Gordon Copeland emailed me to let me know that the Kiwi Party would make one response, based on their party policies, rather than individual candidate responses. I clarified with him whether this indicated that they would not have conscience votes on the issues raised, and he confirmed that the answers are based on their party policy, rather than conscience issues. So make of all that what you will, and read their answers after the break.
The Questions & Answers
Question 1. What do you believe is currently the single biggest issue facing New Zealand women, and how would you like to address it if you are elected?
The breakdown of the family. The Kiwi Party will address this by appointing a Royal Commission to understand and address the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence, and child abuse.
Question 2. New Zealand women are paid, on average, over $300 a week less than men, and the difference is worse for Maori and Pacific Island women. What do you propose as a first step towards closing the gender pay gap?
The Kiwi Party will raise the adult minimum wage to $15 per hour with an offsetting tax credit to employers. This will benefit thousands of women, many of whom are working in low paid jobs. Please note that increasing the minimum wage will lead to increases in wages also much further up the scale and will also lead to an increase in the level of NZ Super.
Question 3. Do you think NZ's current approach to reproductive rights (abortion, contraception etc) is correct? (Yes or No or No Answer, please)
If not, what changes would you want to make?
No. We would introduce the concept of "informed consent" and "free consent" to current abortion laws and invest in ensuring that every woman expecting a child receives adequate care and support. We would require parental consent prior to an abortion for someone under 16 years of age.
Question 4. The police and the courts do not work in preventing violence against women. What other government actions would you take to ensure women can live without fear.
See the answer to Question 1. The Kiwi Party believes that we need a "fence at the top of the cliff" approach so that, by both law and practice, we can reduce the level of violence against women in New Zealand.
Question 5. Those who do the caring work in our society, paid and unpaid, are often the least recognized and the lowest paid, and they work the longest hours. What do you see as the priority to address these issues for those caring for our sick, our elderly and our children?
We will promote income splitting for couples with dependent children. Our policies will also promote families as the first carers for their own elderly and regulate for minimum requirements and better pay for health professionals caring for the elderly and the sick.
Question 6. The Ministry of Health has recently launched a campaign to encourage breastfeeding and is now recommending that babies be breastfeed to at least one year old. What do you think the government could do to ensure that every woman who wants to breast feed can?
Ensure that any remaining barriers to breast feeding are removed.
Question 7. What single measure do you think our political organizations could take to better encourage young women to be involved and take on leadership positions in our communities?
No particular policy. Women are involved at all levels in the Kiwi Party.
Question 8. Do you see domestic violence as an issue for women, for men, or for all New Zealanders? (Women, or Men, or all New Zealanders please)
If elected, what strategies would you like to pursue to eliminate domestic violence?
Yes but domestic violence disproportionately affects women. Specifically we are committed to investing in marriage preparation, marriage enrichment and parenting courses through faith based, charitable, iwi and other third sector organisations. Also see our answer to question 1.
Question 9. Successive governments have effectively cut the Domestic Purposes Benefit. Do you believe people raising children alone should have sufficient financial support from the state so that they do not need to go to work until they believe that is the best choice for their family? (Yes or No or No Answer, please)
Yes. We favour an in depth review of benefit levels to ensure that they adequately reflect the actual cost of living. Our policy will however be designed to significantly reduce the number of single parent families in New Zealand. The Government should ensure that all New Zealanders receive an income which enables them to fittingly provide for their dependents.
Question 10. Women do the vast majority of cooking and shopping, and increases in food prices are a burden borne disproportionately by women. What do you think our government can or should do to ensure that everyone has access to good food?
(no answer given)
Question 11. Do you have any further comments that you wish to make about the role of women in our society? Please feel free to share your thoughts here.
The Kiwi Party recognises that all people have an equality of dignity, regardless of sex or any other criteria.