The minuscule allocation of funding afforded to the Women’s portfolio in Budget 2021 is an insult to women and goes to show what little importance this Government places on us, the National Party’s spokesperson for women Nicola Grigg says.
“Like women’s groups across the country, I was eager to see what the Government’s budget would have for improving the lives of women in New Zealand.
“We know women have been massively impacted by the pandemic – job losses and psycho-social impacts have all disproportionately affected women.
“I was waiting for something that might acknowledge – and look to rectify - the increased pressures faced by women, but no, all that was announced was an administrative $10 million for ‘policy advice’ for the Minister.
“I’m not sure that will be a huge relief for the women across the country looking to get back into the workforce, restore their incomes, their wellbeing, and their sense of self-worth.
“What is the Government’s plan to improve life for women in New Zealand?
Late last year, I asked the Minister what her priorities were and I was told the priorities for her portfolio were set out in the Speech from the Throne. The Speech from the Throne mentioned women once, in a sentence stating the obvious point that significant economic events can have a disproportionate impact on women.
“In March, I launched a survey of women in my electorate to get a better handle on the issues confronting women in New Zealand - particularly the psychological and social impact the events of the last year have had on them. Some of the early results show:
- 76% of women agreed or strongly agreed the pandemic has impacted their family life
- Just 17% of women felt their wellbeing has improved in the past year
- Only half of the respondents had access to free counselling or mental health support.
“If we want practical policy that works in this country, and actually leads to social problems being properly targeted and addressed, we need to have the information to develop it,” Ms Grigg says.
“I will be asking how the $10 million is going to be spent and what policy advice the Minister will be seeking. I will also be suggesting that she consider reviewing the priorities of her office to reflect the kinds of things that matter most to Kiwi women.
“Women’s organisations have told me they want to see constructive collaboration between political parties and I’m happy to oblige – so, in order to save the Minister her $10 million, I am offering her this advice for free and she need only ask if she wants more”.
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