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Entries are now open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2017, which will be presented at the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists annual awards dinner in Wellington on 13 October.

The Rural Women New Zealand award encourages journalists to report on the achievements of women living and working in rural communities.

Entries in the RWNZ Journalism Award 2017 must be of two articles, radio broadcasts or television programmes broadly based on the theme of “rural women making a difference.” This could be in the sense of community involvement, on farm, or in another rural-based business or activity.

“RWNZ is proud to sponsor this Award for journalism features celebrating the achievements of rural women, through enterprise or volunteering in roles that support their rural community,” says Fiona Gower, National President of Rural Women New Zealand.

Nadine Porter was the winner of the 2016 Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award. Nadine's winning articles featured research on rural women and isolation, and the role of social media and were published in the Ashburton Guardian Farming.

Entries close Wednesday 6 September 2017. Any New Zealand-based journalist or communicator is eligible to enter the award. The winner will receive $750 in prize money.

Click here to download an entry form.

 

Entries open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Entries are now open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2017, which will be presented at the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists annual awards dinner in Wellington on 13 October. Read More

The Justice and Electoral Committee is seeking feedback on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2).

Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) submission supports the intent of the Bill, especially in regards to the protection of landlords and tenants from the harmful effects of methamphetamine contamination. However, there are ways in which the Bill could improve to provide greater protections for landlords and tenants.

RWNZ recognises that the manufacture of methamphetamine is a widespread, clandestine issue in New Zealand. In our submission, RWNZ noted that the lack of police resources in rural areas can make them a target location for methamphetamine manufacture because there is less risk of getting caught. RWNZ also referenced a case study that shows how harmful methamphetamine contamination in homes can be to the health of tenants, especially children.

In order to provide greater protection for tenants, RWNZ suggested that landlords must be held liable to test for methamphetamine contamination before a tenant moves in if requested by the incoming tenant. In regards to the high cost of methamphetamine testing, RWNZ recommended that the Bill be amended to state that tenants responsible for the methamphetamine contamination should be responsible for all costs involved with the damage that are not covered by a landlord’s insurance. This removes an undue burden on landlords, who should not be held liable to pay the costs incurred by methamphetamine contamination.

"Tenants must be made responsible for the damage they cause to the landlord's property,” says Fiona Gower, National President of Rural Women New Zealand. “This includes the cost of remediating contamination caused by tenants who use or manufacture methamphetamine.”

Click here to read the Submission

 

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No2) Submission

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Justice and Electoral Committee is seeking feedback on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2).  Read More

The Ministry of Education is seeking feedback on the draft Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko (DT|HM) curriculum.

Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) submission supports the curriculum and its intent to prepare New Zealand’s students for the increasingly digital world. However, RWNZ is concerned about the curriculum being applied in rural areas, where there is not equitable access to digital technologies.

The three core issues with implementing the DT|HM curriculum that RWNZ has focused on in the submission are the lack of sufficient funding for rural schools, training for teachers, and access to reliable internet connectivity. RWNZ noted that although access to reliable broadband has improved in rural schools, not all rural homes and communities are sufficiently equipped. Therefore, rural students that do not have access to reliable internet would be unable to complete the required coursework outside of school hours.

“It is vital that all students in New Zealand have access to all learning opportunities,” says RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower. “They shouldn't be missing these opportunities because of funding or training restrictions or because of where they live. There needs to be equity for all, so no children are left behind in the learning of what is now considered an important part of the curriculum.”

In the submission, RWNZ has requested that the curriculum include a strategic plan that will ensure all schools are provided with adequate resources so that learning outcomes can be consistent across the country. This plan should include a training budget to be used for professional learning and development in the use of digital technologies for teachers; ensuring access to reliable internet connectivity both at school and in homes; and providing all schools and students with the same technology and other resources needed to implement the curriculum.

Click here to download the Submission.

 

Equity of access, funding and training concerns for draft Digital Technologies curriculum

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Ministry of Education is seeking feedback on the draft Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko (DT|HM) curriculum.  Read More

The Ministry of Health has proposed a new framework for suicide prevention and is seeking feedback. Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) submission supports the general framework.

Although expresses concern regarding the lack of concrete targets and detailed methods for how any of the initiatives will be implemented. We are especially concerned about the lack of a strategic plan to lead and fund these activities.

The proposed framework aims to address the devastating impact that suicide has on New Zealand’s communities and the unfortunate reality that over 500 people in New Zealand die by suicide every year. RWNZ supports the framework’s focus on supporting positive wellbeing for all ages, increasing awareness of suicidal behaviour and mental health, strengthening systems already in place to support communities, and improving collaboration among those working to prevent suicidal behaviour.

In our submission, we have addressed the fact that the suicide rate is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, as well as the various factors that place rural communities at an increased risk of mental illness. These factors include vulnerability to economic fluctuations and social isolation, which are compounded by the lack of access to services and support, substandard or no access to reliable and affordable internet and mobile coverage, and the history of inequalities that rural communities face often being overlooked.

RWNZ has suggested that in order to improve mental wellbeing in rural areas, rural health research must become a priority to understand and address the needs of rural communities. We have also urged the Ministry of Health to refrain from relying on technological health services, recognising that not all rural communities have access to reliable and affordable internet and mobile coverage.

Rural Women New Zealand strongly supports the framework’s proposal to involve, train and educate community members on suicide prevention. Rural Women New Zealand has expressed that it is essential for rural communities to be provided with the right tools to improve mental wellbeing within the community and reduce social stigma associated with mental illness.

As further information becomes available, this will be distributed to the members.

 

Click here to download the Submission: June 2017 Suicide Prevention Strategy Submission


 

 

Suicide Prevention Strategy Submission

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Ministry of Health has proposed a new framework for suicide prevention and is seeking feedback. Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) submission supports the general framework. Read More

The Justice and Electoral Committee is seeking feedback on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill. RWNZ's submission fully supports the Bill and its intent to prevent forced marriages from occurring in New Zealand by requiring minors aged 16 and 17 to gain approval by the Family Court in order to marry.

In our submission, RWNZ cited various international conventions and declarations of which New Zealand is a signatory or party to that do not condone forced marriage. These include the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). RWNZ expressed that the proposed amendment to New Zealand’s marriage law upholds New Zealand’s commitment to these documents.

RWNZ also noted that the law as it currently stands, which allows minors aged 16 and 17 to marry with parental consent, is insufficient in preventing forced marriage. The proposed amendment serves as a precaution to prevent parental guardians from attempting to facilitate a forced marriage.

As further information becomes available, this will be distributed to the members.

Click here to download the RWNZ submission.

Marriage Amendment Bill

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Justice and Electoral Committee is seeking feedback on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill. RWNZ's submission fully supports the Bill and its intent to prevent forced marriages from occurring in New Zealand by requiring minors aged 16 and 17 to gain approval by the Family Court in order to marry. Read More

MINUTES : Firearms Community Advisory Forum SUBJECT Firearms Community Advisory Forum

DATE Wednesday 19 April 2017 TIME 0930 - 1230 VENUE Level 15 Conference Room 3 & 4 ATTENDEES CATHERINE PETREY, GEOFF DUNN, ROB NGAMOKI, CHRIS SCAHILL, JULIA PENNEY, RAY VINE, ALASTAIR (ROLY) WILLIAMS, CHRIS JAMIESON, RICHARD SMITH, KIRSTY MARSHALL, PAUL CLARK, HELEN MORGAN, NICOLE MCKEE, MIKE DAISLEY, JOHN HERBERT, TREVOR DYKE, ANDREW EDGCOMBE, DEBBIE WAKKER, JOHN HOWAT, RACHAEL DEAN, TRENT SMITH, PETER NOBLE APOLOGIES SANDRA KEENAN, PAUL GATLAND, MICHELLE PODMORE, DELL HIGGIE, NATHAN WATSON

 

 

Item 1 – Welcome and introduction The Chair welcomed the Forum’s members and advised them of safety procedures, evacuation protocol and restated Chatham House Rules to support the free flow of comment.

Item 2 – Confirm previous Minutes and Update Action Points The minutes from the previous meeting were confirmed.

1. Place Brokering – Arms Trade Treaty as a standing item on the agenda. Completed

2. Send Powerpoint from Poh Boey to all Forum members.

Completed. 3. Send out document on security of firearms to Forum members. Completed.

4. Forum members/Police to get information for the purchase of chamber safety tags. Completed.

5. Put link to Arms Officers on website in Minutes. Completed.

6. Police to look at adding the ability for a permit applicant to look up progress on not being able to find information and contacts. Completed.

7. Add permit statistics and relevant information to the Quarterly update. Still in progress. 8. Complete a draft Terms of Reference for the Security Subcommittee. Completed. 9. Measurement of the length of firearms issues to be looked at by Police and whether Crown Law advice necessary. Completed. 1

10. Put a link or document that outlines ‘what Police do’ currently in relation to the measurement of MSSAs and why. Completed.

