This response is from Sarah Campbell, who is running for the Alliance as a list-only candidate, ranked at number 6 on their party list. And here's a full index of candidate responses to date, including a number of other replies from Alliance candidates.
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?
This is a tough one. I would have to say that it is a problem for all of New Zealand, but that it affects women most, and that is rising inequality. Income inequality has increased in NZ in the last 20 years, and it can be said that when times are tough, it is women who suffer disproportionately. The lowest paying jobs tend to be those done by women, in casualised employment and chronically underemployed. The Alliance wants to reduce inequality in NZ by bringing in a progressive taxation system, as well as lots of other measures that will help all New Zealanders, especially those at the bottom currently, like free healthcare and prescriptions, truly free education, 12 months paid parental leave, increasing the minimum wage to $17, benefits at livable levels, among other things.
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?
We want to see pay equity expanded to the private sector. Inequalities in pay would also be reduced by our policy of free childcare. Also we want to see better pay for the jobs that are traditionally seen as 'women's' jobs, and are more likely to be worked by women, such as
nursing, care giving, retail. By raising the minimum wage to $17 an hour, and by restructuring the tax system, we would hope to lift up all people on low incomes, including women. The introduction of a Universal Child Benefit would also help women.
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?
Yes - broadly.
The Alliance policy is to make all prescriptions free - this would include contaception. The same with all health care, doctor's visits etc.
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.
We support increased funding to protect women from violence. I personally think that in a happier, healthier society, where people get decent pay for decent work, live in decent homes, and have opportunities available to them not restricted by financial concerns, there would be less social problems and violence.
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 want to see wages rise, hours reduced, and unpaid work recognised. We support a $17 minimum wage - more than some people working in the jobs mentioned get currently, and a move toward a 35 hour work week with no loss of pay. We support the right to strike and workers' rights to collective agreements. People doing these jobs are making a far bigger contribution to our society than a lot of desk bound men in suits - their pay should reflect that.
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?
Free doctors visits would help women feel free to consult their doctor without worrying about the cost. I think the current campaign is good, and there have been more places like cafes coming out and saying they support people breastfeeding. It would be good to see more of that. Giving 12 months paid parental leave to the primary care giver would allow women to choose to stay at home and that would support them in breastfeeding their baby. We also support work-life balance provisions and flexible working hours which could help women with this.
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?
Education is important, we need to teach people about community and society. In talking about these issues, issues of gender would inevitably come up, and this would get both sexes involved in the debate. If people don't feel like they are part of something, they are unlikely to step up. I think it's important for all young people to be involved in these kinds of things. I think everyone should be encouraged to do so, equally so for young women and young men.
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?
All New Zealanders. it definitely is an issue. It's an issue for all parts of society. We support extra funding, but also wider changes.See answer to Question 4
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)
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?
First and foremost we need to take the GST off food. As a flat tax GST is regressive, menaing those on lower incomes pay a higher proportion of their income in tax. We need to continue educating people about good food, but it's not just a personal responsibility issue.
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.
(no answer given)