Life-saving legislation needs proper debate

Published: Mon 13 Feb 2017 10:21 AM
New Zealand needs a proper debate about shockingly high family violence statistics – and the National government should make that happen, a group of anti-violence NGOs says.
National Council of Women President Rae Duff ONZM has written an open letter to Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse, asking him and his fellow MPs to support Green MP Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Bill.
Ms Logie’s members’ bill is set down for its first reading on Wednesday, and it needs National’s support to make it through to the select committee process.
Among other provisions, it will allow people affected by family violence to take up to 10 days’ leave.
In the letter, Ms Duff tells Mr Woodhouse that the Bill will save lives.
“Being able to take leave to attend court hearings or move house allows people affected by family violence to hold onto their jobs when all else is in turmoil,” Ms Duff says.
“This Bill also creates obligations on employers to keep their staff safe from abusive or violent partners while they’re at work.
“This government has made progress on family violence, but we don’t believe it’s enough.”
A full select committee process will allow New Zealanders to debate how this legislation can work, as well as what’s needed to stem the tide of family violence.
“This is a debate we urgently need, and Minister Woodhouse can make this happen,” Ms Duff says.
“We urge him to agree to support this bill to first reading.”
The National Council of Women’s open letter is supported by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Jackie Blue; the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women; the Council of Trade Unions, the Public Service Association, and the New Zealand Nurses’Association; the Soropimist International NZ and the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges.

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