11. Send the permit form link in Minutes. Completed.

12. Police to send information to Forum members covered in letter to Taylor. Completed.

13. Police to investigate the use of the term ‘Biographies’ by Arms Officers. Completed. There was some discussion on the last action point. It was noted that ‘Biographies’ is a term used by some Arms Officers relating to the requirement for detailed information in an application for importing a firearm for special reason from firearms dealers, importers and collectors. There have been a couple of instances where an Arms Officers wanted a Biography for a one-off importation; however, this is unusual. It was noted that Biographies is an incorrect term and should be more correctly described as Supporting Information for an application. A message has gone to Arms Officers to this effect. The Chair altered the original agenda so that items 5 and 6 were bumped up ahead of item 3 to fit with Supt Chris Cahill’s availability.

Item 5 – Arms Safety and Control Project Police is currently focusing on completing 3 ICT changes for the National Intelligence Application (NIA). In the meantime, critical issues in the business as usual (BAU) space need care and attention. Police wants any changes to be built on a solid foundation to prevent further systemic problems arising in the BAU. Police is devising possible short, medium and long term solutions. Police wants to make sure that its base supports future solutions. Both Police National Headquarters and Police Districts have been consulted on this issue. On the whole, Police is confident that it is getting a clearer picture of what changes are required in NIA. Preliminary thinking is to have centralised control over the permit system. This has not yet been decided. In the meantime the Project will concentrate on support for the current permit process in the first instance. A member inquired about what needs to happen before Police receives the ‘go ahead’, and that it is important to build a more comprehensive picture as soon as possible. Police advised that it could consider making a one-off bid from the Justice Sector fund. Another member advised that not everyone would be comfortable or able to use a computer-based system, and entering on line at a Police station or similar could be problematic as required information may not be readily available. While they may be a small proportion of the population they needed to be provided for. A member suggested there needed to be some rural proofing in any new system. Police acknowledged that there is not a lot more it can do to help with this issue, but noted that some electronic changes may make it easier as it will minimise the personal contact required and limit the paper-based demands. With this in mind, the Chair emphasised that the Arms Safety and Control project has short, medium and long term elements.

2 A member outlined that issues with permits and applications have improved considerably, and that they were very impressed with the turnaround – people who suffer from geographical constraints are often met with very accommodating Arms Officers. Another member outlined that rural proofing can be quite difficult, and that applications sometimes must be completed twice. It was suggested that if the application process was done at a local level perhaps this will be less of an issue. With this in mind, the member indicated that a local centralised system should be considered as part of any long term plan. It was noted that Police is confident that there is no outstanding permit application held in PNHQ greater than 30 days but recognises that there may still be some permits in Districts not yet entered into the system and some permits issued from PNHQ that have not yet reached the applicant. As advised to representatives of the Wairarapa Pistol and Shooting Sports Club, Police is advising people who have been waiting for more than 40 days to contact PNHQ and to use the email address [email protected] Police noted that based on information from the Districts, a backlog may be looming. Consequently, it is working towards a proactive system. Police wants to be ahead of the game and able to predict demand so that it can coordinate and manage responses effectively. In relation to the Law and Order Committee’s Inquiry, one member asked whether Police considered the scope of the Arms Safety and Control project capable of covering all of the Committee’s recommendations. Specifically, the member asked whether it would be capable of handling the Committee’s pseudo-registration recommendation (this may have been referring to either the voluntary recording of serial numbers or to the proposed permit to procure for A cats recommended by the Committee).

Police noted that while the serial number of A category firearms it is an additional field in the data field, it should be able to add this to its capability. A member noted that previously there had been some discussion on Arms Officers being appointed by Police National Headquarters, and asked whether this has been rejected or followed. Police outlined that there has not yet been a decision on that point. Currently Police is more concerned about whether there are enough Arms Officers currently available to provide a good service, but indicated that it will look into this proposal at a later stage. Police is working towards the consistent application of existing standards.

Training at the Police College organised by Response and Operations is the first step in this process, and recently took place. It was designed to outline the requirements for the Arms Officer job. Police captured just under half the country’s Arms Officers. Another course is scheduled for next year, and it is hoped that Arms Officers will be able to attend an annual refresher course. Police is also hoping to give arms training to arms licensing staff. Police is confident that Arms Officers have a good understanding of what is going on, including the Arms Safety and Control project. Police advised that Nicholas Taylor was invited to attend the course (and did so), so that he could understand how everything runs from Police’s side.

Item 6 – Select Committee – Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms The Law and Order Committee published its final report on 7 April 2017 on the Parliamentary website, and it was sent out to members along with the agenda for this meeting. The Committee made 20 recommendations, which the government will then consider and provide a response to be tabled in Parliament within 60 working days. Police notes that if the government wishes to proceed with any of the recommendations, it will need to go through the full normal processes required to change legislation or regulations. 3 One of the Committee’s recommendations related to the introduction of Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs). FPOS are based on the Australian FPO regime. Basically, they prevent specified people from accessing firearms, but also ensure that they cannot reside or be in a place that stores firearms. They are also unable to use a firearm under the supervision of a firearms licence holder. Breaching a FPO would also carry a significant penalty. Police commented that it is very unlikely that firearms legislation and regulations will change before the election and that the government’s response could well suggest that more work needs to be done. A member noted that the Inquiry specifically related to the illegal possession of firearms and that its terms of reference related to how unlicensed persons come into possession of firearms. The member considered the recommendations in the report did not seem to focus on the purpose of the Inquiry. Police commented that the Committee could not fully understand how unlicensed persons come into the possession of firearms illegally because of a lack of data – the methodology from Sir Thomas Thorp’s 1997 report can only take you so far. The Committee had very little hard information on this matter and Police data has limitations. With this in mind, the member suggested that the recommendations were predominantly based on information that the Committee did not know. In particular, the member was concerned that there was going to be firearms “registration by stealth” as a result (referring to police recording the serial numbers of firearms when renewing someone’s firearms licence). They also noted the issues with data integrity. Police outlined that firearms registration involves firearms owners voluntarily giving Police a number of firearm details, including the serial number, of all their firearms. Over the years Police has not recommended universal registration of firearms. Police sees benefit in collecting better information over time but sees limited benefit in trying to register all firearms that may be in legal ownership at a single point in time. In that regard Police’s view is consistent with that of the government.

In relation to the so called ‘secret submission’ it was explained that Police, having been invited to be advisers to the Committee, was bound by the parliamentary process and parliamentary privilege. – this is fully described in Standing Orders of Parliament that is publicly available. The Committee’s deliberations were subject to parliamentary privilege, so neither Police nor Members of Parliament could comment on the Committee’s discussions until their report was tabled, at which point the Police advice and any other advice requested by the Committee became public. This is a long established practice and is one of the strengths of the Westminster parliamentary process. A member noted that firearms owners are not happy with some of the Committee’s recommendations – particularly over the sale and supply of firearms. The member also stated that he and others were disappointed in some incorrect statements that were made on Breakfast by the President of the Police Association. The member went on to say that everyone in the firearms community is worried about a lack of trust of Police, and that this probably originated with the pistol grip fiasco in 2009. Firearms owners are also worried about additional compliance obligations. Finally, the member stipulated that some of the recommendations were not necessarily made to help lawful firearms owners, but burden them. Another member noted that they have looked at similar recommendations in the past which looked more like job creation schemes. With this in mind, the member stated that since 1843 there have been hundreds of changes, but that the system will not succeed if firearms owners do not buy into 4 it.

For this reason, they suggested that it may be wise to start a new system and include firearm users during the policy development process. Police noted that it receives a number of different messages from the firearms community. The general ‘fit and proper person’ approach works well, but policy changes may be required in a number of other areas. One member noted that the current system works well, but that it would be useful to tighten aspects of the system to make sure it works consistently across the board. Another member discussed the recommendation for a new category of firearms licences for certain semi-automatics to replace the current MSSA category. It was alarming that a modified shotgun for duck hunters and .22 calibre semi-automatics (probably New Zealand’s biggest selling firearm) could fall under this criteria. The member insisted that if these firearms fell under a newly prohibited classification, there would be a surge in grey firearms. Police sympathised but outlined that the ability to convert certain A category firearms into semi-automatic weapons is becoming more and more of an issue. A member expressed concern that that semi-automatic A cats may be required to adhere to more stringent and more expensive storage requirements. This is significant, especially for someone who lives in an apartment block – how would they build a strong room in that situation? It was thought that people will just ignore the requirements and leave their firearms in the present storage arrangements. It seems easy in principle, but it is often very difficult to comply with stronger regulations. Another member noted that they agreed with three of the Committee’s recommendations, but did not list them. Further, they would be interested in working with Police on what should change. Other members agreed that it would be advantageous to discuss possible changes with Police in a formal setting. Members agreed that it would be useful to form a Subcommittee on the Select Committee’s recommendations. Police agreed to using the Subcommittee on a consultative basis to inform the advice it put through to the Minister. Police noted that any changes to regulations and/or legislation would require consultation, and this includes consultation with both sides – not just firearms owners and their representatives. There have been a significant number of Official Information Act requests relating to the seizure of firearms (roughly about 70-90 seizures per month). Based on annual figures, Police believes that approximately 10 restricted firearms are seized each month. One member asked if these were truly restricted firearms as many people could not distinguish MSSAs from A cat semi-automatics. Possible action point –Police to provide the Forum with more detailed information on the types of restricted firearms seized by the Police, noting that this information would be limited to what is known at the Wellington armoury and would not provide a comprehensive national picture of restricted firearms seized A member noted that all restricted firearms are registered, and enquired about how that would affect statistics. Police noted that when seizing firearms, police do not always enter specific firearm details, such as the type of firearm. For example, it might note that it is a restricted firearm, but officers will not necessarily specify that it is a pistol, a MSSA or whether it is a converted/modified firearm.

