Raderstorf World Wide Adventure

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Women Rock in New Zealand

Kia ora! This Kiwi greeting means hello, good luck and good health in Maori, one of New Zealand's two official languages. I’m in the beautiful capital city of Wellington, surrounded by water, hills and lots of green space. Besides taking in incredible beauty, my most memorable experience has been visiting the New Zealand Parliament. We happened upon the government complex by accident on an early morning stroll. Without the presence of security guards and blockades of any kind, I found it impossible to believe that this was the national seat of government. One side of the complex is guarded by a three foot high picket fence. Imagine that!

New Zealand, the first country to grant universal suffrage in 1893, operates under a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system. It has eight different parties currently represented on the debating chamber floor, including the green party and the Maori party. Over a quarter of the MP seats and most of the top positions including Prime Minister, Speaker of the House, Governor General, Chief Justice and Maori Party leader are ALL held by women.
The New Zealand government prioritizes families, economic growth and the environment. The Right Honorable Helen Clark had this to say after the release of the recent budget, "The overall effect of Budget 2004 will be to help build a nation which is innovative, enterprising, confident and more prosperous, and which, most importantly, cares for all its people." Three of the women MP’s have set out on a social policy tour entitled Mothers on the Road to gather tried and proven local ideas for helping children at risk. They are looking at the issues from “the perspective of mothers, not politicians.”
I left the Parliament building feeling such excitement that mothers here are truly shaping public policy--and New Zealand is thriving because of it (the NZ dollar is at an all time high). How fortunate we are to have such a brilliant model; upon my return, I will lobby my elected officials to add a section to the home page of US government websites, Participate in Government. Me whai wāhi ki ngā mahi Kāwanatanga. Get involved and have your say.
Kia ora!


  • At November 7, 2005 at 8:34 AM, Blogger Henryrmsy said…

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