Yesterday I asked John Key what preparations the Government is making to respond to equal pay claims based on the 1972 Equal Pay Act following the Employment Court’s decision last week.
The decision, as we all know, is hugely significant for women. It means they can go to court to sue over claims they’re being paid less to care for the elderly, for example, just because they’re women.
John Key’s response to the question?
“I am not familiar with the particular case.”
Now, to be fair I wouldn’t expect the Prime Minister to be across everything that goes on in our courts, but you might expect that he’d have some inkling of the importance of the battle for equal pay which is being hailed as a landmark event in the fight for equal pay for women.
The Prime Minister’s advisors would easily have anticipated that this was the direction my questions were heading in, but he didn’t even bother to become “familiar” with the case.
His flippant dismissal of the case as not worthy of his Prime Ministerial familiarity was an insult to the women who work so hard in the caring industry for such insufficient pay.
This issue shouldn’t have even had to go to court. All of the workers taking the case will be workers being paid out of government contracts. The PM has even previously responded saying they’d love to do something if they had the cash. The court ruling now points to this being a legal as well as moral issue.
If this Government wants to improve its poll rating with women I would suggest they might want to at least pretend to be interested in the issues we care about.