Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Election 2011: Key open to deal with the Greens

Green MP Catherine Delahunty said equal pay was a key issue the Greens wanted to work on with the next government. Photo / Supplied
Green MP Catherine Delahunty said equal pay was a key issue the Greens wanted to work on with the next government. Photo / Supplied

Prime Minister John Key would consider a deal with the Green Party over equal pay if National forms the government after the election.

Mr Key said equal pay was one area National could consider including in any future memorandum of understanding with the Greens, should it regain the government benches.

"I haven't had a good look at it, but depending on the outcome of the election next Saturday, if we are in a position to put together a government and have a memorandum of understanding with the Greens, that matter is one thing we could sit down and talk to them about."

Mr Key made the comment after Green MP Catherine Delahunty said equal pay was a key issue the Greens wanted to work on with the next government, and that many businesses were supportive of it.

She said several companies - including Foodstuffs, ANZ, Fonterra, SkyCity, Telecom and Farmers - had responded positively to a letter to 50 big companies asking if they supported more transparency on equal pay.

When told of Mr Key's comments, she said it was "more positive" than she had expected, as National ministers Kate Wilkinson and Hekia Parata had been dismissive of her member's bill to require employers to release information on what they paid according to gender.

"I'm pleased the Prime Minister at least recognised progress could be made, and should be made."

Ms Delahunty has proposed requiring employers to release some information on pay levels by gender in individual workplaces, as well as allow the Department of Labour to aggregate data nationwide.

Mr Key said he had not seen the detail of what was proposed.

"When we looked at the same issue a while ago, one of the concerns raised was about making sure information in the workplace was treated appropriately."

Asked if he believed there was a pay gap in practice, Mr Key said it was against the law for employers to pay more to a male than a female simply because of gender.

"If two people start in the same job, in my opinion they should be paid the same irrespective of gender or other issues.

"The reason there is a pay gap is because of the nature of the jobs, as I understand it.

"Women dominate in some jobs which are either part-time or lower income jobs."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 31 Oct 2014 22:54:28 Processing Time: 281ms