Women turn up to see Ardern open market

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MORE than 100 vendors, mainly women, turned up to see New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern open the new Gordon Market in Port Moresby yesterday.
Ardern appealed to them to get involved in politics in PNG where there are no women MPs.
She made the 7.30am event before meetings of the day got underway at the Apec Leaders’ Summit.
It was very much a women-focused project and event.
Most of the stall holders are women and photos of the old market shows trade being conducted on the dirt and around puddles and big piles of rubbish by mums.
When the complex is complete in a few months – Fletchers are building it – it will provide two levels of covered area for about 2000 stall holders funded to the tune of NZ$7 million (K16mil) from New Zealand’s overseas development assistance.
“Gutpela monin tru olgeta,” Ardern began (good morning everyone).
“Welcome to your new home.
“Up to 90 per cent of the vendors at the old Gordon Market are women and behind them will be families and behind them will be the success of their community, so this is a very deliberate project on behalf of the people of New Zealand.
“If you want a community or a country to thrive, you look after the women.
“I hope that as a result of this project, the women here thrive, they are safe, they have a safe space where they can work, where you can build your business, where you can build the wellbeing of your family because that’s where success builds.
“I hope also that as a result of more women thriving in their communities, building their business, maybe some of them will go into politics as well because we can always use more women in politics.”
Ardern mingled with most of the stall holders afterwards although avoided the table at which vendors were selling bunches of tobacco leaves grown in their garden.
PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato was there and got a special reception from a group of women originally from his electorate.
Asked why there were no women MPs, he said that women had stood in most electorates in the last election but none had been elected.
“The elections are fair, open and free and I have said many a time and so has been the prime minister – that we are about gender equality, empowerment of girls and women and we would like to get representation of women in Parliament,” Pato said
The constitution provided for unelected representation “and because of the lack of women in Parliament we are thinking of invoking that provision to ensure women are represented – at least by one.”
NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters was not at the event but later he attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a St John Ambulance operation centre, which New Zealand funded as well to the tune of NZ$1.1 million (K2.5mil).
The NZ government also announced a NZ$10 million (K23mil) contribution specifically for polio vaccinations for PNG where there has been a recent outbreak. – NZ Herald

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