The member also suggested that Police should be capable of providing data on where firearms come from, at least in relation to firearms that were originally restricted (not converted into a restricted firearm). Police stated that this is a key part of the Arms Safety and Control project. With some changes, seizure data may become more comprehensive, and data quality is likely to 5 improve. The member then indicated that it would be very beneficial for seized military-style semiautomatics and restricted firearms to be given back to their lawful owner and that data should be kept on this. Noting time constraints and the availability of some members, the Chair stopped these discussions for the time being to ensure that item 3 – the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) update could take place Item 3 – Arms Trade Treaty Update It was noted that there have not been any major developments in relation to the ATT since December. Police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) are working on the ATT report on the import and export of weapons1 .

The Brokering Bill is still being drafted, but there is no indicative timeframe on when it will start the parliamentary process – this depends on Cabinet decision making. However, work is actively being done on it. The Notification of exempted sporting firearms export form has been working well, and MFAT has been receiving a lot of notifications. International import certificates are now used around the world – they have universal meaning. You need the right authority to import controlled goods, like firearms or their component parts. A member noted that it is not ‘kosher’ to use the word ‘weapon’ during a firearms forum, as it carries negative connotations and paints members and firearms in an unfair light. The presenter noted that their work involves weapons and the ATT relates to weapons, including firearms. However, they also said that they would take this on board in the future. The presenter outlined that MFAT would keep the forum in the loop regarding the Brokering Bill, and New Zealand’s ATT.

Item 6 resumed – Select Committee – Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms The forum decided that it would be useful to create a Subcommittee, including three representatives from Police and four members from the forum to work together and discuss the Committee’s recommendations. Police supported the formation of a Subcommittee to go through the pros and cons of the recommendations. Police noted that there was no guarantee that any conclusions reached by the sub-committee would be supported by Government. It was agreed that the Subcommittee should meet on Wednesday, 3 May (one-off meeting) and would be run as a workshop. The Committee elected four members of the Forum, including: • Nicole McKee • John Herbert • Andrew Edgcombe • Debbie Wakker [Nicole McKee was later appointed as an independent advisor to the Minister of Police on the Select Committee report. Nicole nominated Trevor Dyke as a substitute. Trent Smith was also nominated] 1 MFAT uses the term weapon in the context of the Arms Trade Treaty 6 A member discussed the classification of seized firearms and proposed a long term solution. The member outlined that it would be advantageous to differentiate between different firearm categories. For example, pistols used in crimes are not necessarily the registered pistols that each lawful pistol owner uses – the category includes modified firearms that later fall under the pistol category.

The member suggested that if this point is clarified, Police may be able to compile more meaningful statistics. Police noted that there will be a transition period where it will need to refine data. There will be a period where it goes through the data and notes where changes should be made. If there are any questions on the Arms Safety and Control project, they should be emailed to [email protected] Another member suggested that it might be best for local Arms Officers to enter the details of seized firearms into the database, and that this may improve data quality. Police said that it is dedicated to enhancing data quality, and will be as accurate as possible in the future. However, Police also noted that serial numbers are often removed, so Police cannot always tell who the legal owners were.

Item 4– Subcommittee firearms storage The members had been provided with the Subcommittee’s terms of reference before the meeting took place. It was agreed that the Subcommittee would be represented by three forum members and three Police representatives, with the Chair shared between members of the Subcommittee. While the group is to be restricted to these six people, an agreed subject matter expert could also join the group for certain discussions. In terms of decision making, the Subcommittee’s powers would not exceed the forums. It was confirmed that the Subcommittee is there to ensure that what is being proposed is achievable for ordinary licensed firearms owners. The Committee agreed to the following representatives: • New Zealand Retail (Trent Smith) • Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (Michael Dowling) • Rural Women New Zealand (Rachael Dean) • Police (Insp Roly Williams, Paul Gatland and Richard Smith) One member noted that there are many ways of being secure, and indicated that the price and quality of containers is perhaps not as important as the combination of measures including monitoring alarms. Similar concerns were raised in the Wairarapa meeting mentioned earlier in the Minutes. Police agrees that this is worth considering. A member asked whether the Subcommittee is also going to look at the legal requirements and how they are working. They were concerned that very little has changed in this space for a long time. Police noted that it first needs to validate the current process, and then it can go on to look at changes/recommendations. Firearms prohibition orders (FPOs) 7 FPOs are likely to be one of the amendments to legislation that would progress. The Committee’s recommendation about gang members not being fit and proper links to FPOs. If the amendment goes ahead, it is likely that a limited number of people will be subject to it initially. It is also important to note that FPOs may not just be limited to gang members. Other than those relating to FPO/gang related matters, Police considers any further changes are unlikely before the election. FPOs prohibit someone from obtaining a firearms licence, possessing a firearm and associating with people in possession of firearms. A member raised concerns about this – could a licensed firearms owner be penalised for associating with someone subject to a FPO? Police reconfirmed that relatively few people would be subject to FPOs and considers it extremely unlikely that a licensed firearms owner would befriend someone subject to a FPO.

Police is still leading work on FPOs, although it will need to go through the Ministry of Justice and the normal parliamentary process before it is included in legislation and implemented. In relation to gang membership, Police has to provide evidence that someone is in a gang. Police has intelligence on patched members and some prospects on their way to becoming patched members. A member asked what the advantages were of having FPOs, compared to someone not being granted a firearms licence. Police outlined that without a licence someone can still use a firearm under the supervision of a firearms licence holder. A lot of ideas in respect of FPOs are being taken from Australia. In New Zealand, FPOs are being predominantly looked at as part of the Gang Action Plan. Interestingly, there is already evidence from Australia that it is much more difficult for someone to take on a leadership role in a gang if they are subject to a FPO. Penalties for firearms offences A member asked about whether it was possible to impose instant fines for firearms offences in New Zealand, rather than full prosecution. The member indicated that this might be a good alternative option – there is a better closeness to the offence with an instant fine, whereas a long and drawn out court process is not as good. The member indicated that there is an unhelpful disconnect between an offence which is committed now, and the court process which takes place a lot longer down the track. Police outlined that there is no provision for officers to impose fines for firearms offences. Nevertheless, Police noted that under a new Arms Amendment Bill, the whole penalty structure would be reviewed. During this review, there may potentially be scope to provide for some offences to be punishable by infringement fees.

Item 8 – Representatives’ attendance at Forum involved in litigation with Police The Chair noted that the primary aim of the Firearms Community Advisory Forum is for members to establish open lines of communication, and for members to be confident that their comments will not be attributed to the other members outside of the meeting. If it gets to the situation where a number of members take legal action against Police, then the confidentiality ordinarily guaranteed under the Chatham House Rules may no longer apply. If a case went to court, a member may need to testify under oath and could be forced to identify and repeat the comments made by individuals at the forum. Police noted that if the Forum is to work, there needs to be a robust process in place for free and frank flow of discussion – it is essential to lay down some basic rules. With this in mind, it might be worth taking up one of two options: 8 1. When a topic comes up that touches on a member’s litigation, it may be prudent for them to leave the room during discussion of that particular topic. 2. The member could delegate their authority to someone else within their organisation to attend the meeting instead. For either of these options to work, members need to be quite clear about their position/situation from the beginning, and it needs to be quite clear when a specific topic is going to be discussed in the meeting. A member suggested that judicial review is different from an individual’s own decision to litigate – if judicial review is underway, then contributing to the ongoing conversation may not be as problematic but time will tell. The Committee agreed to adopt the rules as described.

Item 9 – Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa The proposed membership in the Forum of Jo Green as a representative of the Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa (FSCofA) had been tabled at the Arms Safety and Control project workshop in February, but no formal decision taken. The Committee was advised that an email had been sent to FSCofA which noted criteria for consideration of membership which are: • Relevant skills, knowledge and understanding of firearms and issues/legislation relating to firearms • Relevant practical experience and networks within the firearms community • Personal attributes and ability to work constructively with and make a contribution to the Forum different from that provided by current membership • Being a representative of an incorporated group (who can represent the views of the group rather than their individual view). That email acknowledged that some of the required information had been provided and that Joe Green’s personal knowledge and experience is well known, but the applicant was asked for: • the list of organisations that are members, and an indication of membership size, • what aspects of the Council’s objectives distinguish the Council from the firearm safety and safe use representatives already on the Committee; and • an indication if the AGM has been held or if you remain in an interim chair role. A member provided some additional information around membership of FSCofA, and the Forum membership agreed in-principle (by majority), to the FSCofA membership subject to receipt of adequate additional information from them.

