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.
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.
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."
On why the gender pay gap has stagnated over the last 20 years in New Zealand, dropping over just three per cent, Ms Genter signalled the previous National Government's indifference.
"I think the reason it hasn't come down as much is because there hasn't been a real ambitious plan to close the gap in the last nine years," Ms Genter said.
"The new government is very committed to this. We're going to walk the talk, we're going to close the gap in the core public sector, but we're also going to be working closely with the private sector in championing those businesses who are taking the steps to close the gap."
Ms Genter said the Labour-led Government's pay equity legislation would be brought to Parliament sometime in 2018.
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