in breaking news, the minister of labour kate wilkinson has announced that the department will be disbanding the pay and equity employment unit. this means a loss of 7 jobs, but it means so much more. i've already written about the work of this unit and what it has contributed.
the minister acknowledges the value of the unit:
The unit has worked hard researching the causes behind New Zealand's gender pay gap and that work remains to be a valuable source of information
but believes that there is no point in focusing on the state sector. instead, she believes:
This issue is the responsibility of all employers and good employers will work to tackle it.
of course, because leaving it to employers has worked so spectacularly in the past. and what about bad employers? basically she's happy to leave them to behave badly.
there are a few other points to note. one is that this cut has occurred without any consultation at all. nobody has had an opportunity to lobby or put their views forward - no women's groups, no individual members of the public.
second, i wonder if the hon ms wilkinson consulted with the minister of women's affairs, and if she did, how much of a fight did the hon pansy wong put up (if any). if the minister of women's affairs is supposed to be an advocate for nz women, it seem she either does not have the will or the power to stand up for issues of importance to women. in which case, why is she there?
third, the cut has been announced while the nation has it's attention elsewhere, with events in napier, with the announcement on the waterview tunnel, with the passing through urgency of legislation disestablishing all the auckland city councils to be replaced by a transitional council of persons appointed by rodney hide, with the announcement of audit by nz on air of the company owned by the national party candidate for mt albert melissa lee to investigate possible misuse of taxpayer funds.
in other words, this release has been deliberately timed to pass under the radar with as little comment as possible. and no doubt it will get very little comment from mainstream media.
i can't even begin to say how awful i'm feeling about this - about what has been done and the way it has been done.