Item 10 – Other Business A member raised a concern about the number of roadblocks that some Australian visitors had to go through in order to participate in a firearms event that took place over Easter weekend. At first, they were not licensed to use restricted firearms because they did not have the equivalent endorsement in Australia. The issue is that civilians cannot lawfully own those firearms in Australia, so there was no way for them to obtain an equivalent endorsement there. Police noted that this issue was resolved quickly. There were processes that could be put in place to address risks. Nevertheless, Police noted that it may be useful to clarify policy on this issue. Police indicated that it requires 30 days minimum to complete the visitor licensing process. 9 The member then asked what would happen if a citizen from the United States of America wanted to come over and use firearms – a country without firearm categories. Police replied that it would make inquiries and ensure that the visitor had a certificate from the relevant law enforcement agency in the United States showing that they have authority to possess the firearm in question. The member indicated that the recent Australian situation should have been a very low risk for Police – the competition was taking place on a fully controlled range on a military base, with secure firearms storage facilities. Police noted that according to New Zealand’s firearms legislation, a person must have an E Category licence, even if they are shooting under appropriate supervision. Police cannot provide authority for someone to obtain E category firearms without the correct endorsement. The member stated that this has not been a problem over the past decade, but it appears to be at the moment because of a change in policy. Police noted there was no change in policy. Visitors need to be properly identified to determine eligibility. Anyone applying for a visitor’s firearms licence should have a good chance of getting it. They just need to provide Police with the right details, including a copy of their current licence. It is important for Police to have appropriate checks and balances in place. Police noted that it will seek to provide greater transparency of process, and will note flagged issues. The member suggested that when firearms licensing is carried out for sporting teams it should be conducted in a centralised fashion. The Chair noted that it is important for both sides of the debate to recognise the difficult decisions that need to be made, and that it is imperative to have a transparent process in place. Another member suggested that the meeting was particularly productive on this occasion, and that it may be because there was some continuity from the Arms Safety and Control workshop that took place in February (full day workshop). With that in mind, they suggested that at least one Forum meeting each year should be in the form of an all-day session. The benefit of this is that nothing would be rushed. Police agreed to this.

AGREED ACTIONS: ACTION ASSIGNED TO COMPLETED DATE POLICE TO PROVIDE THE FORUM WITH MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON THE TYPES OF RESTRICTED FIREARMS SEIZED BY THE POLICE, NOTING THAT THIS INFORMATION WOULD BE LIMITED TO WHAT IS KNOWN AT THE WELLINGTON ARMOURY AND WOULD NOT PROVIDE A COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL PICTURE OF RESTRICTED FIREARMS SEIZED POLICE AGREE THAT 7 DECEMBER 2017 BE AN ALL DAY FCAF MEETING FCAF/POLICE POLICE TO PROVIDE GREATER TRANSPARENCY OF VISITOR PERMIT PROCESS, AND WILL NOTE FLAGGED ISSUES. POLICE A SUBCOMMITTEE TO WORKSHOP THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO ISSUES RELATING TO THE ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS. TO TAKE PLACE ON 3 MAY POLICE COMPLETED FIREARMS SAFETY COUNCIL OF AOTEAROA FOLLOW UP OF MEMBERSHIP POLICE REPRESENTATIVES’ ATTENDANCE AT FORUM INVOLVED IN FACAF/POLICE AGREED AND 10 LITIGATION WITH POLICE: RULES GOVERNING THIS COMPLETED SUBCOMMITTEE ON FIREARMS STORAGE TO MEET POLICE TO MEET IN EARLY JUNE

 

 

 

 

 

 

