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A problem of “masculine” values

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, July 7th, 2013 - 120 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, democratic participation, feminism, john key, labour, Left, news, poverty, sexism, spin - Tags:

This is largely a re-post.  I agree totally with QOT, on the way the MSM have followed the whale’s lead on the issue of the Labour Party remit: a remit that was attempting to counter the gender imbalance in politics.  In their usual way these days, the MSM coverage lacks critical depth, is over-simplified, stirs up dramatic conflict, and fails to put the issue in context.

The post below is on a speech at the 2012 NZ Labour Party Conference on gender and politics.  To me it looks like the latest Labour Party remit on gender was following up on some recommendations in that speech.

I argue that the main gender problem is the way politics (and the dominant political commentariate) currently tends to maintain the legacy of a very long “masculine” tradition.  In doing this, traditional areas of women’s activity and modes of interaction are undermined.  And it is such values that run all through John Key’s (16 15 women Nat MPs out of 59) government, it’s “war on the poor”, and the primacy it gives to the ruthless and competitive world of corporations in partnership with political power.

poverty-and-women

The public debate on the (one among others) suggestion of excluding men from some candidate lists, has been frustratingly over-burdened with such values: it can be seen in the rush to denounce anything that looks like feminism, and to separate issues damaging to women, from other, highly pressing, political issues.

David Shearer seems to have slipped back into fiddler-beneficiary-on-the-roof mode in his rush to placate the MSM and right wingers, by denouncing the (alleged) “man ban”), and thereby reinforcing their biases.  Shearer fails to provide an adequate alternative narrative, and, in his silence, condones Shane Jones’ misogynistic labeling of women politicians as “geldings”. This is not the way for a left wing party of the 21st century, to court the men and women who make up the low income electorate.

Below is a copy of the post that I published on November 22nd, 2012

The Labour Party conference at the weekend gave serious attention to crucial issues of gender and politics.  In a speech, Judy McGregor provided some good suggestions for a new approach.  Her focus was on two  main areas: proportion of women MPs in the party and equal pay.  However, her speech fell short in scope and depth.  It also demonstrated the same shortcomings that I see throughout the conference: a strong focus on employment and change within the existing framework.  There was a lower priority given to unpaid wirk in the home and community; work done by a large proportion of women.

McGregor focused on two aspects of gender and politics that are in need of urgent attention, and which are covered in remits considered at the conference.  The representation of women in the House, and equal pay have gone backwards since NAct have been in government.  McGregor presented statistics to show that the proportion on women MPs has declined, while the gender pay gap is now the biggest it has been for 10 years.

McGregor argued that there is everything for the Labour Party to gain from working towards gender equality.  She pointed out that, while NZ doesn’t have a clear gender voting pattern, we can learn from the recent US election. There was an 18% positive swing of female voters for Obama. McGregor’s proposed new approach to MP equality includes:

  • a formal commitment to 50% MPs
  • equal gender quotas on committees selecting candiates for the party list and electorates
  • mentoring by current women MPs – to mentor at least 6 possible women MP candidates

This is great as far as it goes, but it fails to deal with the underlying framework that restricts women. Parliamentary politics is still carried out within a masculine framework.  Women in positions of power have to represent themselves as being tough, but not so masculine as to upset conventional gender expectations.

This was exposed when McGregor described the mentoring proposal as a “stiletto camp” in contrast to a boot camp.  My immediate response to that was – nah; yeah; nah.  This draws on an acceptable femme fatale image of a powerful, but sexualised, woman operating in a restrictive masculine space.  It doesn’t challenge the masculine rules of play, but accommodates to it.

Unfortunately those masculine rules of combative play are everywhere to be seen in Question Time and MSM political coverage.  The current Labour Party leadership is strongly operating within these terms of engagement: it can be seen in the way they have “dealt to” the LP members pushing for democratic change, and to Cunliffe’s leadership ambitions.  It can be seen in Shearer’s tough guy plays, in his attempt to stamp his authority on the caucus and membership, over the last week.

For women to again be among the leading players in the Labour Party, this style of politics needs to change, not just the gender quotas. Generally speaking, a significant proportion of women prefer negotiation, networking and 2-way communication over the stamping of authority from above.

In focusing on the pay gap, McGregor focused on the paid workforce.  While this is in crucial need of attention, she also neglected the underlying framework, in which women are still preferred in caring roles, paid and unpaid, and which are given low status by society.  McGregor drew on her undercover experience, working in age care facilities. This low paid work is largely done by women for less than $14-15 per hour.  Nurses create a positive caring culture, but earn less than employees with similar qualifications, doing similar work in other hospitals.  McGregor described it as a “form of modern day slavery”.

