Article 1: Definition of Discrimination against Women


Article 2: Policy Measures to Eliminate Discrimination


Article 3: The Development and Advancement of Women


Article 4: Temporary Special Measures


Article 5: Sex Role Stereotyping and Prejudice


Article 6: Prostitution




Article 7: Participation in Political and Public Life


Article 8: International Representation


Article 9: Nationality




Article 10: Education


Article 11: Employment


Article 12: Health


Article 13: Economic and Social Benefits


Article 14: Rural Women




Article 15: Law


Article 16: Marriage and Family Life




Voices of New Zealand Women





This is New Zealand’s Eighth Periodic Report (the Report) on its implementation of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Convention). It covers the period March 2012 to March 2016.

The Report covers the key legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures adopted in the review period that give effect to the provisions of the Convention. It should therefore be read in conjunction with New Zealand’s previous reports under the Convention, as well as New Zealand’s Initial Report under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD/C/NZL/1), New Zealand’s Sixth Periodic Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR/C/NZL/6), New Zealand’s Sixth Periodic Report under the Convention Against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT/C/NZL/6), New Zealand’s National Report under the Second Universal Periodic Review (A/HRC/WG.6/18/NZL/1), New Zealand’s Fifth Periodic Report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/NZL/5), and New Zealand’s Twenty-First and Twenty-Second Periodic Reports under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD/C/NZL/21-22).

Reference should also be made to New Zealand’s Core Document, which gives an overview of the characteristics of New Zealand society and of the political and legal structures that are in place to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights within New Zealand, including the rights of women and girls and obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Committee’s Concluding Observations on New Zealand’s Seventh Periodic Report (CEDAW/C/NZL/7, referred to hereafter as the ‘last report’) included some suggestions and recommendations to improve the status of women in New Zealand. Responses to the recommendations are provided.

Information on women’s rights in Tokelau (a Non-Self-Governing Territory) is also provided.


1.New Zealand is strongly committed to the protection and promotion of women’s rights, as embodied in the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Convention). The principle of equality for all is enshrined in New Zealand law and supported by an independent judiciary, democratic structures of governance, human rights accountability mechanisms, and the recognition and protection of society’s most vulnerable groups and individuals.

2.The Government has made steady progress in enhancing its implementation of the articles of the Convention, and addressing the 2012 Concluding Observations of the Committee over the reporting period. Women play a pivotal role in the political, social and economic life of New Zealand. Despite the challenges of recovering from the global financial crisis and the devastating physical, financial and emotional impact of the Canterbury earthquakes, New Zealand has implemented positive legislative and policy reforms to improve women’s lives.

3.The Government is committed to ensuring all women have the opportunity to realize their strengths and achieve social and economic success. The Government’s priorities for women reflect the areas where more work is needed: supporting more women and girls in education and training; utilizing women’s skills and growing the economy; encouraging and developing women leaders; and ensuring women and girls are free from violence. Maximizing women’s contributions is essential for women, their families and communities, and as an investment in New Zealand’s future prosperity and well-being.

4.New Zealand’s population is increasingly diverse and some groups of women, particularly Māori, Pacific, migrant and refugee women, and women with disabilities, continue to have poorer outcomes relative to other groups. The Government has committed to working alongside key stakeholders and communities to develop solutions that are relevant for different groups of women. Greater cross-agency accountability and funding approaches have fostered innovative and sustainable solutions and the Government continues to support a vibrant community sector.

5.New Zealand is proud to continue its leadership role on gender equality in the international community. New Zealand reaffirms its commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Vienna Declaration and Programme for Action, the International Conference on Population and Development, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions relating to the women, peace and security agenda. New Zealand is an active participant in annual international meetings focused on the advancement of women, and maintains a strong and consistent voice for women’s rights and advancement globally.

6.New Zealand’s term on the UN Security Council offers an opportunity to contribute to the Council’s efforts to address the gendered impacts of conflict and the role of women in conflict prevention, protection and sustainable peace. Continued domestic efforts to build on the fundamental guarantees provided by the Convention reflect New Zealand’s core commitment to a fair and just society. New Zealand welcomes the Committee’s consideration and the valuable insights of relevant non-governmental organizations, communities, families, whānau, and especially women themselves.


Discrimination and protections, human rights, prejudice and exploitation

Article 1: Definition of Discrimination against Women

7.New Zealand’s legal framework provides comprehensive protection against all the forms of discrimination covered by the Convention. There have been no changes since the last report.

Article 2: Policy Measures to Eliminate Discrimination

8.New Zealand is committed to maintaining a legal and policy framework that provides universal protection against all forms of discrimination. This is supported by a comprehensive, independent institutional structure to ensure its effective enforcement.

Human Rights Commission Action Plan

9.The Human Rights National Plan of Action 2015 provides an online interactive tool which sets out actions drawn from the Government’s response to the UN Human Rights Council’s Second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2014. It tracks the Government’s progress in implementing UPR recommendations, including the 33 accepted recommendations that relate specifically to women. The tool can search by issue, population group or government agency and creates transparency about the Government’s actions to improve the human rights of New Zealanders.

Article 3: The Development and Advancement of Women

10.The Ministry for Women (MfW) is the Government’s principal advisor on achieving better outcomes for women. MfW currently focuses on four priority areas that contribute towards the Government’s goals:

•Supporting more women and girls in education and training

•Utilizing women’s skills and growing the economy

•Encouraging and developing women leaders, and

•Ensuring women and girls are free from violence.

11.Progress in each of these priorities is expanded upon in the Report, under the pertinent articles of the Convention.

Advancement of the rights of women with a disability

12.In 2013 both women and men showed similar proportions of disability; it was estimated that 24 per cent (545,000) of women and 24 per cent (516,000) of men identified with having a disability. The Māori disability rate in 2013 was slightly higher than that of the total population, with 27 per cent of Māori men and 25 per cent of Māori women identifying as disabled.

13.In 2013 the labour force participation rate of disabled women in the 15 to 64 age group (46 per cent) was lower than for disabled men (54 per cent) and non‑disabled women (71 per cent) in the same age group. The unemployment rate for disabled women is 10 per cent. This is higher than that of disabled men (8 per cent) and non-disabled women (6 per cent). The labour force participation rate is significantly lower than the last report due to a combination of New Zealand’s ageing population, people’s willingness to report disability as public perception changes, and improved methodology. In 2006 it was 57.8 per cent for disabled women, 70.2 per cent for disabled men and 78.8 per cent for non-disabled women.

14.Disabled women are less likely to undertake higher education. In 2013, 46 per cent of disabled women had no education or below an upper secondary education, 18.8 per cent had an upper secondary education, 14 per cent had achieved Level 4-6 National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and 11.8 per cent had achieved Level 7 NCEA, a Bachelors degree or higher.

15.Disabled women’s low participation rates in employment and education indicate that their skills and talents are not being fully utilized and they are more likely to experience poor social and economic outcomes across their life course.

16.The 2013 Disability Survey shows that disabled women feel less secure than both disabled men and non-disabled women. International and domestic evidence suggests that disabled women are more likely to be victims of violence than non‑disabled women.

17.Life expectancy is lower for people with intellectual disabilities, and the gap is even greater for women. The average life expectancy of an intellectually disabled woman is 23 years less than other New Zealand women, and 18 years less for intellectually disabled men.

New Zealand Disability Strategy

18.The New Zealand Disability Strategy (the Strategy) is currently being revised and will set out New Zealand’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Targeted consultation will explore how New Zealand can support disabled women to realize their full potential. The revised Strategy will be released on 3 December 2016, International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

19.The Disability Action Plan 2014- 2018 was developed in collaboration between government agencies and representative organizations of disabled people. Disabled women equally benefit from the priorities and actions identified:

•Increase employment and economic opportunities

•Ensure personal safety

•Transform the disability support system, and

•Promote access in the community.

20.Work with Disabled Peoples Organizations continues to focus on enhancing education and employment opportunities for disabled women. The implementation of Success for All, Every School, Every Child is resulting in more inclusive practices being demonstrated in schools.

21.Enabling Good Lives is a partnership between government agencies and the disability sector aimed at long term transformation of how disabled people and families are supported in everyday life. Enabling Good Lives is being demonstrated in Christchurch and Waikato to test the approach and inform future decisions by the Government on changes to the disability support system. Disabled women are a key group within both cohorts.

New Zealand Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2014-2018

22.The Ca rers ’ Strategy Action Plan 2014- 2018 formally recognizes that both the family carer and the person they support have rights and needs, and that at times these may not be the same. The Carers ’ Str ategy Action Plan 2014- 2018 aims to balance the interests and rights of the family carer with the interests and rights of the person they support. Women make up a significant proportion of carers.

Advancement of the rights of sexual and gender minorities

23.Evidence shows that there is a higher incidence of bullying, discrimination, mental distress and suicide amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) young people. In 2014 the Ministry of Youth Development led consultation with the LGBTI community to better understand the issues impacting on LGBTI young people and consider ways to address these issues. Work undertaken in 2015 includes:

•A second round of small grants funding (following a successful first round of grants in 2014) to ensure support services are available to LGBTI young people

•An online survey about the support for LGBTI young people in schools to inform the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Bullying Prevention Guidelines, and

•Provision of funding for a report on the development, health, and well-being needs of LGBTI young people.

24.Statistics New Zealand released the Statistical Standard for Gender Identity which enables agencies to capture information about all gender identities, including people who do not identify as male or female.

Marriage equality

25.On April 2013 New Zealand became the thirteenth country to legislate for marriage equality enabling marriages between people “regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity”. The amendment achieves a balance between the right of everyone to marry and be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of religion. The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 has meant that married same-sex couples are recognized as ‘spouses’ under the Adoption Act 1955 and therefore are eligible to jointly adopt a child. In December 2015 the High Court ruled that same-sex couples could legally adopt children.

26.On 7 March 2016 the Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) released its decision regarding a claim lodged by Adoption Action Inc. The HRRT declared that a number of provisions of the Adoption Act 1955 are inconsistent with the right to freedom from discrimination affirmed by section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The HRRT also declared section 4(1) of the Adult Adoption Information Act 1985 inconsistent with the right to freedom from discrimination affirmed by section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

27.The Government is currently considering its response.

Advancement of the rights of migrant women

28.New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and has one of the highest rates of immigration in the world. Almost one in four people in New Zealand was born overseas. In 2014/15 women were issued 50 per cent of New Zealand residence approvals (permanent migrants), 44 per cent of work visas and 43 per cent of student visas.

29.The 2014 Migrant Settlement and Integration Strategy (the Strategy) supports the effective settlement and integration of women migrants in New Zealand. The Strategy identifies five measureable cross-government settlement and integration outcomes that address the specific needs of migrant women: employment, education and training, English language, inclusion, and health and well-being.

Preventing the exploitation of migrant women

30.The Migrant Exploitation Prevention Strategy is aimed at ensuring the fair treatment of all migrant workers. Interventions include education of migrant employees and employers of migrants through communication campaigns and the provision of targeted employment guides (including the aged care sector which has a particularly high proportion of migrant women workers). The guides include information on employment rights, employee responsibilities, health and safety, and communication issues in the workplace.

31.The Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand’s compliance operations enforce and prosecute breaches of minimum employment standards such as minimum wage and holiday entitlements and offences under the Immigration Act 2009. In 2015 the Government passed the Immigration Amendment Act 2015 which includes provisions to enable employers who exploit migrants to be held to account.

Advancement of the rights of refugee women

32.During 2014/15, 901 people were approved for residence through the Refugee Quota Programme and 321 people through the Refugee Family Support Category. Fifty per cent of all international/humanitarian migrants were female.

33.Refugee women are supported by the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy. Its vision is that refugees participate fully and are efficiently integrated socially and economically so that they can live independently, undertake the same responsibilities and exercise the same rights as other New Zealanders and have a strong sense of belonging to their own community and to New Zealand.

Article 4: Temporary Special Measures

34.There remain some gender disparities in New Zealand that are reducing only slowly. In most cases (for example, the gender pay gap) comprehensive legislation has been in place for many years and this has achieved a significant reduction in gender discrepancies. The remaining gap is driven not by a conscious disregard for the law, but by a complex mix of factors, such as occupational and vertical segregation, patterns of employment and unconscious bias.