MINUTES : Firearms Community Advisory Forum SUBJECT
Firearms Community Advisory Forum
DATE
Thursday 8 December 2016
TIME
0930 – 1230
VENUE
Level 9 Conference Room Wellington Central
ATTENDEES
Catherine Petrey, Julia Penney, Geoff Dunn (Partial), Sandra Keenan, Nicole McKee, Michael Dowling, Alastair Williams, Paul Gatland, John Herbert, Kirsty Marshall, Andrew Edgcombe, Debbie Wakker, Ray Vine, Trevor Dyke, Richard Smith, Poh Boey, Andrew Smith, Rachael Dean, Michelle Podmore, Dell Higgie, Nicole Salmon, Chandrika Kumaran
APOLOGIES
Rob Ngamoki, Chris Scahill, Matthew Gibson, Helen Morgan, John Howat, Trent Smith
PREVIOUS MINUTES: confirmed
The Chair welcomed members, followed by a Health and Safety emergency evacuation procedure and personal conveniences discussion followed by a round table introduction.
Chair covered Chatham House Rules applying. Open and honest communication and no names assigned.
The minutes from the previous meeting were confirmed.
RECAPPED ACTIONS FROM LAST MEETING:
1. Police to send out to the Forum the safe requirements checklist and advise the Forum of the certification expectations when that exercise is completed. Still in Progress.
2. Police to do some tidying up of the mail order system to ensure it can work smoothly. This issue can be revisited at the next meeting. Police will try to notify the forum ahead of this time if there are any changes. Still in progress.
3. Official Information Act Database. There was a discussion regarding the fact that Police has the highest number of OIA requests of any Government Agency. There is currently a review team looking at how to improve the timeliness of OIA responses. One solution is to have monthly Police statistics online. Still in progress.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE – ARMS TRADE TREATY UPDATE
MFAT provided a background and overview of the ATT and New Zealand’s reporting requirements.
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the first treaty to regulate the international transfer of conventional arms, from handguns, to tanks, to battleships. It entered into force on 24 December 2014. The ATT focuses on strengthening import and export legislation, policies and processes, and increasing transparency around arms transfers. The ATT now has nearly 100 signatories. The next (third) meeting is to be held in Geneva 11 – 14 September 2017.The submission of States Parties’ first annual reports, which will be publicly available, is a major milestone.
NZ provided an initial report and subsequent yearly reports are a requirement. 1
The Civil Society criticised the ATT for not addressing the most significant issues, such as transfer of arms to Saudi Arabia (Yemen). However, the first two years has concentrated on gaining signatories and attending to procedural frameworks and ‘housekeeping’ to ensure a good structural base from which to focus on furtherance of the ATT. ‘Housekeeping’ has included setting consistent templates and setting up a voluntary trust fund to help countries that are struggling to meet ATT criteria. New Zealand has provided ‘workshops’ on barriers for Africa which has no legislative framework to enable them to meet the ATT requirements.
A question was put to MFAT about whether China and Russia are signatories to the ATT. They are not, but have said they will be keeping a watching brief and reviewing their position. India is not a signatory. The USA has signed the ATT but has not ratified it due to the Senate rules. The UK and France have signed and ratified the ATT, while Israel has signed but is yet to ratify the Treaty.
There are a number of important developments relating to the ATT this year, including:
1. The creation of three working groups looking at Transparency and Reporting, Implementation and Universalisation;
2. The establishment of a voluntary trust to help states overcome barriers to join the ATT;
3. A set of Governing criteria; and
4. The appointment of the first head of the Secretariat for a four year term.
ATT and Brokering
New Zealand currently has no controls on brokering, which is the negotiation, arrangement or facilitation of a transaction involving the international movement of arms and/or military equipment.
Article 10 of the ATT requires each state party to take measures, pursuant to its national laws, to regulate brokering under its jurisdiction for conventional arms covered under Article 2(1). Such measures may include requiring brokers to register or obtain written authorisation before engaging in brokering. Unregulated brokering can undermine the Treaty.
In directing that New Zealand should ratify the UN Arms Trade Treaty, Cabinet also directed officials to develop proposals to address brokering. The proposed Bill will establish a regime that prevents New Zealand individuals and entities from engaging in brokering where there is a risk of arms and/or military equipment being transferred to illegitimate users or undesirable destinations.
This will be achieved by requiring individuals and entities wanting to engage in brokering to register with the New Zealand Government and obtain a permit for brokering activities. Permits would not be granted where there is a risk of the movement of arms and military equipment to illegitimate users or destinations. Brokering without a permit would be an offence. The regime would have extraterritorial effect and apply not only to persons in New Zealand, but also New Zealanders and New Zealand entities operating abroad.
The Brokering Bill is currently being drafted.
The ATT covers all weapons on New Zealand’s Strategic Goods List. It is important to note that the Treaty does not cover imports, and exports to and from New Zealand and the domestic sale of firearms in New Zealand, as these activities are already covered by the Arms Act 1983 and MFAT processes.
A member queried what a “transaction” is for the purposes of the proposed brokering legislation. MFAT responded that the definition is unclear at the moment and that it will be clarified in law, although they mentioned that transactions would relate to items on the Strategic Goods List as shown on the website. Each country has scope to define “brokering” themselves. 2
It was noted that it is unclear where the Bill will fit in the 2017 Legislative Programme. The Bill’s expected progress will be outlined at the start of next year, but unforeseen events may throw this into disarray. However, this Bill is expected to have cross-party support, which may help its progress.
MFAT noted that the ATT and its corresponding Bill should have no practical impact on New Zealand. The key point is that New Zealand has to make sure that it is not the weak link among the countries ratifying the Treaty. Nevertheless, a member raised a concern that the Bill may result in increased import costs.
ARMS SAFETY AND CONTROL PROJECT
Police gave a presentation on the Arms Safety and Control (ASAC) project. Police provided a very brief overview of what was discussed at the previous meeting. Before discussing the project in detail, Police noted that the project’s name had changed from the ‘Firearms Administration and Management’ project at the previous meeting to ASAC. A copy of the slideshow presentation has been sent to all Forum members.
The project has identified three key issues, including resourcing, effective management of firearm licensing and the Arms Act keeping pace with the changing environment. These issues have corresponding risks to be managed, including feelings of community safety, inconsistent support to the firearms community and Police not managing the firearms environment effectively. In relation to the risks, Police outlined how it wants to provide more consistent support for the firearms community.
Police listed the following goals:
1. Reduce the opportunities for harm from firearms
2. Improve user and stakeholder satisfaction with firearms management practice
3. Create a trusted firearms management system.
There were also a number of critical success factors including strategic fit, potential value for money (whether the market can sustain it), supplier capacity, and potential affordability and achievability.
Police also offered a likely framework (boundaries to work within) for the project:
1. Scope – Police seeks to effectively deliver services that address the needs of the firearms community and firearms environment
2. Service solution option – Police will implement a new national system to meet the needs of the firearms environment
3. Service delivery – Police (internal) or Police with other providers may deliver the services
4. Implementation – Police will deliver these services with a staged approach
5. Funding – Current funding, increased fees and potentially greater Crown funding will provide the revenue required.
A member asked whether a new ICT solution would impact on funding. Police advised that it would not necessarily have an impact, and that it is possible that funding will be entirely internal. Noting this, another member raised a concern that greater overheads would require more funding, and fees should not necessarily be increased.
Police also noted that it is hoping to complete the business case by the second quarter in 2017. However, it will require approval after June., In early 2017 (date to be confirmed), Police will hold a workshop for community members of the Forum in the hope of understanding the firearms community’s needs, and align them with wider organisational outcomes where possible.
An email has been set up specifically for information around the firearms change project. Anyone with concerns or questions regarding the Police project should email:
3
[email protected]
POLICE ENGAGE SAFETY CAMPAIGN
Police then discussed its firearms safety campaign, noting that it was previously unable to access its target market with its $90,000 budget. Police talked to its public affairs team and analysed how to improve its message and access more people. Police has now coordinated an advertising campaign with Ogilvy & Mather, which will play advertisements across a number of different platforms (namely radio and internet) at important times of the year. This strategy keeps costs down whilst also hitting the target market. The campaign includes strong themes of storage, handling, shooting and transport of firearms. It will be run under the banner “engage Safety”. The current Storage advertisement states “If it is not in a safe, it is not safe”.
The advertisements were shown to the members, who largely agreed that the messages were simple, focused and effective. A number of members advised that they were happy to work with Police on the advertising campaign.
link to the website to come
CHAMBER SAFETY TAGS
There was some discussion about firearms tags and that they used to be given out by the Mountain Safety Council. It was noted by a member of the Forum that there is a manufacturer in Taita who can produce these for about 69 cents per unit. Together, Police and this member are to investigative this further and report back at the next meeting.
There was also some discussion on the safety of shooting sports. Some members suggested that the firearms safety advertising should be targeted more towards hunters than shooters generally.
PERMITS
Police noted that it has received an influx of letters on permits recently, however this does not reflect the general situation. Most districts have minimal or no import permits backlogged. There was a major backlog at the end of 2015 but now there is a 30 day turnaround. There are 250 import permit applications for parts waiting to be processed, although this is purely because of IT issues.
The permit application system is essentially electronic. Once it is printed on watermarked paper, it should go to the Arms Officer and the applicant. There is no way of tracing that at the moment. Once printed, it goes to Police and then to the applicant. There is an issue where Police thinks that it has done its job, but the hard copy of the permit may not have been received by the applicant. The way around this is to send email advice that a permit has been forwarded.
SUBCOMMITTEE – FIREARMS SECURITY
A Forum member provided a written proposal that there should be a subcommittee on firearms security and storage to further inform the review of security arrangements. The member was not present at the meeting, but a number of members agreed that they were interested in joining the subcommittee as the concept of security has changed. Another member indicated that they would not necessarily like to be a part of the subcommittee, but that they would like any proposal run by them to ensure it is rural-proofed. Police will draft Terms of Reference for the subcommittee in the New Year.
4
SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY
The Law and Order Committee conducting the Inquiry into the Illegal Possession of Firearms has drafted their report. Police has provided comment and has attended a number of meetings. The timeframe for the release of the Committee’s Report will likely be March or April 2017.
FIREARMS LEGISLATION
The former Minister of Police has advised officials there will be no movement on the Arms Act until after the Select Committee release their report.
OTHER BUSINESS:
Forum members expressed their concern that changes being made by Police are piecemeal and not coordinated. Some members are concerned that members of their own organisations are losing trust and confidence in Police, so it is crucial to establish better lines of communication. Police noted that this is one of the key reasons behind the consultation and workshop scheduled in early 2017, as it will ensure that stakeholders can contribute to the review process.
A member indicated that there was a fear in their organisation that if someone speaks up, they will be earmarked for lesser service in the future. Police outlined that there is more of a dialogue between Police and the firearms community than there has been in the past, and that if people are experiencing issues, they should contact their Arms Officer. If the Arms Officer does not know how to help, the Arms Officer can contact Police National Headquarters. Contact information for Arms Officers can be found at:
http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/firearms-and-safety/firearms-offices-and-contact-details
There was also comment regarding a previous Arms Manager who spent significant time with the firearms community understanding what their requirements were and why, and worked hard to establish a good relationship with them, which included fair policies and procedures. An invitation was put to the new Arms Manager to attend firearms meetings and other events.
One forum member suggested that all Arms Officers should report through PNHQ Wellington as there was a significant amount of inconsistency in the application of policy, often to the detriment of the firearms community.
MEASUREMENT OF FIREARMS
There was a lengthy discussion on the fact that the measurement of MSSAs has changed. Consequently, some licensed firearms owners no longer lawfully own their firearms because they do not hold the required handgun endorsement. This is fundamentally because some shortened MSSAs are now defined as pistols because of their length.
Police noted that a document has been made available that covers the measurement of firearms (link attached). Based on this opinion, Police advises that if a firearm (when folded) is less than 762mm and can still be fired, then it is classed as a pistol under the Arms Act 1983. This interpretation is considered to be based on the intention of the Act when it was drafted.
Police has agreed to look into getting a further legal view on this.
PERMITS
A question was put forward “what would delay a permit for a ‘standard’ part for an E Cat firearm”?
Police responded that that there are essentially two things that can produce delays:
5
1. Staffing and training (new staff and the time it takes to train them)
2. IT systems, the current one is standalone and can only be used by one person to input data at a time.
It was mentioned that a template for permits is online and could speed the process up if more people used it. The link is attached:
Link to templates online????
It was suggested, and Police agreed, to add a section on permit numbers (including applications still being processes) in the Quarterly review newsletter.
One member noted that Police requested a “biography” in relation to a request for an import permit by a member of his organisation. The member had written to Police asking if this request was as a result of some policy change in PNHQ. Police responded that there was no policy change with respect to information being sought from applicants as to why they wished to import particular firearms, and Police in attendance did not know about “biographies’ being requested. The forum member passed on the email that he received and Police will follow up on this issue.
Meeting closed 12.40
6
AGREED ACTIONS:
ACTION
ASSIGNED TO
COMPLETED DATE
PLACE BROKERING – ATT AS A STANDING ITEM ON THE AGENDA
POLICE
13/12/2016
SEND POWERPOINT FROM POH BOEY TO ALL FORUM MEMBERS
POLICE
13/12/2016
SEND OUT DOCUMENT ON SECURITY OF FIREARMS TO FORUM MEMBERS
POLICE
09/12/2016
FORUM MEMBERS/POLICE TO GET INFORMATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF CHAMBER SAFETY TAGS
POLICE AND FORUM MEMBER
PUT LINK TO ARMS OFFICERS ON WEBSITE IN MINUTES
POLICE
13/12/2016
POLICE TO LOOK AT ADDING THE ABILITY FOR PERMIT APPLICANTS TO LOOK UP PROGRESS ON THEIR APPLICATIONS
POLICE
SEND TO FORUM MEMBERS A PROCESS ON NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND INFORMATION AND CONTACTS.
POLICE
ADD PERMIT STATISTICS AND RELEVANT INFORMATION TO THE QUARTERLY UPDATE
POLICE
COMPLETE A DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE (2017)
POLICE
MEASUREMENT OF THE LENGTH OF FIREARMS ISSUES TO BE LOOKED AT BY POLICE CROWN LAW OPINION
POLICE
PUT A LINK OR THE DOCUMENT THAT OUTLINES ‘WHAT POLICE DO’ CURRENTLY IN RELATION TO THE MEASUREMENT AND WHY
POLICE
SEND THE PERMIT FORM LINK IN MINUTES
POLICE
POLICE TO SEND INFORMATION TO FORUM MEMBERS COVERED IN LETTER FROM TAYLOR
POLICE
POLICE TO INVESTIGATE THE USE OF THE TERM ‘BIOGRAPHIES’ BY ARMS OFFICERS
POLICE
7

 


Rural Women New Zealand's Health Portfolio representative, Margaret Pittaway spoke at a seminar organised by the University of Otago's Wellington Medical School on Friday 21 July. Read the transcript of Margaret's speech below: 

Rural Women New Zealand has been working hard to strengthen rural communities for over 90 years. We have been a Leading Voice for rural Families and Communities since our beginning in 1925 in the areas of Health, Education, Social and Environment.

