Today in the Parliament, Sue Moroney asked Minister of Women’s Affairs Jo Goodhew whether she had received a briefing on the equal pay case being heard in Court this week. Jo’s response was to paraphrase: No. Equal pay is not in my brief.
According to the Ministry’s website, “The Ministry’s key priorities are: Greater economic independence – increasing women’s lifetime earnings and gaining a better return on the investment in their skills.”
This is also the Ministry that hosts National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) :
As set out in its Terms of Reference NACEW’s role is to:
“…advise the Minister of Women’s Affairs on matters referred by him/her concerning the employment of women;
express views and make recommendations as appropriate to the Minister of Women’s Affairs on matters relating to the employment of women”
NACEW to quote their website: “was heavily involved in advocating for equal pay legislation in the early ‘70s. It recommended to the Minister at the time that he set up an independent Commission of Inquiry on how best to implement equal pay and the Council’s recommendations were reflected in the Terms of Reference.
Following this, the Equal Pay Act 1972 provided for the phasing in of equal pay over five years. It aimed to remove discrimination based on employees’ gender and extended legislation to the private sector which had previously applied only to the public sector. The Council was also involved in ensuring that research into how the legislation worked practically was carried out.”
So the first equal pay case in front of our courts in decades. A absolutely defining case to decide on whether our legislation is capable of moving us towards pay equity, and the Minister does not seek a briefing from the group with Government with the most knowledge on the topic. WTF?!?
Last year the Human Rights Commission slammed the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for their pale ambition for New Zealand women which is effectively ripping off New Zealand women. Clearly, if the Minister isn’t even interested in a briefing on the first major equal pay case before our courts in decades, then nothing has changed.
This is absolutely shameful. Jo Goodhew does not deserve this warrant if this is the extent of her interest in our collective wellbeing.