Buzz from the Beehive
The Government has declared or reiterated three bold ambitions, one of them (the elimination of family violence) probably unachievable.
Whether progress is being made towards the achievement of another (ensuring New Zealand is “a great place for women to work”) raises measurement issues. No matter what is accomplished, there are bound to be demands for more to be done – and what is “a great place” for women to work?
A third bold ambition – which looks like another mission impossible – was declared in a speech headed PM’s comments to NATO session.
Jacinda Ardern said Russia’s use of its UN Security Council position to block consideration of its invasion of Ukraine is morally bankrupt “and demonstrates why we must continue to seek reform of the UN”.
Minor reform of the UN obviously is achievable.
More effective reform calls for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) to surrender their power to veto any “substantive” resolution.
As Wikipedia notes:
Critics say that the veto is the most undemocratic element of the UN, as well as the main cause of inaction on war crimes and crimes against humanity, as it effectively prevents UN action against the permanent members and their allies.
But how do you get those countries to agree to giving up their veto powers?
Ardern apprised her NATO audience of the measures New Zealand has taken against Russia – the implementation of unilateral sanctions, the provision of military and non-military aid and so on.
She also insisted our solidarity with Ukraine must be matched by an equal commitment to strengthen international institutions, multilateral forums, and disarmament.
She brought matters closer to home by noting:
In our neighbourhood we see the mounting pressure on the international rules-based order. We see attempts to disrupt and destabilise – even New Zealand is targeted by Russian mis & dis information.
Separately China has in recent times also become more assertive and more willing to challenge international rules and norms.
Here, we must respond to the actions we see. We must stand firm on the rules-based order, call for diplomatic engagement and speak out against human rights abuses at all times when and where we see them.
Ardern urged the use of diplomacy at every opportunity, until it has proven to fail.
We must strengthen the resilience of the Indo-Pacific region through relationships and economic architecture rather than militarisation.
Let our actions be focused on de-escalation, peace and stability.
She also said the primary security concern of the Pacific was climate change.
We look forward to engaging further with partners on this issue, the most consistent and universal threat we face.
Marama Davidson, as Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, drew attention to the Government’s work “to eliminate family violence and sexual violence”.
She was unabashed about the race-discriminatory focus of the initiative she was announcing, which was the establishment of yet another forum for talking and (presumably) formulating advice rather than taking firm action.
The Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory Group, a team of 11 experts in Māori family wellbeing , will provide the Government with independent advice on shaping family violence and sexual violence systems “and responses that uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” Davidson said:
“Māori aspirations and expertise must be at the forefront of the work we are doing to ensure Aotearoa is a place where everyone can live a life free of family violence and sexual violence. The new advisory group I am announcing today will help make that happen.”
“The new Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory Group … will ensure mātuaranga Māori is at the heart of how we address violence in our homes and communities.”
You can go to Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory Group for more information.
To cap off the Government’s day of declaring its great aspirations, it launched Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan. The Minister for Women, Jan Tinetti, said this has “the goal of ensuring New Zealand is a great place for women to work”.
“This Government is committed to improving women’s working lives. The current reality is that women have different experiences in the world of work than men, and change is needed,” Jan Tinetti said.
Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine features immediate, medium- and long-term actions to address barriers to women’s employment.
At first blush, it seemed all women came into Tinetti’s plans, but middle-aged white women without disabilities might argue they are being by-passed on this occasion because (as the Minister explained):
“This plan provides actions to improve employment pathways for women who are marginalised at work, particularly wāhine Māori, Pacific women, young and older women, disabled women, women who are former refugees and recent migrants, and women in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Then she declared how race came into her considerations:
“Manatū Wāhine and NACEW will be engaging further with wāhine Māori and Pacific women to identify training and employment solutions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and provide opportunities to retrain and have access to employment.”
Further actions contained within the strategy include work underway across Government to implement fair pay agreements and to investigate pay transparency following the recommendations of the Education and Workforce Committee.
They also include monitoring Kia Toipoto, the action plan for the public service to close the gender pay gap, and Te Orowaru, the pay equity work assessment tool, with a view to applying these tools to the private sector.
Latest from the Beehive
30 JUNE 2022
Aotearoa New Zealand will join Ukraine’s case against Russia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which challenges Russia’s spurious attempt to justify its invasion under international law.
The Government has taken another step forward in its work to eliminate family violence and sexual violence with the announcement today of a new Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory Group.
Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan was launched today by Minister for Women Jan Tinetti – with the goal of ensuring New Zealand is a great place for women to work.
New Zealand is not here to expand our military alliances. We are here to contribute to a world that lessens the need for anyone to call on them.