Govt celebrates special days for children and women (but without new money unless they are involved in global gabfest on sport)

It was Children’s Day yesterday, an occasion that prompted a press statement from the Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis.  But no new handouts of money for children’s events or for policy programmes were mentioned.

Today is International Women’s Day and the Minister for Women, Jan Tinetti, similarly issued a statement to mark the occasion.  She had no new funding to announce but she did list a raft of government programmes that channel public funds into helping women and it’s reasonable to suppose much of this funding helps children, too. 

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson, on the other hand, has announced an additional $950,000 “investment” to support New Zealand’s hosting of the 8th World Conference of the International Working Group on Women in Sport (IWG) in Auckland nest year.

Children’s Day is held on the first Sunday of March each year.

Public funding must have been spent on marking it, because Oranga Tamariki co-ordinates it by:

  • raising public awareness of the day and its theme
  • encouraging community organisations, councils and mayors to run events
  • supporting events through providing giveaways
  • promoting events on the website.

In his Children’s Day statement, Davis asked all New Zealanders to think about their responsibility to support the lives of the children in their communities “and to make this a special day for celebrating them”.

He said:

Children’s Day / Te Rā o Ngā Tamariki is a day of national awareness that aims to make all children in the country feel appreciated, held on the first Sunday of March each year.

“Te Rā o Ngā Tamariki is all about everyone putting in the effort to make tamariki realise they are special, they are loved, they are important,” Kelvin Davis said.

“It’s something all of us should be doing every day.

“But the reality is not every parent, grandparent or guardian in the country always has the time to drop everything else and really focus on the children.

“That is what this day is about – l would love every child in the country to feel like it is their birthday today – to feel appreciated, supported and loved for who they are,” Kelvin Davis said.

The Minister for Women, Jan Tinetti, issued a statement to mark International Women’s Day saying she acknowledged the women who have been crucial in the country’s COVID-19 recovery –scientists, healthcare professionals, and essential workers – “and everyone who is working every day to help women and girls achieve their potential in Aotearoa New Zealand”.

She proceeded to mention programmes her government is delivering for New Zealand women –

  • Two weeks ago she and the PM announced that from June all primary, intermediate, secondary school and kura students will have access to free period products;
  • The government has passed “world-leading” equal pay legislation and delivered significant pay equity settlements;
  • Through the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan, the public service gender pay gap has been reduced to 9.6 per cent;
  • The government is ensuring state sector governance boards are made up of at least 50 per cent women, and  senior leadership in the public service is 53 per cent women;
  • Paid Parental Leave has been extended from 18 to 26 weeks and raised to $20 a week;
  • The minimum wage has been raised by $1.95 an hour since the government took office. Women make up 60 percent of minimum wage workers;
  • The incomes of around 384,000 families have been raised by an average $75 a week through the Families Package and life made easier for parents of young children with the Best Start payment – an extra $60 a week for up to the child’s first three years;
  • The free lunches in schools programme has been extended to provide lunch for over 88,000 children, which has created around 1000 new jobs, many of whom are women returning to the workforce after raising children.

In his announcement of an additional $950,000 investment to support New Zealand’s hosting of the 8th World Conference of the International Working Group on Women in Sport (IWG) next year, Robertson said the dosh comes from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package and is for Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA) – the lead delivery agent for the event.

Robertson explained that the additional investment is in response to reduced funding and sponsorship opportunities due to COVID-19 as well as the likely reduction in conference attendees from overseas, which will have implications on forecasted revenue to stage the event. 

“The conference is a chance to celebrate the progress New Zealand has and continues to make for women and girls in play, active recreation and sport and society as a whole.

“It also provides the opportunity to advance even more change as one of four major events in the country over the coming three years. It’s important that we ensure this event is as successful as it can be.”

The conference will be the culmination of New Zealand’s hosting of the 8th International Working Group on Women and Sport secretariat from 2018 to 2022. IWG is the world’s largest network dedicated to gender equality in sport and physical activity.

“The theme for the conference is ‘Change Inspires Change’ and as we mark International Women’s Day today, we can reflect on what we have currently achieved so far and what we can achieve in the future so that we can continue to inspire change and deliver sustainable pathways for women and girls to remain in sport,” Grant Robertson said.

Latest from the Beehive

8 MARCH 2021

Celebrating Women in our COVID response – International Women’s Day 2021

$950k funding boost for World Conference on Women and Sport

7 MARCH 2021

Celebrating Children’s Day / Te Rā o Ngā Tamariki

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