Monday, 6 December 2010

here are some priorities, minister

we now have a new minister of women's affairs in hekia parata, also the minister of ethnic affairs. i don't know much about her, other than that she was on back benches when i was on, & her comments were pretty supportive. she brought in a respectable result in mana, and is doing well enough for a first term MP.

but this is precisely the problem with her appointment - she is a very junior MP and will have little effective power within the cabinet. under the previous government, both ministries (women's & ethnic affairs) were held by senior cabinet ministers, which meant that they were given serious attention. it also signalled the level of importance placed on these ministries. this government has placed them as low as they can go, without being scrapped altogether.

in any case, ms parata was speaking on checkpoint tonight (18:16 pm). she said that she would be meeting the CEO of the ministry of women's affairs in a couple of days to find out what the priorities and main issues in the sector are. i thought we might help her out by suggesting some areas she could focus on:
  • re-establishing the pay equity unit within the department of labour, and continuing the work they were doing around social work wages
  • working on actually improving women's leadership in the business sector (and not just talking about it as her predecessor did)
  • pushing to reverse the cuts to early childhood education
  • increasing paid parental leave to at least 6 months
  • putting back the legislation that mandated regular work breaks
  • pushing for changes to the justice system to ensure better results for victims of rape and sexual abuse
  • developing and implementing policies that would reduce the gender pay gap
  • putting back in place the training incentive allowance for sole parents on a benefit
  • valuing parenting by not forcing sole-parents into work, especially in a time of high unemployment

those are just a few off the top of my head. perhaps you could think of some others. feel free to share in comments.


DPF:TLDR said...

If she really wants some ideas as to how she can improve the situation for women and ethnic minorities, she need look no further than the Labour and Green policy releases from the last election.

Plenty of good ideas there.

AnneE said...

Your list looks good to me. Plus maybe raising the minimum wage, as this would be one of the best ways to lift women's wages.