the ministry. Lianne Dalziel said Dr Blue was appointed by Don Brash a year ago as liaison for women's groups.

"What has she being doing all this time? She proved today that she needs to do some homework. I am happy to provide her with the information she needs to understand the important and valuable work being undertaken by this very small policy agency.

"Dr Blue seems unaware that the government has a Women's Action Plan that focuses the ministry's work on providing policy advice to support the economic independence of women, achieving greater work-life balance for families and improving the quality of life of New Zealand women. The action plan was developed in consultation with women from one end of the country to the other. Dr Blue seems to think that she alone should be able to decide the ministry's priorities, thereby ignoring the women of New Zealand," Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel said that Dr Blue's criticisms of the ministry rang hollow in light of National's election threats to shut it down and in light of the fact that "National has no women's policy and no constructive ideas to bring to the table on important issues like domestic violence".

"The fact that Dr Blue released her statement criticising the ministry just minutes after the select committee ended smacks of a political sideswipe and a pre-determined agenda rather than a genuine attempt to enagage on these important issues.

"I am of course willing to overlook this in the interests of the cross-party support that I have sought to cultivate since becoming Minister. I will be providing her with some material to 'swot up' on over the Christmas recess, so that hopefully she will return to work in the New Year better informed and better able to make a useful contribution to the wider debate on issues affecting women," said Lianne Dalziel.

ends

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