Thank you to everyone who has expressed support for changing Section 69 of The Holidays Act so that those who experience miscarriage are entitled to take bereavement leave. I have talked to a very supportive local MP who may submit this as a Members’ Bill.
Along with gathering your support, I’ve also reached out to organisations:
I will wait a few weeks to hear back from these organisations and will keep you in the loop. In the meantime if you would like to lend your support please get in touch or comment at the bottom of this post.
I have also written a letter for the publishers of The New Zealand Pregnancy Book asking for more information about miscarriage to be included in the upcoming new edition. Sands may also be interested in supporting the letter, which you can read here.
I’ve been trying to get some action on both of these issues since December. What I’ve learned is that the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly – and that just when you think you’ve found the right person to talk to, they tell you that the right person to talk to is someone else!
I listened to a great Freakonomics podcast with Trevor Noah yesterday, in which he said that trying to make change when you're angry is not effective. It was a great reminder to take a deep breath and play the long game.
I’ve also discovered that even submitting a Members’ Bill is no guarantee that anything will change. The Bill might not ever get heard in Parliament. At the very least though, it may influence further changes to the Holidays Act in the future. Based on the advice I’ve received, submitting a Members’ Bill seems to be the best way to proceed. I think it’s worth a shot!
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.