35.It has been the view of successive New Zealand governments that special measures are not the best way to deal with the remaining gaps. Government believes it is more effective to address these issues of inequality through actions such as providing women with resources to help them make more informed career choices, presenting a strong business case for fully utilizing women’s skills and supporting the achievement of women in high-demand fields, and (where necessary) through legal measures. There have, therefore, been no changes since the last report to the legal provisions providing for the use of temporary special measures and none are contemplated.

Article 5: Sex Role Stereotyping and Prejudice

36.Government is committed to women having equal opportunity and choice to participate fully in society and the economy. It recognizes that underlying factors create barriers to achieving this goal, and addressing these forms a major part of the work programme of MfW.

Occupational segregation

37.Women are gaining qualifications at a greater rate than men but their skills are not being translated into greater career and development opportunities. A substantial proportion of both women (47 per cent) and men (53 per cent) work in occupations that are at least 70 per cent dominated by their own gender. MfW is working on initiatives to attract and retain priority groups of women in occupations where high growth is projected and where women are currently underrepresented, in particular science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) industries, and construction and trades.

38.MfW has undertaken two seminal research projects on gender role stereotyping and prejudice in the context of women’s career progression. Realizing the opportunity: Addressing New Zealand ’ s leadership pipeline by attracting and retaining talented women (2013) identifies why women ‘drop out’ of the leadership pipeline and how employers can support their retention. Inspiring action: Action plans and research to help you attract and retain talented women (2014) is a quick reference to resources that assist organizations to address unconscious bias and identify practical steps to improve women’s career pathways.

Maximizing opportunities for military women in the New Zealand Defence Force

39.The Human Rights (Women in Armed Forces) Amendment Act 2007 legislated for women’s full participation in front line combat roles. In 2013 the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) employed 1,103 Regular Force and 1,252 civilian women, representing 15 per cent of all Regular Force personnel and 45 per cent of civilian employees. The number of uniformed women deploying has increased from a historic average of 12 per cent of the total deployments to 19 per cent in 2014/15. Women have deployed in senior roles, with recent examples including two Lieutenant Colonels deployed to Lebanon/Israel where one served as a Chief UN Observer, two Wing Commanders as Senior National Officer in Dubai, a Colonel to Afghanistan and a Colonel to Syria.

40.A Women’s Development Steering Group was launched in 2013 to increase the representation and participation of women in the NZDF and to effectively implement the existing diversity and inclusion policies. Maximizing Opportunities for Military Women in the New Zealand Defence Force, published by the Ministry of Defence in 2014, offered an independent examination of women in the NZDF. The report found that in the past 15 years there has been substantial progress in gender equity. For instance, the NZDF has higher female representation in the Regular Forces than the United States, Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom and harassment has declined. A programme of action, More Military Women, has been developed to create an environment that builds and sustains better gender diversity throughout all levels of the NZDF, focusing on the recruitment, retention and progression of military women.

New Zealand Police

41.As at 30 June 2015 women made up 18 per cent of Police officers and 29 per cent of all employees. In the year to June 2015 the number of women in Superintendent positions had doubled to six, including three in the role of District Commander (out of the 12 District Commander roles available). The first intake of 2015 at the Royal New Zealand Police College was 50 per cent women. Recruitment of women is at the highest it has been for at least the last 15 years, at 34 per cent. Attrition rates for women have decreased significantly in the past year and are now at equitable levels for both genders.

42.As at 2014, 192 women in Police have been deployed overseas out of a total of 3,606. Women in Police have served on 256 International Deployments since 2003 (many chose to deploy more than once), in the Pacific and Afghanistan.

43.The Connect and Aspire development programmes and the Women’s Advisory Network Governance Group were established specifically for women in the New Zealand Police. Police continues to invest heavily in the development of women staff, to encourage a strong talent pool of diverse candidates suitable for the most senior ranks and to ensure that the Police workforce represents New Zealand’s diverse population.

Article 6: Prostitution

44.The Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA) decriminalized prostitution. One of the stated purposes is to safeguard the human rights of sex workers and protect them from exploitation. The PRA was reviewed in 2008 by the Prostitution Law Review Committee. It found that the sex industry has not increased in size, and the vast majority of sex workers are better off under the PRA than they were previously. The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective reports that sex workers in New Zealand are aware of their rights and know they can take formal action if they are exploited.


45.Participation and equality in political and public life, representation and nationality

Article 7: Participation in Political and Public Life

46.Promoting women in leadership is one of the Government’s top priorities for women. Since the last report, women have made steady gains in representation at central and local government level and on statutory boards. Representation at top levels in the private sector has improved, but is still relatively low.

Representation at central and local government

47.The gender representativeness of Parliament has increased significantly since the advent of the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system in 1996, although it still has some way to go before it reflects the gender balance in New Zealand society. There are 41 women (34 per cent) Members of Parliament (MPs) in the 51st Parliament, equal to the record 41 elected to the 49th Parliament in 2008. Ten of 27 Ministers of the Crown (37 per cent) and seven of 20 Cabinet Ministers (35 per cent) are women. The Green Party and Māori Party have women co‑leaders, both of whom are MPs.

Local government

48.Local government and the Ministry of Health (MOH) worked with the New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers’ Electoral Working Party to promote greater gender and ethnic diversity in the 2013 local government elections. The proportion of women elected to local bodies has risen from one-quarter to one‑third (33 per cent) over the past 25 years, with the number of women candidates also increasing (to 31 per cent). Community and district health boards (DHBs) tend to have greater proportions of women standing compared to other electoral positions. In 2013 these were at 37 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively. The number of women elected city mayors rose from 19 per cent in 2007 to 31 per cent in 2013.

49.Councils are actively working to support diversity within their organization to better reflect the communities they serve. As part of this, they are carrying out specific initiatives to increase the representation of women at senior levels within council and to increase the diversity of the boards of council-controlled organizations.

Women’s representation in the public service

50.The State Services Commission (SSC) continues to monitor women’s participation in the public service. Women’s overall representation in the public service remained stable between 2005 and 2015, at approximately 60 per cent.

51.The number of women chief executives has increased in this reporting period. As at 30 June 2015, 41 per cent (12 of 29) of chief executives were women compared with 24.1 per cent in 2012. Women occupied 44.2 per cent of senior leadership positions in the public service (the top three tiers of management) as at 30 June 2015.

Government Women’s Network

52.In 2014 the Government Women’s Network (GWN) was established to increase the impact of gender diversity action across government. GWN connects employee-led diversity and inclusion initiatives across government and also connects organizational development efforts linked to diversity, leadership and workforce.

Women in law

53.Two of the most senior justice positions in New Zealand — the Minister of Justice and the Chief Justice — are held by women.

54.Dame Patsy Reddy will be sworn in as Governor-General in September 2016.

55.As at August 2015, women were 29 per cent of the total judiciary in New Zealand. Women head benches for three of the four principal courts. Two women are part of the six-member Supreme Court. Women comprise 20 per cent of the judges in the Court of Appeal, and 26.3 per cent of judges in the High Court. In August 2015, President Ellen France, Justice Christine French and Justice Helen Winkelmann sat as the first all-woman bench in the Court of Appeal’s 153-year history.

56.The Family Court has the greatest representation of women on the bench (41 per cent) followed by the Māori Land Court (30 per cent), the District Court (29 per cent) and the Environment Court (29 per cent).

57.Women comprise almost 60 per cent of employees in law firms, 47 per cent of lawyers, but only 26 per cent of partners or directors. The New Zealand Law Society has made the advancement of women one of its key priorities.

Women’s representation on statutory boards

58.Government continues to work to increase women’s participation on statutory boards, and to create an environment where key decision makers accept the importance of appointing women and actively seek out suitably qualified women candidates.

59.Government has an aspirational goal of 45 per cent participation of women on State sector boards. As at December 2015, women made up 43.4 per cent of State sector boards and committees. This is a significant increase on 41.7 per cent in 2014. In 2015, 51.4 per cent of ministerial appointments to boards were women.

60.MfW acts as a ‘connector’ between emerging women leaders, providing support and information, to develop their skills and talents and realize their leadership potential. MfW continues to directly assist appointing government agencies with the recruitment of suitable women for vacancies on state sector boards.

61.The Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) has invested in governance training workshops to increase Pacific women’s representation on state sector boards and committees. In 2015 the majority of workshop participants were emerging women leaders. MPP also assists appointing government agencies with the recruitment of suitable Pacific women for vacancies on state sector boards.

62.Since 2009 the Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) has run a women’s leadership programme to increase participation and inclusion of ethnic women leaders in civic life and to address potential discrimination. OEC also manages a nominations service to ensure that skilled individuals (men and women) from ethnic communities are put forward for state sector board appointments.

Increasing the representation of women on private sector boards

63.Women made up 17 per cent of directors and 19 per cent of officers (chief executives and senior managers) of all listed companies in 2015. There is a range of private sector initiatives to encourage women onto private sector boards and into senior roles. MfW actively supported the New Zealand Stock Exchange in the institution of a rule requiring New Zealand companies to report on the gender balance of their boards and in senior management from 2013. Work with umbrella organizations such as the Institute of Directors and Business New Zealand has highlighted the business case for gender diversity and provided solutions for those wishing to improve the promotion of women in their organizations.

64.MfW also contributed to the work of DiverseNZ Inc., a private sector cooperative venture that developed a platform of knowledge and practical tools for businesses to leverage diversity. Building on this momentum, in November 2015, Global Women launched Champions for Change, a collaboration of New Zealand chief executives and chairs from the public and private sectors who are committed to raising the value of diversity and inclusion within their organizations and actively promoting the concept amongst their peers.

Article 8: International Representation

65.The advancement of women’s rights internationally is a priority of the New Zealand Government. New Zealand women actively participate in a wide range of international forums, and lead delegations to a number of international meetings.

Women in the diplomatic service

66.Women play an important role in New Zealand’s diplomatic service. As at 31 March 2016, 54.6 per cent of staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) were women. The number of women in the foreign policy (diplomatic) stream of MFAT has increased to 50.6 per cent. Women comprise the majority of New Zealand’s junior diplomats (53.7 per cent) and 43.3 per cent of foreign policy management.

67.The number of women holding Head of Mission/Post positions has been relatively steady since the last report, at 33 per cent. Women hold 30 per cent of positions in the senior leadership team.

Women in international conferences and organizations

68.Women continue to represent New Zealand at international conferences as both official and non-official members of government delegations, without discrimination on the basis of gender. Government support for New Zealand candidates for international bodies is based on the merits of the individual’s candidature and without discrimination on the basis of gender.

69.In 2014 New Zealand High Court Judge, Justice Lowell Goddard, was appointed the head of an inquiry into historical sexual abuse of children in the United Kingdom. That same year Dame Silvia Cartwright (former Chief District Court Judge, first female High Court Judge, former Governor-General) was appointed to the UN Human Rights Council investigation into alleged human rights violations and related crimes in Sri Lanka.

Foreign policy and women’s issues

70.At meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee, New Zealand has been strongly supportive of resolutions and UN action on advancing the rights of women, especially ending violence against women and promoting women in leadership. New Zealand has also consistently reaffirmed its commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and other international obligations to women, which are reflected in the Government’s priorities for women.

71.New Zealand advocates for the protection of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and supports the work of the UN Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood Federation on these issues. New Zealand, along with Colombia, continues to run a resolution on ‘Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights’ to the Human Rights Council. New Zealand continues to work on enhancing its implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, including through the adoption of a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

72.New Zealand strongly supports Security Council Resolution 1820 on ending sexual violence in situations of armed conflict. New Zealand regularly raises issues relating to women’s rights in the UPR process and bilateral dialogue.

New Zealand’s aid programme

73.The purpose of New Zealand’s aid is to develop shared prosperity and stability in the region and beyond. The Aid Programme has 12 investment priorities in the Pacific which is the programme’s main geographical focus.

74.New Zealand integrates women’s empowerment and gender equality across all investment priorities. Gender equality is a powerful multiplier of development efforts and development outcomes are more effective when opportunities for women are increased.

75.In addition to integrating gender across the Aid Programme a number of investments specifically target gender outcomes. These include women’s parliamentary representation, reducing violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and working with partner governments and implementing partners to build understanding that gender equality is essential to economic growth and sustainable development.

