Women's status and rights within Aotearoa New Zealand have been highlighted within an 100 point Election Agenda. The Women's Election Agenda Aotearoa 2014 presents issues women currently face in New Zealand and calls for all political parties to commit to de facto equality for women by 2020.
Authored by Catriona MacLennan, Leonie Morris and Debbie Hager, the Agenda presents a way to lobby politicians for change before the upcoming 2014 Election to be held on 20 September. The authors encourage women to amend the Agenda to reflect local concerns and send the Agenda to political party leaders and local MPs asking for their endorsement and response.
The Agenda specifically addresses Violence Against Women including:
- Providing Police and Courts with adequate resources to enforce protection orders and act on breaches, including provision of domestic violence education.
- Amending relevant legislation to better enforce protection orders.
- Implementing Family Violence Death Review Committee report recommendations.
- Implementing an integrated response to domestic violence to ensure departments, agencies and service providers are working together.
- Providing primary and secondary school education programmes teaching boys respect for girls, alternatives to violence and gender equality.
- Providing school education programmes teaching girls about intimate partner violence.
- Resourcing the Ministry of Social Development to enable women and children to permanently escape violent relationships, without being forced to return due to financial constraints.
- Extending the Safer Homes in New Zealand Everyday programme throughout Aotearoa.
- Providing specific education to judges and lawyers about the Court of Appeal’s decision in Surrey v Surrey  NZFLR 1 and ensure that the correct test of “necessity” under section 14(1) of the Domestic Violence Act 1995 is applied in relation to protection order applications.
- Ceasing to apply therapeutic approaches to domestic violence within Family Violence Courts and instead focus on the safety of women and children.
The agenda also covers 18 other areas such as Leadership, Disability, Wāhine Māori, Parenting and Immigrant and Refugee Women.
Catriona MacLennan said "I think it's very important for women all around New Zealand to work together especially in the election year. We really need use our voting power together because otherwise I don't think we are going to get politicians and the general public to pay any attention to us or make any changes."
The Agenda is freely available on the Agenda's Facebook page. Responses from politicians to the Agenda will also be posted allowing New Zealand women to make an informed choice on Election Day.
Tribute to the Suffragettes, close up by Wikimedia. Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Submitted on Thu, 2014-04-24 08:30