McGregor said a report on age care work got a positive reception by a lot of potential voters, including 40,00 carers.  Pay parity for carers is a fundamental human right and is affordable, costing about 1% of the total health budget over 3 yrs. McGregor implicitly compared Labour’s worker-friendly approach with that of the Key government, when she said:

  Surely we don’t need to ask Warner Brothers for permission on this one.

McGregor encouraged the Labour Party to promote itself as THE party to bring possible change for women and their families.  A worthy ambition.  However, at the moment the Green Party are well ahead of them on this.  50% of their women are MPs, and they, along with Mana have led the campaigns against poverty. They have not just focused on the paid workforce, but have actively campaigned for all low income households – beneficiaries and the employed.  They haven’t set this merely as a goal, but MPs like Hone Harawira and Metiria Turei have been out on the streets campaigning along side those with least power.

Unfortunately, in spite of the gender equality in numbers, The Greens have also been sucked into the masculine framework strengthened by NAct and the MSM: Russel Norman is now being portrayed as the de facto leader of the Party, while much of the important leg work is being done by women MPs.

It is the underlying macho, game-playing culture of political engagement that needs changing, along with the more obvious need for gender equality.  The changes required include the need for more democratic processes of political engagement, genuine communication and negotiations.  This should be linked with the need for wider cultural change, in which paid and unpaid caring work is given far more status.

120 comments on “A problem of “masculine” values”

  1. And it is such values that run all through John Key’s (16 women Nat MPs out of 59) government …

    I’ve seen this figure of 16 cited a fair bit. I think it is wrong. Parliament’s website lists 15 female MPs from the National Party: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/MPP/MPs/MPs/Default.htm?pf=Gender&sf=Female&lgc=0

  2. “I argue that the main gender problem is the way politics (and the dominant political commentariate) currently tends to maintain the legacy of a very long “masculine” tradition. In doing this, traditional areas of women’s activity and modes of interaction are undermined.”

    The counter argument is that protection is traditionally a masculine role and that government is supposed to protect the rights of its citizens.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1

      Yes, because no mother ever protected anything.

      Duh.

      • UglyTruth 2.1.1

        The masculine role of protection is from the common law. This role has been marginalized as part of the civil system’s misrepresentation of the the nature of the common law.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1.1

          Not this shit again.

          • UglyTruth 2.1.1.1.1

            Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I agree. Your ignorance seems wilful to the point of dishonesty to me.

              • UglyTruth

                What do you think that I am ignorant of, knuckle dragger?

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  The law.

                  Shall I link to the schooling you recently received from an actual lawyer?

                  • UglyTruth

                    If you understand the issues then you should be able to argue for yourself.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Why have a dog and bark yourself?

                    • UglyTruth

                      So what’s your point, knuckle dragger?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      That protection is not, as you were claiming, the sole province of men, and further, that your “understanding” of the law is an intellectual handicap.

                    • UglyTruth

                      Comprehension fail, knuckle dragger.

                      I didn’t claim that protection was the sole province of men. What I said was that “the masculine role of protection is from the common law”. My statement does not imply that women do not protect their children.

                      Speaking of intellectual handicaps, why haven’t you been able to substantiate your assertion that I was ignorant (of something relevant)?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      “…you are relying on a single dictionary definition, rather than understanding how the term is used by those who are expert in the field…”

                      Andrew Geddis. My bold.

                      Substantiated. As though the link wasn’t enough.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          The masculine role of protection is from the common law.

          We’re not in the 15th century any more. We’ve moved on from that bit of ideological dogma due to the fact that we’ve learned a bit since then.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1.2.1

            And of course, it was the common law position that drove the dogma, not any kind of religious teaching, no sirree!

          • karol 2.1.1.2.2

            Indeed, DTB.

            UT seems to believe in a mythical and (to him) golden age when men were autonomous benevolent father protectors, and women loved being subservient to them.

            In fact the reality was probably more as is portrayed in the (mythical) Game of Thrones: where fathers ship off any sons that don’t measure up, to The Wall and the Wildings; and most women are just pawns in the brutal power games (except for the few who learn to participate in the violent power games with any level of success).

  3. Alanz 3

    Cheers, ‘karol’.

    May I say I appreciate reading your piece first thing this morning. It makes me feel good this Sunday morning (no need to read anything else for now) and I can start my day on a positive note.

    The “masculine” values, framework and culture – as well as attitudes, perspectives and style – that dominate in the House, and are particularly evident during Question Time, must change. And it is through structural changes by way of policy measures such as, but not limited to, Labour’s proposal that would be needed and necessary.

    Keep the Light shining!

