The New Zealand Parliament now boasts the highest proportion of women in its history, and that’s cause for celebration National’s spokesperson for Women Paula Bennett says.

“With the recent return of West Coast-Tasman list MP Maureen Pugh and the swearing in of Wellington Central list MP Nicola Willis, the proportion of female MPs has now grown to 40 per cent.

“National leads the charge on promoting women and developing policy settings that have encouraged women to make the enormous gains that they have in recent years.

“Under our watch, women held 45 percent of governance roles appointed by Ministers onto State sector boards and committees, and we had a strong line-up of women in senior Cabinet positions which has continued in Opposition shadow portfolios.

“We have come a long way since women gained the right to vote in 1893 and first female MP was elected in 1933 - but there is still more work to be done to ensure gender equality.

“Pay equity goes right to the heart of equality issues. It is very disappointing that this Ardern-Peters Government has now twice blocked progress to address pay equity. First, by putting pay equity legislation introduced last year on ice and most recently by voting down Denise Lees’ Private Members Bill that would have reintroduced that legislation.

“I want to congratulate Nicola on her election to Parliament.

“Along with the 18 other women in National’s Caucus, Nicola is a great example of a strong, resourceful and capable politician. Change comes from the top and more women in Parliament will only help this,” Mrs Bennett says.

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