Early voting has just opened, so in an attempt to make things more straightforward, below is a simplified policy guide of sorts. It looks at which parties have proposed solutions for the above concerns, but with a distinct gendered lens. That is, not every policy from every party is listed below. Instead, included are key proposals or proposals that may have significant implications (positive or negative) for women and the many responsibilities they bear.
This past September marked 130 years since Aotearoa New Zealand granted women the right to vote, becoming the first self-governing country to do so.
Despite having representation of women in Parliament and in positions of leadership, aspects of our society – from institutions to social norms – remain highly gendered. Can this partly explain why there is data to suggest that women vote more than men do?
While electoral concerns can vary between each individual, many Kiwi women who spoke to Newshub Nation listed “mental health, climate change, sexual education and period product accessibility, education, health, equality and the cost of living” as key concerns.
During the election campaign period, however, trying to understand what each political party is proposing can become really overwhelming when politicians spend more time pointing the finger at each other instead of focussing on delivering actual solutions to real world problems.
The majority of the policy proposals below have been sourced from an excellent website: policy.nz. This election tool categorises and simplifies policies from each political party, even providing the option to ‘hide’ parties, allowing readers to impartially view proposed policies. Some proposals have also been sourced from party websites and media outlets.
Labour: Place mental health workers in places where people already get healthcare support (e.g., GPs, youth services), continued expansion of Mana Ake – an in-school programme of mental health and well-being support, fixing mental health infrastructure by building new acute mental health and addiction facilities across the country, boosting community crisis teams and co-response teams.
National: Establish a Minister for Mental Health, increase funding for victim support services by 29%, create a Mental Health Innovation Fund to support community mental health organisations, improve access to mental health and suicide prevention services for building and construction workers.
ACT: Establish a national mental health and addiction agency that would assess individual needs.
The Greens: Provide free mental health services for children and young people, create school hubs with health and social services, implement recommendations from the Ministry of Health’s suicide prevention strategy, deliver mental health and addiction programmes targeted at Māori, improve help for people suffering from eating disorders, train more mental health professionals, strengthen the Mental Health and Wellbeing commission.
Te Pāti Māori: Establish a Kaupapa Māori mental health service.
The Opportunities Party: Provide free primary health care to under 30s, fund a new mental health and trauma centre in Christchurch, support further research into the use of psychoactive drugs to treat mental illnesses.
NZ First: Fund charity that provides free counselling to young people.
New Conservative: Tighten restrictions on alcohol marketing.
Labour: Continue renewable energy funding partnership with BlackRock, continue to aim for 100% renewable energy, support iwi and hapū-led solutions to protect or move sites affected by sea level rises, consider a fund for Māori climate change researchers and scientists, rebates of $2000 for solar panel installation on homes.
National: Introduce a pricing system for agricultural emissions by 2030, narrow the scope of Significant Natural Areas (these include significant indigenous vegetation and indigenous fauna), limit the scope of wetlands protections, fund tax cuts using Emissions Trading Scheme revenue, set up a cyclone and flood response ombudsman, one-year time limit for consent decisions on solar, wind and geothermal generation, support more sustainability research on the construction sector.
ACT: Reverse the ban on oil and gas exploration, abolish Significant Natural Areas, the Climate Change Commission, the Climate Change Chief Executives Board and the Climate Emergency Response Fund, repeal the Zero Carbon Act, refund the Emissions Trading Scheme with a carbon dividend, replace the Resource Management Act with property-rights based law, cut MPs’ flights by 25%, end council consents for dumping sewage into rivers, develop a national environment management monitoring system.
The Greens: Strengthen Zero Carbon Act, establish a Ministry of Climate Change, pass a Climate Change Adaptation Bill, increase funding for predator, weed and pest control, ban new extraction of fossil fuels, phase out bottom trawling on seamounts, payments up to $6k and $30k interest-free loans for homeowners to install solar or efficiency upgrades, fund solar panels on public buildings, a $750m climate resilience fund for nature restoration in towns and cities to curb flooding risk, require all government policies and targets to align with 1.5C of warming, set up a Zero Waste Agency, beverage container return scheme, product stewardship schemes, increased landfill levies, recyclables and compostables labelling standards, free public transport.
Te Pāti Māori: Ban oil and gas exploration, ban seabed mining, ban coal mine permits and phase out industrial coal burning by 2030, set up $1b fund for Māori-owned community energy projects, establish climate change adaptation plans with whānau, hapū and iwi, support Māori farmer transition to regenerative farming, overturn the Crown’s “everyone owns water”, acknowledge Māori proprietary, customary and decision-making rights over fresh water, return conservation land to whānau, hapū and iwi, acknowledge freshwater whakapapa rights in law.