  4. JK 4

    ” For women to again be among the leading players in the Labour Party, this style of politics needs to change, not just the gender quotas. Generally speaking, a significant proportion of women prefer negotiation, networking and 2-way communication over the stamping of authority from above.”

    Yes – Karol – I’d agree, and this is just what the Party organisation has been doing – working through the rules to reach a point where it might be possible for women to be 50% of the Labour caucus – as endorsed strongly by the 2012 Conference.

    The MSM were at that conference – but they obviously couldn’t see beyond their own noses picking at their version of their perceived Shearer-Cunliffe contest, and so this report and recommendation from the Labour Party council as come as a BIG surprise to the MSM !

    And of course the blokey blokes in the Labour caucus led by Shearer are running scared. Hence all the macho claptrap coming out of their unreconstructed mouths.

    Word has it that the blokes are going to overturn all progressive policy remits at the next conference ….. which will really send Labour down the slippery slopes of no return !! Like the MSM, they can’t see beyond their own noses either !

    By the way – if you want the full version of what Labour has decided to put forward to its next conference (November, in Christchurch) – its on Scoop NZ News, as an attachment.

    • Rogue Trooper 4.1

      Good Lord!

    • Saarbo 4.2

      “Word has it that the blokes are going to overturn all progressive policy remits at the next conference ….. which will really send Labour down the slippery slopes of no return !! Like the MSM, they can’t see beyond their own noses either !”

      How can anyone justify less than 50% women in Parliament, it is simply unjustifiable…if the so called Labour “Blokes” are going to overturn the progressive policy’s then we will see Labour get even less than 25% of the vote in 2014. Labour once again wasted an opportunity here, they should have gone onto attack over this, made a lot of noise about National Party’s unbelievable male bias in their caucus. The big problem is that this Labour Party simply have no talent in being able to sell its policies and sell itself. It may be true that when people hear “Man Ban” that they react negatively, but if Labour had gone on the attack they could have changed the narrative on this, turned it around.

      The question is why are so many men scared of this policy? What sort of fucked up upbringing have males had that makes them afraid of women in positions of authority. Recently I put my name forward for my kids school Board of Trustees. I was then approached by a local man in his mid 50’s who has grand-kids at the school, he said “I’m glad you have put your name forward, we need good strong MEN on the board”, I asked him why he felt the board needed men as opposed to women, he obviously had no rational response.

      I can come up with several other instances of witnessing this sort of behavior over the years, the one common denominator is that the males are all Baby Boomers…so guess the problem will eventually wash out.

      Discrimination against women is still very much alive in New Zealand…which is why this policy in labour is critical, any male that suggests otherwise is bull shitting.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    How come the previous week , Key proposed suspending the ‘one man or woman, one vote’ rule when ever National falls short of a majority.

    Apparently it would be an outrage if they dont have the reins of power in spite of not having a majority coalition.

    Not a squeak from the media commentators ? Not a word about this breathtaking attempt to defeat the will of the majority

    The reason why, is the message is controlled by the National party. This manban’ thing was run by Nationals dirty tricks unit, who are heavily infiltrated into the Labour party hierachy, and they feed this stuff to Whaleoil blog.

    Farrar is also behind all this, as he has since his first paid job/internship with National ( when he got arrested for one of his anti labour tricks).

    But of course now , he claims hes respectable, so doesnt break these stories on his Farragoblog

  6. Jimmie 6

    So whats the solution?

    All MP’s have to sit around in a circle drinking latte’s and knitting a scarf while they have a quiet chat about proposed new laws? isn’t that pushing a stereotype?

    I would have thought that from a feminist’s point of view they would be insulted to think that they need to be treated differently from men?

    Surely (if you hold the view that men and women are the same and equal) that you must allow women to fight to the top on their own merit and ability as this proves the feminist POV that both sexes are the same.

    As long as there is no law or party policy excluding female participation then women should be left to their own devices (men as well) in order to pursue a career in politics.

    If after allowing such a policy for several years you end up with some inbalance in gender numbers o just accept that more women in general do not wish to pursue a political career than men.

    In some respects this policy smacks of hypocrisy as the proponents for many years have cried that they are equal to men in all respects and should be treated as such however when it comes to political representation women are to be considered ‘weaker’ and so need the rules to be twisted to favour them.

    It is this inherent unfairness that has made this a real vote loser for Labour.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.1

      Are those feeble strawmen the best you’ve got? I appreciate it’s hard to argue against your opponents’ actual position when you’re as thick as pigshit, but you could try a bit harder.

      Don’t worry though, the National Party makes allowances for male gimps, so you’ll be ok.

      We need better wingnuts.

      • Jimmie 6.1.1

        Well yeah I guess time will tell if this policy change is a vote winner Knucklenuts – doesn’t look so good so far.