The issues in the 1920’s that affected the women, their families and their communities still exist today - isolation, lack of services and agency support. Their concerns were around health and education for themselves and their families, being connected to the outside world and being able to access the services they required.

In the time I have with you today, I want to talk about the difficulties rural New Zealanders face in their day to day lives in accessing health services, and to give you some of the reasons Rural Women New Zealand believe to be the main cause of our problems

The Organisation began 92 years ago when a group of very determined farmer’s wives took the opportunity to meet in Wellington while their husbands attended the Farmers Union Conference. These women recognised the need for representation and support for rural women in the areas affecting the welfare of women and children, and they were concerned at the stories they were hearing of loneliness, illness and lack of assistance.

One of the prime needs was to organise reliable help to step in when the women were ill, needed support when there was a new baby, or when they needed to leave home for a time. This was the beginning of the Women’s Division Emergency Housekeeping Scheme, and in April 1927 advertisements appeared for ‘House Keeper, willing to do anything’ and for’ Bush nurse with surgical skills and maternity certificate.’

These nurses were the beginning of the District Nursing Service and Community Midwives. Nurse’s wages were subsidised with donations from all over the country. The numbers employed were initially quite small, and then the Government of the day began to set up cottage hospitals and a District Nursing Service and the need for our Bush Nurses disappeared.

During this same era, homes were purchased throughout the country to enable members to have respite care when the need arose, or to take a family holiday for very little cost. When there was no longer the same need for this service, the homes were sold and the funds were used to set up a company, Access Home Help which operated throughout the country and continued to provide care to rural areas in spite of the time and travel costs involved – the only company to do so. Access was sold in 2014 and continues to operate in the same manner.

In 2000, the results of a Rural Health Survey undertaken by Rural Women New Zealand were released with the hope and idea that they would be used as a basis for planning for health services by DHB’s and other parties. Today I acknowledge this document as it remains relevant and was helpful to me as I was preparing this presentation.

In 2016, Rural Women New Zealand undertook to study rural communities in New Zealand so that we gained a better understanding of what and where the problem areas are. Other than this document, there is very little to find in the way of rural research, but we have found that this document is a valuable tool for us, particularly when we are preparing submissions. Rather than being a negative work, it gives examples of positive actions which have meant that the fortunes of communities have been turned around, both in New Zealand and in overseas communities.

The biggest disadvantage for rural New Zealand is that there is no accurate definition of rural. Government uses the NZ Statistics definition of rural which divides into four categories, Rural with high urban influence, Rural with moderate urban influence, Rural with low urban influence and highly rural remote. What these categories mean is that 40% of people who access rural health services are classified as urban, while a further 20% of people currently classified as rural, access their help from urban.

In response to a very recent request from our national office for information on statistics for cervical cancer and for the uptake of immunisation, with comparison between urban and rural settings, the reply from the Ministry of Health was;

‘Generally speaking, the Ministry doesn’t do much analysis looking at urban/rural discrepancies because there are some inherent biases in the way automated geo-coding copes with non-specific addresses. These addresses (which are more likely to be rural) tend to get re-coded at the nearest Post office. This means that a sizeable portion of rural people are recorded as urban making any attempt to draw meaningful conclusions impossible.’

This statement on its own underlines the absolute need for rural research. We currently have a rural population of some 620,000, making it effectively our second largest city, though widespread throughout the country, and yet we continually struggle to get the equivalent services that the rest of the New Zealand population expects.

We just do not have sufficient information to provide evidence based interventions to most effectively create better health outcomes.

What we and other key rural organisations would like to see is the system of rural proofing of Government Policies re- introduced. The system is used in the United Kingdom and ensures that the impact of changes in government to rural communities with low population density is taken into account as plans for change are developed.

So, what are the concerns we have, and what are the realities in accessing health care that rural New Zealanders face?

Let’s start with Maternity Services, and some information shared with me by a young woman living in Te Anau, a major, but isolated tourist town with a growing younger population.

The nearest available mid wife lives in Tuatapere, 101K’s distant and her back up midwife has her home in Riverton, a distance of 147 K’s. Although there are two other midwives who do work in Te Anau they do not live in the area, and they both have a full case load. Further, there is no opportunity to access Ante-Natal classes in the area.

The nearest birthing unit is in Lumsden, 77Km distant, but as with a number of units throughout the country, it is in danger of being closed, and so young women are making the decision to go to Invercargill to have their babies as they feel safer there, and they want assurance that the unit will still be operating when they do go into Labour.

This is a trend that is happening throughout the country which is regrettable, but understandable, but if these units continue to close, it leaves no options to have extra time after the birth in a unit where there are staff to assist a new mum and baby in those all-important first few days. Most birthing units encourage their new mums to return home early, with no thought for a farming mum who will be quickly caught up in the day to day business of farming life, and with no support services close to hand. There is not much rest for a rural woman! And there is provision for a midwife to arrange for longer stay in the birthing unit or other facility on the grounds of geographical isolation.

During the first Trimester the midwife must discuss with her client the plans for managing her pregnancy and the six weeks following birth. An agreement of expectations about the number of post-natal visits must be reached. New mums are entitled to seven, but they may not be requested or required, or they agree to one home visit with the mother then undertaking to travel to a clinic for the other post-natal checks. There is no problem with that, but if a C-section was performed, the new mum is not permitted to drive for six weeks. If baby’s arrival coincided with a busy time on the farm, say lambing or harvesting, it is nigh impossible for a farmer to take his partner to an appointment, and other friends or neighbours are likely to be busy too. The value of regular checks in those first weeks cannot be understated as they provide the opportunities to ensure that there are no unrecognised signs of child or maternal problems, to say nothing of the reassurances that new mothers seek.

We haven’t touched on the birth yet, but if lengthy travel to the birthing unit is required, then careful planning is needed to ensure that the pregnant mum is resident in the area before labour begins. Get it wrong, and the stress and anxiety mount, to say nothing of enduring contractions on unsealed bumpy roads in adverse weather conditions.

Midwives have reported on the difficulties of using ambulance services to transport labouring women experiencing difficulties, to a primary birthing unit. The irony is, that if you break a leg on the ski field attempting something way beyond your capabilities, there are no questions about the need for a helicopter. What price the life and wellbeing of a mother and baby?

We don’t know whether our children are disadvantaged because they have poorer access to maternity and youth health services than urban children. There is no dataavailable.

The rural population is facing the reality of an ageing and burnt out GP workforce and a seemingly dwindling number of younger doctors who are willing to take up the challenges and rewards of working in rural areas, despite best efforts to promote and attract. The uncertainties around continued local medical services takes its own toll on our rural communities with reluctance for families to work in areas where the facilities are unreliable. Add the lack of ultra-fast broad band and poor cell phone coverage, still experienced in many areas and it becomes apparent why there is a reluctance to work in these areas.

The use of locums means that a relationship of knowledge and trust is difficult to build, and for our older patients in particular, this is a very real problem.

Currently, 25% of rural General Practices are seeking a full time GP and over a third of pharmacies are having difficulty with recruitment.

Consider the need for an Out Patient appointment for a family member. Urban dwellers would maybe allow two hours out of their day to get to the hospital, find parking attend their 15 minute appointment and be on their way home or back to work again soon afterwards.

For someone living in the country the reality is different where travel is a necessity. Hospitals are not always good at recognising that a patient has to make a real effort to attend an early morning appointment and that it may mean an overnight stay. Travel costs are prohibitive to many, as are accommodation costs.

For many, a specialist appointment can mean an eight to nine hour round trip and loss of a day’s wages or work. Yes, there are increasing opportunities for tele-health consultations, but generally speaking, the majority of patients will need to travel for their appointments.

The distance that cancer patients have to travel for treatment are significantly further for those living in rural areas Often women with breast cancer will choose a more aggressive treatment in order to get home to their families, and any patient undergoing prolonged treatment will struggle with the travelling and the distance, particularly if they have no one else to drive them.

Difficulty is often experienced in accessing drug and alcohol services and counselling services.

Accidents in rural areas pose more problems. We are reliant on a largely volunteer ambulance service which means that the crew need to be called into the station before the ambulance can leave. Time lost. In most rural areas, stabilising the patients for transport to a base hospital is the main aim. In severe cases, helicopters can be called in to transport, but that takes time too, and adverse winter conditions may mean that the choppers can’t fly. Time lost. Winter road conditions for ambulance transfer may well mean a slower than normal trip. More time lost, and the reality for many of us is that the base hospital is three hours by road in good driving conditions.