Sustainable Development Goals

76.The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set a broad and ambitious agenda for all UN member states, encompassing many areas of major importance to New Zealand domestically, in our region and globally. As a small country, efficiency and avoiding duplication is a high priority. The Government is currently doing a mapping exercise to see how the SDGs and targets fit across existing policy priorities, reporting processes and mechanisms to ensure we can progress the agenda and report appropriately. While Goal 5 specifically addresses gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, MfW’s planning looks at all of the SDGs and how these can be progressed in a way that ensures effective sustainable development for women and girls.

Article 9: Nationality

77.New Zealand women have long enjoyed equal rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality. There are no changes since New Zealand’s last report.


Education; equal access, opportunities and conditions in relation to employment; health; social assistance; and rural women

Article 10: Education

78.Women have high levels of participation and achievement in the formal education system. Between 2012 and 2016 there was a consistent pattern of female school leavers achieving at a higher rate than their male counterparts. Young women are using their education to build pathways to a prosperous and fulfilling future.

79.However, there is more to do to ensure all learners achieve to their potential. Narrowing but persistent disparities remain for both female and male students of Māori and Pacific ethnicity and students from low socioeconomic communities. These include lower rates of participation in early childhood education (ECE) and lower achievement at school.

Early childhood education

80.Access to high quality ECE is recognized by the Government as fundamentally important to good outcomes for young children and for parents. Increased participation in ECE also provides more choice for families, particularly women, who are the predominant caregivers, in balancing work and caring responsibilities.

81.In 2012 the Government set a goal that, by 2016, 98 per cent of children starting school will have attended quality ECE. Over the past three years the national rate has continued to increase, from 94.7 per cent (December 2011) to 96.1 per cent (December 2014). The rates for Māori children, Pacific children and children from schools in low socioeconomic (low-decile) areas increased faster than the national rate, reaching 93.6 per cent, 90.7 per cent and 92 per cent respectively in December 2014. Participation rates for male and female children over this period were very similar. Government has allocated an additional $74.9 million over four years to support more children to participate in ECE for more hours.

Pacific education initiatives

82.In November 2012, the Pasifika Education Plan 2013- 2017 was launched, setting out the Government’s strategic direction for improving Pacific education outcomes. Since its implementation, improved educational outcomes for Pacific students include greater participation in ECE; an increase in achievement in National Standards and NCEA qualifications; and continual growth in participation, retention, and completion rates in tertiary education.

Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

83.Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the partner document of The New Zealand Curriculum, provides guidance to Māori medium schools and their communities as they develop teaching and learning programmes for students. Kura, kaiako and students have access to a range of teaching materials aligned to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, including Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori and achievement standards for use towards NCEA qualifications. Professional learning and development is delivered to kura and kaiako so that their professional knowledge is current.


84.NCEA is the main qualification available to secondary school students. It enables students to undertake multi-level study to attain credits towards an NCEA qualification. Educational and job prospects are limited for those who leave school without NCEA Level 2.

85.In 2014 the trend of female school leavers (79.9 per cent) achieving at a higher rate than their male counterparts (74.5 per cent) continued. Of all school leavers in 2014, across all ethnic groups measured, more young women achieved NCEA Level 2 than young men.

86.The gap in attainment rates between ethnic groups is decreasing. Since 2008 the proportion of Māori and Pacific students leaving school with NCEA Level 2 has continued to increase at a greater than average rate, indicating that the gap in attainment rates between ethnic groups is likely to decrease over time.

Table 1Percentage of female school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above

















































Source: MOE.

Women more likely to participate in tertiary education

87.In 2014 women continued to participate in tertiary education (including all post-school provider-based education) at a higher rate than men. Twelve per cent of women were participating in tertiary education in 2014, compared to 8.7 per cent of men. Tertiary education participation in 2014 varied significantly by ethnic group.

Table 2Women’s participation in tertiary education in 2014 by ethnic group

Under 18 years

18-19 years

20-24 years

25-39 years

40 years and over





































Source: MOE (age standardised).

88.Women (56 per cent) are more likely to complete their qualification within eight years than men (43 per cent). Māori women (52 per cent) and Pacific women (53 per cent) were less likely than European women (55 per cent) and Asian women (67 per cent) to complete a tertiary qualification.

89.Every New Zealand university has its own women’s development course that links into the Universities New Zealand Women in Leadership Programme. This programme supports the development of women who are, or aspire to be, leaders within the tertiary sector.

Fields of study vary by gender

90.Fields of study still vary considerably by gender. In 2013 female graduates continued to predominate in fields such as health (including medicine), education, law, management and commerce. Male graduates predominated in information technology and engineering, and related technologies. Government is working with education providers and employers to increase opportunities for women in the STEM and ICT industries.

•Launched in 2014, A Nation of Curious Minds/He Whenua Hihiri I te Mahara: A National Strategic Plan for Science in Society encourages and enables better engagement with science and technology across New Zealand society. This plan includes an action to increase girls’ participation in science and ICT.

•In 2014 the Government allocated $28.6 million over four years for an ICT Graduate School programme. Three schools are being established in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The initiative is committed to increasing the diversity of ICT students and all schools will focus on increasing the participation of women.

•In 2015 MPP established the Toloa STEM Scholarships for Pacific students. Of the four available scholarships, three were awarded to female recipients.

•Established in 2014, Engineering E2E aims to increase the number of engineering graduates in New Zealand and actively works to encourage more women into engineering careers. Women in Engineering initiatives at the Universities of Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury also provide support for women students.

•Launched in 2003 by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Inc., Futureintech takes young engineers, technologists and scientists into schools to educate children on the career opportunities available in STEM. Women make up 40 per cent of the ambassadors, and are well represented in traditionally male-dominated areas.

Occupational segregation in trades training

91.In general, women are not well represented across the range of trades in New Zealand. The number of women industry trainees has increased from 40,474 in 2012 to 40,733 in 2014. However, the proportion of women trainees (31 per cent) has remained static over the past five years. In 2013, women represented more than 80 per cent of trainees in the traditionally female-dominated industry areas of community support services and hairdressing.

92.Apprenticeships are part of New Zealand’s industry training model, and are work-based education programmes primarily aimed at young people but with no upper age limit. The proportion of women apprentices has decreased from 17 per cent in 2009 to 11 per cent in 2013.

93.The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), MfW, the Tertiary Education Commission and industry training organizations are working together to increase trades training opportunities for women.

•Work is under way to encourage Māori and Pacific women into the expanded Māori and Pacific Trades Training programme that aims to have 5,000 trainees enrolled in apprenticeships by June 2016. Northland and South Auckland have been identified as areas where priority groups of women are concentrated.

•The Ultimit scheme aims to encourage more women to consider career options within the electricity supply industry by offering ‘taster’ courses and raising awareness of opportunities. Only 3 per cent of women trade trainees are employed in trade and technical roles within the electricity supply industry.

•Got A Trade Got It Made promotes careers in trades and services. The programme’s website highlights the achievements of young New Zealand apprentices and various career opportunities available to women are profiled.

•Worldskills New Zealand also promotes the opportunities for and achievements of women in trades. Regional and national competitions are held every two years with winners selected to participate in the Worldskills international competitions.

More women receive student allowances

94.The Student Allowances Scheme provides targeted assistance for living costs. New Zealanders studying towards government-funded tertiary qualifications, and some senior secondary school students, may apply for student allowances. In 2014, 43,882 women received a student allowance accounting for 55 per cent of all recipients.

Sole parents in education

95.Nearly 92 per cent of all recipients of the Sole Parent Support benefit are women. In order to encourage eligible sole parents into higher education, the Government has made funding and legislative changes to:

•Align the level of overall financial support for sole parents receiving a student allowance with that for sole parents receiving a benefit

•Ensure that their child support arrangements are not disrupted if they require benefit support in the summer, and

•Remove the one-week benefit stand down in the summer break.

Not in Education, Employment or Training

96.While young women on average do better in school than young men, young women aged 15-24 years are also more likely not to be in education, employment or training (NEET). The proportion of young women aged 15-24 years NEET decreased from 14.9 per cent in 2013, to 13.3 per cent in December 2015. In the year to December 2015 NEET rates were 25.8 per cent for young Māori women, 20.9 per cent for young Pacific women and 10 per cent for young European women.

Article 11: Employment

97.Fully utilizing women’s skills and talents in employment and leadership is a priority for the Government.

98.Despite an increase in qualifications, women are overrepresented in minimum wage jobs. In 2014, 66.6 per cent of minimum wage earners over 25 were women. Māori women, Pacific women, young mothers and former prisoners are vulnerable to low wage employment and poorer outcomes for themselves and their families. These are priority groups of women for MfW.

99.In 2014, 13 per cent of Pacific women earned under the minimum wage compared to 9.4 per cent of Māori women, 9 per cent of Asian women and 6.4 per cent of European women.

100.The female unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent in the year to March 2016, down from 6.3 per cent in the year to March 2015 and 6.7 per cent in the year to March 2014. Unemployment rates for Māori (13.9 per cent) and Pacific (13.0 per cent) women were higher than those of European (4.7 per cent) and Asian (7.7 per cent) women in the year to March 2016. These rates are all higher than for men in the same groups.

101.The female labour force participation rate (for women aged 15 and over) rose from 62.6 per cent during the March 2013 quarter to 64.0 per cent in the March 2016 quarter. The male labour force participation rate (for men aged 15 and over) rose from 73.1 per cent during the March 2013 quarter to 74.4 per cent in the March 2016 quarter.

Potential of New Zealand’s female labour force

102.A large number of women in New Zealand work in female-dominated industries where pay tends to be low. Better utilisation of women’s talents in the labour force will help meet New Zealand’s current and projected skill shortages.

Boosting women’s employment and skills in Canterbury

103.Following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, women’s employment in Canterbury was negatively affected. At the same time, demand for trade people increased as the rebuilding process commenced.

104.MfW partnered with a number of industry and community leaders and local training providers to simultaneously improve women’s employment, help meet skill shortages in Canterbury and promote the idea of women in trades. For instance, it has:

•Published Building back better: Utilizing women ’ s labour in the Canterbury recovery (2013), a business case for increasing the number of women in trades in Canterbury

•Published Growing your trades workforce: How to attract women to your jobs (2014), a handbook for trades employers on how to recruit and retain women

•Published Getting it done: Utilizing women ’ s skills in the workforce (2015), sharing the lessons learnt and strategies developed in Canterbury, and

•Worked with the Stronger Canterbury Infrastructure Rebuild Team to raise women’s visibility in the rebuild.

105.Another important contribution to women’s engagement in the Canterbury rebuild was the introduction in 2014 of the Women in Trades Scholarship initiative at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). The initiative covers tuition fees for women studying towards a Level 1-4 Trades programme at CPIT. Female enrolments in trades training at CPIT increased from 50 in 2011 to 414 in 2014.

106.In the December 2015 quarter, there were 1,700 more women employed in the construction industry in Canterbury than at the same time the previous year. Women made up 16.7 per cent (8,300) of construction workers in Canterbury in the December 2015 quarter. Nationally, there were 4,500 more women employed in the construction industry in the December 2015 quarter than at the same time the previous year. Women made up 14.2 per cent (33,000) of construction workers nationally in December 2015.

107.The experiences gained through these actions in Canterbury are being used to inform national efforts to promote the recruitment and retention of women in occupations where they are underrepresented.

Workshops for small to medium-sized enterprises

108.Building on the work in Canterbury, MfW has embarked on a project to raise awareness among small to medium-sized enterprises of the benefits of flexible and diverse work environments. With a focus on skill gaps in the STEM and trades industries, MfW facilitated three regional workshops in 2016 on the theme ‘Getting and Keeping Good Workers’. A toolkit has been developed that provides practical resources for business owners, including information on the support available from government agencies.

Road Transport Forum

109.MfW has also worked with the Road Transport Forum on the development and implementation of the Women in Road Transport Action Plan to recruit more women into the road transport sector across New Zealand.

Flexible working arrangements

110.The Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007 came into force in 2008, to increase carers’ participation in employment. A review in 2011 led to further changes through the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014. The key changes are:

•Extending the statutory right to request flexible working arrangements to all employees

•Enabling employees to request flexibility from their first day on the job

•Removing the limit on the number of requests an employee can make in a year, and

•Requiring an employer to respond in writing to a request within one month and explain any refusal.

Extension of parental leave

111.The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 provides paid leave for employees with at least six months’ continuous service with their employer and up to 52 weeks’ unpaid leave for employees with at least 12 months’ continuous service with their employer. Paid parental leave can be transferred to fathers, provided they are also eligible. Paid parental leave was extended from 14 weeks to 16 weeks on 1 April 2015 and further extended to 18 weeks on 1 April 2016.

