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The Government needs to launch an inquiry into why New Zealand has such high domestic violence and maternal mortality rates compared with other Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD) countries, the head of United Nations Women New Zealand says.
A report by UN Women was released in Wellington yesterday and canvassed 22 developed nations about subjects including domestic violence and maternal mortality.
New Zealand was ranked either at or near the bottom of the countries in the study in both areas, and UN Women New Zealand national president Rae Julian called on the Government to "actively investigate the causes of New Zealand's high level of maternal mortality and issues of partner violence against women".
Initiatives needed to be implemented to address the issues highlighted, she said.
The study found a third of the country's women had reported experiencing physical violence from a partner during the period 2000 to 2010.
That puts New Zealand as the worst affected of the 14 countries that responded to the question.
In the past year, New Zealand rated 11th out of the 12 countries that reported violence against women, only Finland rating lower.
Sexual violence from partners showed a similar trend, New Zealand coming out worst of the 12 countries that responded to the question. The closest ranked to New Zealand's 14% was Norway, at 9%.
In the past year, 2% of women reported experiencing sexual violence from a partner, ranking New Zealand bottom of the list.
Other findings included. -
• The proportion of women in Parliament ranked highly, at eighth equal with Spain, but 14th for the number of women in ministerial positions.
• New Zealand, Ireland and Spain were the only three countries that did not allow abortion for economic or social reasons. Six countries, including New Zealand, did not allow abortion on request.
• The wage disparity between men and women was calculated at 19% based on International Labour Organisation data.