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Progress towards closing the gender pay gap has once again been delayed after the Government refused to support Denise Lee’s private Members’ Bill on pay equity during its first reading debate in Parliament last night.

“By voting against my Members’ Bill, the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill, the coalition Government is telling women in New Zealand that pay equity is not a priority on their agenda. It also delays giving women the ability to lodge pay equity claims by months, if not years,” Ms Lee says.

“The Government has opposed every step to supporting women to achieve pay equity for the past nine months, but in that time, they have not put forward a single alternative proposal.

“It is beyond belief that this Government would claim to recognise the urgency of this issue but block its progress at every opportunity.

“Given this most recent obstruction, they have an obligation to the women of New Zealand to at least produce a timeline of when they plan to introduce their own legislation - women deserve to know when they will be recognised for their true value.

“The argument that we should wait for them to introduce ‘better’ legislation simply does not stack up.

“They have the numbers to make improvements or amend this Bill as they see fit. Why should women be forced to wait before the Government can introduce their own version of what I expect will be a very similar bill.

“The hard work has already been done in preparing this bill, but this Government wants to go back to the drawing board for political point-scoring.”

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