112.Further changes proposed to parental leave provisions came into effect on 1 April 2016 and include:

•Extending parental leave payments to non-standard workers and those who have recently changed jobs

•Extending parental leave entitlements to a wider range of primary carers than just biological or formal adoptive parents, and

•Enabling employees to take the leave more flexibly, by mutual agreement with the employer

Gender pay gap is trending down slowly

113.The gender pay gap is New Zealand’s official measure of the difference between men and women’s earnings. It uses median hourly earnings of men and women and is updated annually using data from the New Zealand Income Survey. In the June 2015 quarter women’s median hourly earnings were $21.23 compared with $24.07 for men, a pay gap of 11.8 per cent. While the gender pay gap has been trending downwards, and it is good by international standards, it has stabilized in the past 6 years. Reducing it further remains a priority for the Government.

114.Projects that MfW is working on include:

•Increasing the number of women working in industries in demand

•Improving the labour market engagement of Canterbury women, and

•Increasing the opportunities for women to progress into leadership roles in organizations.

115.MBIE has Pay and Employment Equity tools available for both private and public organizations that want to address equity issues in their workforce.

Equal pay for work of equal value

116.In October 2014, the Court of Appeal issued a decision in TerraNova v Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) on the interpretation of the Equal Pay Act 1972 (EPA). The Court of Appeal confirmed an earlier Employment Court decision that:

•The EPA provides for equal pay for work of equal value (pay equity) meaning women should receive the same pay as men would be paid for work that requires similar skill, effort and responsibility

•The Employment Court may look beyond the immediate employer or industry for comparators if an appropriate comparator does not exist in the immediate employer or industry, and

•The Employment Court must take into account any systemic undervaluation of the work in question derived from current or historic or structural gender discrimination.

117.A Joint Working Group (government, unions and employer representatives) was established to develop principles for dealing with pay equity claims consistent with New Zealand’s employment relations framework and a well-functioning labour market. The Government is considering the recommendations of the Joint Working Group.

118.The New Zealand College of Midwives is seeking to judicially review the level of fees payable to self-employed midwives for the provision of lead maternity care services. The College says that the fees result in a level of income that undervalues midwives’ work when compared with the incomes of general practitioners and pharmacists. The case is to be heard in the High Court in August 2016.

Investment approach to improve employment outcomes

119.The Government’s welfare reform has significantly improved work outcomes for sole parents, particularly those with school-aged children. Although welfare reforms have not specifically targeted gender, the fact that sole parents are overwhelmingly women means that reforms that target sole parents indirectly target women. The one-on-one Work Focused Case Management approach is helping sole parents exit into employment more quickly than other beneficiary groups.

Pacific Employment Support Services

120.The Pacific Employment Support Services was developed to assist Pacific youth who are NEET, to achieve economic independence through learning skills and preparing them for sustainable employment. Since its implementation in 2011, 561 Pacific young people, 31 per cent of whom were young women, have found sustainable job placements. Forty per cent of those placed into training were women.

Tracking Equality At Work

121.The Human Rights Commission (HRC) released Tracking Equality At Work in June 2015 as part of its work to highlight income inequality and employment issues. The web-based tool brings together existing employment data to allow comparisons between population groups, which may lead to more awareness of income differences.

Article 12: Health

122.The Government wants to ensure that all New Zealanders have the same opportunities for good health. Patient centred health services for all New Zealanders are funded by the Government, irrespective of gender. Women continue to have higher rates of utilisation of primary health care services than men. However, they also have higher levels of reported unmet need for such services.

123.Women continue to experience better health than men, although the gap is narrowing. Life expectancy at birth increased from 78.7 years for females and 72.9 years for males in 1991 to 83.3 years and 79.6 years respectively in 2013. The narrowing gender gap mainly reflects faster decline in mortality from coronary disease among males, in turn resulting (at least in part) from a more rapid fall in tobacco use among males.

124.Women comprise about 54 per cent of New Zealand’s population over 65 years of age. Older women in New Zealand have higher rates of arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma and chronic obstructive respiratory disease than men and are more often subject to elder abuse both by carers and family members. Two thirds of abused older people are women.

125.Equity has improved but significant gaps remain in health outcomes for New Zealanders. Māori, Pacific peoples, disabled people and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups generally experience worse health outcomes than other New Zealanders. The causes of these differential outcomes include differences in access, use and experience of health services, as well as differences in exposure to risk factors.

Breast screening

126.BreastScreen Aotearoa, the national breast screening programme, offers free mammography screening to eligible women. Since 2009 participation in the programme has increased, particularly among Māori and Pacific women. Coverage for Māori women aged 50-69 years increased from 58 per cent in 2009 to 66 per cent in 2014. Coverage for Pacific women aged 50-69 years increased from 60 per cent in 2009 to 73 per cent in 2014.

Cervical screening

127.New Zealand operates a national cervical screening programme to detect and treat pre-cancerous cervical lesions. The national target for cervical screening coverage is for 80 per cent of women to have been screened within the previous three years. Screening coverage is 76.5 per cent overall; 65.4 per cent for Māori women, 75.9 per cent for Pacific women and 81.3 per cent for European women.

128.New Zealand has offered free HPV vaccination since 2008. As a result of the introduction of HPV vaccination, since 2013 the rate of high-grade lesions diagnosed in women has fallen.

Antenatal HIV screening

129.Screening for HIV is a well-established part of maternity care and all pregnant women are offered screening for HIV in pregnancy as part of the first antenatal blood tests.

130.Very few pregnant women (around one woman per year) are identified through screening; however, the universal offer is still important as testing is the only way to know if women have HIV. For those women who are found to be HIV positive, early detection leads to early treatment for the woman and enables implementation of preventative measures that reduce the chance of mother-child transmission during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

Sexual health

131.MOH undertook the Value for Money Review of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services report in 2013. One of the key recommendations was the development of a new sexual and reproductive health plan which is due to be completed in 2016. Responding to the health needs of LGBTI communities will be a part of this plan.

132.A website has been developed which includes detailed information aimed at young people on how to access sexual and reproductive help. A mobile phone application allows users to locate the nearest sexual reproductive health service.

Mental health

133.Women experience certain mental disorders at a higher rate than men, such as eating disorders and some mood disorders. Māori and Pacific women are more likely to experience mental illness, than women from other ethnic groups. Government funding for mental health services was around $1.3 billion in 2013/14. MOH reports regularly on mental health issues, including by gender and ethnicity.

134.Reporting for 2014 showed, for example, that women are less likely to be subject to compulsory mental health treatment and seclusion than men, and more likely to receive electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The main reason for the gender difference in ECT is that more women present to mental health services with depressive disorders.

Impact of violence

135.Violence has significant impacts on the physical and mental health of women. The health system includes activity to prevent, identify and treat family and sexual violence, which women experience at disproportionately higher rates than men. The Health Promotion Agency undertakes health promotion activities that seek to address risk and protective factors for violence, including information and campaigns around alcohol (a risk factor) and improving mental well-being (a protective factor). Women 16 years and over are universally screened for family violence in the following DHB community and hospital services: mental health, alcohol and other drug, paediatrics, maternity, sexual health and emergency departments.

136.Children under 16 years are screened in child health services and emergency departments, based on signs and symptoms. This is part of the Violence Intervention Programme, a systems approach to enquiry, risk assessment and referral for family violence in all DHBs.

137.In response to new research and societal changes in the last decade, in 2015 MOE revised its Sexuality Education: Guide for principals, boards of trustees and teachers. Core sexuality education classroom resources are also being refreshed to ensure they are engaging and align to the current New Zealand Curriculum (2007).

Improvements in treatment of sexually transmitted infections

138.Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common in New Zealand. Surveillance data regularly indicates that those aged less than 25 years and non‑Europeans show a disproportionate burden of STIs. The highest numbers and rates for each STI are almost always seen in the 15-19 years and 20-24 years age groups.

139.The Health (Protection) Amendment Bill proposes to make HIV infection, gonorrhoea and syphilis notifiable which should improve management, tracing and treatment.

140.The HPV immunisation programme was introduced in 2008. This has been associated with a marked decrease in the number of first genital warts presentations to sexual health clinics for women aged 15-19 years since 2009.

Access to contraception

141.New Zealand provides a range of low-cost options for contraception. Rates of contraceptive and condom use have remained static for 13-17 year olds from 2001 to 2012. In 2012 at least 13,500 women received the Jadelle implant in New Zealand. Family Planning recorded that more than 4,000 women received the implant through its services alone, at a low cost of around $5 per implant. This is a considerable increase in uptake from 2008 when it was available at a cost of $300 per implant.

Rates of teenage pregnancy and births are declining in New Zealand

142.While New Zealand’s rates of unplanned teen pregnancy have reduced, they have remained in the top five in the OECD for over a decade. Among women aged 15-19 years, births and induced abortions have fallen from 8,705 pregnancies in 2009 to 4,742 pregnancies in 2014. The percentage of teen births, compared to all births in New Zealand, fell from 7.6 per cent in 2009 to 5.9 per cent in 2013, the lowest ever recorded. Māori teen birth rates are declining, reaching 51.7 per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years in 2014, down from 81.9 in 2009.

143.This general decline in New Zealand teen birth rates is consistent with international trends. The Government has asked MOH to lead a Better Public Service (BPS) target programme to reduce rates of teen pregnancy. Data showed that even when controlling for deprivation, teen parents had significantly lower lifetime incomes and educational attainment.

Abortion rates are relatively high but have decreased

144.Abortion is legal in New Zealand for women of any age, if two certifying consultants agree that the pregnancy will seriously harm a woman’s physical or mental health.

145.Abortion rates recently hit a 17 year low (down to 14.4 per 1000 women aged 15-44 years). A recent High Court ruling regarding the legal grounds for early medical abortions may pave the way for greater availability of this less invasive procedure. DHBs are required to offer abortion services for their population. Access to abortion services varies by region.

Maternity services

146.Health services in New Zealand are focused on providing high-quality, safe and accessible maternity services. There has been an increase in the number of women accessing a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) from 83.9 per cent in 2009 to 90.4 per cent in 2013. The LMC, usually a Registered Midwife, provides the woman and her baby with continuity of care from the time of registration (12-16 weeks of pregnancy) through labour and birth and for six weeks postnatally. Registration with the LMC in the first trimester (12 weeks) has increased from 56.3 per cent in 2009 to 65 per cent in 2013.

147.The stillbirth rate per 1,000 births has fallen from 6.4 in 2009 to 5.1 in 2012. The maternal mortality ratio (three year rolling average per 100,000 births) has fallen from 17.4 in 2009 to 14.7 in 2012. Women with significant blood loss following Caesarean section fell from 9 per cent in 2009 to 8.3 per cent in 2013. Maternal tobacco use at two weeks postnatal has fallen from 14.8 per cent in 2009 to 13.5 per cent in 2013.

Mothers with Babies units

148.The Corrections (Mothers with Babies) Amendment Act 2008 allows eligible mothers in prison to keep their children with them until the age of two (the age limit was previously nine months).

149.In Mothers with Babies units within women’s prisons, a baby can live with their mother until they are two years old. This initiative aims to reduce the likelihood of re-offending for mothers serving prison sentences and significantly improve their children’s life chances. These units are available at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, Arohata Prison (Wellington) and Christchurch Women’s Prison.

150.An independent formative evaluation of the Mothers with Babies units conducted in 2013 confirmed they operated according to best practice principles, and also assisted the Department of Corrections in further improving its practice in the units.


151.New Zealand has a high initial rate of breastfeeding. Statistics show that 80per cent of infants are exclusively or fully breastfed at two weeks; 76 per cent at six weeks; 55 per cent at three months; and 65 per cent of infants are receiving breast milk at six months. Ninety-six per cent of New Zealand’s maternity facilities are Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative accredited which means they uphold and follow the World Health Organization (WHO) Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

152.MOH continues to proactively implement and monitor the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes which aims to protect, support and promote breastfeeding.

Article 13: Economic and Social Benefits

New Zealand women have the same rights to government benefits as men

153.Welfare assistance in New Zealand is based on need and women have the same rights to government benefits as men. Two benefits that were available only to women (the Widow’s Benefit and the Domestic Purposes Benefit — Women Alone), stopped in July 2013, with former recipients moving onto either Jobseeker Support or Sole Parent Support. Benefit rates were grand-parented to prevent anyone being disadvantaged by the change.

