Former Speaker and Labour MP and Minister Margaret Wilson has reflected on her lengthy and varied career in politics, particularly her battle to get pay equity passed in New Zealand.
Wilson, who served as president of the Labour Party from 1984 to 1987 before becoming an MP under Helen Clark's government, joined NZ Herald political journalist Thomas Coughlan on the Herald's politics podcast, On the Tiles, to reflect on her career.
On pay equity, Wilson said it was a "battle" to get pay equity passed during Geoffrey Palmer's tenure as prime minister, as it challenged the neoliberal economic model.
"We had been making this argument for 20, 30 years. A lot of people who were in the caucus and the Cabinet at the time knew the argument and had been part of it, or didn't know the argument but this was not entirely new to them.
"That was why they objected so much as they could see the economic implications of it meant it was the first serious threat in many ways to the neoliberal economic policy. In other words, the inequality that was going to flow, which did flow, from that economic policy we were foreshadowing with pay equity."
Wilson said they probably could have done the bill better, but people have to "live within our own experience".
Speaking to the resistance to the proposal, Wilson said she "didn't want to live in the world they were proposing".
Reflecting on what has changed since she left Parliament in 2008 after ending her tenure as Speaker, Wilson said we need to celebrate long-term thinking in politics.
"We tried to focus on the immediate, but also think long-term as well, whereas today the pressure is to produce now. It is so important to see that some of the projects coming forward will take 20 or 30 years but will be very important for our infrastructure, and we have to take a risk."
In the full 40-minute episode, Wilson also addresses her start in politics and move out of academia, her time as Labour Party president, and her various ministerial roles.