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Scrap The Women's Affairs Ministry, ACT MPs Say

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Heather Roy
Heather Roy

Wellington, Nov 17 NZPA - The ACT Party's female contingent has called for the Women's Affairs Ministry to be scrapped following a suggestion in Parliament today that its acting minister said the same thing when in opposition.

Georgina te Heuheu was caught off-guard when Labour MP Sue Moroney reminded her she had slammed the ministry in 2003 as an "historic, sexist relic" that should be scrapped.

Mrs te Heuheu said "in all fairness" she did not remember saying that. She then said; "Wherever that quote comes from, it may have been a relic back then in 2003 when (Labour) was in government, but it's certainly not a relic now -- it's an action-packed ministry."

The quote in question was from a New Zealand Herald article and appeared to be in response to an announcement by the then Labour government that the ministry would be strengthened.

ACT MPs Heather Roy and Hilary Calvert today said they agreed with the premise that the ministry was sexist and historic and should be scrapped.

"This ministry cost taxpayer's nearly $5 million in the 2009-10 financial year, yet the recent Census of Women's Participation 2010 shows that female participation in governance, professional and public life has begun to slide," they said in a statement.

"There are no ministries of men's or children's affairs -- and nor should there be. If there were a case for special attention it would be with our boys, who are failing in education and over-represented in crime statistics."

The MPs suggested the Women's Affairs Ministry could be absorbed into the research unit of the Social Development Ministry, and said they suspected some of the work was already replicated there.

They said all departments should seriously consider issues of gender equality, just as the private sector did, without relying on a gender-based body to abrogate any responsibility.

"Low-performing departments and Crown entities such as the Families Commission, Charities Commission, Sport and Recreation New Zealand, should be disbanded," they said.

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