154.At the end of December 2014, of the 309,145 people receiving a working-age benefit, around 60 per cent (178,662) were women. At the end of December 2014 there were 72,534 recipients of the Sole Parent Support. Of all recipients, 92 per cent were female and 47 per cent were Māori. There were 889 young people (16 and 17 year olds without children, and 16-18 year old parents) receiving either the Youth Payment or Young Parent Payment, and nearly 88 per cent of these were female.

Dress for Success

155.Dress for Success supports women seeking employment, dressing each client for their job and/or training interview, or their first day at work. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) provides grants to cover these costs. In the year to June 2015, 344 grants were made.

Youth Service

156.There has been significant investment in young beneficiaries through the launch of the Youth Service in 2012. Community-based providers work with unemployed or disengaged 16-18 year olds to provide individualized and intensive support to improve their educational and social outcomes and reduce welfare dependency.

157.The benefit-related obligations have resulted in increased rates of participation in services for a vulnerable group of young women. As at March 2015, of the 1,088 women receiving Young Parent Payment, 73.6 per cent were undertaking a budgeting activity, 67.6 per cent were attending a parenting course and 87.4 per cent were engaged in some form of approved education. Across all categories, 54.3 per cent of the people helped by Youth Service are women.

Government invests significantly in services for teen parents and their children

158.The Government invests significantly in services for teen parents. Since its introduction, 4,771 teen parents have been engaged in the Youth Service (to March 2015), of whom 4,358 were women. The Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment was also introduced in 2012 to provide financial assistance for childcare costs to enable young parents to return to, or remain in, education. From August 2012 to March 2015, 1,997 grants have been made under this initiative, of which 1,982 were to women. At the end of March 2015 there were 1,088 (91.7 per cent) women receiving the Young Parent Payment.

159.In addition to the Youth Service, teen parents may also be eligible for a range of other services and support, including housing services, Teen Parent Units in educational facilities and parenting programmes catering specifically to the needs of teen fathers whose social and emotional support has been proven to help teenage mothers parent better.

Women aged 65 and older

160.All women aged 65 years or over who meet the qualifying criteria receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veterans Pension. Fifty-four per cent of New Zealand Superannuation recipients are women, which reflects the demographic gender balance of older New Zealanders. At around 8 per cent, New Zealanders aged 65 and older have lower after housing costs income poverty and material hardship rates than all other age groups.

161.The SuperGold Card, principally issued to men and women aged 65 years and over, allows access to a growing range of business discounts and free off-peak travel on public transport. At the end of August 2015 there were 8,085 participating businesses representing 12,751 outlets offering discounts for cardholders.

162.Each year New Zealand’s Age Concern’s Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention services receive around 2,000 referrals about people who may be facing elder abuse or neglect. Two thirds of abused older people are women.

More women than men do unpaid work

163.Women are more likely than men to care for others in an unpaid capacity. According to the 2013 Census, 34 per cent of women looked after a child living within their own household, compared with 27 per cent of men. Similarly, 9 per cent of women looked after someone in their own household who was ill or had a disability, compared with 6 per cent of men.

164.Women were also more likely than men to care for others outside their own household. Twenty per cent of women looked after a child who did not live in their own household, compared with 11 per cent of men. Similarly, 11 per cent of women helped someone who was ill or had a disability living outside their own household, compared with 6 per cent of men.

165.More Māori than non-Māori women (30 per cent compared to 18 per cent) looked after a child living outside their own household, while 15 per cent of Māori women helped someone who was ill or who had a disability living outside their own household compared to 11 per cent of non-Māori women.

166.The Department of Internal Affairs’ Quarterly Volunteering and Donating Indicators for September 2014 also showed that 59 per cent of women undertook voluntary work in comparison to 41 per cent of men.

Both men and women enjoy participation in recreational and cultural activities

167.Women have the same rights as men in New Zealand to participate in recreational activities, sports and aspects of cultural life.

168.The New Zealanders and the Arts 2014 survey measures the levels of engagement (attendance and participation) with the arts. Of adults 15 years and over, more women (42 per cent) than men (32 per cent) attended an arts event in the last 12 months.

169.Participation levels in sport and recreation are high for men and women, people from different ethnic backgrounds, and all but the oldest age group (75 years and over). Weekly participation grew in the years between 2007/08 and 2013/14, from 72.6 per cent to 74 per cent. There was a slightly higher increase for women (up 2 percentage points, compared with a 1 percentage point increase for men).

170.Reasons for participation varied in importance for some groups, and most notably between men and women: men were more likely to say they took part in activities for enjoyment, social reasons and sport performance, whereas women were more likely to say they took part in activities for fitness and health, low cost and convenience. Women were more likely than men to do an activity without paying and to pay by concession card.

171.There is a range of initiatives in place targeting the development of women in sport. These include the active encouragement and development of women leaders through scholarships, training and mentoring provided by Sport New Zealand through their Women in Governance Programme. The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) also presents an Aspiring Women Olympic Leaders programme. A proactive approach has seen an increase in the number of women sitting on boards of National Sport Organizations. Across a benchmark group of 72 organizations, the number of women on sports sector boards has increased from 27 per cent in 2012 to 34 per cent in 2015.

172.NZOC has also embarked on an ambitious programme to change the quantity and style of media coverage with a focus on the upcoming Rio Olympic Games. This programme manages the supply of information regarding athletes/teams with consistent messaging, language and coverage irrespective of gender. Work is underway with journalists, media channels and athletes in support of this initiative. The impact will be tracked in the period leading up to and during the Olympic Games.

Article 14: Rural Women

173.The Government’s rural policies ensure that, no matter where they live, all people have a reasonable ability to live, work, and run businesses; and contribute to, and be part of, New Zealand society. The unique relationship of Māori to rural tribal land, marae and wāhi tapu is also recognized.

174.Rural women aged 15 years and over had a higher before-tax mean income ($31,200) than urban women ($30,500) in the year to March 2013. Other statistics drawn from the New Zealand Census show that in 2013:

•13 per cent of women in New Zealand lived in rural areas

•The percentage of young rural women in full-time study is greater than the percentage of young urban women in full-time study, and

•59 per cent of rural women owned or partly owned their usual residence, compared with 49 per cent of urban women.

Building rural women’s capability

175.Women play an integral role in many rural businesses, especially farming businesses. The Government is working to build the capability of rural women through a number of targeted investments:

•The Red Meat Profit Partnership (a Primary Growth Partnership programme) is running a series of workshops to better engage women as critical partners in their farming business, through building business knowledge, skills and confidence.

•As part of the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain (a Primary Growth Partnership programme), the Dairy Women’s Network is involved with the Farmer Wellness and Wellbeing programme, a change management strategy aiming to change the behaviours and attitudes of both men and women dairy farmers to physical and mental health.

•Transforming the Dairy Value Chain (a Primary Growth Partnership programme) and other dairy industry projects are training women to provide farm staff training in farm business and people and animal health management.

•Through DairyNZ, the dairy farmer levy provides support for rural women’s leadership development in the community and business sector, via specific projects delivered by the Dairy Women’s Network and the Agri-Women’s Development Trust.

•Investment by the Sustainable Farming Fund, in partnership with the Dairy Women’s Network, is delivering capability building through a leadership/mentoring programme, e-Leadership Development Hubs and an Individualized Pathway Programme.

•The Ministry for Primary Industries has funded Rural Women NZ during recent adverse climatic events, most recently the flooding and storm event in Northland in July 2014. Rural Women NZ organized activities to build resilience and support women in dealing with the impacts on their families.

Access to health, education and social services

176.Boarding allowances provide some assistance to rural children to access education at boarding schools. The Boarding School Allowance scheme was reviewed in 2013 and the amount paid has been increased.

177.Teen Parents in the Mainstream pilot programme is assisting up to 100 teenage parents who live in small towns or country areas where there is no Teen Parent Unit. Extra funding is provided to schools to enable these students to overcome barriers to achieving NCEA Level 2 or above. The pilot runs from 2014 until 2016.

178.The Government assists with funding for people who are referred long distances and/or frequently for specialist health and disability services through the National Travel Assistance policy.

179.Heartland Service Centres provide people in rural and provincial areas with access to a range of government and community services and information. The centres provide a convenient “one-stop-shop” for clients to discuss their needs directly with service providers. Approximately 25 central government agencies (for example, Inland Revenue, Immigration New Zealand and Work and Income) and more than 50 community organizations participate.

180.In some areas, the local Women’s Refuge has developed partnerships with the local Heartland Services and regularly works from the Heartland Services premises to provide support to rural women.


Equality before the law, and the elimination of discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and familyrelations

Article 15: Law

181.The following improvements are being progressed as part of a whole-of-government approach.

Legal and court improvements

182.A review of the legislation that sets out the response to family violence has been initiated to ensure that it is modern and fit for purpose. The review is a part of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence work programme. As part of the review the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) received around 500 submissions during a two month public consultation period. The ideas and comments in the submissions will inform the options for change. The review is focusing on:

•Enhancing victim safety

•Holding perpetrators accountable for their actions and making them responsible for changing their behaviour, and

•Improving the links between family violence laws to support a better coordinated system.

183.The Government is considering the Law Commission’s recommendation to make strangulation a specific offence. This work will sit alongside the review of family violence laws, which explores a range of new family violence offences. The Government is also considering the Law Commission’s recommendations to create a specialist court for sexual violence, make changes to procedural and evidential rules in court and to establish an alternative process for resolving sexual violence outside the criminal justice system.

184.The Minister of Justice has overseen changes to rules and regulations to better facilitate information sharing between the civil/family and criminal jurisdictions of the courts in family violence cases.

Family Violence Summary Report, Chief Victims Advisor to Government and Victim Services

185.A new pilot programme began on 1 September 2015 in two pilot sites, in Porirua and Christchurch, to provide judges with better family violence information about defendants at bail hearings. A key aim of the initiative is to ensure that judges are provided with relevant, timely and consistent information to keep victims safe. Prior to bail hearings, judges are provided with a Family Violence Summary Report which includes all recorded family violence incidents, including alleged breaches of Protection Orders and Police Safety Orders, involving the defendant.

186.The Minister of Justice appointed a Chief Advisor on Victims to Government in November 2015. The role marks an important step to ensure victims are placed at the heart of decision-making and it is a central part of the Government’s response to better protecting victims of family violence.

187.The National Home Safety Service began on 1 July 2015 and by 2017/18 will help up to 400 victims of family violence per year and 600 children remain safer in their own homes. In the first year the service has been rolled out progressively throughout the country with a target of 250 upgrades.

Article 16: Marriage and Family Life

188.The focus of this section is largely not on the positive experience of the majority, but on the problems that negatively impact some families and women. These include family and sexual violence that impact disproportionately on women — problems that New Zealand is determined to address.

New Zealand family is diverse

189.In 2013, two-parent families with children, and couples without children each made up 41 per cent of families in private households. One parent families with children accounted for 18 per cent.

190.The fertility rate was two births per woman in 2015. The median age for women having their first child was 28.6 in 2015, up slightly from 2014 when it was 28.4, gradually increasing for the past eight years. This varies by ethnicity: 29 years for European, 30 years for Asian and 24 years for Māori and Pacific women.

191.In 2013 the median age at first marriage was 30.1 and 28.6 years for men and women respectively, up from 29.5 and 27.7 years in 2003. De facto relationships accounted for 22 per cent of all relationships for people aged 15 years or older in 2013.

192.New Zealand’s first same-sex marriages occurred in August 2013. Between their introduction and the end of 2014 there were a total of 695 same-sex marriages between New Zealand residents.

193.There were 686 civil unions in the three years from 2012 to 2014, the majority of which took place between same-sex couples.

Violence against women

194.The Government views all forms of violence against women as a serious social problem. Government is committed to reducing family violence and sexual violence and keeping all victims of family violence and sexual violence safe.

195.Violence against women in New Zealand is widespread and takes many different forms. It includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse that leaves victims fearful, intimidated and emotionally scarred. Most victims of intimate partner violence and sexual violence are women and most perpetrators are men. It is estimated that 26.1 per cent of New Zealand women have experienced one or more violent offences by a partner and 23.8 per cent of New Zealand women have experienced one or more sexual offences at some point during their lives (lifetime prevalence). At least 50 per cent of female sexual assault victims are likely to be revictimized.

