Former Prime Minister Helen Clark thinks New Zealand may have the worst rate of violence against women in the developed world, and says the Government needs to recognise it as a national crisis.
Speaking to the National Council of Women in Auckland on Saturday morning, Ms Clark said the Government needs to take a bigger role in trying to fix the issue, reports RNZ.
A study by Georgetown University's Institute for women titled Women, Peace and Security Index 2017/18 ranked New Zealand 18th in terms of women's peace and security, with Ms Clark saying it is possible we have always been the worst.
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Ms Clark said considering New Zealand's low scores on partner violence and community safety, a formal strategy should be adopted by the Government.
"Men who hit women are really expressing a view, a feeling, that women are inferior to them, and they can do whatever they want," Ms Clark said. "We all know people from the richest to the poorest who have suffered from this."
She said the strategy should include the United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals, which would show the UN New Zealand was taking the issue seriously.
"We need [to] be prepared to be compared on our performance with other countries".
Ms Clark has become a new patron to the National Council of Women, with its chief executive Gill Greer saying the former Prime Minister "epitomises what Kate Sheppard thought we could do as women, the way in which we could contribute".