16 or 18 years: When are you old enough to vote?

How old is old enough to vote? It seems that the question will be debated by Parliament some time this year.

This responds to a declaration by the Supreme Court [the Court] in November 2022. The Court granted a declaration that the provisions of the Electoral Act 1993 and the Local Electoral Act 2001, both of which provide for a minimum voting age of 18 years, are inconsistent with the right set out in section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (BoRA) to be free from discrimination on the basis of age. It held that these inconsistencies had not been justified in terms of section 5 of BoRA. The action was taken through the courts by the Make It 16 group which has conducted a long campaign to lower the voting age. So, what does this mean and what happens next?

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Women for the first time in all legislatures in the world

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has reported that, for the first time ever, there are women in national legislatures in every single country on Earth. You can download the report "Women in parliament in 2022: The year in review" from here: https://www.ipu.org/resources/publications/reports/2023-03/women-in-parliament-2022.

Report cover, IPU \Women reached new milestones in parliamentary representation around the globe, and the context for women’s political leadership continued to expand. Gender issues and women’s rights shaped voter behaviour and electoral outcomes in countries from Brazil to Hungary and from Australia to the United States of America.

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NCWNZ reps at Irish Summer School

Ambassador Jane Connolly

Three of our members -- Emma Catteau (NCWNZ Board administrator), Amy Rice and Parminder Kaur from Wellington Branch -- participated in the annual Summer School organised by the Embassy of Ireland taking place in Wellington on the 10th and 11th of February 2023.

To celebrate both Brigid’s Day, Ireland’s celebration of the creativity and influence of women and girls, and the 130th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Summer School was focused “Agents of Change: A Reflection on the Legacy, Influence, and Role of Women and Girls”.

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International Women's Day 2023 in New Zealand

International Women's Day 2023 events collageInternational Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 – officially celebrated on Wednesday 8 March – is fast approaching and NCWNZ has your celebrations covered!

Keep an eye out across our NCWNZ social media channels, where we will run our IWD 2023 campaign. Our theme this year is all about supporting women to #AccessEquality in all its forms. 

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NCWNZ Manawatu discusses expansion of right to vote

Make It 16 logoThe NCWNZ Manawatu branch ended their February meeting with a discussion: ‘Should 16-year olds have the right to vote?’ It was led by a local Year 13 prefect Sjaan Toomey Jakobs, who skilfully managed the interactions.

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In Memoriam: Pat Mark

Pat Mark at NCWNZ AGM May 2005 Long Service AwardThe Dunedin Branch notes with sadness the passing of our Life Member, Patricia "Pat" Mark QSO JP, earlier this month. Patricia, Lady Mark née Davie died on 7 February 2023 at 91 years of age. Pat was a member of the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) from 1967-2007 and was made a Life Member of NCWNZ Dunedin in 2007. She was also a Justice of the Peace and was awarded a Queen’s Service Order (QSO) for services to the community in 2000.

Her many friends in our branch feel the loss of such an energetic, sincere and dear friend. This photo at right, courtesy of Correen Rodger, was taken in 2005 when Pat received a Long Service award from the Branch. 

She worked hard for our organisation and we do appreciate her input which we honoured with a Life Membership in 2007. She served NCW as a delegate from Graduate Women Otago from 1979 to 2007. She worked hard on many activities and always led by example.

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President’s Kōrero, February 2023

This year starts with the promise of moving onwards. It may not be any easier than past years, but as a country we are moving to a post-COVID phase, and as an organisation we are moving to a phase of embedding the new constitution that we spent so much time thinking about in the last two years. We will continue to work both internally and externally, as we progress our vision of a gender equal Aotearoa New Zealand.

This year, our International Women’s Day (IWD) theme will be “Access Equality,” tying in with the general theme of #embraceequality – look out for social media from our Comms team. We are grateful for MSD Te Korowai Whetū Social Cohesion funding to help us amplify the impact of IWD events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and we know that other events are being planned around ngā motu/the island. The NCWNZ Communications team have compiled a list of IWD events on our website (https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/iwd2023) and you can email them at [email protected] if you would like to add your event. Remember to send your stories after the events to [email protected], with photos, so we can celebrate in the next edition of The Circular.

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University of Minnesota students visit New Zealand

photo of U of Minn students in Wellington Jan 2023 with NCWNZ membersThirty students from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management together with two academic staff and two administrators visited New Zealand early in January.

The students were enrolled in a course entitled "IBUS 3019: Striving for Equity in International Business" which examines equality, leadership and global differences using business history as well as current case studies. The students seek to answer why the United States still ranks poorly in gender equality and leadership in business, and why countries like New Zealand, Iceland and Rwanda are achieving much better results.

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2023 New Year honours list

The 2023 New Year Honours saw women receiving 87 (47%) awards and men 97 (53%) – a total of 184 awards. New Year 2022 saw an equal number of men and women and one intersex receive 183 awards.

For only two awards did women receive more than men: Member for the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) including honorary awards, and Queen's Service Medal (QSM). Women received more awards in the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZ to MNZM) at 59%, with men receiving more of all the Queen Service awards (QSM and QSO) at 52%. Women received more awards than men in two categories: Officer for New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) at 55% and Member for the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) at 56%. See the descriptions for all the awards on the Cabinet website (.pdf file).

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In Memoriam: Heather Marion Smith

Heather Marion SmithHeather Marion Smith’s life was dedicated to economic as well as political sovereignty through decades of submissions both oral and written to councils, select committees, public fora and newspapers. She served as convenor of the Economics Standing Committee for National Council of Women of New Zealand for two terms, delivering well researched information on issues relating to her brief.

A member of the Whanganui NCWNZ Branch, she attended many Whanganui District Council meetings and regularly presented submissions through the Council’s Annual Plan process. Heather raised many issues and challenged the thinking at branch meetings.  It was rewarding for the Branch during the period Heather was the Convenor of the Economic Standing Committee.  

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