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In March 2017, the Productivity Commission released a report recommending a number of changes to the way the Government funds and delivers Tertiary Education in New Zealand. RWNZ asked members for their feedback on the Productivity Commission’s Report, to inform on our submission to the Commission.
It was disappointing to see that the otherwise excellent report of the Productivity Commission largely bypassed the rural sector, as it is a unique sector with its own challenges.
Without these issues being specifically highlighted in the report, it is unlikely they will be directly addressed in any actions taken by government as a result of the report. Not only are the challenges faced by rural people of all ages seeking tertiary education likely to not be improved, their ability to access tertiary education could be reduced due to unforeseen consequences of changes made, albeit with the best intentions, that have not been rural-proofed. It was largely evident from the outset, and in the wording of the Scope, that the rural sector was not identified as a “priority group.” Where the report provided graphical and statistical information, the categories were either gender based, age based or with Māori/Pasifika, and in some cases Asian, identified as unique categories. Again, it has been identified that the rural sector is not being recognised.
Also concerning, is the perception that in general access to affordable, fast, reliable broadband has been assumed to be available to all learners. If so, then those on the wrong side of the “digital divide” will be further disadvantaged. The 527-page report from the Commission focused heavily on the way education is funded and the constraints and barriers resulting from that. The
benefits of access to quality tertiary education and the wide range of courses, included ACE funded courses, which categorised tertiary education, were also well covered in the report.

RWNZ’s submission with respect to the low number of students graduating with degrees in agricultural based subjects and the mismatch with the demand for skilled workers in primary production,
was also commented on in the report. The recommendations generally were ones that should have a positive impact on access to education, although how much, if at all, the rural sector would
benefit is unknown. This information needs to be specially addressed. In conclusion, RWNZ welcomes the report, and believes some very sensible recommendations were made. It is hoped that some of the proposals that are being considered will first be rural proofed so that impact can be measured. RWNZ would be happy to input into this process.

The Productivity Commission report is here: New models of tertiary education – the final report on the Commission’s tertiary education inquiry.

Background: 

In November 2015, the Government asked the Productivity Commission to examine how well New Zealand’s tertiary education system is set up to respond to, and take advantage of, trends in technology, internationalisation, demographics, tuition costs and demand for skills. We were also asked to identify potential barriers to innovation. 

The Commission’s report and its package of recommendations seek to give providers the scope to innovate in the delivery of tertiary education, and incentives to do so.
Key recommendations include:

  • better quality control and self-accreditation for strong performers;
  • strengthening the role of student demand in allocating funding to providers;
  • making it easier for students to transfer between courses;
  • abolishing University Entrance;
  • better careers education for young people;
  • enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets;
  • making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and
  • facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers.

Rural Women New Zealand published a submission for the Commission to consider in November 2016. Click here to download the Submission

RWNZ have been awarded a Certificate of Achievement at the New Zealander of the Year 2017 Awards. RWNZ were nominated in the Mitre 10 Community of the Year category.

RWNZ's Chief Executive Officer Penelope England and National President Fiona Gower, accepted the certificate on behalf of members on Wednesday 22 February.

 

New Zealander of the Year Awards 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

RWNZ have been awarded a Certificate of Achievement at the New Zealander of the Year 2017 Awards. RWNZ were nominated in the Mitre 10 Community of the Year category.  Read More

On International (Working) Women’s Day, 8 March 2017, Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) would like to acknowledge the contribution of rural women to New Zealand’s communities and their pivotal role in primary industries and entrepreneurship.

For over 90 years RWNZ has been an integral part of the rural landscape. “RWNZ’s role is to support rural women through our organisation and help them grow. We have members from all walks of life and all industry sectors. Some members have incredible skills and knowledge which helps us innovate and find new ways to connect with the rural community,” says Fiona Gower, National President of RWNZ.

“One of RWNZ’s greatest strengths is the branch network where members can meet others and learn something new. It is important that women can meet-face-to-face, especially if they are living in isolated areas. RWNZ branches host social outings, community events and regular upskilling workshops.”

RWNZ is building partnerships with education organisations in the rural sector to assist members in developing their leadership skills and knowledge. Many members have progressed into leadership roles on local school boards, health committees, and district councils or become commercial company directors.

The RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Awards is a showcase for the success of women operating businesses in rural locations and contributing to their local economy and community. The competition has evolved over the years to promote entrepreneurship and encourage innovation in the use of technology in remote locations. Winners of the awards have included women lifestyle publishers, honey producers, native nursery operators, physiotherapists and adventure-tourism providers.

Wellbeing and access to health services is a feature of RWNZ’s ongoing commitment to ensuring rural women and their families continue to thrive. Recently the focus has been managing the challenges of living in rural locations and dealing with adverse events such as drought, fires, earthquakes and floods.

RWNZ are focused on building up community connections by hosting social activities such as Bingo nights and cricket matches which encourages people to socialise and have fun off-farm. It is also a good opportunity for people to connect with their neighbours and communities and talk about their experiences with others in similar situations.

RWNZ also hold an annual Women Walk the World fundraising event in April. It brings together members and local communities to participate in a walk or social get-together. The proceeds are collected for the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW). RWNZ is a member of ACCW which has a vision of an improved quality of life for women and communities worldwide.

In late April the South Pacific Area Conference for ACWW will be held in New Plymouth, it will bring together rural women from around the Pacific region. Conference proceedings include the Women Walk the World event, business sessions and reports from international representatives. Delegates will hear about the progress of rural women around the world, development of their communities and improved health services, and opportunities for education.

Pictured are Penny Mudford, RWNZ Board Chair with Penelope England, Chief Executive Officer of RWNZ at the Zonta International Women's Day Parliament Breakfast on Wednesday 8 March.

Green Party MP Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Bill is before Parliament, and RWNZ asks Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse and his fellow MPs to support the Bill.

The Bill seeks to address harms experienced by victims, by focusing on how workplaces can be made a safer and more accommodating place for victims. It would extend leave provisions to include domestic violence leave, as when women leave a violent situation it can be very hard for them to manage court proceedings, counselling, housing and the needs of their children without extra leave.

Work at a regular time and place can make work a target for the abuser, but with employer support through flexible working arrangements, that can be adjusted to support the employee.

“RWNZ believe that the Bill will have an impact on people who are victims of domestic violence and help support them when they need to leave the relationship,” says Fiona Gower, RWNZ National President.

“Rural women often have to travel long distances between home and work and it can be very difficult for them to move away from a violent relationship.

“The services for helping victims of domestic violence are mostly located in urban areas. Enabling rural women to take time off work to access services, is a step toward helping them to move away from a violent home, and setting a plan in place to rebuild their lives.”

RWNZ recently made a submission on the Government’s family violence law changes, in support of adding protection of animals to legislation. Violence to animals is often part of the package of abuse. Comments were also made about the lack of near-neighbours and isolation in general, also a woman’s support is often from friends and family of the perpetrator.

RWNZ have worked closely with the Ministry of Social Development on the campaign: ‘It’s Not OK‘. RWNZ have held several workshops with the Sophie Elliott Foundation spreading the message of how to recognise healthy relationships, and how to assist someone who is not in a healthy relationship.

Click here to read the Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill (New Zealand Parliament website).


RWNZ support the Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Green Party MP Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Bill is before Parliament, and RWNZ asks Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse and his fellow MPs to support the Bill.  Read More

Read All NewsRecent news

(Pictured: Sticksn'Stones Chairperson Ashleigh Smith with RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower in the UN General Assembly at the CSW62 Opening on Monday). 

 The opening of the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) was held on Monday, 12 March 2018 at the United Nations in New York. The Commission's priority theme for this year is 'Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls'. The work of the Commission is to review the progress made by governments to improve the lives of women and girls in rural areas.

CSW62 is being held in the UN General Assembly and 175 member and observer states are represented. Along with the member states there are 10,000 delegates from 400 Non-Government Organisations (NGO) attending numerous events as part of the CSW62's activities.

The day commenced with the session being opened by the CSW Chair Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason from Ireland. She is also Ireland's Permanent Representative at the UN. Her address was followed by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the President of the UN General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. Other speakers included the Chair of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a Representative of the Youth, and a Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.

National Chair, Penny Mudford also attended the opening in her role as Civil Society Representative on the New Zealand Government delegation. Both Fiona and Penny attended the opening inside the General Assembly where only government delegations and selected NGO delegates are eligible to attend. It was a great privilege that RWNZ was represented in person at the opening of CSW62.

