This was a recess week at Parliament but our Green Team still packed in a bunch of mahi. Take a look at what we got up to during the week.
James announced two new measures to ensure transparency and counter the influence of money in politics. Greens have always stood for more transparency around lobbying and access to politicians. Now we’re in government, it’s time to walk the walk. Therefore:
- Green Party Ministers will proactively release their ministerial diaries, to show who they’ve met with and why;
- Green Ministers, MPs and staff will not accept corporate hospitality, such as free tickets to events unrelated to their work.
In a speech at Policy Conference in Napier noted that MPs often considered corporate hospitality a perk of the job but it was not essential to the role.
One of our 20 goals for Green government is “significant progress to eliminate the gender pay gap” and Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter ain’t messing around. Already, the reconvened Working Group on Pay Equity has reported back with recommendations to simplify the process for a pay equity claims and with amendments to the Equal Pay Act to give effect to its principles. A new pay equity Bill is in the works and expected to go before Parliament mid-2018.
This week, the CTU also came out in favour of a Green proposal for pay transparency, requiring employers to add gender to their payroll reporting requirements. The previous government denied women the opportunity to know if they were being underpaid when they voted down Jan Logie’s Member’s Bill in May last year. The idea is being scoped by officials to include in the broader pay equity legislation due later this year. Just another way the Greens are advancing the equal pay plan we campaigned on in 2017.
Protecting our marine environment
We came a step closer to protecting our threatened wildlife off the coast of Aotearoa New Zealand. Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash released a thorough and comprehensive report containing two proposals for marine protected areas of the South Island’s east coast. The report follows on the heels of Eugenie’s trip to the Antipodes Islands where she saw first-hand the tragic effect of fisheries’ longlines on seabirds in the area.
Golriz, Jan, Marama, Chlöe, and Gareth have been getting around Aotearoa meeting with students on campus for Orientation over the last few weeks. Chlöe, as Tertiary Education spokesperson, has led the way on our biggest O-Week presence yet, stalls at 12 institutions including our first time at AUT and Massey Wellington campuses. Our MPs eschewed grotty meat t-shirts and discussed real issues like high living costs, rent increases, and mental health.
In Wellington, Jan helped launch a new anti-sexual violence campaign “Don’t Guess the Yes”, focused on consent and prevention. In Invercargill, Marama praised the region’s zero fees scheme and addressed the struggle of producers to come to grips with the effects of extreme climate change. Chlöe has been a fixture in student media, including an extensive profile for Nexus mag. Online engagement has been high and our student volunteers have done an amazing job actively recruiting sign-ups. Thanks, awesome people! Our outreach ‘Beers and Backchat’ events have also been popular with more students attending than previous years.
James represented the Greens as part of the #PMPacificMission. He accompanied the Jacinda to Samoa, Niue, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. The visits have been particularly focused on recovery and aid following the devastating Cyclone Gita. James has also been focused on work to be done with Pacifica nations to build climate resilience in the face of rising seas and more frequent and severe weather events.
Press for Progress – International Women’s Day
2018 is an epic year for women. That goes for the women of the Green caucus. Not only are 75% of our MPs women, they’re doing great things to press for progress. Jan spoke at SHINE during their “Light It Orange” week about her role as a champion to end domestic and sexual violence. Women’s Day was also the kick-off to nine months celebrating 2018 as the 125th year of women’s suffrage. Julie Anne participated in a panel in celebration ‘Whakatu Wāhine’ as well as a discussion with former Green MP, Sue Kedgely.