Yesterday I heard submissions on the Social Security Rewrite Bill. We heard from a range of organisations working with people needing income support, and people who have had to or have to use income support. There were some very emotional moments and I want to pay tribute to those telling their own stories; firstly for their survival and secondly for summoning up the hope to share that experience and give us the opportunity to create a better system.
The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather than lag behind it.
Equal Pay for Work of equal value might have taken another step forward after more than forty years. I will state the obvious fact that the 1972 Equal Pay Act has not delivered equal pay. There has been much analysis of why – the lack of transparency (it’s very difficult for most women to know […]
I’ve been hearing an increasing number of stories about how hard it has become for people to get the help they need, and are legally entitled to, from Work and Income. I’ve heard of people who are have become homeless because of Work and Income decisions, people who are homeless who are sent away without […]
The Government delivers a budget that they say prioritises health but actually delivers $300m less a year than is needed to maintain services at the current levels of delivery.
LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way to go to change this. In an ideal world, Budget 2016 would acknowledge we, LGBTQI […]
To paraphrase Justin Trudeau – “It’s 2016”. Money needs to be in the budget to deliver equal pay this year to caregivers at the very least and that may require widening the tax base, which in turn if done well would help reduce inequality in our society at the other end.
This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with Alfred Ngaro from National. It is important to celebrate our wins. This is a significant […]
This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts on children and it is very worrying to say the least. Making the connections are […]
I want to give kudos to the Minister for Justice for getting the Law Commission to review options for how our justice system responds when victims of domestic violence kill their partners. This is a relatively discrete piece of work that has the potential to correct a real injustice in our system. Victims who kill […]
I wrote this blogpost sitting in Parliament listening to the Attorney General’s first reading speech on the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranganui Claims Settlement Bill. He has acknowledged the impact of colonisation that made it difficult for whanau and hapū to pass on language and culture and the profound […]
What has really led to the Government’s changing stance on funding for sexual violence services? People have been congratulating me on this news yesterday and I have to admit working with the sector through this process has given meaning to my time in Parliament and I am proud of the work we have done on […]
These caregivers are paid the bare minimum wage and it would be very easy for them to be grumpy and resentful. It is a testament to the good of people that after 16 years Dilani and others are still fully engaged and focused on caring for their “extended family”. They bloody well deserve to be paid and valued a whole lot more than they are now.
This Easter I’m at home reading papers on urban development and social development, in between trying to catch up on Masterchef and make up time away from my partner. It’s a peaceful time, but I know many people are spending this Easter waiting in trepidation to find out if they’ll have a job in a […]
Yesterday the Minister of Justice announced a new better public service target to reduce family violence. She has created two new supporting measures of violent crime namely “Violent offences in private dwellings (a proxy for family violence); and Violent offences in public places.” I applaud the Ministers focus on family violence but I have two […]
It is no surprise that mental health services in Christchurch have been under pressure, and I recently spent a day in Christchurch talking with groups. I used to work in a Women’s Refuge, and have concerns about strain on services that cater to women seeking help around Christchurch. A stressed population is more vulnerable, and […]
Yesterday the government released the summary of submissions to their consultation on family violence law reform. I was stoked to see domestic violence workplace leave in there because I have a bill that’s ready to go to deliver that. Domestic Violence leave and workplace accommodations are a simple way to support women in violent relationships […]
I met with Age Concern in Dunedin this week and the story they told was a worrying one. Age Concern are the lynch-pin in our response to elder abuse. They say the number of cases they are seeing is significantly increasing. They would typically work with around 150 people a year but already since returning […]
Yesterday the Office of the Commissioner for Children (OCC) appeared in front of the Social Service’s Select Committee to discuss their performance. The OCC has statutory responsibility for advocating for children and oversight of the Child Youth and Family Act. Understandably most of our discussion was about child poverty and the safety of children in […]
Several political commentators have commented on the rise of gender politics that has been evident this year – in truth this has been building over the last few years. My work, this year, has certainly been dominated by issues that impact most on women and gender minorities. It’s been a fraught year, here’s a selection […]