CSW62 runs until Friday, 23 March 2018 where it is expected to culminate in an Outcome Document which will capture the agreed outcomes in relation to rural women and girls for governments to implement resulting from the work done at this session of the Commission.

New Zealand also held a side event led by Dr Jackie Blue, NZ Human Rights Commission responsible for Womens Rights. The panel comprised Minister for Women Hon Julie Anne Genter, Renee Graham (Ministry for Women Chief Executive), Fiona Gower, Jo Finer (Fonterra), plus representatives from Argentina and Australia. The panel spoke on the topic of Case Studies of Economic Empowerment of Rural Women in New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina. The session was full with over 100 delegates from all around the world attending the panel session. There was keen interest in our message.

National Chair, Penny Mudford. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CSW62 Well Underway

Thursday, March 15, 2018

(Pictured: Sticksn'Stones Chairperson Ashleigh Smith with RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower in the UN General Assembly at the CSW62 Opening on Monday).   Read More

Thursday, 8 March marked this year's International Women's Day. As this year also celebrates 125 years since women in New Zealand won the the right to vote, the day was marked with significance.

Wednesday, 7 March was the launch of the Suffrage125 celebrations which was held at Government House and was attended by RWNZ Board Chair, Penny Mudford, Chief Executive Officer, Penelope England and Office Manager, Felicity Bunny. The launch was hosted by the Governor General, and RWNZ Patron Dame Patsy Reddy. The event was MC'd by journalist, Mihingarangi Forbes, and guest speakers included Minister for Women, Hon Julie Anne Genter and 2017 Young New Zealander of the Year, Rez Gardi.

The following day, Thursday, 8 March marked International Women's Day celebrations. RWNZ attended a breakfast at Parliament hosted by Zonta Wellington and the UN Women. RWNZ Chief Executive Officer Penelope England, and Communications, Marketing & Events Assistant, Catherine Stabb both attended the event.

Discussion topics at the event included recognition of the milestones made by women in New Zealand and the challenges that we still face. Rt Hon Helen Clark spoke of her successes, the obstacles she has faced and the how her rural background contributed to her personal strength, saying "rural people have to be very resilient".

Watch Rt Hon Helen Clark's Q&A with National Council of Women CEO Dr Gill Greer at the breakfast through the link here.

 

(Pictured below: Executive Officer Women’s Institute - Colleen Dryden, National Board Chair - Penny Mudford ONZM, National President Women’s Institute – Kay Hart, RWNZ Chief Executive Officer – Penelope England at the Suffrage125 launch at Government House.)

 


 

 

International Womens Day & Suffrage125

Friday, March 23, 2018

Thursday, 8 March marked this year's International Women's Day. As this year also celebrates 125 years since women in New Zealand won the the right to vote, the day was marked with significance.  Read More

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) has released a media release today following RWNZ's oral submission on the Trusts Bill. 

 

Please read the media release below. 

 

RURAL WOMEN NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN DECISION MAKING

 

 

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) influenced positive change for rural families and communities recently, through their oral submission to Parliament on the Trusts Bill.

“RWNZ submitted that both a rural impact and gender impact analysis be conducted on the legislation and intersectionality so that the Bill does not discriminate against women in any way,” says RWNZ National Chair, Penny Mudford.

“RWNZ research indicates that women can be shut out of a share of the family farm through old trusts that fail to acknowledge them in the family as beneficiaries.

“This can lead to women being discriminated against in the dissolution of a relationship where a trust is used to exclude them from a share in the family farm or farm business.

"These situations should not be happening in 2018 and we urge the government to uphold the international instruments and outcome statements when updating legislation such as with the Trusts Bill currently before the Justice Select Committee.

"In particular, the agreed conclusions that came out of the United Nations 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which were held in New York in March 2018, make it abundantly clear that government's policies and legislation should not disproportionately disadvantage women and girls living in the rural sector.

"Since trusts are a common type of farm ownership structure in New Zealand we need to be sure they are not being used to disadvantage those who would otherwise be entitled to a share of the farm asset through relationship property or inheritance if the asset was not held in trust," says Ms Mudford.