Consider also that many of our high density tourist traffic areas have very poor cell phone coverage which can mean more time delays to get urgent help.

Let me touch briefly on the volunteer system that is the reality for the rural population. Don’t get me wrong. The people who volunteer in any service to their community are fabulous, but it comes at a cost to both them and to their families. On call means just that – the need to abandon all plans and activities to answer an urgent call out, sometimes in the middle of the night. Depending on the reason for a call out, realistically it could involve hours with the initial need for assessment, stabilisation, transfer, hand over, return journey home and then clean up and re-stocking time so that the ambulance is ready for the next call.

Many of our volunteers also have day jobs and responsibilities which they have to consider, as well as the fact that training is undertaken in their own time without full recompense. Volunteer ambulance staff is being put under increasing pressure as they are filling gaps being left behind by 24 hour services that have been centralised. Not only do our volunteers need our recognition and continual support, but also their families who miss out on family time.

We are all aware of the state of our mental health services in this country. Ponder for a moment on what this means for rural communities where we have a high suicide rate in our farming communities and particularly in the male 20 – 25 year age group. Rural Support trustees report that when they have a suicidal client, they have little problem accessing GP assistance, but when it comes to getting further help in the form of an urgent appointment from Brief Intervention services, the wait can be from 10 days to three weeks. Not good enough. Can you just imagine the anxiety and stress that the family will experience during this time?

Consider those who patients in hospital who are sometimes discharged at short notice, to make way for another patient, at times in the middle of the night. If they live in a rural area and have been brought in by ambulance or a friend or family member- how do to they get home? Or where do they go if they have no family in the area? - very distressing, especially for the elderly.

There is unlikely to be any available public transport, many are not permitted to drive after surgery, and so are reliant on someone yet again being able to take time out to collect them. And home could be a good distance away.

Often when patients are discharged from hospital they require on going care – maybe wound care, maybe drug administration or assistance with the usually simple tasks of showering and dressing. In an urban situation it is simple as the District Nursing Service is able to administer those treatments. Not so for rural patients, and we have had a number of our members approach us for help and advice when treatment at home has been refused for a family member. I do not use the word refuse lightly, as I have been told by nurses, that the service and the extra costs of travel to rural areas is just not within the budget allowances of the District Nursing Service, and even worse, that if people choose to live in remote areas it’s their own fault.

So how do we get around the problem of getting continuing treatment once a patient is discharged? Some elderly people may qualify for respite care for a short time, but for the majority, it means frequent travel to a medical centre for the cares that are needed, involving not only time and travel costs, but fees incurred at the Medical Centre.

I have briefly touched on connectivity, but I want to return to the topic as it is in fact a major issue in rural areas for a number of reasons.

Firstly for Safety and access to emergency services.

When an accident occurs in a rural area, there is often no cell phone coverage because of black spots, and so it requires someone to find access to a landline, or find somewhere where there is cell phone coverage to ring for help. Not always easy if those seeking help are visitors to the country, or are unsure of the area they are in. And if those involved are injured themselves, they may not be able to send for help. Unfortunately much of the vital “Golden Hour” can be taken up finding help.

As an example, a farmer who had an accident with a digger and badly injured his hand was fortunate that he had satellite internet, so he was able to call for help. Phone service had been out for weeks and there was no coverage for cell phones.

A further example – In a small settlement where the phones were out of order, a motorcyclist on an event was injured. In this instance, a helper had to drive 20 minutes to the nearest town, then drive another 20 minutes to find a phone that worked, while the injured person lay in pain until help arrived. The nearest ambulance was over an hour away. Even with a first response team on site it was an unpleasant wait- if cell phone coverage had been available, that wait time would have been considerably less.

In an emergency where there is only a landline already in use for contacting emergency services, there is then no opportunity to call for extra assistance from close neighbours or friends. It can be a traumatic and distressing time for everyone involved.

I spoke earlier about the pending closure of maternity hospitals, and I wish to make further comment, and this time, include some of the smaller general hospitals.

The downgrading and closure of rural hospitals has left a gap in rural health and emergency services in communities throughout the country, for they provided an essential focus and service to the communities they served. The effects are variable but the increased separation between patients and vital services is creating barriers to access to health services.

Kurow is a small service town in North Otago. Its Medical Centre is open four days a week and an afterhours service is provided by volunteers. The town pharmacy closed some time ago, and until recently, prescriptions were brought down by car daily form Twizel, and delivered to a local shop owner who was licensed to give the prescriptions to the locals when they called in. Regrettably, the owner has decided not to renew her license and so now a car drives from Twizel each day and parks on the street for one hour so that prescriptions can be collected, and then returns to Twizel with any unclaimed prescriptions – a round trip of 158 K’s and a service that is not convenient for the local population. Has anyone given consideration to the safety of the person in the car if it becomes known more widely of the contents?

Bill, aged 82 and a long-time resident of Kurow has a number of health issues including prostate problems and blindness in one eye. He has been waiting at great length for eye surgery with no operation date on the horizon yet. He is unable to do much at all in his daily living. Bill’s comment on the situation, apart from his disillusionment with the state of the health system, is that he has had enough and is ready to die.

This brings me to my final point. Evidence from a number of countries states that those who live rurally have poorer health than their urban counterparts.

“There is little information about the prevalence of of illness or disease among our rural populations, but it is reasonable to assume that its rates of illness or disease are similar to those of New Zealand’s total population. However, once diagnosed, rural people unquestionably face greater challenges and costs of access to health services and specialist treatments. It is also reasonable to assume that there is a greater impact of disease or illness on rural people and their families. It is also a reasonable assumption that this results in poorer health outcomes.”

I acknowledge the help and support from my peers, our National Office staff and the health organisations who we work with in partnership.

I hope today that Rural Women New Zealand has successfully brought our concerns to you and that the word will be spread that our rural population deserves better treatment and consideration.

 

Accessing Rural Health Services - rural realities

Monday, July 24, 2017


Rural Women New Zealand's Health Portfolio representative, Margaret Pittaway spoke at a seminar organised by the University of Otago's Wellington Medical School on Friday 21 July. Read the transcript of Margaret's speech below:  Read More

Challenges in accessing rural health services have changed very little since 1927, when advertisements first appeared for Bush Nurses with surgical skills and maternity certificates. The advertisements were placed by the Women’s Division Emergency Housekeeping Scheme, now Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).
RWNZ will present real-life stories and evidence of the realities and difficulties rural New Zealanders experience in accessing health service.

 


To join by web-conference go to: https://otago.ac.nz/zoom/ph_seminars
For more information, see http://otago.ac.nz/UOWevents
 
Margaret Pittaway joined Rural Women New Zealand in 1996 and was elected to the National Council in 2011. She was the founding member of the Central Otago Women in Agribusiness Group, past President of the Cromwell Branch and Central Otago Provincial.
Margaret is a retired nurse and her key specialties are in rural health and social issues. Margaret is a RWNZ National Board member and is RWNZ’s health spokesperson.

Please note that this event differs from the original Mock Trial due to unavailability of speakers. 

The Rural Women New Zealand National Office has relocated to Technology One House, Level 5, 86-96 Victoria Street, Wellington.

RWNZ National Office would like to advise members that since the relocation on 10 July 2017, postal delivery to the new office location has been disrupted.

We have already mailed out Membership invoices to members. We expect that you may be sending your payment and invoice slip back to National Office. We are aware that some mail posted to RWNZ has been returned to senders. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience. We are working with New Zealand Post to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

If you have any concerns about invoices, please email: [email protected] or phone the National Office: 04 473 5524.

As at Tuesday 18 July, the reception phone line is connected, phone 04 4735524. 

If you have an email enquiry, please email [email protected]

We will keep you updated with progress on the relocation, phone and email services, through the RWNZ website and social media: Facebook (www.facebook.com/ruralwomennz/) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RuralWomenNZ).

 

 

RWNZ National Office has moved

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Rural Women New Zealand National Office has relocated to Technology One House, Level 5, 86-96 Victoria Street, Wellington. Read More

Myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) has been found in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki. 

The fungus attacks various species of plants in the Myrtaceae family, also known as the myrtle family. It is found in many parts of the world including New Caledonia and all along Australia's eastern seaboard.

Myrtle rust spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind, or via insects, birds, people, or machinery.

It is thought the fungus arrived in New Zealand carried by strong winds from Australia. There have been a number of significant weather events capable of transporting spores here and the discovery of the disease in large, established trees lends weight to this assumption.

MPI and the Department of Conservation (DOC), with the help of local iwi, the nursery industry and local authorities are running a large operation to determine the scale of the situation and contain and control myrtle rust in the areas it has been found.

 

If you think you've seen the symptoms of myrtle rust, don't touch it.

  • Call the MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline immediately on 0800 80 99 66.
  • If you have a camera or phone camera, take clear photos, including the whole plant, the whole affected leaf, and a close-up of the spores or affected area of the plant.
  • Don't touch it or try to collect samples as this may increase the spread of the disease.