        You obviously couldn’t argue the points I made so made a feeble attempt at personal abuse – you are obviously emotionally still tied to your kindergarten years.

        Grow up and learn how to debate and argue points – shows that you have emotionally matured beyond the point of puberty.

        What a dimwit.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.1.1.1

          You didn’t make any “points”, Jimmie: you just made up some lies about what other people think.

    • QoT 6.2

      (if you hold the view that men and women are the same and equal)

      Ah, that old chestnut. The argument isn’t that men and women are exactly the same and equal. The argument is that men and women should be judged on equal terms and provided equal opportunities and advantages. They’re currently not.

      Which is why it’s oh so handy for Neanderthals like Alasdair Thompson to have a go at women who take time off to have babies. Women are made unequal by a society which doesn’t consider raising babies to be a job either parent can do. I could go on, but my head’s already sore from banging against brick walls.

      • Jimmie 6.2.1

        Honestly QOT I cannot accept that.

        Are you saying that if a woman and man with similar levels of talent and life experience walked in off the street and joined Labour, spent several years doing party stuff and donations.

        They both then work their way up to the point where they are both suitable to stand for an electorate seat.

        Suddenly in the selection process there is a mysterious but real bias in the selection process that says that more often than not in these circumstances the woman will get the short shift and the man will get in purely based on his gender.

        I’m sorry but Labour 2013? I just don’t see that being a reality.

        And this is why there has been such a bad reaction to this proposed policy. That is why this is seen more as a factional push rather than fixing a real injustice.

        Again Labour as a whole is suffering while one faction is trying to get the power ascendancy.

        Last year it was the Unions and now the feminists – infighting doesn’t win elections and never will.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.2.1.1

          Yes, Labour should never discuss anything for fear of what its opponents will say. That’s a decent summation of your “argument”, eh Jimmie.

          You can probably go from there to filling in what I think of your argument for yourself.

        • QoT 6.2.1.2

          Suddenly in the selection process there is a mysterious but real bias in the selection process that says that more often than not in these circumstances the woman will get the short shift and the man will get in purely based on his gender.

          Yes. It’s called “gosh, they’re both great, but we don’t think this electorate will vote for a woman”. Sometimes it’s “wow, they’re both terrific candidates, but she might want to go have babies in a few years, do we really want to invest in her political career?” or “she has missed a few meetings to take care of her sick kids, she’s not as committed”.

          Or any other of a dozen misogynist attitudes which are played out every single day in organisations around the western world.

          • Jimmie 6.2.1.2.1

            Then surely the answer is not to disadvantage men as it were, the answer is to boot out the selectors who are holding these outdated views?

            Have a ‘cleansing’ of the Labour party hierarchy who would dare to have a bias against women and ensure that only Labourites with a pure liberal outlook in life select candidates based on merit only.

            When the committee is discussing each candidate you could have a women’s rights officer on the committee who would ensure strict judging based on merit only (and with the power to veto and biased decisions)

            Simple done

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.2.1.2.1.1

              Equality doesn’t “disadvantage” men – quite the opposite – it removes the suspicion that they are only there because of their gender.

            • QoT 6.2.1.2.1.2

              The fact that you yourself mock the idea of being able to ensure the selectors don’t hold sexist (or racist, or ableist, or even classist) views kind of proves my point.

          • Saarbo 6.2.1.2.2

            “Yes. It’s called “gosh, they’re both great, but we don’t think this electorate will vote for a woman”. Sometimes it’s “wow, they’re both terrific candidates, but she might want to go have babies in a few years, do we really want to invest in her political career?” or “she has missed a few meetings to take care of her sick kids, she’s not as committed”.”

            Yes you are right QoT, out side of Politics I have been on Boards and Management groups made up of men only and I have heard men make these comments heaps of times, and I reckon any male who has been in similar positions is bull shitting if they havent witnessed the same.

        • weka 6.2.1.3

          Suddenly in the selection process there is a mysterious but real bias in the selection process that says that more often than not in these circumstances the woman will get the short shift and the man will get in purely based on his gender.

          Jimmie, seriously dude, go and educate yourself on this. You are wrong. Start here

          http://thestandard.org.nz/a-problem-of-masculine-values/#comment-659340

      • Populuxe1 6.2.2

        “The argument is that men and women should be judged on equal terms and provided equal opportunities and advantages. They’re currently not.”
        So it does seem slightly disingenious to “provide equal opportunities and advantages” by providing *special* “opportunities and advantages”. I don’t particularly have a problem with the concept provided the levelling of the playing field is a genuine levelling with a demonstrable benefit beyond making people feel better, but the double-speak is likely to put off the more sensitive souls.

