Age: 59 Ethnicity/Nationality: Pākehā Highest Education: MPhil (First Class)
Maryan Street is a list MP for the Labour Party based in the Nelson region. Her official Labour Party profile page is available here. On her page, you will see that Maryan is gay, has a partner, and a daughter who contributed to her decision to become an MP in 2005.
While Maryan is the Labour spokesperson for State Services, Tertiary Education, Disarmament and Arms Control, Associate Foreign Affairs (ODA/Human Rights). She also has interests in equality for women, pay equity, eradication of poverty and gender-based violence, working conditions, peace and disarmament, and international affairs.
Maryan first became interested in politics when she started teaching in 1978 because she believed change was needed. She was motivated to join the Labour Party in 1984 following her work history and union participation and leadership. She had been meaning to join for a while at that time and was then approached and asked to join by another woman.
Maryan is a social democrat and was inspired in her political career by Helen Clark, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mary Robertson and Hillary Rodham Clinton. She also describes herself as a feminist and proudly announces that:
“I am old enough to remember the second wave of feminism and to have participated in it! I have always seen it as a movement for social justice – equality on all levels: economic, social, institutional, constitutional”
On women’s reproductive rights
Maryan is prochoice and considers that:
“access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the right to safe abortion, are fundamental to women’s equality. If we can’t plan when and how often to have children, we can’t ever have equality. I support this kaupapa through the NZ Parliamentarians group on Population Development (NZPPD), of which I am Vice-Chairperson”
On women’s economic contributions (other than paid work)
Maryan considers that women’s contributions to the economy include the:
“Social and economic stability through the maintenance of families and child care – women still remain the primary caregivers predominantly”
And also that the voluntary sector is dominated by women.
On wage disparity
She is also concerned about wage disparity in NZ and considers one approach to help amend this deficiency is to re-establish the Pay Equity Commission and ‘get to the bottom of the disparities and effect methods of changing them’.
On support services for women
Maryan believes that the current support systems we have in place to assist all women who: are solo or first time mothers, victims of crime, imprisoned, struggling with addiction, suffer from mental health and/or chronic illness or physical disabilities are inadequate and that:
“more is always required in each of these areas and it needs to be better targeted and more appropriately applied”
General Q & A:
What is the one skill you wish you had (that you don’t already)?
In everyday life, what is your pet peeve?
“People not being punctual.”
What do think is the biggest problem facing the world right now?
“Security – of food supply, of safe food, of women from gender-based violence both in war and in peace, of water, from escalating nuclear tensions, from war.”
What is the best gift you’ve ever given?
“A trip to Europe to my daughter – with me!”
What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Describe a time when you wanted to quit, but you didn’t:
“Yesterday – but there is too much to do!”
If you could have a special power/magic what would it be and why?
“Restoration of the environment.”
You can see more of Marayan on:
Facebook: Maryan Street
Please check the About page if you are interested in the question selections.