Politicians answer: Women’s leadership and pay parity

National Council of Women of New Zealand asked each party what they would do to increase women in leadership positions and achieve pay parity. Here are their answers:


ACT believes that it is not the role of the State to mandate pay levels and to interfere in the private choices of employers and employees.



green-party-logo-400x400Green party:

The Green Party believes that structural and institutional discrimination still exists that prevents women from achieving an equal footing as men. This is especially the case for Maori women who have also suffered from the effects of colonisation.

We believe women leaders are vital if we are to build a smarter economy that benefits all New Zealanders. Again, the government has fallen behind on removing the institutional barriers; lowering the target for women to state appointed boards and even then going backwards on this measure. We would ensure that governmental departments lead the way and are accountable for women in leadership. We will also work towards reducing societal barriers such as parental leave and childcare costs.

We believe that pay equity is a basic human rights issue. For the past two years the Green Party has had a Bill in the ballot to address the lack of transparency. The Party supports the establishment of a Pay and Employment Equity Commission to collect, collate and analyse data on pay and employment equity. In government, we are committed to reducing the exploitation of women workers by ensuring that state sector and contracted organisations are funded in such a way that they deliver pay equity.

9611924Internet party:

Women in leadership positions:
  • Incorporate gender equality education into curricula from primary school to change sexist attitudes.
  • Introduce a young women’s gender policy to get young women involved in leadership and politics )
  • Paid parental leave extended to 26 weeks and have incentives for encourage couples to share this leave,.
  • Introduce cheap government-subsidised child-care so that women can go back to paid work after having children (no matter how much they earn).
  • 50 per cent  female representation in core areas such as judges, law firm partners, company executives, board members and in government agencies by 2020.  Hold companies accountable for lack of female representation.
  • Employers need to provide flexible working conditions and hours that better suit working families.
Achieve pay parity:
  • Incorporate gender equality education into educational curricula from primary school to change sexist attitudes.
  • Reinstate a taskforce to directly address the gender pay gap in NZ.
  • Action plans to incorporate more women into traditionally male-dominated and more lucrative sectors.
  • Gender-sensitise measures need to in the national system of accounts (e.g., monetise the contribution of the care/domestic economy of women’s/men’s contribution in the national accounts) to increase the value of unpaid work.
  • Make tertiary education free for all New Zealanders.
  • Provide funding for women who want to start their own business.
  • Implement a living wage of $18.80 as the minimum wage.
  • Abolish the 90 day trial period and  youth wage rates.
  • Women’s increased participation in Information and Communication technology will be specifically targeted.


The Human Rights Commission’s Census of Women’s Participation 2012 says that  women’s low representation in leadership positions (despite increasing participation at entry level) “remains systemic and frustrating”, adding that “‘Low bar’ targets for women’s progress are currently being set by the Government, business and the public and private sectors.”  Labour will reinstate the 50% goal for women on state sector boards.  We will investigate practical legislative options for requiring larger organisations and companies to report on women’s participation at all levels in their organisation.  We will investigate provisions to require EEO monitoring and the development of action plans to respond to identified problems.Labour will require the State Services Commission to ensure compliance with EEO as part of ‘good employer’ commitments and to advise the Government on strategies to advance employment equity.

Labour is strongly committed to addressing gender pay inequality, recognising a comprehensive approach is necessary to address this systemic and enduring inequality. Labour proposes using the work of the Human Rights Commission and the Pay & Employment Equity Unit’s detailed audits of the state sector gender pay gap to determine legislative and policy changes required to close the gap. Solutions will need to be available to align with our human rights and employment relations frameworks.

Mana12Mana Movement:

Recognise that the work of raising children is as important as paid work by extending paid parental leave to 12 months, and supporting quality child-care, early childhood and out of school education.

  • Increase funding and other support for children with disabilities and their families and whānau.
  • Make tertiary education free to all New Zealanders.
  • Reintroduce the goal of full employment for those able to work, and invest in job creation including in community service and small business start-up, with specific funds set aside for Māori and for women.
  • Implement a living wage (currently calculated at $18.80 per hour) as the minimum wage.
  • Repeal the 90 Day Probationary law and remove youth wage rates.
  • Promote and support pay and employment equity legislation.


The Government is working with public and private sector organisations to strengthen the progression of women into leadership, and governance roles.

Through the Ministry of Women’s Affairs the Government has also established a public sector agency action network to share ideas.

The Ministry’s nomination service facilitates the appointment of women to state sector boards and committees.

New Zealand already has in place a robust legislative framework that prohibits pay discrimination. This includes the Equal Pay Act 1972, the Employment Relations Act 2000, and the Human Rights Act 1993.

The Government monitors the gender pay gap which is 10.1 percent (June 2013). New Zealand’s gender wage gap is 6.2 per cent – the lowest of all the OECD countries listed.

The causes of the gender pay gap are complex. Achieving pay parity will require action by workers, employers, careers advisers, business leaders and employee groups, as well as Government. The Government encourages voluntary participation of public and private sector organisations in pay and employment equity projects. Pay and employment equity tools and resources are available free of charge from the Ministries of Business, Innovation and Employment and Women’s Affairs.

NZFirstNZ First:

It is our view that it is not possible to legislate for this to happen but see the answer as multifaceted.  Rewarding and recognising those companies that run professional courses to recognise unconscious bias, running cluster groups of SMEs for the same courses, providing cohort funding for both genders into non-traditional roles, extending paid parental leave with a portion being required to be taken by Fathers or lost – these are all ideas we would like to have considered.  Pay inequality should not exist in the Public Sector – lead by example.

UnitedFutureNewZealandLogoUnited Future:

We would advocate individual professions to promote refresher courses for people returning to the workforce;

United Future will encourage individual professions to retain valued staff by adopting part-time work policies when necessary.

We would promote better work-life balance for parents and end gender discrimination, recognising that both women and men can face unwelcome discrimination.

The party would extend paid and unpaid parental leave to both parents, and extend paid parental leave to 52 weeks/12 months.

We’d recognise the imperative for fathers to bond with their newborns by an extension of parental leave.

We would support flexible working hours and any legislative or policy initiatives to improve pay equity.


One Response to “Politicians answer: Women’s leadership and pay parity”

  1. Claire 29 August 2014 at 11:01 am # Reply

    Thank you for this! It is disturbing that some of the parties still essentially see this as a non-issue.

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