“Ring the bells, ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering; there is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”
So sang Leonard Cohen in his 1992 “Anthem” which sums up Women’s Rights Party members’ reaction to the Coalition Agreement that forms the basis of the new Government sworn in today [27 November].
Co-leaders Chimene del la Varis and Jill Ovens say the Party is celebrating wins in the Coalition Agreement described by substack blogger Katrina Biggs as “the first disruptions in the flow of gender ideology into our schools, universities, public services and sporting bodies here in New Zealand.”
Four significant commitments high on the Women’s Rights Party’s agenda have been included in the Coalition Agreement:
– “Refocus the curriculum on academic achievement and not ideology, including the removal and replacement of the gender, sexuality, and relationship-based guidelines” (noting that we are not opposed to age-appropriate sex education, and we don’t see a place for activist groups like InsideOut in our schools)
– “Ensure publicly funded sporting bodies support fair competition that is not compromised by rules relating to gender”
– “Protect freedom of speech by ruling out the introduction of hate speech legislation and stop the Law Commission’s work on hate speech legislation”
– “Amend the Education and Training Act 2020 such that tertiary education providers receiving taxpayer funding must commit to a free speech policy”
Says Ms Ovens: “Women can indeed ‘ring the bells’, but there is still much to be done to reclaim our voice and stop the erosion of sex-based rights.”
She says that over the past six years and largely under the radar, lobby groups such as InsideOut have been pushing an agenda that has put the rights of women at risk, while at the same time women’s voices have been shut down in our universities, public service, the mainstream media and our unions. Jobs have been put at risk if people dare to question gender ideology.
“There are good reasons why women’s and childrens’ rights are protected in policy and law. This includes our rights to single-sex spaces such as toilets or changing sheds, and to single-sex services, such as rape crisis and women’s refuges,” Ms Ovens says.
“Let’s be clear. Most men do not want to go into women’s spaces. And most men do not commit violence against women. But some do. And that is why we have women-only spaces in the first place.”
The Women’s Rights Party is calling on the incoming Government to drop former Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere’s Bill that would add “gender identity and expression” to the Human Rights Act 1993.
“This is dangerous as the Human Rights Act contains exceptions allowing for sex-based rights that would conflict with rights based on gender identity if such an imprecise concept based on sex-based stereotypes and social expectations was introduced,” Ms Ovens says.
The Bill passed its first reading in the dying days of the Labour Government and is currently among more than 50 Bills in limbo.
Another such Bill, introduced by Labour’s former MP Tamati Coffey, would remove the birth mother as the first legal parent in the case of surrogacy. The Women’s Rights Party opposes this, and calls on the incoming Government to quietly shelve it.
In other matters, the Women’s Rights Party has called for:
An enquiry into the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to treat children with gender dysphoria, and a ban on gender reassignment surgery for those under 18 years of age;
Repeal of self-identification for determining sex on the birth certificate in the Births, Deaths and Relationships Act 2021 on the basis that this encourages a belief that a man can change his sex at will and enter women’s spaces without being challenged;
Review of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 and funding to help women who want to leave prostitution to find alternative employment.