The Law Commission recommendations for improvements in sexual violence cases is a start but the Commission’s work was seriously compromised by the Government. The Law Commission’s released its report The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence today and it highlights a broken system where 80 per cent of offences aren’t reported and less than […]
The Ministry for Social Development was in front of the Social Services select committee on Wednesday reporting on their performance for the 2014/15 year. I asked them how many people had claimed for the day owed due to MSD misapplying the law. They told us over 28,000 claims were made. They did note though that […]
I spoke about the need for action on sexual violence in my maiden speech; not just endless talkfests. I hope by now everyone in this country is aware of the seriousness of our collective problem with sexual violence. It is an epidemic, part of an epidemic of violence against women and children. In the first […]
This year we have had more scathing reports about the state of Child Youth and Family. We know the system isn’t working and our children are suffering. In 2012 Green MP Holly Walker raised concerns about children being abused in CYF care. It turned out 30 children in CYF care were abused by CYF approved […]
Over 1 million people didn’t vote in the last election, many of those people didn’t/don’t believe their vote matters. The majority were low income New Zealanders. Yesterday we heard from the Salvation Army that children in Auckland are living in cars, garages, camping grounds and emergency housing. We heard that this is due to […]
My comments about not all rapists being monsters seem to have been misinterpreted by some. So I will take this opportunity to look at this a bit more. I’ve already explained how our perceptions of rapists as monsters can make it hard to disclose, less likely victims will be believed and offenders held to account. […]
I would like to commend the National Council for Women for their release of a white paper on the status of women today: Enabling women’s potential. The report provides an update on of our current situation showing entrenched inequality across a range of measures from the gender pay gap, violence against women, women’s representation in […]
When Prime Minister John Key shouted that opposition parties “backed the rapists” on Tuesday, he not only tried to distract people from his failure over the Christmas Island detainee issue, he trivialised rape and was deliberately offensive to many MPs. What’s more, the Speaker allowed him to do it. We asked the Speaker to hold John […]
Today is equal pay day the day, the day from which the average women is effectively working for free for the rest of the year because of the pay gap. You may be interested to know the day for Pasifika women was the 20th of August, Māori women the 7th September, and Pākeha women the 3rd […]
Once again our media is covering another story of male high school students getting girls drunk so they can perform sexualised acts with them to post on line. Again these young men have only been issued warnings rather than being charged by the police. It was great to see the Principals’ Association speaking out and […]
Having been a long-term renter, I’ve lived in quite a few different communities in New Zealand and each one has had a very different feel. That’s something I love, something I suspect everyone would want. Local and regional government are in large part responsible for helping to create these distinct communities. They’re in charge of […]
I was encouraged to see the
Work and Income has been underpaying many beneficiaries by a day for the last 18 years. Every time that someone has started getting this state support, there has been a stand-down period. Work and Income was meant to pay from the day the stand-down ended – but has instead been starting the next day. There […]
Yesterday I was lucky enough to watch a preview of the movie the Suffragettes. It follows a group of working women involved in the fight for the right for women to vote in the UK. It was a very moving and thought provoking film. It showed clearly how radical those women were. They tried reason, […]
Sometimes, Government Ministers reveal how little they know about what life is really like for many New Zealanders less fortunate than them. Radio New Zealand has been running a story this morning about beneficiaries having been underpaid for 18 years. When someone applies for a benefit they usually have to wait up to two weeks […]
We’ve long known that our justice system is not keeping women and children safe. The number of women and children that have died with protection orders in place is clear enough proof of that. The government is asking for our views on what needs to change. This is our opportunity to provide some direction to […]
Good on the midwives taking their case straight to the High Court. Of course, it’s for the Court to decide if this is a case of gender discrimination, but the public arguments sounds pretty compelling. I’m not sure how anyone would think a midwife, after three years of training, with significant legal and medical responsibilities, […]
Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last year. In New Zealand the top one per cent holds 17 per cent of the […]
Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that the Government is making family and sexual violence one of its top priorities, and creating […]