Government working on laws to fix gender pay gap

Minister for Women Julie-Anne Genter has her eyes firmly fixed on gender pay equity legislation for the gender pay gap. 

With the average New Zealand man earning 13.1 per cent more than their female colleagues, today marks the date after which women will effectively be working for free for the rest of the year.

Greens MP Julie-Anne Genter said even accounting for age, experience, education the gender pay gap still persists in 2017.

Central to the new government's pay equality legislation will be the new Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter, who spoke on TVNZ1's Breakfast today on the causes of that inequality.

"The gender pay gap is the legacy of historic discrimination, and so once you account for age, experience, education, all of those factors, there's still an unexplained gender pay gap," Ms Genter said.

"About 80 per cent of that, it's hard to determine exactly what causes it, but unconscious, conscious bias - it's something we can overcome, but we have to recognise it exists and have explicit measures and policies in place to end it."  

The new Labour-led Government is working on new laws to reduce that gender pay gap, after scrapping the previous National Government's pay equality bill introduced to Parliament in July this year.

It was not taken lightly by some of the most prominent female National MPs, that one of the Labour-led Government's first policy undertakings last week was to completely scrap the National Party's own pay equity legislation introduced in July.

Senior female National MPs have taken aim at the PM for her decision. Source: 1 NEWS

On the first sitting day of Parliament last Wednesday, November 8, National MPs, Nikki Kaye, Amy Adams and Judith Collins all made a concerted swipe at Jacinda Ardern and her Labour-led Government over the policy scrap.

"It is a very sad day that one of the first actions of our woman Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is to remove this piece of legislation," Ms Kaye said.

Ms Genter, unsurprisingly, has a very different take on the new government's decision to redraft an entirely new pay equity legislation based off the original joint government and industry working group report.

"Because the (National) government saw this as a fiscal liability rather than a core responsibility of government to make sure people are paid properly for their work, when they brought their pay equity and equal pay legislation to the house, it contained some provisions around merit," Ms Genter says.

As part of her new role as Minister for Women she says the government aims to close the gap within four years' time. Source: Q+A

"What this government is going to do, we've scrapped that legislation, it's not going to pass, it won't put in place hurdles and barriers for cases that are already going to the courts."

The existing New Zealand gender pay gap has men paid on average 13.1 per cent more than their female colleagues.

This means that today, November 14, effective marks the date women in New Zealand working for free the rest of 2017.

Ms Genter says new legislation to remedy this gap, which has been stagnating for 10 years, will be introduced to Parliament next year.  

Greens MP Julie-Anne Genter said even accounting for age, experience, education the gender pay gap still persists in 2017. Source: Breakfast

Messages released to 1 NEWS show Massey’s Vice Chancellor had problem with Don Brash speaking long before he was barred from campus talk

Newly released documents show Massey University's Vice Chancellor had a problem with Don Brash speaking long before he was publicly barred from speaking on campus.

A trail of transcripts of voicemail messages and emails to and from the Vice Chancellor's office have been released to 1 NEWS, showing Jan Thomas citing "trails of evidence".

Her decision to block the former National and Act leader from speaking drew widespread criticism.

That decision was made public on August 7, and spoke of a great security risk to students, staff and the public. These newly released documents show the lead-up to that decision.

Emails show Professor Thomas weeks beforehand on July 13 saying, "I am still fretting about the student club invitation to Don Brash… I really want to find a way to indicate that Brash is not welcome on campus unless he agrees to abide by our values and the laws against hate speech".

Professor Thomas continued: "My strong preference is that we stop it occurring."

The next day, Professor Thomas wrote in another email: "But we still have a couple of trails of evidence, then we need to speak to [the] politics club, and then refuse entry to campus if students don’t oblige – and be proactive at that point before Brash can get to the media."

Before both those emails, she wrote in another on July 10 that she "wanted to know what our options re not allowing politics club to hold event on campus… Will hit the fan in the media if we go this way".

Newly released documents show Massey University’s Vice Chancellor had a problem with Don Brash speaking long before he was publicly barred from speaking on campus. Source: 1 NEWS

When Jan Thomas pulled the plug on Dr Brash's appearance, she said it came after security concerns surrounding a threat involving a gun.

But Police told 1 NEWS at the time they were not contacted before the decision to cancel was made.

