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New Zealand - Decrease in Women Members of Parliament 


National’s victory this election has led to a decrease in the number of women MPs – despite the addition of Carmel Sepuloni to the Labour ranks, according to Rae Julian, National President of UN Women NZ. Now women are only 33% of the total where previously they were 34%. We have slipped from being 8= in the world to being 10= with Macedonia and Nepal.


On a party basis, the Greens head the list with women as 50% of their MPs. Labour follows with 38%, then NZ First with 37%, the Maori Party with 33% and the National Party with 25%. The latter have the most MPs, so they lower the percentage of women.  The three other parties represented, ACT, United Future and Mana, have a lone male each.


National won the majority of electorate seats – 41. Only ten of these, 24%, are represented by women. Labour also had a lower percentage, 35%, of its women MPs successful in electorate seats.


New Zealand is often acclaimed in international forums for being the first country in the world to give the vote to women. It took a long time before we got our first woman MP and even longer to reach the 30%  set as a first benchmark by the UN. This happened in 1996 when MMP was introduced.


The main benchmark is to reach 50% of women MPs. Only Rwanda has reached that target to date. We should be aiming to become a world leader again, to recognise the skills of so many of our women leaders by aiming to get them into the top decision-making roles. Let us hope that in 2014, the parties will select women in equal numbers to men for both electorates as well as list seats, concluded Rae Julian.


 Rae Julian

National President

UN Women National Committee for Aotearoa New Zealand