Parliament rejects Kate Sheppard statue

A spat has broken out between Parliament's Speaker and Women's Refuge over a statue of Kate Sheppard.

Women's Refuge built the statue as a protest against domestic violence. It had planned to gift it to Parliament but it's been rejected.

Women's Refuge will officially unveil its Kate Sheppard statue tomorrow, but it won't be at Parliament as was planned.

"They picked a place and it was all perfectly fine, and then we suggest that the place they'd picked might not be so appropriate because it didn't get any foot traffic and would be very quiet and for the three months she was going to be at Parliament she wouldn't be seen," says Women's Refuge's Kiri Hannifin.

After that Women's Refuge received a letter from the Speaker of the House saying: "After careful consideration I have declined the request for the statue to be placed on display or housed at Parliament. This is a busy time at Parliament and space constraints, future requirements and use of the space in public and function areas cannot be overlooked."

"I was disappointed," says Ms Hannifin. "I actually shed a tear. We put in so much work on creating her; 500-odd hours have gone into making her."

The statue of the leader of the movement that won New Zealand women the vote stands at more than two metres tall. It's made from layers of Perspex glass, which have messages against domestic violence inscribed on it.

"I think the Government giving a spot to her and then turning around and saying no is a real indictment to their attitude towards domestic violence," says Ms Hannifin.

A march against domestic violence will still take place through Wellington tomorrow. The statue will be assembled on the stairs, which will take four hours, and will then be taken away again.

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source: newshub archive