An open letter to the Government and the men of New Zealand to end violence against women has been met with agreement and a promise.

Signed by high profile women such as former Prime Ministers Helen Clark and Dame Jenny Shipley, Anika Moa and former Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, the letter calls for politicians to work together to stop gender based violence.

The tragic death of tourist Grace Millane was the catalyst for the letter but it was also written for the women killed and injured before her.

Parliamentary undersecretary for domestic and sexual violence Jan Logie welcomed the letter and said the Government planned action.

A memorial to Grace Millane outside City Life on Queen Street. Photo / Dean Purcell
A memorial to Grace Millane outside City Life on Queen Street. Photo / Dean Purcell

"Addressing violence against women and other forms of family and sexual violence is a priority for this Government and we support the call for cross party action to protect women," Logie said.

"No other Government has made the safety of women and children such a central part of its programme, or appointed a dedicated undersecretary specifically to drive this work."

The letter, which was signed by 40 New Zealand women, makes a promise to Millane "to do better as a nation".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had not yet received the letter, which was sent yesterday, but had already made an emotional public apology to Millane's family.

"There is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality, on our manaakitanga especially to those who are visiting our shores," Ardern said after Millane's death.

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Millane was last seen alive on December 1, on the eve of her 22nd birthday.

A 26-year-old man was charged with her murder last Saturday before her body was found the following day.

Hundreds marched up Queen Street yesterday in one of many events for murdered British backpacker Grace Millane. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Hundreds marched up Queen Street yesterday in one of many events for murdered British backpacker Grace Millane. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Thousands of New Zealanders have marched, placed flowers and held vigils for Millane over the past week.

Yesterday, marches were held through central Auckland and Christchurch. A vigil was also held at Mount Maunganui. It's understood Grace's father David was returning to the UK with her body this weekend.

Just days after Millane's body was found another woman was violently attacked in her home with her toddler son near by. She died in hospital of her injuries.

"I can understand how people want the fastest action possible to protect women," Logie said.

"I want New Zealanders to know we are listening and the work we're doing is driven by the same sense of urgency."

In one year Logie said the Government had passed three new laws, injected $70 million into family violence services and improved the response to family and sexual violence.

More was planned with the Justice Minister currently reviewing changes made to the Family Court to ensure they're working to keep people safe.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke tearfully about murdered British tourist Grace Millane during her weekly post-Cabinet press conference. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke tearfully about murdered British tourist Grace Millane during her weekly post-Cabinet press conference. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"We also recently directed WorkSafe to make sexual harassment a priority, and it has issued guidelines to employers about how to prevent harassment."

And last week a new tool was launched that would help sexual violence victims navigate the justice system, Logie said.

"We have been reaching out to the opposition and next year we will be developing a national strategy and action plan to end family and sexual violence," Logie said.

"This won't just be a plan for the Government this will be a plan for all of us."