125 Years Since the Vote and Rural Women Still Struggle

March 22, 2018 12:01 am

(Pictured: RWNZ Board Member and Health convenor, Margaret Pittaway)

 Rural Women New Zealand are concerned with New Zealand’s midwifery shortage, particularly for rural women. Please read our media release below in response to the current media regarding this issue. Board Member and Health convenor, Margaret Pittaway, has been working hard to ensure our concerns for this issue are heard.

You can find the relevant media here.




It’s ironic that in the 125th year of suffrage, New Zealand women are struggling to gain and retain health services, says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).

“New Zealand is still hailed as a world leader because New Zealand women won their right to vote in 1893, the first nation in the world, however, we are behind in maternity care,” says Board Member and Health convenor, Margaret Pittaway.

“RWNZ has been observing the developing dilemma for midwives and those they care for, with increasing concern.

“Rural midwives are simply not receiving a living wage due to the expectation they travel many more miles to visit patients than their urban counterparts.

“RWNZ holds grave fears for the wellbeing and safety of rural mums-to-be – decisions on maternal care are putting the mother’s life and the life and intellect of new born babies at risk.

“On top of this, is the insidious progression in the closure of small community hospitals and maternity units in the belief that centralisation of essential services is the best method.

“RWNZ firmly believes that not only is it vital to retain community hospitals for the wellbeing of our new mothers and families, but is vital for the sustainability of rural communities.

“The Government needs to empower rural communities by urgently addressing the crisis in rural health services, particularly resignations as midwives seek better and more attractive opportunities,” says Mrs Pittaway.


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