5 Oct 2018

NZ MPs support better gender balance in Melanesian politics

12:48 pm on 5 October 2018

New Zealand's parliamentary speaker says it will take time to improve gender equality in Melanesian political parties.

The Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard.

Trevor Mallard Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Trevor Mallard has led a cross party group of New Zealand politicians including five women on a six day tour to Vanuatu and Solomon Islands this week.

He said the group had positive discussions about the contributions Melanesian women can make in parliament but he says there is still a lot of progress to be made.

"Part of the message was the fact that we had five women as part of our delegation. Both senior and junior members of parliament. We talked quite a lot about how the different skills of women make a big difference to a parliament.

"So it's good for parties to have women as candidates. And people received that pretty well."

Mr Mallard said it appears reserved seats for women will not happen in time for the Solomon Islands election in March next year.