        • QoT 6.2.2.1

          Except that, as has been shown any number of times, just saying “oh we don’t care about gender!” is simultaneously bullshit and involves deliberately ignoring the fact that many groups of people do not start out on an equal basis.

          • Populuxe1 6.2.2.1.1

            Then why privilege gender over other intersectionality?

            • QoT 6.2.2.1.1.1

              Who’s doing that?

              • Populuxe1

                To put it another way, the remit didn’t seem to address anything beyond gender balance and therefore is surely going to set up further disparities. Would the remit benefit Maori, Pacific Island, Asian, Queer and Transgender women particularly, or would a whole bunch of other unspoken biases kick in and mean that there is simply going to be more white-or-off-white, heterosexual, cis-gendered female MPs in Labour?

                • QoT

                  You know what’s really cute about this comment? If you actually look at all the rule changes being proposed, of which women-only lists is one, and the current Labour Party rules, they cover a whole raft of marginalized groups! The NZ Council is actually mandated to take into consideration the representation of women, and youth, and queer folk, and people with disabilities.

                  There’s also a Maaori-only list which gets considered together with regional lists when the party list is drawn up.

                  Your complaint is such a classic: if we do something which targets ONE form of oppression, we’re really the villains because we’re not targeting EVERY SINGLE form of oppression.

                  It totally works if you only look at a single example from a whole raft of policy proposals. But that doesn’t stop the raft being there.

                  • Populuxe1

                    No, I’m just asking why it’s so piecemeal rather than, say, Labour making it an official part of their mandate to be more representative across the board. I just want my slice of the cake because today I’m wearing my Opressed LGBT Low Income hat and not my Evil White Male Opressor hat.

                    • QoT

                      As I just explained to you, there are ALREADY provisions in place, some of which are being modified by this set of rule changes, to do exactly what you’re complaining they’re not doing.

                      And this is why everyone thinks you’re an insincere little troll.

                    • JK

                      Its not piecemeal, Populux. Do as QoT suggests and go read the whole piece – its easy to find on Scoop NZ – and you’ll see how it all fits together.

                    • handle

                      For most of those other under-represented groups, balance can be achieved through List selection processes (which is not to say that it is done).

                      For a group that is 51% of the population, the Electorate selection process also counts.

        • felix 6.2.2.2

          “a demonstrable benefit beyond making people feel better”

          “The government is not here to make your life better.” -David Bennett MP

  7. just saying 7

    I’ve been reading this debate on this and other sites with interest.
    One thing that really infuriates me is the idea that those who have been falling over themselves to argue against or even deride this proposal and feminism in general, are doing so because they are so concerned about the plight of the working class.

    Give me a break

    Even before this conversation I’ve said that Pagani, Shearer, Jones, and (Mike) Williams, should have the honesty to join the National Party, because of their centre-right politics.
    Imo these “working class heroes” are in fact the natural enemy of the working class, they advocate ‘austerity’ – squeezing those worst off to continue to keep the comfortably middle class from experiencing the slightest twinge from the recession that is blighting lives of the poor. They advocate moving Labour even further to the right.

    And what do political types like these offer the working class to solicit our votes? Their lies about caring about us and their divide and rule scare tactics which pitch one section of the disadvantaged against others.

    I can’t even find words to describe the disgust I feel towards them, and the whole light blue bullshitter’s brigade who masquerade as left-wing to keep themselves in their champagne lifestyles. They spit in our faces, and expect us to be grateful for the free fluid. When they read comments like these they beat their chests and bleat about their oppression, and being picked-on without the slightest glimmer of irony.

    Bryce Edwards, as an academic I think it’s time you stopped skimming the various media (including the Standard) to seek confirmation of your pet theories and started actually listening.

    • Pasupial 7.1

      @ JS

      “They spit in our faces, and expect us to be grateful for the free fluid.”

      I think that’s what is called the trickle down theory. It only looks like champagne though; the bubbles coming from spittle foam, and the aroma of urea pointing to the original source.

    • QoT 7.2

      + everything.

      It’s just my own view, but I cannot stomach people who claim to care about the working class and then shit on beneficiaries. As though unemployment isn’t a capitalist tool of oppression. As though pitting the “deserving poor” against “bludgers” isn’t a rightwing distraction tactic. As though modern capitalism doesn’t keep workers in line with the threat of casting them onto the scrapheap.

    • weka 7.3

      +1 Very well said js.

    • Rogue Trooper 7.4

      Yep. and if it’s good enough for Colin James, it’s fine by me too. (although, noted some realities on the Queen’s thread).

    • Saarbo 7.5

      +1 Spot on.

