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Resolving To Make Things Right

29 September 2006

Resolving To Make Things Right

Over the next two days National Council of Women Delegates are set to debate several critical issues. The remits, which were originally accepted by the Council for consideration in May of this year, include the following:

a.. The repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed legislation, prompted by several pertinent reports and submissions made by Human Rights specialists both in New Zealand and overseas, and in particular those operating under the auspices of the United Nations.

"We note that the Maori Party announced last week that it had drafted a Member's Bill calling for the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act," said Christine Low, National President, NCWNZ. "The Council debating this issue now is timely, as the outcome will provide a barometer to the public's position on this issue. NCWNZ has been frequently complimented by Select Committee members for the balanced, broad-based viewpoints and evidence carried in its submissions."

a.. A call for the Government to initiate further research into the mental health outcomes for women following abortion, which follows on from the findings in the Fergusson study: Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health released late last year.

a.. A call for Government to fund the total cost of the three core health services provided by Hospices. This remit was prompted by the current lack of consistency in funding allocated nationwide and the recognized increase in the number of people requiring Hospice services.

a.. A call for Government to ensure that all prisoners identified with specific learning needs have individual educational programmes, which accompany them, should they be moved to another institution. Participation in prisoner education programmes have been fragmented, or unavailable, due to the increasing prisoner population and the frequent relocating of prisoners from one institution to another. It has also been reported that the courses run by the Department of Corrections have not been as effective as those that were previously run by community agencies.

a.. Recognition of a woman's right to breastfeed in any public place. Following on from a petition on breastfeeding rights as a human right, which was supported by the Health Select Committee last year, but dismissed by the Government - the Council will be measuring the degree of support for this policy within the membership.

"The Right to Breastfeed in all public places was a key issue identified in the NGO CEDAW Report 2006," said Christine Low. "Some women are of the opinion that there is insufficient strength in existing law, the Human Rights Act Section 21, to deal with complaints."

a.. A call for the Government to increase funding to Residential Homes and Hospitals for the care of older persons, to enable sustainable service provision, and to ensure that this funding is applied according to the designated purpose. While the Council noted an increase in funding to Rest Homes in the last budget round, the amount falls short of addressing a multitude of problems in this growth industry.

Affiliated member, New Zealand Nurses Organisation, has been campaigning to see an increase in wages for nursing and care staff working in these facilities since the budget announcement. Other not-for-profit organisations which operated rest homes have been forced into closure as a result of lack of funding.

The remits on the agenda for debate today are the women's right to breastfeed and the cost of hospice health care services. These debates will begin at 4.30pm. The remaining remits will be discussed on Saturday during the 8.30am and the10.30am business sessions. These sessions are open to the media.


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