Released: 5 July 2019
Te Whāriki Takapou and Family Planning New Zealand are thrilled that the New Zealand Government has stated that “protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights is a human rights priority.” We are also very supportive of the Government’s intention to remove abortion from the Crimes Act and look forward to an announcement about the proposed new legal framework for abortion soon.
However, there is no evidence that sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is a human rights priority in New Zealand, given the significant inequities that exist, and the lack of policy, funding and services dedicated to addressing these.
There is no national plan for SRHR in New Zealand. Efforts to develop a national action plan have not progressed and have faced challenges including insufficient and inconsistent consultation with the sector. The draft Plan’s proposed measures are flawed, and there is no mechanism to ensure accountability and resources to support implementation that reduces rather than perpetuates inequities. Further, there is little data on SRHR in New Zealand to inform policy development and service responsiveness. Current inequities are, therefore, likely to continue for young women, young Māori people including takataapui or Māori LGBTQI, Pacific women, women on low incomes, Asian women, and young women not in employment, education or training.
Additionally, a 2018 report shows that the delivery of sexuality education in English-medium schools is inconsistent and has not improved in over a decade, with no investments made to support teachers or schools in this area of the curriculum. Of concern is the lack of quality sexuality education for Māori students in English and Māori medium schools. Pacific young people, LGBTQI and young people with additional learning needs are also underserved.
There must be an evidence-based, multi-sector and systems level approach to addressing inequities in SRHR in New Zealand. The current ad hoc approach and lack of commitment to developing effective policy and services will not result in meaningful progress. It is unacceptable that after more than 3 years, a national plan for SRHR has not been completed.
Contact: Dr. Alison Green
Link to video of the statement at the UN here.