The Opportunities Party: Provide free public transport to under 30s, provide a $1500 credit for bikes and e-scooters to under 30s, replace all urban buses with electric buses by 2030, reward farmers who regenerate their landscape for biodiversity, carbon sequestration and other environmental gains, strengthen the Emissions Trading Scheme by excluding new forestry, support internal and external climate refugees, urban greening programmes to manage heat in cities.
NZ First: Invest $100m into transmission upgrades, support a waste-to-energy plant in Northland, oppose any closure of Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, move responsibility for protecting biodiversity from central to local government, create a fuel security plan.
New Conservative: End all climate taxes, subsidies and regulations, increase funding for climate resilience.
Sexual Education and Period Product Accessibility
Labour: Continue to roll out free period products across schools, modernise consent laws.
National: Not yet announced (NYA).
The Greens: Introduce education on healthy relationships and consent in schools.
Te Pāti Māori: NYA
The Opportunities Party: NYA
NZ First: Ban education about relationships, gender and sexuality in schools.
New Conservative: Ban sex education in primary schools, ban education about gender or gender identity in all schools.
Labour: Extend 20 hours of free early childhood education (ECE) to two-year-olds, make reading, writing and maths part of compulsory core teaching requirements across all schools, require financial literacy to be taught in schools, investigate support for Wānanga.
National: Introduce a childcare tax rebate for families earning less than $180,000 per year, end the planned extension of 20 hours free ECE to two-year-olds, ban mobile phones in schools, require an average of one hour of reading, writing and maths in primary and intermediate schools, rewrite the primary and intermediate school curriculum, introduce a compulsory exist exam for primary and intermediate school teaching graduates, abolish teacher registration fees.
ACT: Reintroduce Partnership Schools, reduce the number of non-front line employees at the Ministry of Education by 50%, repeal the new school curriculum, report daily school attendance records, create a traffic-light system for student truancy, create an individualised Student Education Account of $12,000 per year for each child, abolish the Fees Free tertiary education programme, remove Student Allowance and caps on Tertiary Education Fees.
The Greens: Work towards universal free ECE, kindergartens and kōhanga reo, expand free lunch in school programmes, ensure support for students with disabilities and additional learning needs, introduce an income guarantee for all students, modify the student loan repayment system, work towards fees-free tertiary education, reassess the funding of tertiary institutions, provide free public transport for students.
Te Pāti Māori: Increase funding for kaupapa Māori education, make Te Reo Māori history core subjects up to year 10, require schools to have Māori staff in their senior leadership teams, create more pathways for school leavers, introduce a universal student allowance.
The Opportunities Party: Build a new primary and secondary school in Christchurch, introduce and incentivise a national civic service programme to access a Universal Savings Boost, increase placements at medical, nursing and dentistry schools, introduce an accelerated post-graduate programme for people with relevant degrees.
NZ First: Enforce compulsory education.
New Conservative: Remove education about race, decolonisation, gender and the science of climate change from the curriculum, promote alternatives to mainstream state schools, give control of school curriculums to school boards and communities, reimburse parents who homeschool their children, reduce university funding, promote trades training as an alternative to university.
Labour: Retain free prescriptions, develop an action plan to implement endometriosis education and awareness, free cervical screening for those aged 25-69, extend free breast cancer screening to those aged up to 74 years, limit the number of vape stores to 600 across NZ, increase penalties for supplying vapes to under 18s, provide free dental care to under 30s, increase the number of dental places at university by 50%.
National: Create bonding scheme for nurses and midwives working in NZ, increase funding for new cancer treatments, reinstate $5 co-payment prescription fee with exemptions to those on low incomes and 65+, extend free breast cancer screening to those aged up to 74 years, establish a third medical school, increase the number of placements at Auckland and Otago medical schools.
ACT: Subsidise common elective surgeries in private hospitals, abolish Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority, sell public hospitals to private investors under leaseback arrangements, increase funding to GPs, repeal all or part of the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act, give the Health Minister the power to override regulations.
The Greens: Provide free dental care for everyone, ban most alcohol ads and all sponsorships, reform drug laws, legalise cannabis for personal use, establish a New Zealand Dental Service, improve pregnancy care through better funding of midwives and services, speed up access to support for people with neurodivergent conditions, improve help for people suffering from eating disorders, increase funding for staff in aged care facilities.
Te Pāti Māori: Establish a Māori Health Funding Authority, introduce a Māori health card, make Māori eligible for cancer screenings 10 years earlier.