196.There has been a statistically significant decline in the annual prevalence rate of both partner violence against women and sexual violence against women since 2005, when the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey (NZCASS) was first conducted by MOJ. The annual rate of partner violence offences against women decreased from 8.6 per cent in 2005 to 5.7 per cent in 2013. The annual rate of sexual violence offences against women decreased from 5.2 per cent in 2005 to 2.9 per cent in 2013.

197.Violence affects women from all cultures, backgrounds and socio-economic groups. In some cases it spans multiple relationships and generations. Children who are exposed to family violence are at greater risk of becoming either perpetrators or victims of violence when they grow up. Some groups of women are, however, at higher risk than others, with Māori women being almost twice as likely to experience violence as other groups of women.

198.Violence against women has serious, long-lasting and costly impacts on victims, communities and New Zealand as a whole and it is a major barrier to gender equality. It is, however, difficult to obtain an accurate picture of the extent of violence against women in New Zealand, due to its sensitive nature and differences in willingness to report among different groups.

Whole-of-government approach to family violence and sexual violence

199.In December 2014 Government established a Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence to bring a more coordinated whole-of-government approach to addressing family and sexual violence. Membership of the Ministerial Group includes Ministers of all the relevant policy and operational portfolios, and all the population portfolios.

200.The work programme of the Ministerial Group focuses on: preventing family violence and sexual violence from happening in the first place; getting victims the help they need; and holding perpetrators to account. It builds on existing work and brings all family violence and sexual violence work across government together so it is visible in one place in order to provide a cohesive and whole-of-government response. The work programme also includes a focus on elder abuse and neglect.

201.The Ministerial Group reports regularly to Cabinet and the next report is due in June 2016.

Government’s response to sexual violence

202.In 2013 the Social Services Committee Inquiry into the funding of specialist sexual violence social services commenced, hearing public submissions and extensive expert advice.

203.The Social Services Committee tabled its report (with 32 recommendations) in the House of Representatives in early December 2015. The Government response addresses the broad findings of the Inquiry and each of the 32 recommendations individually.

204.The findings of the cross-agency review of the sexual violence sector have informed the Ministerial Group work programme, which includes projects specifically focused on sexual violence:

•Developing a long-term policy framework for responding to sexual violence

•Improving sector infrastructure

•Developing an approach for crisis service purchasing and planning

•Developing a national sexual violence primary prevention strategy and action plan, and

•Developing a national sexual violence strategy and action plan focused on youth.

205.These pieces of work built on the 2010 Government response to the Report of the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence.

206.To ensure ongoing delivery of specialist services while this work is underway, interim funding of $10.4 million over two years has provided immediate stability for specialist sexual violence service providers (ends June 2016).

“It’s not OK”

207.The “It’s not OK” campaign mobilizes communities to take a stand against family violence, and change attitudes and behaviour that tolerate it. A key component of the campaign is supporting community-led initiatives and working in partnership with sports organizations, local and non-governmental agencies, faith and ethnic communities, businesses and the family violence sector.

208.There has been an increase in family violence reported to Police since the campaign launched in 2007 (61,947 investigations in 2006 to 101,991 in 2014). Police have attributed this to more willingness to ask for help, earlier reporting and increased reporting by neighbours, largely driven by the campaign.

209.NZDF has also implemented the targeted “It’s not OK” programme.

“Are you that someone?”

210.“Are you that someone?” is a short term awareness raising campaign that encourages people in the 16-21 year age group to become active bystanders, by providing them with the knowledge and confidence to recognize and take action to stop inappropriate sexual behaviour.

211.The campaign includes posters and postcards, merchandise, social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and campaign events held at university and polytechnic campuses.

212.Over the initial 10 weeks of the campaign, 35,012 users engaged through Facebook and 580 through Twitter. There were 102,000 unique users on Facebook every seven days on average, about one in five of the target audience. An estimated 2,000 people attended “Are you that someone?” events.

“Mates & Dates”

213.“Mates & Dates” is a sexual and dating violence prevention programme piloted by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in 2014 with approximately 2000 secondary school students. A multi-year programme for Years 9-13, it teaches healthy relationship skills and behaviours.

214.The eight schools that participated in the pilot are continuing to receive “Mates & Dates” and an additional 11 schools received the programme in 2015. ACC is aiming to bring on board a further 40 schools in 2016.

Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims

215.ACC funds counselling and other therapeutic and support services for people who have experienced sexual violence. These services were reviewed and re‑launched as the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims (ISSC) in early 2015. ISSC offers expanded provider coverage, improved access to services and fully funded services that do not require a co-payment from the client. Of the 6,631 new sensitive claims lodged in financial year 2014/15, nearly 80 per cent were for women and girls.

E Tu Whānau

216. E Tu Whānau is a Māori-led response to family violence in New Zealand. The programme made good progress against the first Programme of Action (2008-2013). A key focus was to ensure that the need to address family violence was led by Māori. There is clear evidence that progress has been made in this — Māori leaders are taking responsibility, demonstrating commitment and reclaiming tikanga (traditional cultural values).

217.The programme is into its second strengths-based programme of action (covering 2013-2018) and is progressing well. It has triggered a good deal of discretionary effort from community and tribal leaders. Practitioners and providers receive comprehensive training which explicitly focuses on violence and legal responsibilities.

Whānau Ora

218.Whānau Ora is an approach to achieving better outcomes for whānau and families in need by empowering whānau as a whole to identify their aspirations to improve their lives, and building their capacity to achieve their goals. It is a development rather than deficit approach.

219.Whānau Ora is delivered through:

•Commissioning agencies: non-governmental organizations contracted to fund and support initiatives that deliver the Government’s Whānau Ora outcomes. They act as brokers in matching the needs and aspirations of whānau and families with initiatives that assist them to increase their capability.

•Provider collectives: provide services, incorporating a Whānau Ora approach, to whānau and families in need within their communities. These comprise whānau-centred health, education, social and other services/programmes.

•Navigators: practitioners who work with whānau and families to identify their needs and aspirations, support their participation in education, primary health and employment, and link and coordinate access to specialist services.

220.In the April to June 2015 quarter 4,856 whānau, representing 39,810 whānau members were receiving whānau-centred services across 62 Whānau Ora provider collectives and specialist navigator providers. In addition, a comprehensive survey analysing phase one of the Whānau Ora research and monitoring results to better understand whānau-centred approaches has been completed.

Programme of Action for Pacific Peoples 2008 and Beyond

221.The Pasefika Proud Programme of Action 2014- 2017 is progressing in alignment with the Ministerial Family Violence and Sexual Violence Work Programme. Areas of focus include developing evidence of what works for Pacific families, supporting community-led initiatives to effect change in thinking and behaviour to reduce the tolerance of violence and working with faith communities using a strengths-based approach.

222.By drawing on values within these cultures that promote respect and non‑violence, E Tu Whānau and Pasefika Proud help to refute the notion that Māori and Pacific cultures condone or accept violence. While primarily targeted to these ethnic groups, they are in the public domain and feed into the wider public discourse.

Services for women victims of violence

223.The Government supports a range of social and legal services to provide assistance and protection to women victims of violence, including Māori and migrant women. The Family Services Directory enables people to search online for services in their local area including specific family violence services.

224.Women’s Refuge in New Zealand provides education and support services, information and safe housing for women, young people and children experiencing abuse, and provides advice and information to concerned friends and family members. A number of refuges cater specifically for Māori, Pacific and other ethnic women.

225.MSD supports specific domestic violence services for migrant women that provide culturally competent support and refuge services for women, children and families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin who are affected by family violence. The E Tu Whānau programme also includes work with refugee and migrant communities across the country.

226.Migrant women who have yet to secure residence and are or have been in abusive relationships may be granted a special Residence Visa for Victims of Domestic Violence. This aims to prevent women whose immigration status in New Zealand depends on their relationship with a partner from staying in such relationships for this reason. In 2014/15, 56 migrant women were granted these visas.

Ministry for Women research

227.MfW is an important generator of research into violence against women in the New Zealand and international contexts.

Lightning does strike twice: Preventing sexual revictimization (2012) identifies that women who have been sexually victimised are at increasing risk of further victimisation. It emphasises the importance of early identification of repeat survivors and the need to break the cycle of repeat revictimization and provide consistent and appropriate support for survivors and their families.

Current thinking on primary prevention of violence against women (2013) explores growing international evidence that violence against women is predictable and preventable, and identifies ways in which primary prevention can be implemented in New Zealand.

Wahine Māori, Wahine ora, Wahine kaha (2015) introduces an indigenous perspective to the international knowledge base for primary prevention of violence against women by exploring what Māori women believe to be protective factors for being safe from violence. Primary prevention initiatives that are seen to work for Māori women are designed ‘locally’, are strengths-based and steeped in the values of the communities for which they are designed.

A malu i ‘ āiga, e malu fo ’ i i fafo: Protection for the family, protection for all (2015) shares, from the perspective of Samoan people, what works to keep Samoan women and girls safe from violence. It provides an overview of what Samoan people perceive as important in understanding primary prevention of violence against Samoan women and girls.

228.These pieces of research are important sources of evidence contributing to current cross-government work programmes.


229.The Government’s response to the recommendations made by the Committee in its Concluding Observations on New Zealand’s Seventh Periodic Report (CEDAW/C/NZL/CO/7) is set out below.



Recommendation 8:

The Minister for Women wrote to all MPs in November 2012 advising of the last report’s submission and the publication of the Committee’s Concluding Observations. The Minister met with senior officials and her Ministerial colleagues to discuss the Committee’s recommendations and New Zealand’s reporting obligations.

Recommendation 9:

The Parliamentary Standing Orders Committee, in its Review of Standing Orders I.18B (September 2011), concluded that the establishment of a dedicated Human Rights Committee is not supported.

Recommendation 11:

The principles of the Convention are embedded in New Zealand’s legislative framework and in government structures and process.

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (s 19(1)) and the Human Rights Act 1993 (s 21(1)(a)) prohibit public and private sector sex discrimination, including indirect discrimination.

The prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Human Rights Act 1993 include sex, marital status and family status. The term ‘sex’ explicitly includes pregnancy and childbirth. These grounds offer comprehensive protection against unlawful discrimination against women.

All new legislation is vetted for compliance with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and Human Rights Act 1993.

An independent Constitutional Advisory Panel (the Panel) was appointed in 2010 to consider constitutional issues, including the status of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The Panel reported to Government in December 2013. The Government will not issue a formal response.


Recommendation 13A:

MfW, MOJ and MFAT have information on the Convention available on their websites, including New Zealand’s periodic reports and the Committee’s Concluding Observations.

MfW continues to promote the Convention and its related instruments through its publications, and at regional meetings and other forums, including the Caucus on International Women’s Issues.

Recommendation 13B:

Undertaken by the Institute of Judicial Studies, training of the judiciary provides for consideration of domestic human rights legislation and international human rights instruments, as well as covering diversity issues, including gender equality.

The New Zealand Law Society provides training to lawyers when it is required by the creation of new laws, and on a continuing and ‘as needed’ basis. Training includes consideration of domestic human rights legislation and international human rights instruments, as well as the dynamics of domestic violence and the philosophy of the Family Violence Courts.

Human rights and issues of gender, diversity and empathy are covered in teaching sessions such as ‘Valuing Communities’ at the Royal New Zealand Police College’s School of Initial Training (Recruits).

See also recommendations 11 and 13A.

Recommendation 15A:

Multiple forms of legal assistance are available in New Zealand. Legal aid for criminal and civil proceedings is available to those who do not have the means to fund legal representation themselves. The availability of legal aid is based upon the applicant’s means.

However, certain types of proceedings are exempted from particular requirements due to the vulnerability of applicants involved (e.g. refugee and immigration cases, applications for protection orders, and care and protection cases). Free legal assistance is available from other government-funded sources, such as the duty lawyer scheme run at criminal courts, and community law centres.

Recommendation 15B:

A wide range of information and resources are available to assist non-governmental organizations with training on the application of legislation prohibiting discrimination.

See also recommendation 13B.

Recommendation 15C:

HRC, MOJ and other organizations provide a range of information to assist people to understand issues of discrimination, their obligations under the law and available remedies.

MOJ works closely with HRC to monitor its work and funding levels. HRC is currently undertaking a review of its organizational vision which, along with the second National Plan of Action for Human Rights, will inform its strategic planning.

