Alf has prepared a letter to his mate Bill English to help him in his quest to squeeze public spending.
This follows the news media’s highlighting Bill’s warning in a speech yesterday that we are in for years of austerity measures.
English said the Government’s decision to rein in new spending in this year’s Budget would mean some services that were ”nice-to-have” but not essential would be axed.
He also made clear that the Government intended to continue the tight grip on public finances after the state coffers returned to a ”meaningful surplus” in 2015/16 as it looked to repay mounting debt and resume payments into the superannuation fund.
”That means public spending restraint is no temporary aberration. It is effectively permanent,” English told the Institute of Public Administration this morning.
English also said plans were afoot to reduce the size of the public sector, including merging more agencies or departments.
Alf accordingly drafted his letter to alert Bill to the money-saving potential from scrapping the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which (in Alf’s opinion) does not even rate as something that’s nice to have.
He has noted that the Ministry describes itself as the Government’s source of advice on issues relevant to advancing the well-being of women.
But we have sheilas in our Cabinet and sheilas in our caucus, some of them very stroppy sheilas with more testosterone than the blokes, and every male Nat – well, most of them – has a missus.
So we are not exactly shy of advice on issues relevant to adancing the well-being of women.
Some of it is not good advice. Mrs Grumble, for example, keeps banging on about her desperate need for her own car.
Alf imagines that similar trite demands probably emerge from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
Its main responsibilities, by the way, are:
* Providing suitable women nominees for appointment to state sector boards and committees
But we in the National Party know plenty of women fit for being nominated to those posts. We don’t need a ministry to compile bloody lists.
* Policy advice on improving outcomes for women in New Zealand
But women have the same outcomes as blokes, which is to live and then die. Dunno what policy advice is needed there.
* Providing support services to the Minister of Women’s Affairs
This one is easily taken care of: get rid of the portfolio, and the minister will need no support services.
* Managing New Zealand’s international obligations in relation to the status of women
This will be the same sort of nonsense that resulted in our Government making one of its silliest blunders, which was to sign up to that indigenous rights stuff at the United Nations.
No useful purpose can be served by having obligations to those outfits on the status of women.
Anyway, it seems the status of New Zealand women in 2010 is pretty good.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs says so –
Overall, New Zealand performs well internationally on most gender equality indicators. For example, New Zealand is placed fifth out of 134 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2010, which measures the size of gender-based disparities in 26 indicators across four categories: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political empowerment.
Women in New Zealand have high levels of engagement in politics, society, and the economy.
New Zealand women rank well in a number of economic indicators. In comparison to men, women have higher participation and completion rates in tertiary education, while internationally, New Zealand women had the ninth-highest labour force participation rate in the OECD in 2009.
The gap in educational achievement at secondary level between young European women and young Māori and Pacific women is also narrowing. There are also indications that attitudes towards family violence are beginning to change as a result of the concerted national media campaign4 combined with the ongoing work of the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families (TAVF).
Mrs Grumble was not too thrilled with Alf’s determination to urge the Government bring down the ministry and refused to type his letter.
But damn it, Alf can type his own letters if he has to. It’s just that it takes him about
fife five times as much time as Mrs Grumple Grumble and the resultant letter is apt to be piddled riddled with hyping typing errors.
But Bill is a bright bugger and will not be bewildered.