  8. RedBaronCV 8

    Does the Labour party not realise how many women voted for it? Shane Jone’s comments were way out of line and will have cost a heap of votes right across the board . Likewise the old cloth cap union “us and them” brigade – think Chris Trotter aren’t doing labour any favours. They are holding back the prospect of modern unions who would be better treating their workplace as a defacto co-op going for ethical workplaces and shared gains

    The Green party are at least walking the talk in that they have large numbers of women and they are spread over all portfolio’s not just welfare ones. Meretai has to be the strongest female voice in politics at the moment.

    And yes I agree with Karol. The emphasis has all been on women and work and the complete lack of understanding about the effects both social and economic of caring on their lives and this is from both sexes.
    There has been a couple of small items in the papers lately, one on a carer who looked after a Downs syndrome adult and the grossly insensitive government emails about her “dragging him around like a teddy bear”. What did they expect, that she should leave him home alone- not possible, hire supervision – no money. Also she was 70, she won’t be doing this much longer and deserved to be treated with far more respect than she was.
    The other a woman who had paid the correct rent and who was caring for a number of other people whilst working.

  9. handle 9

    “This is not the way for a left wing party of the 21st century, to court the men and women who make up the low income electorate”

    Is that what Labour are trying to do?

  10. Santi 10

    If Labour could draw more capable women then they would be on the list and winning electorate selections. Promoting women over men for the sake of equality is simply dumb let alone dumb politics. But hey, knock yourselves out Labour.

  11. Lanthanide 11

    How would Helen have handled this, if she were leader, vis a vis what Shearer did?

    • felix 11.1

      Helen Kelly?

    • QoT 11.2

      I think it’s too complex to say – for a start, I don’t recall Clark having the same issues of division between her “faction” in the party and the wider membership, which for me is a huge part of the problem with Shearer’s response.

  12. felix 12

    What did Jones say? I missed that.

    Actually I don’t care, he’s just a corporate tool with a big mouth that’s usually full of shit

    The sooner he fucks off the better.

    • weka 12.1

      Something about how he doesn’t want to be in a party run by geldings (it’s unclear if the geldings are the men or the women).

      Edit: correction, he says that the public doesn’t want the country run by geldings.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10895113

      • felix 12.1.1

        What a vile little person he is.

      • Roy 12.1.2

        Not sure why he considers ‘gelding’ an insult. Phar Lap was a gelding. So was Cardigan Bay. Geldings are more reliable than stallions, and run faster too. Besides that I was informed on another thread of The Standard that women in politics are ‘frigid’ so it surely can’t hurt if the male politicians are eunuchs.

  13. enixide 13

    Law of unintended consequences will be HUGE with this.
    In the military we have one very set standard for males and females, that way when your boss gives you an order you say AYE AYE Sir/Ma’am and don’t think for a second about their gender – you know in every bone in your body they got their because they are the best person to be there.
    Females in life have enough stuff undermining them without the whole “did you get here just because your female or because you actually deserve to be here” factor added in.
    Do I think it would be nice/ideal to have a 50/50 split male female? Absolutely.
    Do I think we should MANDATE to have this split, bringing in people who are not as good as other people just because they are male or female? Absolutely not.
    There are much better ways to help achieve a closer 50/50 split – encouraging more woman into politics and better programs to help with childcare etc… would be a good start

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.1

      Reality check: right now men owe their positions to their gender, but somehow you don’t have a problem with this actual situation.

      Raise the double standard.

      • Macro 13.2.1

        It’s getting better QoT, When I joined the Navy in 74, The WRNZN was a completely separate service. I was secretary to the Officers Policy and Planning Committee which incorporated women into the RNZN, The role of women has expanded hugely since those early days, with women now serving in all branches of the seagoing Navy, watchkeepers, supply and secretariat, engineering, warfare. etc. It takes time, It’s 8 years of training to produce a watchkeeping officer, and that’s really just the beginning of a naval career. Women have served in the RNZN up to the rank of Commodore. There is normally only one Admiral at any one time, and exclusively a Seaman. (The deliberations we had over that terminology “seaman” went on for hours. In the end the women decided that they would take the traditional terminology rather than adopt “sailor” which is more gender neutral.)
        Of course there are those “fuckwits” in any part of life who see it as their primary role in life to abuse women. It will take time, it was never going to be easy, and we still need to work positively at it. But I don’t think the time is far off when we will see a much more major role played by women in the Armed forces than we do today. And as I say, it is now streets ahead of what it was 30 years ago.

        • QoT 13.2.1.1

          Hey, I have no disagreement there. We’re in an age where the Australian Chief of Army can make incredibly powerful statements about the value of women in the military.

