Clark: Shipley makes pathetic boasts
“Remember that one of the first actions taken by the National government in 1990 was to abolish Labour’s pay-equity legislation – a huge retrograde step. That legislation was groundbreaking and showed Labour’s real commitment to a fairer deal for women in the workplace. That’s much more than the ‘lip service’ Mrs Shipley refers to.
“Nine years on, Mrs Shipley sees fit to boast about a pathetically small increase in the average base salary of women working in the public sector compared to that earned by men. You know a government is in real trouble when it boasts about a 2% reduction in pay disparity for what is now a small proportion of the nation’s employees.
“National’s economic policies have adversely affected New Zealand women in all sorts of ways. Many of the jobs created since 1990, and which National also boasted about today, have been part-time and poorly-paid. Driving this process has been another one of National’s pet projects, the Employment Contracts Act.
“National’s policies in a wide range of areas have hurt the women National claims to be serving. What gains, exactly, have women made as a consequence of National’s market rentals policy in state housing, which has forced hundreds of families to dwell in unhealthy, overcrowded accommodation?
“What about women stranded on waiting lists for operations in public hospitals? What about women students who under National’s disastrous loans policy have accumulated massive burdens of debt?
“In claiming that New Zealand women have done well under National Mrs Shipley simply shows again how out of touch she is with the lives of ordinary women and their families. No wonder she doesn’t want to debate the real issues with me in public,” Helen Clark said.
Contact: David Lewis, press secretary, 025 409 492