Recommendation 17A:

Every paper presented to the Social Policy Cabinet Committee requires the responsible Minister and contributing agencies to include a gender impact statement. In addition, MfW provides gender analysis and gendered input into a wide range of policy development.

Recommendation 17B:

The current environment requires all agencies, including MfW, to lift productivity, make the best use of their people and resources, demonstrate value for money and find innovative ways of delivering public services.

MfW achieves this by focusing on areas where long-term change is needed and by working collaboratively with government and non-governmental agencies and the private sector to influence positive change for New Zealand women.

See also Article 3.

Recommendation 17C:

The Government is committed to working together with key stakeholders and communities to achieve better results for New Zealand women.

New Zealand already has a full range of disaggregated population data available, including by ethnicity, disability, location and age, especially regarding access to education, employment and health care services. This data, which is regularly updated, allows MfW to accurately monitor the progress of women on an ongoing basis. Current initiatives like the New Zealand Data Futures Forum will provide government agencies with greater access to shared gender data.

MfW priorities reflect the long-term nature of the change needed in four areas:

•Utilizing women’s skills and growing the economy

•Supporting more women and girls in education and training

•Encouraging and developing women leaders, and

•Ensuring women and girls are free from violence

Each priority contributes to the Government goals including the BPS Results, the rebuild of Canterbury and the Business Growth Agenda. These priorities also align with the major areas of concern highlighted in the Committee’s Concluding Observations.

MfW has a comprehensive 2014-2018 Strategic Intentions plan which sets out its work programme in each of these priority areas.

Recommendation 19:

See Article 4.

Recommendation 21A:

Government agencies work with a diverse range of communities to provide targeted education on specific issues related to gender equality.

See also Articles 5, 11 and 16.

Recommendation 21B:

The Harmful Digital Communications Act came into force on 2 July 2015. It implements the Law Commission recommendations to address harmful digital communications, including cyber-bullying.

New guidelines on cyber-bullying were made available to all New Zealand schools in February 2015. They provide guidance on a range of best practice strategies to help schools create a safe environment.

The Bullying Prevention Advisory Group (BPAG) looks at ways to improve support for schools to address the complex issue of bullying. BPAG has developed Bullying prevention and response: A guide for schools.

MOE provides advice and support through specialist advisers to schools and specific programmes, including the Positive Behaviour for Learning suite of initiatives, have been designed to reduce undesirable behaviour.

Recommendation 21C:

New Zealand takes the issue of forced marriage and underage marriage very seriously. Forced marriage is unlawful in that a marriage without consent can be voided. Underage marriage is also unlawful. The Government may consider strengthening legislation as part of its review of family violence legislation.

Government considers that continuing to focus on education and building relationships of trust with migrant communities is the most effective way to reduce the risk of forced and underage marriage.

Government agencies are committed to a collective response, should victims of forced or underage marriage come forward.

While to date, no instances of forced marriage have been confirmed, OEC works with ethnic leaders and community stakeholders to provide advice about New Zealand’s legal and human rights framework; raise awareness and normalize the conversation about family violence (including forced marriage); increase the capabilities of service providers to respond; and develop prevention and education initiatives that can be driven by communities.

New Zealand Police has updated its manual to provide guidance on responding appropriately to any disclosures of forced and/or under-age marriage, and is working directly with local communities to build trust and confidence through Police Ethnic Liaison Officers, Community Constables and Neighbourhood Policing teams.

The Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages is encouraging people from ethnic communities to become marriage celebrants, which will result in increased community understanding of marriage law in New Zealand, particularly the legal requirements for consent.

Additional efforts include:

•Raising awareness among health professionals, service providers, social workers, and other professionals of the potential for underage and forced marriage in the communities they work with

•Maintaining an open dialogue with the Indian High Commission and Shakti Community Council (a non‑governmental organization supporting New Zealand women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin)

•Developing resources in Hindi about forced and underage marriage and translating them into other languages, and

•Providing education on forced marriage to every intake of refugees at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre in Auckland

Recommendation 24A:

The Children’s Action Plan Directorate, with its partner agencies, is developing a number of key initiatives to foster a competent workforce of people who work with children. These initiatives recognize the strong inter-relationship between child abuse and neglect and family and intimate partner violence.

Child, Youth and Family also recognizes the need for ongoing training and investment to enable staff to work effectively and compassionately with the complex and challenging children and young people in residences.

See also Articles 12 and 16.

Recommendation 24B:

Police are enhancing the level and depth of family violence training to ensure that employees carry out effective responses and interventions to reduce family violence harm.

The Initial Training (Recruit) programme has increased the hours of family violence training from 6-8 hours to 53 hours. Additionally, family violence scenario-based learning has been incorporated into integrated tactical training and forensic training programmes.

As part of ongoing learning, family violence training is scheduled to be delivered to a range of Police, including frontline supervisors and those working in specialist family violence roles, by June 2016.

MOJ has implemented domestic violence training for Family Court staff, focused on increasing understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence. Online training modules are also available for all Family Violence Court coordinators and their managers.

Recommendation 24C:

See Article 16.

Recommendation 24D:

The Government acknowledges that the non-governmental sector’s expertise is critical at all levels for the development and implementation of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence Work Programme.

The Government intends to incorporate perspectives from a wider range of non-governmental sector individuals and groups than were represented on the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families (the Taskforce), including those involved in sexual violence.

Given the changes to Ministerial responsibilities for family violence and sexual violence and the Ministerial Group’s new approach to engagement with the non‑governmental sector for the Ministerial Group Work Programme, the Minister for Social Development decided to disestablish the Taskforce in July 2015.

See also Article 15.

Recommendation 24E:

New Zealand Police collect robust data on victims and perpetrators of family violence and family violence related deaths. Police work closely with the Family Violence Death Review Committee. Each death is reviewed to identify any Police policy and practice/interagency system matters that could be strengthened to prevent future family violence related deaths.

A new model rolled out by Police in July 2014 will allow a more systematic collection of reported family violence data, along with development of a new dataset for all offences which will include the relationship between victim and offender and demographic information about each party to an offence.

Recommendation 26A:

New Zealand’s first people trafficking trial concluded in December 2015. Two individuals were charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals. They were acquitted of people trafficking charges, but found guilty on 11 charges of supplying false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand. New Zealand’s second people trafficking trial is to be heard in August 2016. A Fijian national faces 16 charges of people trafficking under the Crimes Act 1961 and 56 charges under the Immigration Act 2009.

The Plan of Action to Prevent People Trafficking is a whole-of-government response to people trafficking and outlines a comprehensive support structure for victims. It assists and encourages victims of trafficking to participate in any criminal proceedings involving their alleged traffickers. Suspected victims will be provided with protection as a witness and potential victim.

Unless they choose to return home, certified victims of people trafficking will be granted a 12-month temporary entry class visa. Adult applicants will then be able to apply for a resident visa. The Government will provide long-term shelter and residency benefits, including financial assistance and publicly funded health and disability services, to victims to aid them in rebuilding their lives, as well as the opportunity to seek legal employment.

Immigration New Zealand has established a Serious Offences Unit, which will investigate and prosecute the most serious and complex offences, including people trafficking. The Labour Inspectorate and Police undergo training to assist staff in identifying and referring potential victims.

On 7 November 2015 an amendment to the trafficking offence in the Crimes Act came into effect, improving compliance with the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol. The amendment removed the requirement for trafficking to occur across borders. The amendment also ensures that the use of a person for an exploitative purpose is considered trafficking.

Recommendation 26B:

See recommendation 26A.

Recommendation 26C:

The Interagency Working Group on people trafficking ensures that agencies share efforts made to combat all forms of trafficking.

Systematic monitoring of the sex industry is conducted through compliance visits by the Labour Inspectorate.

Recommendation 26D:

The New Zealand Customs Service and Immigration New Zealand use an intelligence-led approach incorporating electronic (pre arrival ATS-G) and trained officer profiling techniques to identify potential trafficking victims arriving in New Zealand. There are a number of specific profiles used, the most important being: the sex industry, horticulture, fishing and labour joining the Christchurch rebuild. Profiling is designed to identify persons coming to work in New Zealand without work visas — the lack of a work visa makes these individuals vulnerable to exploitation.

See also Article 3.

Recommendation 28A:

See Article 7.

Recommendation 28B:

See recommendation 13A.

Recommendation 28C:

See Article 7.

Recommendation 30A:

Information is available on the MOE website to help parents understand the voluntary nature of payments:

Where MOE is made aware that a school is not complying with the legislation regarding collection of fees, it will engage with the school and work with them to ensure they amend their request for donations practices.

Recommendation 30B:

The OECD document Education at a Glance (2014) shows that the overwhelming majority (over 80 per cent) of expenditure and investment in education institutions (for three year olds up to secondary, non-tertiary, education) in New Zealand comes from public sources, rather than private households.

Recommendation 30C:

The Government’s BPS targets include increasing the proportion of 18 year olds with NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualification to 85 per cent within the next five years. In 2015, MOE worked with 50 tertiary providers and 150 schools with a high number of Māori/Pacific learners who were unlikely to achieve NCEA Level 2 to improve the numbers of Māori girls engaged and retained in education.

Recommendation 30D:

See Articles 10 and 11.

Recommendation 32A:

See Article 11.

Recommendation 32B:

Public service chief executives’ performance expectations are a key mechanism for promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace. There is an expectation that chief executives will ensure that there is clarity on and appropriate action to address any barriers to women’s participation and career progression including any gender pay differences.

The gender pay gap within the public service is reported on an annual basis through the Human Resource Capability Survey. The results of the survey are provided to agencies with information on how they are progressing relative to the rest of the public service.

Recommendation 32C:

See Article 11.

Recommendation 32D:

See Articles 10 and 11.

Recommendation 32E:

During the development of the proposed changes, the Government carefully considered the gender implications and none were identified. MBIE will monitor and evaluate the proposals expected to have the most influence on how bargaining operates but is not planning an independent evaluation of the gendered impact of the reform of collective bargaining.

Recommendation 32F:

See recommendation 32B.

Recommendation 34A:

The Government has no plans to review the law on abortion but MOH is currently developing a new sexual and reproductive health action plan that will review the availability of abortion services.

See also Article 12.

Recommendation 34B:

See recommendation 34A.

Recommendation 34C:

Launched in July 2012, the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project is a four year cross-government project comprised of 26 initiatives which aim to create a coordinated web of support for young people aged 12‑19 years with, or at risk of developing, mild to moderate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

The National Depression Initiative aims to reduce the impact of depression on the lives of New Zealanders by aiding early recognition, appropriate treatment and recovery. It includes information websites and a web‑based self-help tool.

The New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013-2016 seeks to reduce the rate of suicide and its effect on New Zealanders. It focuses on strengthening support for families, whānau and communities. Specific initiatives support Māori and Pacific communities to respond to suicide.

While the suicide rate in New Zealand remains higher for males (18.1 deaths per 100,000) compared to females (6.4 deaths per 100,000), and young Māori (2.8 times the rate of non-Māori), the Action Plan has a universal focus that aims to reduce suicide for all, including women.

Recommendation 34D:

See recommendation 34C and Article 12.

Recommendation 34E:

The Government supports a regional approach to the organization and development of services for LGBTI people, with all the DHBs in a region collaborating to improve availability of services to these people. A regional approach provides greater opportunity for raising and maintaining consistently high standards of services as well as integration through the different levels of heath service.

Recommendation 34F:

MSD, MOH and MOE are looking at ways to provide more targeted, coordinated and client-centred services to teen parents. As part of the prevention work-stream, MOH is focused on reducing unintended teen pregnancies, including:

•An expansion of youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services in areas with high rates of teen pregnancy. Currently MOH funds over 200 school based health services

•A primary care training programme in provision of modern contraception and sexual and reproductive health services

•Youth co-designed sexual and reproductive health online information

•Promotion of whole school approaches to sexual health include school policy and support for parents to discuss sexual matters with young people, and

•Co-designed programmes with Māori and Pacific communities using culturally appropriate frameworks and priorities

See also Articles 12 and 16.

Recommendation 34G:

HIV antenatal screening must comply with the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (amended 2004) and when offering an HIV test to a pregnant woman, maternity providers must take ‘reasonable action’ to ensure that the woman is fully informed.

Recommendation 36A:

Changes are being made to better use the wide array of administrative data collected by government agencies. This involves integrating administrative data collected by different agencies with data collected in official surveys.