The new documents confirm this, with Massey University saying there were no written communications sent or received from the police. In an email to staff, Jan Thomas said she arranged a meeting with local police to discuss security but "before that meeting could take place... I made the decision to cancel the booking of the event on our campus".

Included in the documents is a Facebook user comment about Don Brash's event saying "take a gun".

Mr Brash was due to speak at the university, but had his speech cancelled by Jan Thomas. Source: 1 NEWS


Massey University released several hundred pages of emails to 1 NEWS, showing an onslaught of criticism aimed at the Vice-Chancellor. Some called for her resignation.

Messages left on voicemail spoke of disappointment. "I'm absolutely horrified at the decision… I am very very concerned at the lack of free speech," one caller said.

"My son is due to graduate from college very soon, and we're looking at universities and Massey was one of them, but a little concerned about what I’ve heard about some free speech restrictions on campus," another voice message said.

Emails from former students were also critical.

"As an alumni of Massey University I wish to express my displeasure at your decision to ban former leader of the National Party Don Brash from speaking at Massey University," one wrote.

The University remains at odds with police over claims of security concerns and threats of violence. Source: 1 NEWS

A "proud Massey chemistry alumni" said they were very disappointed to learn that their friend Don Brash "had been deplatformed for his talk".

"I am ashamed to have to tell my friends, associates and colleagues that I am a Massey University graduate from this day forward,"another person wrote.

Another message said they had instructed their Trust not to fund any of their children or grandchildren to attend any programme or course at Massey University. "There are always consequences when you attack the freedoms our family spent so much of our lives to protect," they wrote.

"Please do the honorable thing and resign as Vice Chancellor” another former student wrote. “Massey has lost a great deal of credibility as a learning institution and I’m embarrassed to be associated with my former university."

The former National Party leader and free speech advocate has hit out at the university over its decision. Source: 1 NEWS

A short statement drafted for the university's contact centre to reply to people with said the decision wasn't taken lightly, and that Professor Thomas made the decision taking the gun threat into account.

It further added that "recent events… suggest the current situation is potentially volatile."

A trail of transcripts of voicemail messages and emails to and from the Vice Chancellor's office have been released to 1 NEWS, showing Jan Thomas citing "trails of evidence". Source: 1 NEWS

Kiwi chocolatier Whittaker's takes leap into ice cream bars

Kiwi chocolate company Whittaker's is expanding from the lollies aisle, with an eye on dominating the freezer sections of supermarkets and dairies as well.

Starting Monday, Tip Top will offer three new flavours of ice cream bars featuring the brand: chocolate and pretzel, coffee and cacao and vanilla and cashew praline.

"It's the moment you've been waiting for...two iconic Kiwi brands coming together to combine the best of both worlds," Tip Top announced on its Facebook page this morning.

Unlike previous collaborations, the flavours are a permanent addition to the Tip Top range, a Whittaker's official told the New Zealand Herald.

"We've always had a dream to be able to create a delicious ice cream with somebody," said Whittaker's marketing manager Jasmine Currie.

Auckland fans of the brands will have an opportunity to get an early taste of the ice creams on Saturday, with a pop-up store opening at midday in Newmarket.

kiwi companies Whittaker's and Tip Top have collaborated for three new ice cream bars. Source: Tip Top


Police carrying out search warrants targeting organised crime, drugs in Bay of Plenty

Police are executing a number of search warrants in the eastern Bay of Plenty today.

The warrants come as part of an investigation into organised crime and the distribution of illicit drugs within the community.

More to come.

Police (file picture).
Police generic Source: 1 NEWS

Watch: 'Make it lit fam' - Andrew Little releases video appealing for 2019 New Plymouth youth MP

MP Andrew Little has released a video appealing for a 2019 New Plymouth youth MP.

In the video, Mr Little can be seen making digs at his political rivals - David Seymour, Gareth Morgan, Bill English and John Key - while attempting to appeal to the modern teenager.

"I'm Andrew Little. You may know me for such things as my cat (soz Gareth), beard polls, party hats and Dancing With The Stars. Just kidding. That's Not Safe for Twerk," the Justice Minister says.

"But if you're going to have a backing track, make sure it's pretty legal. So make it lit fam."

The MP can be seen making digs at his political rivals as he tries to appeal to the modern teenager. Source: Breakfast