• Christine Fletcher
Women's Affairs

I feel very honoured to have the opportunity of representing the Ministry of Womens Affairs and welcome the chance to develop policy for all New Zealand women, the Minister of Womens' Affairs, Chris Fletcher, said today.

Releasing the Ministrys briefing papers to the Government, she said the Ministry had developed a reputation for providing high quality advice throughout its 10 year history.

The Ministrys briefing papers deal with three themes - womens participation in society, womens safety and well-being and womens economic autonomy.

I am pleased that so many of the issues which the Ministry highlighted in its briefing papers have been picked up in the Coalition Agreement.

The Ministry of Womens' Affairs has worked closely with other departments to develop a proposal for a statistical survey of how New Zealanders use their time, paid and unpaid. This was identified as a high priority in the Coalition Agreement.

Such a survey will provide a comprehensive information base which will help us to develop and evaluate policy options and design programmes which are effective.

I am especially keen to work with my colleagues to find creative ways of tapping into the expertise and practical knowledge of New Zealands voluntary womens groups, such as the National Council of Women and the Maori Womens Welfare League. The Government will value their advice as we examine critical issues such as compulsory superannuation, and means of empowering women to assist them in strengthening family life in New Zealand.

Women play many roles in New Zealands social, cultural and political life, not the least of which is as stewards of their families - a role which for too long has been under valued, said Chris Fletcher.