Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 4
Equal pay : What would you do about gender pay discrimination?
Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting yesterday (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The three candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.
Question : Gender pay discrimination in NZ is a reality. The recent ruling in the Kristine Bartlett/SFWU case gives some hope. How would your leadership promote progress on achieving equal pay for work of equal value?
Submitted by : Lesley Soper, Invercargill
LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS
Answer from Shane Jones
The previous Labour Government made progress in this area.
It increased the wages of nurses.
I will use my position of leadership to ensure that the States resources are spent to give concrete improvement towards pay equity.
This is a core feature of Labour Party strategy and will not be neglected if I am leader.
Answer from Grant Robertson
I am really proud of the work of SFWU, Kristine and her lawyer Peter Cranney in getting that ruling.
It offers the prospect that equal pay will now become a matter of common law, and we will not need legislation to ensure it.
But we must be vigilant. National has no commitment to equal pay, and if legislation is needed, just as previous Labour governments have done we will pass it.
An immediate increase to the minimum wage, scrapping the Youth Rates, support for the Living Wage campaign and re-establishment of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit within government are also important parts of ensuring that we achieve equal pay for work of equal value
Answer from David Cunliffe
I believe we need to lead by example. National has not been ambitious for women. When National took office, there were 1153 women in boardroom positions. Today, there are only 1059, and falling. Government has a role to play in setting a leadership example, that is why I am committed to no less 50 % of the Labour caucus being women by no later than 2017.
Labour has a strong record of working to address gender pay inequality.
I am committed to investigating legislative and policy changes to close the gap based on the work of the Human Rights Commission and the Pay and Employment Equity Unit. This includes, recognising the right to equal pay, a positive duty to advance equality, and a mechanism to determine work of equal value.
I am also supportive of ensuring information about pay rates are made available so that comparisons can be made and unfair inequalities in pay rates between men and women are revealed.