• Deborah Morris
Associate Minister of Women's Affairs

"The New Zealand Government will consider seriously the recommendations of the United Nations committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women," the Associate Minister of Women's Affairs, Deborah Morris said today.

Ms Morris has just received the committee's draft report on its consideration of New Zealand's report on the Status of Women, which the Minister presented in New York last week.

"The committee's recommendations cover areas that the Government have already identified as priorities for action. These include looking for ways to close the gap between what women and men earn, addressing the disparities between Maori and non-Maori women and improving opportunities for women in employment.

"These are all areas where we are making progress, while acknowledging there are no easy answers that will fix the problems overnight. The UN committee focuses on process and legislation, whereas both the Minister of Women's Affairs and I agree that much of the answer lies in changing attitudes.

"However I will be reporting to Cabinet on the UN committee's comments, and all their recommendations will be considered one by one, including those referring to the reservations currently held under the convention.

"It is pleasing to see the committee describing New Zealand's report as timely and well-written, and commending our Government for consulting non-governmental organisations on the report. It also commended us for the oral presentation and extensive replies we provided, both verbally and in written form, to all the questions posed.

"The committee's comments make it clear that headlines suggesting any questions were evaded are quite wrong.

"I note the Labour party is criticising the report, without offering any realistic, practical alternatives for improving the status of women. The National-New Zealand First Government is determined to continue to make progress for women," Deborah Morris concluded.