For example, the Disability Data and Evidence Working Group, co-facilitated by the Office for Disability Issues and Statistics New Zealand, will consider high priority areas to improve data and evidence to ensure informed decision-making on policy and services that impact on disabled women.

Data on the identified groups and their access to education, employment and health care services is integrated into the articles of the Report as appropriate.

See also recommendation 17C.

Recommendation 36B:

The reforms of 2012 and 2013 modernized the welfare system and aimed to reduce benefit dependency, encourage work and self-reliance and provide a safety net and support for those who need it.

There have been some positive outcomes for women.

•The number of female working age (18-64 year olds) beneficiaries dropped from 187,553 in June 2012 to 170,894 in June 2014.

•The number of sole parent beneficiaries is the lowest for two decades, down from 87,662 in June 2012 to 74,027 in June 2014.

•Within the Youth Service, Youth Payment grants for females have increased faster than for males.

•Under the new service delivery model, clients in the work-focused case management service, the majority of whom are women, receive the highest intensity of service to help them find employment

The welfare reforms involve a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plan, involving both monthly monitoring of the effects of the changes on all clients and a four year plan to evaluate how well the welfare reforms have been implemented relative to policy intent. Should a theme emerge from these evaluations, of disadvantage to a particular group, the findings will form an integral part of the design of future interventions for beneficiaries.

See also Article 13.

Recommendation 36C:

The Canterbury earthquake recovery involves a large number of agencies, including central and local government. Each agency is encouraged to undertake gender analysis in their areas of responsibility. Administrative data, disaggregated by gender, ethnicity and disability, such as benefit data, state housing waiting lists and specific surveys, is used to understand the impacts of the earthquake on a range of population groups. Community consultation remains crucial to the development of recovery plans and women are strongly represented on the Community Forum providing advice to the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.

See also Article 11.

Recommendation 38A:

New Zealand law prohibits marriage under the age of 16. A person aged 16 or 17 years requires consent from his or her parents or from the Family Court before the Registrar can issue a marriage licence. Only the marrying couple can consent to the marriage at the time it is solemnized, and it is unlawful to give a woman in marriage without her consent.

New Zealand takes the issue of forced and underage marriage very seriously. However, the Government has been unable to substantiate claims of forced and underage marriage. Prohibiting people from marrying under the age of 18 years may also:

•Constitute age discrimination under New Zealand’s Human Rights Act 1993, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of age from age 16 years onwards, and

•Disadvantage people aged 16 or 17 years of age who genuinely wish to marry

See also recommendation 21C.

Recommendation 38B:

See recommendations 21C and 38A.

Recommendation 39:

See Article 8.

Recommendation 40:

The New Zealand Aid Programme has developed key policy messages on gender equality and women’s empowerment for use in policy dialogues with partners and as input into global discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.

The New Zealand Aid Programme is targeting women’s economic empowerment in five key sectors (agriculture, fisheries, tourism, renewable energy and transport) and is striving to achieve better gender outcomes in our health and education programmes in the Pacific.

New Zealand has advocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment to be properly reflected in the post-2015 global development goals.

Recommendation 41:

MOJ’s website includes a comprehensive section on human rights. This includes information on all core UN human rights instruments, New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 advice to the Attorney-General, Attorney-General reports on apparent inconsistencies between Bills and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, opportunities for consultation, and current projects.

See also recommendations 8, 13A and 13B.

Recommendation 42:

New Zealand will consider acceding to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, in accordance with its domestic processes, prior to New Zealand’s Third Universal Periodic Review.

New Zealand is not considering ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. New Zealand has various laws to protect all workers in New Zealand, including migrant workers.

Voices of New Zealand Women

Regional meetings

230.Between March 2012 and March 2016, MfW staff conducted regular public meetings and smaller private meetings throughout New Zealand with women’s groups, community organizations and service providers. These included hui with wānanga, iwi and Māori service providers. The purpose of the meetings was to gather information about issues of concern for women and to discuss Government’s goals and priorities for women. Below is a summary of issues raised at these meetings.

Vulnerable women

•Need more disaggregated data on vulnerable population groups including Māori and Pacific women, LGBTI people, disabled women, migrant and refugee women.

•Migrant and refugee women face specific disadvantages, including access to support and services, transportation, isolation and language barriers.

•Older women face specific disadvantages, including financial vulnerability, elder abuse, isolation and health conditions.

•Acknowledgment of the contribution of rural women.

•Need to develop positive, community-driven solutions and outcomes.

•Need to conduct a comprehensive study on how to improve the situation of women in New Zealand and develop a national action plan.


•Education is critical for women to improve outcomes for themselves and their families.

•Government needs to be more culturally responsive in education initiatives.

•Young women need a voice.

•Need formal education-based training in financial literacy.

•Women may not have the job opportunities to repay a student loan.

•Need early education for students, families and communities about non‑traditional career paths for women.


•Need greater diversity in leadership, including age, gender, ethnicity and disability.

•Bias and stereotypical views exclude women from leadership roles, career progression and employment opportunities.

•Need to build the leadership pipeline for women.

•Early and well‐supported experiences of leadership are valuable.

•Need to shift the focus from target setting and reporting to greater investment.

•Need public sector agencies to disclose diversity policies, their implementation and evaluation.

•Need to encourage the New Zealand Stock Exchange to make diversity policies mandatory and include a requirement to disclose how the policy will be implemented and evaluated.

•Need for greater focus on women’s inclusion and representation in sport, including media coverage and sports professions.

Economic independence

•Need to cultivate social respect and value for unpaid caring work.

•Need tangible actions to improve the status and remuneration of occupations where women predominate.

•Need to implement steps for both public and private sectors to secure pay parity, including:

•More flexible working practices

•Support for women and men re-entering the workforce after having children, and

•Structures that provide more flexible working options to New Zealand families without negatively impacting on organizations.

•Collective bargaining is critical to achieving equal pay, especially for vulnerable workers.

•Need to get low-skill, low-wage women into sustainable employment.

•Need to work with non-traditional industries to remove barriers and encourage higher women’s participation.

•Māori and Pacific women continue to experience disparities in education and employment.

•Quality childcare is expensive and needs to be more accessible.

•Need greater support for innovation and entrepreneurship among women.

Safety/Freedom from violence

•Acknowledge the economic impact of violence against women.

•Need to address funding difficulties faced by sexual abuse counselling centres.

•Consider a review into links between the sex industry and human trafficking.

•Need to take measures to combat the practice of early and forced marriages.

•Need an urgent qualitative evaluation of women’s experience following reforms in the Family Court.

•Poverty and social isolation can facilitate abuse and violence.

•Education initiatives raise awareness of violence and abuse and encourage the development of healthy relationships.

•Damaging media portrayal of women.

•Need specialized services to support victims of child sexual exploitation, including underage prostitution and forced prostitution or trafficking.


•There is a strong relationship between sexual and reproductive health and prevention of violence against women.

•Need to address underlying socioeconomic factors impacting health outcomes for women and girls.

•Need to address the challenge of paid parental leave terms for breastfeeding mothers.

•Women with disabilities are more likely to suffer from domestic violence.

•Engage with, and provide tangible solutions for, women and girls of sexual and gender minorities.

•Undertake a review of abortion law and practice to reflect abortion as essential reproductive health care and ensure equitable access to abortions.

•Poverty and the availability and affordability of housing.

Government action

231.The New Zealand Government is actively targeting a number of these issues, as the Report highlights. MfW has also reflected many of these issues in its work programme. MfW continues to liaise with lead agencies and stakeholders to identify and monitor issues of concern for New Zealand women, and respond appropriately.

Public consultation on the eighth CEDAW report

232.The Government undertook public consultation on a draft version of the Report between 20 November 2015 and 31 January 2016. The Report was advertised on government websites, in social media channels and print, and was distributed widely via email to sector groups and individuals. On 16 December 2015, MfW convened a special meeting to discuss the Report with members of its Caucus on International Women’s Issues and other interested parties. In addition, 24 written submissions provided valuable perspectives on the Report and government progress on issues relating to women. This feedback has been incorporated into the Report and passed on to government agencies where relevant.


233.Background information on Tokelau is contained in New Zealand’s previous periodic reports. The Committee should also refer to the Tokelau section of New Zealand’s Third Periodic Report (2009) under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the 2005 Working Paper of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization.


234.In February 2006, and again in October 2007, Tokelau voted under UN supervision on whether to become self-governing in free association with New Zealand. In both cases, the two-thirds majority required to bring the change into effect was not reached. Tokelau therefore has remained a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand.

235.In striving to balance traditional and imported practices, Tokelau faces core questions of custom and law, which interact to an increasing degree. Tokelau seeks understanding of its situation as it is required, increasingly, to move from following a set of rules and practices within its cultural setting, to following a set of rules and practices recognisable as consistent with life in the international community.

236.A newly updated Constitution now includes these provisions: individual human rights for all people in Tokelau are those stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the rights of individuals shall be exercised having proper regard to the duties of other individuals, and to the community to which the individual belongs. Those provisions are relevant, when considering how Tokelau would, for example, give effect to its human rights commitments. The Council for the Ongoing Government is the designated forum to which individuals can address any complaints should they feel that their human rights have been denied. To date there has been no complaint in relation to breach of human rights.

Women’s rights

237.In 1990 the text of the Convention was included in a human rights booklet published in English and Tokelauan.

238.In Tokelau culture, there is a clear demarcation between male and female roles. In the traditional social system, women have relatively high status, derived from their right to occupy the house owned by their kin groups and to manage domestic economies. A husband moves to his wife’s house on marriage. Although the Tokelau cultural order gives high priority to the welfare of weaker members and the equitable distribution of economic resources, those who do not have paid employment may be considered, under today’s more monetised economic regime, to be relatively disadvantaged.

239.Almost all Tokelauans who have full-time paid employment are in the public sector; and there has been a significant promotion of gender equity. The Constitution requires equality without discrimination on the grounds of sex. In 2016 the current Senior Management Team has 19 members (five women and 14 men).

240.A conscious attempt is being made to identify development activities for men and women through an approach that accords with local cultural norms and that both groups accept. Given the strength of Tokelau culture and the importance of maintaining its basic integrity, this is an important consideration. At the same time it is evident that the traditional demarcation between male and female roles is becoming less marked. In the General Fono (the national executive and legislative body), three of the 21 delegates are women.

241.Consultations have been held to increase the number of women in the General Fono. There was no majority support for a change, and many women opposed any legislative change on the basis that membership should be solely merit based. Following the last election in 2014, a Tokelauan woman was designated as a member of the Council for the Ongoing Government and therefore qualified to become Tokelau’s first female Minister.

242.The General Fono endorsed the National Policy and Action Plan for the Women of Tokelau (NPAP) in 2010 for the period 2010-2015. The plan aligns with Tokelau’s overall approach to link economic and social issues to an ongoing development of local institutions of government. Over the period 2011-2013, the Fatupaepae (Women’s Committees) held Tautiti (Tokelau Beauty Pageants) where young women participated to promote their confidence and intelligence, culture and traditions of Tokelau. Some Tokelauan women also take handicrafts to regional events to promote and sell. The three female General Fono representatives will participate in the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum in Apia in April 2016.

243.In recent years, small numbers of women have travelled to Samoa for training on coconut oil production and organic farming hosted by Women in Business and funded by the Economic Development Division of Tokelau. In October 2013 Nukunonu atoll hosted 10 days of business training delivered by the Small Business Enterprise Centre Samoa. Representatives attended from all three atolls, including the Fatupaepae. In May and July 2014 successful handicraft markets were held by Fatupaepae representatives.

244.The Fatupaepae run programmes in their respective villages; for example, focusing on the weekly activities of the village and village cleanliness, as well as responding to any requests from the Taupulega or Village Council. When the village hosts national meetings or guests the Fatupaepae will organize accommodation and catering, provide handicrafts and attend to matters relating to hospitality.

245.There is a National Council of Women, although resource factors continue to make it a challenge for the national body to remain operative. The NPAP and the Tokelau National Strategic Plan (TNSP) expired in June 2015. The review of the TNSP will be used to also review the NPAP and it is hoped that the result of the review will provide information on the future priorities of the women of Tokelau.

246.The Triennial Conference of Pacific Women (organized by the Women’s Bureau of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community) is also an important event for those representing Tokelau women.