Ends

 

If you wish to read our oral submission, you can find it here

 


 

Rural women need to be involved in decision making.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) has released a media release today following RWNZ's oral submission on the Trusts Bill.  Read More

Rural Women New Zealand have released a media release raising our concerns for how data is being collected in this year's census.

Please read the media release below.

CENSUS DATA COLLECTION INTEGRITY QUESTIONED

This year’s census is in danger of not providing the data needed to make good decisions, says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).

“Whilst we understand and support the excitement of capturing our census data online, our concern is that many people still do not have access to internet while others might not have the capability or capacity to do so,” says National President, Fiona Gower.

“The timing of the delivery of access code letters, which indicate that New Zealanders can opt for paper forms presents challenges for our rural communities, given that delivery of mail is taking longer and might only be delivered three days a week.

“The chances of a rural household without internet or with unreliable internet, receiving census paper forms in time for Tuesday, 6 March is slim, and that is concerning.

“RWNZ is doing everything possible to ensure our networks are aware of the new way of doing the Census although surely more thought should have gone in to how the valuable information about the lives and status of New Zealanders would be collected.

“Maybe this year, there could have been a concerted effort to use both electronic collection and paper collection to ensure integrity of the data,” says Ms Gower.

Ends

 

Please contact the National Office for more information.

 

 

National Office

Rural Women New Zealand

 

[email protected]

04 473 5524


 

 

(image source: www.census.govt.nz)

Census Data Collection Integrity Questioned

Monday, February 26, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand have released a media release raising our concerns for how data is being collected in this year's census.  Read More

Rural Women New Zealand has today released a media release following the announcement that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will move to shut down if it does not receive funding.

Read the announcement here.  

 

 

ANOTHER SET BACK FOR THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF RURAL COMMUNITIES

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) are saddened to see that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will cease operating if it does not receive government funding next week.

 

“RWNZ supports the work already done by RHAANZ in bringing together various rural groups and rural health providers to develop initiatives for rural communities,” says RWNZ Board Member and Health Portfolio Convenor, Margaret Pittaway.

“Remarkable work has been done to deliver the Rural Health Road Map which sets out a plan and priorities for achieving healthily rural communities.

“Being geographically isolated, often with significant distance to the nearest town or health centre means that rural communities have an immediate need of affordable and reliable access to all health services.

“The Government has committed to rural proofing government policy, and RHAANZ has a vital part to play in this development – without the continuation of RHAANZ, and the work it does, rural communities will go backwards.

“There is no other place where issues impacting the health and wellbeing of rural communities are considered concurrently, and the loss of achievements met and efforts made by RHAANZ will be detrimental for our rural people.

RWNZ urges the Government to recognise the good work that has been done by RHAANZ and to support its continuation," says Mrs Pittaway.

Ends

 

 

Another setback for health and wellbeing of rural communities.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand has today released a media release following the announcement that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will move to shut down if it does not receive funding. Read More

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) are saddened to hear of the death of a nine-year-old boy whilst riding a quad bike in rural Waikato last night and our thoughts are extended to friends and family.

 

“It is very sad, but it need not have occurred. We need to prevent families and friends from the heartbreak of losing a loved one in such tragic circumstances,” says National President, Fiona Gower.

 

“RWNZ are concerned on two levels, one is children riding age appropriate quad bikes unsupervised and the other is children under the age of 16 riding adult-sized quad bikes.

 

“Last nights’ incident is an unfortunate but timely reminder of manufacturers recommendations that children under the age of 16 should not be riding adult-sized quad bikes.

 

“Children do not have the weight, strength or judgement to be operating these vehicles.

 

“Or if young children are riding age appropriate quad bikes, they need to be wearing a helmet and be supervised at all times.

 

“RWNZ encourage that anyone planning to use any form of machinery on farms receive training, and learn safe practices.

 

“It is heart breaking to receive news like this,” says Ms. Gower.

 

To find the media to which we have responded, follow the link here

 

 

 

Please contact us for further information

[email protected]


 

(photo source: www.nzherald.co.nz)

 

Another Preventable Rural Tragedy

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) are saddened to hear of the death of a nine-year-old boy whilst riding a quad bike in rural Waikato last night and our thoughts are extended to friends and family. Read More