Here at The Hand Mirror we like to do stuff. Hence the cupcakes, and the submission, and the debate, and the letters to ALAC et al. So we thought we'd see how a candidate survey went, given that there appears to be some election thingy coming up in about three weeks.
Thus we beavered away amongst ourselves, getting some questions together. Anjum sat this out, due to being a candidate herself. And last night I finally sent our survey out to all the email addresses I've been able to find (so far) for candidates (list and electorate) standing for Labour, National, the Greens, NZ First*, Act, UnitedFuture, the Maori Party*, Progressives,* the Alliance, and of course good ol' Taito Phillip Field. Those aforementioned parties who have an asterisk afixed have yet to provide (on their website anyway) emails for the candidates, so I've only been able to send the survey to their MPs as yet.
The Kiwi Party has an annoying email form thingy, which I've labouriously waded through for each of their candidates (except the two who don't even have the form thingy). You know when you have to type the same word over and over again for ages and it kind of loses meaning altogether? That would be my life right now.
If readers are able to help with filling in the gaps for me, please feel free to email me what you know, particularly for parties I haven't listed above at all. I'd like to get it out as widely as possible, but I'm a bit time poor just now, so reader assistance is much appreciated.
The questions (eleven in total) are after the jump, and of course there's some guff at the start and the end to acquaint the candidate with The Hand Mirror, which y'all don't need seeing as how you are already here. It will be interesting to see how many (if any) responses we get, and I look forward to putting any replies up here in due course.
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?
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?
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?
Question 4. It is said that for every rape or act of sexual abuse that is reported to the police, ten go unreported. Of those that are reported, only are small proportion are prosecuted, and an even smaller number of prosecutions are successful. If elected, what concrete steps will you take to change this level of tolerance towards rape and sexual abuse?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.