• Deborah Morris
Associate Minister of Women's Affairs

The Associate Minister of Women's Affairs, Hon Deborah Morris will today tell a United Nations committee in New York that New Zealand has a proud record of advancements for women, and the Government is determined to see further progress.

Ms Morris is to present New Zealand's report on the Status of Women to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in New York. The report covers the four years since 1994 and notes the progress of women since New Zealand's last report.

The Committee in its preliminary comments said New Zealand had produced a report which was comprehensive, well structured and well written.

"I am especially pleased that New Zealand is able to report on significant advancements for women in a wide range of areas including justice, education, health and participation.

"New Zealand women have many success stories: for example, more than 50 percent of women are now in paid work, 40 percent of new businesses are now started by women, and greater numbers of women than men are enrolling in tertiary education.

"Some of the proudest achievements of the Government have been initatives Important landmarks the Government had achieved for women in recent years include:

- establishment of a Women's Commissioner
- funding for a diary based Time Use Survey
- implementation of the Domestic Violence Act 1995
- appointment of the Health and Disability Commissioner
- implementation of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993
- an increase in the number of women appointed to government boards and committees
- an increase in women graduates from tertiary education
- 40% of new businesses are now started up by women
- introduction of a sexual and reproductive health strategy and free oral contraception
- New Zealand Law Commission's Women's Access to Justice Project
- planned legislative change on matrimonial property and the introduction of legislation on property rights for those in de facto relationships
- implementation of a national breast screening programme.

"New Zealand will not rest on its reputation as a leader in this area but will continue to work to improve outcomes for women. Legislation is only part of the solution, and changing attitudes are also important to achieving equity.

"New Zealand has many fine examples of women demonstrating leadership and skills in all areas, from politics and business to sports and literature, and these strong positive role models are an important part of changing attitudes.

"Both the Minister of Womens Affairs and I, with the support of the many capable women members of the National-New Zealand First Government, are committed to ensuring women's voices are heard at all levels of decision-making.