As the election draws near and the debates have taken place, Rural Women encourages all to think on what are the big concerns affecting your community? What are your local candidates’ or political party’s stance on the issues? Can candidates ensure your concerns will be addressed through positive legislative changes?
To find out the answers, we need to ask hard questions on big issues.
To start the ball rolling we have produced a Manifesto that tackles the big issues that are impacting on our communities.
Please contact your local Rural Women New Zealand National Councillor if you would like any advice/support on issues of concern to you. This is your opportunity to ensure candidates know the issues and have some answers.
Sample ‘hard questions’
- Victims of family violence will stay in a relationship for up to 22 years (though the average is two years) because of a well-founded fear that their animals will be maimed or killed. Most states in America include protection of animals in protection orders. The Animal Welfare Act does not cover this unique and urgent circumstance. One of the conditions in NZ Domestic Protection Orders is that the person committing the violence “… must not damage or threaten to damage the applicant’s property…”Question: If you are the Government will you amend the Domestic Violence Act that allows for the applicants property to include pets and stock to be immediately protected on the issuing of an order by the court?
- Many rural areas face uncertainty about the continuance of power supply after 2015. Presently there are roads where lines are being downgraded causing random failures to the power supply. We are told that consumers ‘reasonable’ electricity needs will be met. We note affordability is missing.Question: If you are the Government how will you give greater certainty after 2015 than is presently being offered? How do you define “reasonable” in terms of policy? Can you guarantee that affordability is an integral part to your government’s policy? How will that be defined?
- According to Professor Jacqueline Rowarth in 2012, of 20,000 annual degree graduates just 80 were in agriculture. This is at odds when New Zealand’s wealth is significantly from our primary industries.Question: How will your Government address this anomaly?
- Caring Counts 2012 produced by the Human Rights Commission offered 10 recommendations to improve the wellbeing of the aged care workforce. The current Government rejected all of them. They included basic recommendations such as fair pay, and pay for travel for home care workers. (See what the 10 recommendations are here)Question: Will you enact the 10 recommendations in Caring Counts?
- Women over the age of 70 have an increased chance of breast cancer and yet the free mammogram service and access to the mobile service ceases at 69. This has a greater impact on rural women, while cost being an issue it is further exacerbated for rural women by the need to travel long distances to get their regular mammogram. Due to this it is documented that rural women are less likely than urban women to have regular breast health checks.Question: Will your Government consider a private/public mobile breast screening service where women over 70 years can use the mobile service and pay on visit? And would you consider making breast screening services free to women over the age of 70?
- The Freshwater Accord gives a level of water safety to a walk through level. Most submissions wanted safe swimming as the bottom line. For rural families lake or river may be the only place where they can swim and dive as they have done since families settled in rural areas.Question: Will you amend the Accord to have a percentage of rivers and lakes safe for swimming as the bottom line? What percentage do you think that should be?
- A Nurse Practitioners role is unique and takes several years of training. They would be a valued asset to our rural communities, if we could get enough of them. One of the barriers is that the Voluntary Bonding Scheme excludes Nurse Practitioners because they are not seen as new graduates. While a career in nursing is a prior requisite, the NP role is a whole other discipline.Question: As the Government, will you review the 2012 recommendation that Nurse Practitioners are rightly noted as new graduates and qualify for participation in the voluntary bonding scheme in hard to staff rural areas?
- Hard to staff areas are defined by District Health Board catchments which have strong urban areas that are not difficult to staff. This has resulted in the scheme failing in rural areas where there is the greatest need. There are also DHBs with hard to staff rural areas that are not part of the voluntary bonding scheme.Question: Would you, as the Government, direct the DHBs to meet the needs of genuine hard to staff areas within their catchment? Would you n consider using a more targeted method of defining hard to staff areas across all DHBs?
To learn more on Rural Women New Zealand and what we’re working for change on in rural communities, read our Manifesto.
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