Minister for Women Paula Bennett a feminist ‘most days’

  • 20/12/2016
Bill English and Paula Bennett
Bill English and Paula Bennett (file)

New Zealand's new Minister for Women says she's only a feminist some days and the rest of the time she just gets on with it.

Prime Minister Bill English has backed his deputy Paula Bennett's stance on feminism, saying it doesn't matter what label a person uses it's what they do that really counts.

Mr English says he doesn't identify himself as a feminist, admitting "I wouldn't quite know what that means".

"I don't really mind whether people call themselves a feminist or not a feminist," he said.

"I've worked with women who have very assertive views about women's roles, appointed a lot of them to government agencies."

His comments came after Ms Bennett was asked about her own stance on feminism as she was sworn in as New Zealand's newest Minister for Women, replacing Louise Upston who did not use the label.

"Most days. There's some days there's days when I don't really think about it and I'm getting on and being busy but I still get a bit worked up about some of the unfairness that I see," she told RNZ.

"Mainly for other women and not for myself these days. But as a teenager and in my 20s I was pretty stroppy and pretty vocal about some of the unfairness that I kind of saw there so I think there are certainly areas that we need to work on for women and as such that does make me a feminist."

Mr English agreed that was probably an accurate description of most New Zealand women.

"What Paula Bennett does will, I think, illustrate to women right across our community the opportunities in New Zealand," he said.