          But to act as enixide does (in a comment they have copied-pasted into multiple threads) and pretend that everything’s a gender-neutral paradise in our military or any other? Is just silly.

          • Macro 13.2.1.1.1

            Yes totally agree QoT And obviously the reason for Lieutenant General David Morrison to make that no holds barred statement. Make no mistake what he expressed is also the attitude within the NZ Armed Forces as well (or was when I was serving). But as I also noted, there are those fuckwits whose Neanderthal behaviour lets everybody down.
            ps I wasn’t aware that that was a ‘spam’ comment by enixide.

            • QoT 13.2.1.1.1.1

              I recognised it from Morgan Godfery’s post on TDB and also my own.

            • grumpy 13.2.1.1.1.2

              General Morrison’s speech was written by his speechwriter. A trans sexual Colonel. I suppose that says heaps about the tolerance of the Aussie army.

    • Rogue Trooper 13.3

      ‘got those hup, two, three, four, Occupation G.I Blues

  14. Don't worry be happy 14

    Good Lord, if there’s anyone in need of a good gelding it’s that idiot Jones!

    In the horse world he wouldn’t have made it past his 2nd birthday entire (Talent? No. Performance ? No. Potential? Are you kidding me?!)

    In fact, if we stick with his metaphor, most of the Labour caucus, far from being stallions ( the idea would make your eyes bleed frankly) would be in a can of Jellymeat by now…and good bloody riddance to them.

    Look:

    800,000 eligible voters didn’t bother voting last election. These people are not ‘in the centre’..they’ve wandered off in disgust and despair.

    The National/ACT/Maori party government is a shell company for national and international corporate raiders.

    They are about to unleash a weapon of mass surveillence on their own people.

    200,000 children live in poverty in this land of plenty.

    Our second largest city is still in ruins.

    Only Ireland, in the OECD, exports more of its people than we do…a city the size of Rotorua leaves every year to find work and decent pay.

    Corruption doesn’t even bother to try to hide anymore.

    And still Labour saves all of its ammunition for its own feet.

    Well it’s been hijacked by the far right before (Roger Douglas et al, many of whom are still there…) these ‘centrist’ MPs, these ‘non geldings’ (sweet Jesus) they’re like liquifaction or a borer infestation and the Labour Party is sinking/rotten/uninhabitable as a result.

    Why would women want to be part of this dysfunctional, shameful, deviant sham of a political party?

    We have too much sense.

    Go Mana. Go Green. Get that 800,000 off their arses. Take back our country for our children and their children after them.

    • weka 14.1

      😀

      The Labour dude on Q and A today, when talking about the ‘manban’ and who were the real people (yes he used the word real) that Labour should be attracting… the first people he named were business people.

      • JK 14.1.1

        Really ? Weka ? Whoever it was speaking for Labour on Q & A today – did he really say Labour should be attracting business people. OMG ! This is Roger Douglas all over again !

    • Rogue Trooper 14.2

      😀

    • Murray Olsen 14.3

      Tautoko, dwbh.

  15. Tiger Mountain 15

    I will repost too. Agree with QOT, but, but… tactically the Labour strategists, if you gifted them a brain it would be lonely. And that is the thing, who is the main parliamentary political enemy at the moment? Identity politics and curly light bulbs do not entrance dickhead kiwis who are the ones that actually vote. The Torys have to be kicked out and then we move on from there. “Man Ban” does not help in the short term despite the legitimacy of the argument.

    Incremental reforms do happen like “marriage equality” And 4 weeks ann leave. These reforms often erode under a change of government.

    The ShonKey/ACT/MP/Dunnie govt. while weakened remains in office and a myriad of reasons shows it should not be. So the priority is to discard them and the current LP tacticians if you can call them that are not helping.

    • QoT 15.1

      dickhead kiwis who are the ones that actually vote

      Well, if you ignore the steadily rising vote share the Greens get, sure.

      • Tiger Mountain 15.1.1

        Heh, fair enough, QoT it is not totally about LP but they are a sizeable part of things in the MMP environment. And Green has long had a Blue/Green turquoise element.

    • Te Reo Putake 15.2

      Yep, the communication strategy used by the LP leadership is truly amateur, TM. I had a slightly heated discussion with an MP recently on the topic of why the media team need replacing ASAP and got told that social media was of interest only to the beltway. It had no effect on the voting public apparently. I have a feeling the next few weeks polling may give the lie to that view.

      Labour need to democratise their media output, put some trust in what their members tell them and go on the front foot, digitally speaking. They need to innoculate against the obvious responses to policy or party matters, such as ‘man ban’, by framing the issues, setting the agenda and anticipating the the other side’s comebacks. They don’t have to be Malcolm Tucker to get this stuff right, but they do need to at least show they understand how the game is played this century.