Don't move myrtle plants or green waste out of  Controlled Area

MPI has introduced a Controlled Area which extends 10km from the known infected areas in Waitara, Taranaki.

It is illegal to move plants (including trees) or plant material (such as garden waste, clippings, feijoa and guava fruit) from the myrtle family out of this area. You can still buy and plant these species inside the Controlled Area.

For more details on the outbreak and how to manage plants affected by Myrtle Rust see the MPI website: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/alerts/myrtle-rust


 

Information source: Ministry for Primary Industries.

 

 

Myrtle Rust outbreak what you need to know

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) has been found in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.  Read More

Read All NewsRecent news

The Rural Women New Zealand National Office has relocated to Technology One House, Level 5, 86-96 Victoria Street, Wellington.

RWNZ National Office would like to advise members that since the relocation on 10 July 2017, postal delivery to the new office location has been disrupted.

We have already mailed out Membership invoices to members. We expect that you may be sending your payment and invoice slip back to National Office. We are aware that some mail posted to RWNZ has been returned to senders. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience. We are working with New Zealand Post to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

If you have any concerns about invoices, please email: [email protected] or phone the National Office: 04 473 5524.

As at Tuesday 18 July, the reception phone line is connected, phone 04 4735524. 

If you have an email enquiry, please email [email protected]

We will keep you updated with progress on the relocation, phone and email services, through the RWNZ website and social media: Facebook (www.facebook.com/ruralwomennz/) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RuralWomenNZ).

 

 

RWNZ National Office has moved

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Rural Women New Zealand National Office has relocated to Technology One House, Level 5, 86-96 Victoria Street, Wellington. Read More

Entries are now open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2017, which will be presented at the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists annual awards dinner in Wellington on 13 October.

The Rural Women New Zealand award encourages journalists to report on the achievements of women living and working in rural communities.

Entries in the RWNZ Journalism Award 2017 must be of two articles, radio broadcasts or television programmes broadly based on the theme of “rural women making a difference.” This could be in the sense of community involvement, on farm, or in another rural-based business or activity.

“RWNZ is proud to sponsor this Award for journalism features celebrating the achievements of rural women, through enterprise or volunteering in roles that support their rural community,” says Fiona Gower, National President of Rural Women New Zealand.

Nadine Porter was the winner of the 2016 Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award. Nadine's winning articles featured research on rural women and isolation, and the role of social media and were published in the Ashburton Guardian Farming.

Entries close Wednesday 6 September 2017. Any New Zealand-based journalist or communicator is eligible to enter the award. The winner will receive $750 in prize money.

Click here to download an entry form.

 

Entries open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Entries are now open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2017, which will be presented at the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists annual awards dinner in Wellington on 13 October. Read More

Rural Support Trust representatives are working closely with farmers to monitor well-being and directing them to relief assistance for flooding and other adverse events.

The Rural Support Trust advise farmers to ensure stock and domestic animals have food, water, and shelter where necessary, and are secure. Ensure that all stock injuries are promptly attended too, after human needs are met.

If your farm or rural property or stock has been affected by an adverse event and you need assistance, contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) with information on the impacts on your farm, or requests for help.

The Rural Women New Zealand Adverse Events and Relief Fund is available to individuals, communities and groups, with a particular emphasis on rural women and children. The fund provides financial assistance to persons or groups, where there is an identified urgent need due to recent adverse events such as drought, fires, floods or earthquakes.

Click here to read more about applying for the fund.

Contact details for support agencies:
The Rural Support Trust (RST organise community events and one-on-one mentoring, as well as targeted support services in emergency situations)  
http://www.rural-support.org.nz Ph: 0800 787 254.

DairyNZ: Sharemilkers support http://www.dairynz.co.nz/farm/tactics/support-for-sharemilkers/

Federated Farmers http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/ Ph: 0800 327 646 or drought feedline 0800 376 844.

Doug Avery’s Resilient Farmer http://www.resilientfarmer.co.nz/

Farmstrong http://www.farmstrong.co.nz


If you just want to talk, or know someone who is at risk, there are a range of support options available, including counselling services:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling

Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 - Provides 24 hour telephone and text counselling services for young people

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling.

Women's Refuge: 0800 REFUGE (733 843) a 24/7 crisis and support line provide advice and information.

Shakti New Zealand 0800SHAKTI (0800 742 584) If you are in a situation of domestic violence call our 24-hour crisis line, and multi-lingual staff will provide information.

Tautoko: 0508 828 865 - provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends.

What'sup: 0800 942 8787 (0800 What’s Up) is a counselling helpline for children and young people, aged 5-18. Phone Mon-Fri 1-10pm, Sat-Sun 3-10pm.

Kidsline: 0800 543 754, it is a 24/7 helpline for children and teens, run by specially trained youth volunteers.

Thelowdown.co.nz - Free Text 5626, watch videos or contact for support. 

depression.org.nz National Depression Initiative (for adults), 0800 111 757 - 24 hour service 

Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki If you're worried about a child or family that you know, there are ways you can help, contact Child, Youth and Family.

For information about suicide prevention, see http://www.spinz.org.nz .

If it is an emergency, or you feel yourself, or someone you know is at risk, please call 111.

Rural community support services

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Rural Support Trust representatives are working closely with farmers to monitor well-being and directing them to relief assistance for flooding and other adverse events. Read More

The Ministry of Health has proposed a new framework for suicide prevention and is seeking feedback. Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) submission supports the general framework.

Although expresses concern regarding the lack of concrete targets and detailed methods for how any of the initiatives will be implemented. We are especially concerned about the lack of a strategic plan to lead and fund these activities.

The proposed framework aims to address the devastating impact that suicide has on New Zealand’s communities and the unfortunate reality that over 500 people in New Zealand die by suicide every year. RWNZ supports the framework’s focus on supporting positive wellbeing for all ages, increasing awareness of suicidal behaviour and mental health, strengthening systems already in place to support communities, and improving collaboration among those working to prevent suicidal behaviour.

In our submission, we have addressed the fact that the suicide rate is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, as well as the various factors that place rural communities at an increased risk of mental illness. These factors include vulnerability to economic fluctuations and social isolation, which are compounded by the lack of access to services and support, substandard or no access to reliable and affordable internet and mobile coverage, and the history of inequalities that rural communities face often being overlooked.

RWNZ has suggested that in order to improve mental wellbeing in rural areas, rural health research must become a priority to understand and address the needs of rural communities. We have also urged the Ministry of Health to refrain from relying on technological health services, recognising that not all rural communities have access to reliable and affordable internet and mobile coverage.

Rural Women New Zealand strongly supports the framework’s proposal to involve, train and educate community members on suicide prevention. Rural Women New Zealand has expressed that it is essential for rural communities to be provided with the right tools to improve mental wellbeing within the community and reduce social stigma associated with mental illness.

As further information becomes available, this will be distributed to the members.

 

Click here to download the Submission: June 2017 Suicide Prevention Strategy Submission


 

 

Suicide Prevention Strategy Submission

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Ministry of Health has proposed a new framework for suicide prevention and is seeking feedback. Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) submission supports the general framework. Read More

Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) is RWNZ's topic of study for 2017. We have included an overview of the purpose of ACWW below, along with some links to further information.

RWNZ was one of the founding members of ACWW. It is one of the largest international development organisations for rural women.

The ACWW network allows it to engage at the local, national, and international level with the aim of achieving these goals:

- To raise the standard of living for rural women and their families through education, training and community development programmes.

- To provide practical support to our members and help them set up income-generating schemes.

- To support educational opportunities for women and girls, and help eliminate gender discrimination.

- To give rural women a voice at an international level through our links with UN agencies and bodies.

Caption: Delegates from the South Pacific Area Conference in New Plymouth complete the ACWW Walk the World event in April 2017. 

Click here to download an information booklet about ACWW (8MB PDF)

Click here to go to the ACWW website

 

ACWW Study Topic 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) is RWNZ's topic of study for 2017. We have included an overview of the purpose of ACWW below, along with some links to further information.  Read More

The Justice and Electoral Committee is seeking feedback on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill. RWNZ's submission fully supports the Bill and its intent to prevent forced marriages from occurring in New Zealand by requiring minors aged 16 and 17 to gain approval by the Family Court in order to marry.

In our submission, RWNZ cited various international conventions and declarations of which New Zealand is a signatory or party to that do not condone forced marriage. These include the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). RWNZ expressed that the proposed amendment to New Zealand’s marriage law upholds New Zealand’s commitment to these documents.

RWNZ also noted that the law as it currently stands, which allows minors aged 16 and 17 to marry with parental consent, is insufficient in preventing forced marriage. The proposed amendment serves as a precaution to prevent parental guardians from attempting to facilitate a forced marriage.

As further information becomes available, this will be distributed to the members.

Click here to download the RWNZ submission.

Marriage Amendment Bill

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Justice and Electoral Committee is seeking feedback on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill. RWNZ's submission fully supports the Bill and its intent to prevent forced marriages from occurring in New Zealand by requiring minors aged 16 and 17 to gain approval by the Family Court in order to marry. Read More