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Denise Lee’s member’s bill on pay equity will be debated in Parliament tonight, and she is calling on the Prime Minister to either support it or produce a timeline for her own pay equity legislation.

“This bill is a serious blueprint for closing the gender pay gap by ensuring female-dominated jobs are paid fairly,” Ms Lee says.

“The PM must use this opportunity to make real progress for women or at the very least tell us when they intend to give women the ability to make these claims.

“The hard part has already been done. Years of work and the involvement of numerous stakeholders have gone into this bill, including a Joint Working Group representing both business and unions.

“My bill is ready now. It creates a practical and fair process for employees to follow if they feel they are not being paid what their job is worth. This issue is too important to wait until later this year before another version of it is introduced.

“If advancing pay equity is truly a priority for this Government, they must support this bill to select committee so New Zealanders have the opportunity to submit on it.­­

“I understand the Government intends to oppose it, but we have been given a lifeline as the vote may not happen tonight. I will use the next two weeks to convince the Government to use this bill as a vehicle to progress the issue of pay equity.

“The women of New Zealand deserve assurance that progress will be made on resolving pay equity before the 125th Suffrage Celebrations later this year. Given New Zealand’s history of being a leader of women’s rights, it would be very disappointing if we don't make progress to show in time for this landmark occasion.”

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