MP Jan Logie responds to open letter pleading for action on violence against women

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for sexual and domestic violence issues Jan Logie has welcomed an open letter pleading for the Government to do more about violence against women.

The letter was signed by 50 influential women, community leaders and NGOs including former Prime Ministers Helen Clark and Jenny Shipley, the Māori Women's Welfare League and the National Council of Women.

"When young women are murdered, it reminds women that our safety is an illusion," the letter said. "We have some of the worst statistics for sexual violence, domestic violence and violence against women in the OECD. Most of that violence is at the hands of our men.

"This is a time for national soul-searching. It is also a time for solution-based action. "

The letter was prompted by the death of backpacker Grace Millane, who was last seen alive on December 1, the day before her 22nd birthday.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with her murder.

Ms Logie told NZME she welcomed the letter and the Government is planning action.

"Addressing violence against women and other forms of family and sexual violence is a priority for this Government and we support the call for cross party action to protect women," she said.

"No other Government has made the safety of women and children such a central part of its programme, or appointed a dedicated undersecretary specifically to drive this work."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was sent a copy of the letter, but NZME reports she has not yet received it.

She made an emotional apology to Ms Millane's family during Monday's post cabinet press conference, tearing up at times.

"On behalf of New Zealand, I want to apologise to Grace's family," she said. "Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn't, and I'm sorry for that."