      • JK 15.2.1

        “I had a slightly heated discussion with an MP recently on the topic of why the media team need replacing ASAP and got told that social media was of interest only to the beltway. It had no effect on the voting public apparently.”………..

        That’s really interesting TRP – its totally the opposite to what Labour candidates were told during the last campaign, and also during more recent conference workshops ie they were told that social media was the way to get to the voters !

        Sounds like Labour MPs don’t know much about nuthin’ these days let alone how to deal with the media.

    • Sosoo 15.3

      Yep. The time for this is when in government and high in the polls. Right now it’s poison.

  16. weka 16

    Sean Plunket “What do you think of Labour’s Girl Club policy?”

    https://twitter.com/SeanPlunket/status/352890084762193920

  17. Tiresias 17

    An interesting and informative article on exactly this point in today’s Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/07/women-politics-gender-vote-parliament

    I’m male but the hee-hawing, chest-thumping, urine-spraying displays that pass for debate in Parliament pursuade me that I wouldn’t want to be within a mile of the place for any reason..

    • Rogue Trooper 17.1

      a good friend conveyed the same sentiment to me this morning, pre-coital alignment.

  18. red blooded 18

    As one of the 51%, and still proud of the word feminist (which seems too often to be used as code for man-hater, but not by those of us who identify with it) I think it’s great to see Labour confronting the issue of chronic under-representation of women in parliament. Yes, I know they are not as bad as others, in particular those who are throwing bricks at present, but even in the Labour Party 49% of the population make up 58% of the caucus.

    Having said that, I don’t think the proposal that’s on the table at present is particularly practical. Put simply, it seems very unlikely to me that any electorate committee that is infused with the kind of patriarchal attitudes and assumptions about the capabilities of women vs men that were raised in a previous posting (sorry, don’t remember your name, but I’m talking about the “What if she wants to have children?”, “Has missed a few meetings”, “Not quite as forceful” doubts that were discussed further up the line) would be self-aware enough and/or committed enough to the cause of gender equity to actually self-nominate and specify that they were only interested in female candidates.

    It could be that I don’t appreciate the subtleties of the policy, but from this distance anyway it seems to have a bit of a logical black hole in the middle of it.

    • karol 18.1

      I think the idea suggested by Judy McGregor, of mentoring potential women candidates is a good one. However, I think they should be looking outside the beltway (too many MPs generally are ex-LP staffers. And maybe the mentors shouldn’t just be sitting MPs – ex MPs, people who have had other roles in the party, etc.

  19. amirite 19

    The voting public doesn’t give a shit whether Labour has 41 per cent women MPs or 50 per cent. They just want good candidates and good policies.

    • Macro 19.1

      You of course have surveyed the voting public, and speak with authority on the matter.
      You aren’t just speaking for yourself…..

      • amirite 19.1.1

        Continue on this path and the Nats will have the 2014 election in the bag. Is that what the voting public want, according to your own research?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 19.1.1.1

          Translation: “I don’t like this discussion proposal, waah waah waah.”

          • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1.1

            14 women in the current Labour caucus. Will there even be 14 in the next one, whether or not this proposal becomes constitutional?

        • weka 19.1.1.2

          “Continue on this path and the Nats will have the 2014 election in the bag”

          Labour is quite capable of losing the election without blaming it on gender equity policies.

          • Winston Smith 19.1.1.2.1

            One of the sayings I wish had come up with…

            • fender 19.1.1.2.1.1

              You would need original thought for that, and evidence shows you are just a regurgitator of Tory garbage.

        • karol 19.1.1.3

          Which is it, amirite?

          Do Kiwis want “good” MPs? (Though it depends what you mean by “good”.)

          Or do we go for a change of government, no matter how incompetent the MPs/candidates/party, or how much the new government’s principles and policies are lacking?

          Or how misogynist, male dominated and/or sexist?

          • amirite 19.1.1.3.1

            How is 41 percent of women in the Party sexist? especially in comparing to the Nats. Sure, it could always be better but is it really a priority issue right now? Why haven’t they come up with policies that help women in everyday life? Like more support for solo mothers on benefits/in part time work, equal pay for the same job, longer paid parental leave, etc etc etc…Not this, not at this time.
            In politics, everything is about perception and timing. Labour failed on both counts here.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 19.1.1.3.1.1

              Agree with your last two sentences completely.

              That said, has little to do with the merits of a quota system, nor of the merits of this particular approach to reinforce a quota system, nor of the need for the Labour Party to debate such issues.

            • karol 19.1.1.3.1.2

              amirite, did you read my post?

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    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    1 day ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    2 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    3 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    4 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    4 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    4 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    1 week ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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