Minister for Women 'ambitious' yet realistic about power of new pay-equity bill: 'There's no silver bullet'

The Minister for Women says she is "very ambitious" about the government's pay equity bill slated for mid-2018 setting a real foundation for change, but has conceded true pay equality across all sectors is still many years off.

Greens MP Julie Anne Genter said this morning the government's new pay-equity bill will be about stripping away hurdles for applicant claims, after a Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles reported back after being reconvened last month.

"The approach the previous government was suggesting would have made it harder (to make pay-equity claims) because you had to start by comparing within the same industry," Ms Genter said.

"And ultimately pay equity is all about recognising historic underpay because it's a female-dominated industry.

"That's really important, if we're going to close the gender pay gap and get fair pay for women we have to make it possible to take these pay-equity claims."

The Labour-led Government scrapped the previous National Government's 2017 pay equity bill as one its first legislative acts in power.

But although buoyed by plans to present fresh pay-equity legislation by June or July this year, Ms Genter was non-committal on a time frame for equal pay across both the public and private employment sectors.

"Well, I'm very ambitious. Obviously I've already said coming in as Minister for Women we want to close the gender pay-gap in the public sector, and we want a good legislative regime that we can be on a pathway to do that in the private sector as well," Ms Genter said.

"Within the public sector, that's probably where we can do it the fastest, we want to do it within four years, with like-for-like.

"But it's been too long, it's been 125 years since women got the vote and we still have this persistent pay gap, and so many are low-paid workers."

"There's no silver bullet but, hey, this is a great foundation for women being paid fairly.

"A great step, and so good to have this alignment between business, and the workers, and the government, saying this is a much better approach, we need to simplify the approach"

The gender pay-gap in New Zealand currently sits at 9.4 per cent.

Greens MP Julie Anne Genter says the Government plans to present new equal pay legislation by June or July this year. Source: Breakfast



'They are making crime an issue here' - Bridges says NZ should push back against Comanchero, Bandido deportations from Australia to NZ - but gently does it

National Party leader Simon Bridges says New Zealand should push back against "hardened criminals" like Comancheros and Bandidos gangsters being deported from Australia to New Zealand - but says it has to be done in the right way.

Australia's government implemented a regime three years ago where New Zealanders who have served more than one cumulative year in prison can be sent back to New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern talked tough on her trip across the ditch, but made little headway on the issue of Kiwi deportees. Source: 1 NEWS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was in Australia last week and raised the issue of deportees and detainees at offshore detention camps with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who stood firm on the issue.

Speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme, Mr Bridges said "the rhetoric on this was overblown" by Labour during the election campaign, in particular by Kelvin Davis, and that it had affected New Zealand's "important" relationship with Australia.

Mr Bridges agreed that New Zealand should be raising the issue, but also acknowledged that Australia has a right to make their own decisions.

"We are getting these Comancheros, these Bandidos ... and they are making crime an issue here," Mr Bridges said.

"Are the Aussies rightfully able to do what they're doing? Yes ... but should we be pushing back on it because we are getting hardened criminals coming here? Yes.

"They spend a shedload more on refugees than we do, they take a shedload more than we do , so I think it was wrong to be critical.

"It's all about how you raise it ... but I don't think we got anywhere on that on this trip."

Last month, 1 NEWS revealed the Comancheros had a branch in Auckland and members in Waikato and Bay of Plenty. 

Police, however, said there were three patched members in the country, and up to four prospects. 

The National Party leader says it’s a touchy issue which needs to be raised in the right way, but that “hardened criminals” are being sent to our shores. Source: Breakfast

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More the 40 searching for missing Alexandra man Christopher Bates

More than 40 search and rescue volunteers from throughout the lower South Island joined police dog teams over the weekend to search for missing Alexandra man Christopher Bates.

Search crews scoured several land-based areas around Alexandra but failed to locate the man.

The 22-year-old has been missing for almost a month, last seen on Sunday February 11 wearing dark shorts, a white t-shirt and sneakers.

He said he was heading to the river to meet a friend.

Mr Bates is described as being of slim build, about 180cm tall with short to medium length brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the police immediately.

Police have concerns for missing Alexandra man Christopher Bates. Source: New Zealand Police