Coalition for Equal Value Equal Pay

Coalition for Equal Value Equal Pay (CEVEP)

Equal pay in New Zealand from 1988 to present.


1988 to present

[ Act repeal ]   [ ongoing issue ]


Employment Equity Act passed and repealed

On 8 March 1988, International Women's Day, the Government announced the establishment of a Working Group on Equal Pay and Equal Employment Opportunities. This, the third and final phase saw the Working Group under the direction of Margaret Wilson, produce the July 1988 report Towards Employment Equity. This report provided the draft statutory framework for the Employment Equity Act 1990. By March 1989, the Labour Government had committed itself to passing pay equity legislation. The proposed Employment Equity Act which included pay equity was announced on 9 November 1989. This Act sought to redress past and present discrimination experienced by women in the labour market. On 26 July 1990, the Employment Equity Act 1990 was passed, becoming effective in October 1990. Yet any celebrations were short-lived, the newly elected National Government quickly repealed the Employment Equity Act in December 1990. Pay equity provisions were included in the Employment Contracts Act 1991 (ECA).

As a result of this 1991 legislation, the Equal Pay Act 1972 (as amended by the ECA) was relegated to being part of the minimum code. The outreach of unions to their members was severely curtailed by the ECA, and saw most of the unions' earlier attention towards key issues like equal pay now being directed towards the numerous smaller claims as a result of this controversial legislation.

[ Act repeal ]   [ ongoing issue ]


Equal pay for work of equal value issue will not simply disappear

As this history has demonstrated, equal pay for work of equal value is an issue that will not simply disappear. Despite the political setbacks and continued stalling of progress, the power of women through the actions of groups like CEVEP will persist in the campaign for equal pay for work of equal value.

Email CEVEP at
Last reviewed February 2004. This website created by First Bite of the Apple.