The Opportunities Party: Provide free primary healthcare, basic mental health care, basic eyecare and dental care to under 30s, legalise the sale of cannabis, restrict the sale of vapes to pharmacies, increase funding for vape cessation programmes, provide healthcare workers with liveable wages and safer hours, support Te Whatu Ora to provide more GP practices in rural areas, fund a free ambulance service, make all contraception free, make all antenatal ultrasounds free, fund a new cancer treatment centre and laboratory in Christchurch.
NZ First: Compensate people who lost jobs due to Covid-19 vaccination requirements, hold an inquiry into the Covid-19 response, increase funding for medicines and review Pharmac, abolish Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority, ensure Whānau Āwhina Plunket is adequately funded.
New Conservative: Provide personhood rights to foetuses from conception, ban medical abortions and withdraw public funding for abortions, prohibit changes to a person’s gender on birth certificates, ban assisted dying and prioritise funding for palliative care, expand Covid-19 injury to examine vaccine injuries.
Labour: Retain current public transport discounts, require companies with more than 250 staff to publicly report its internal gender pay gap.
National: Remove public transport discounts, increase superannuation payments annually.
ACT: Abolish the Ministry for Women and the Human Rights Commission, oppose laws against hate speech, increase retirement age to 67.
The Greens: Require a children’s interests analysis for government policy decisions, fund advocacy services for people with disabilities, introduce an income guarantee for people unable to work due to health conditions or disabilities, co-design accessibility legislation with the disabled community, improve access to social services for children, extend hate speech protections to cover religion, gender, disability and Rainbow communities, ensure equitable representation in government roles, establish a Ministry for Rainbow Communities, support intersex healthcare reform, promote non-discriminatory access to gender-affirming healthcare, extend paid parental leave to 15 months, implement comprehensive gender pay gap reporting, support pay equity settlements.
Te Pāti Māori: Reduce barriers to accessing benefits, introduce free public transport for all students.
The Opportunities Party: Increase income support for disabled people, introduce the Teal Card – a physical card and app that people under 30’s can use to access primary healthcare, public transport, and financial support, require children to be signed up for Kiwisaver at birth.
NZ First: Require public organisations to install both single sex and unisex toilets, defund sports organisations that do not have a category for people assigned female at birth, retain the current age of eligibility for superannuation.
New Conservative: Prohibit changes to a person’s gender, protect freedom of speech and assembly, ban gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapies for young people, keep the retirement age at 65.
The Cost of Living (Economy)
Labour: Remove GST from fruit and vegetables, remove tax depreciation for commercial buildings, increase the top trust tax rate, rule out a capital gains tax or wealth tax, boost the Working for Families tax credit by $25.
National: Adjust income tax brackets for inflation, revert the bright-line test for tax on property sales to two years, restore interest deductibility for rental properties, reduce spending on non front-line services by an average of 6.5%, replace foreign buyer ban with purchase tax for houses worth $2m or more, prioritising funding social services that have the biggest long term impacts.
ACT: Introduce a two-rate income tax system, provide tax refund using Emissions Trading Scheme revenue, halt contributions to the NZ Super Fund and government contributions to the Venture Capital Fund, partially privatise various state-owned enterprises, abolish all tariffs, replace fuel taxes with user-pays road pricing, end tax exemptions for charities and religious groups, restore interest deductibility for rental properties.
The Greens: Introduce a $385 weekly income guarantee, make the first $10,000 of income tax free, introduce a 2.5% wealth tax, increase taxes on companies, increase the landfill levy, minimum wage to be adjusted according to inflation.
Te Pāti Māori: Make the first $30,000 of income tax free, introduce a wealth tax and foreign company tax, tax undeveloped land, introduce tax on vacant houses, cancel all debt owed to MSD, increase tax on income over $300,000.
The Opportunities Party: Make the first $15,000 of income tax free, provide a universal basic income, introduce a 0.75% tax on urban residential land, cancel all debt owed to MSD, increase tax on income over $180,000, reduce tax on income up to $80,000.
NZ First: Adjust tax income brackets to match inflation, remove GST from fresh food (fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and fish).
New Conservative: Introduce tax on foreign house buyers and local buyers with three or more properties, make the first $20,000 of income tax free, adjust income tax bands for inflation, reduce government spending by 10%.
Notes: Parties included are based on those included on policy.nz’s website. Not every policy for these concerns are listed, but rather key policies according to policy.nz, media outlets and political party websites. Policies on policy.nz will be updated as parties continue to make announcements in the lead up to the election.
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