Sunday, 2 November 2008

Policy Quickie: Ministry of Women's Affairs

The status quo:
Currently the Ministry of Women's Affairs, is the smallest of the Government's core agencies (with 35 staff and a budget of around $4M) and the relevant Minister, Steve Chadwick, is ranked 18th in Cabinet. According to their website

"The job of the Ministry is to:

  • provide advice on policy solutions to improve the status of women
  • recommend suitable women nominees for state sector boards
  • manage New Zealand’s international obligations in relation to the status of women, in particular under the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The work of the Ministry is guided by The Action Plan for New Zealand Women, a five-year whole-of-government plan launched in 2004."

Established in 1984 by the fourth Labour Government, I couldn't find out much more, so feel free to add anything you know about the history of the Ministry in comments.

Party positions for the 2008 Election:
Act: General commitment to reduce the size of Government and close departments. No specific mention of women's affairs.

Alliance: (no mention on website)

Family: (no mention on website)

Greens: 2008 policy detail is not up yet, but 2005 full policy includes "The Green Party will: 1. Require all legislation and government policy be analysed to examine the different effect on men, women, Maori and non Maori. 2. Review the adequacy of funding of the Ministry of Women's Affairs."

Kiwi: (no mention on policy page on website)

Labour: (couldn't find any mention of the MWA in the policy section of their campaign website)

Libertarianz: Nothing explicit, however they do state "We are committed to getting Nanny State off our backs, out of our pockets and out of our lives! We will abolish the regulations, Departments, Commissions and Ministries, statutes and tax codes that hinder rather than help economic growth."

Maori Party: Nothing on Women's Affairs, but in terms of ministries and the like, their policy states "It is important that the community receives accurate information about our progress as a nation. To advance this we propose the adoption of the ‘Genuine Progress Index.'
Joint action across government agencies creates confusion and duplication. Social sector agencies need to move their resources to the regions so that community solutions can be supported - rather than one-size- fits-all solutions."

National: They have a page for their Women's Affairs policy, but there's no policy on it...

NZ First: (no mention of women's affairs in the policy document)

Progressives: (no mention in policy section)

RAM: No mention of the Minister, however they do have a Women's Charter in their policy document.

UnitedFuture: "Rename and refocus the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to the Ministry of Gender Affairs because the specific needs of both genders co-exist and can only be addressed by recognising the effects that any policy has on both men and women."

In one way I guess the paucity of policy specifically on the MWA shows that many parties see it as an established part of our political institutions. Either that or they just haven't thought about it!

A full index of policy quickie posts can be found here.


Psycho Milt said...

recommend suitable women nominees for state sector boards

You'd think the Ministry of Women's Affairs would be the most likely people to know that women is a noun, not an adjective. On the other hand, I guess they're not intended to be the Ministry of Linguistic Accuracy.

Does anyone police the gaping opportunity for patronage and influence-peddling in the above role?

Hugh said...

Does anyone police the gaping opportunity for patronage and influence-peddling in the above role?

The State Services Commissioner, the Ombudsman, and ultimately the Police.

Commie Mutant Traitor said...

It might not mention the Ministry specifically, but at least the Alliance does have a Women’s Rights Policy (, unlike almost all the other parties.

Julie said...

Thanks CMT, I'm hoping to get a chance before E day to do a post with links to all the women's policies (or whatever they're called). These policy quickie posts are more focused on very specific areas of interest, usually things we've debated or discussed here in the past.