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National – more women-friendly?

Written By: - Date published: 4:52 pm, May 20th, 2008 - 52 comments
Categories: election 2008, national - Tags: , , , ,

Colin Espiner pointed it out the other week, National “needs more women. Never over-represented in National at the best of times, the party is looking increasingly estrogen-lite.”

So there would have been a sigh of relief in National circles that they can now distance themselves from comments such as these from declared departee Bob Clarkson:

“I don’t want to be mean… but what makes me struggle is why does Labour favour the hairy-legged ladies?… I cross-examine some of these ladies in the select committee, and guys for that matter, and they’ve got warped bloody minds…”

Part of the polling success for National has been their appeal to women who have traditionally been more likely to be Labour supporters. But there is an issue for National in ensuring they have some good women standing as candidates in winnable electorates, or high on their party list. We need to see the promise delivered on.

52 comments on “National – more women-friendly?”

  1. higherstandard 1

    I couldn’t care less if an entire party was female or male for that matter surely what matters is their competence more than what’s between their legs.

    captcha first-class lists !!!

  2. rjs131 2

    Isnt it also fair to say that Labour has a very high number of women taht make absolutely no contribution? Or are you saying you would rather have equal women but have the likes of Lesley Soper, Dianne Yates, Jill Pettis, Judith Tizard, Sue Moroney and Darien Fenton in the house asking patsy questions. Isnt that demeaning for women to be selected just on their gender?

    The converse can be said about Labour. What are they doing to attract the male vote?

  3. It doesn’t bother me if a politician is a man/woman, Caucasian/Maori/Indian/Asian.

    It doesn’t bother me what a politician’s religion is.

    It doesn’t bother me where that politician’s ancestors come from.

    It seems to bother those on the left though.

    For me its all about their policies.

  4. Funny – I thought it was about having a house of representatives. I guess you righties are pretty sure that white middle-aged straight men still know what’s best for women, Maori and queers. I’m assuming that if the entire parliament consisted of black lesbians you wouldn’t have a problem with it as long as they had “sensible” policies.

  5. Lew 5

    All these `reverse sexism’ and `policy is blind’ answers above are bollocks. At best it’s avoiding the question; at worst it’s justification for entrenching a monoculture.

    Yes, politicians should be judged on the quality of their policy. But the fact is that political actors of diffferent backgrounds and genders advocate and enact different policies. That’s ultimately the issue here.

    L

  6. Robinsod:

    If parliament was full of Black lesbian midgets that looked liked Marion Hobbs and they all voted to the right, I would be thrilled.

    Your post have proved my point, someone on the left would vote for someone just because of their race or gender, (that is bigoted and sexist)

    I vote because of their policies.

    You should try it sometime.

  7. LEW:

    I Agree somewhat with your statement.

  8. higherstandard 8

    Sod and Lew

    Poppycock what you’re advocating is that there should be one of everything in parliament and that for example a male cannot make any useful offering on anything that is deemed a woman’s issue of a Maori member of parliament is incapable of commenting or advocating for policy outside of a Maori sphere of interest.

  9. Phil 9

    “I’m assuming that if the entire parliament consisted of black lesbians you wouldn’t have a problem with it ”

    Well, that all depends on whether or not it’s being videotaped, and whether or not there’s a decent soundtrack, and what part Ron Jeremy will be playing…

    Just kidding…

    Seriously though, I accept that our elected representatives need to be comparatively representative of the population as a whole, but the difference between those on the left and right, as far as I can tell, comes down to a “what are YOU going to do about it for yourself?” vs “what are WE going to do about it?” *

    * By ‘we’ I don’t mean we as a nation, I mean “we” in the same way educated whites in the US sit around their dinner tables asking “what are WE going to do about the fatherless african american childern?”

  10. It is highly likely National will gain four more female MPs at the election, for a net gain of three with the sad departure of Katherine Rich.

    Amy Adams will win Selwyn and Louise Upston is heavily favoured to win Taupo.

    Hekia Parata will find it tough to win Mana, but I will be amazed if she is not in a very winnable list place. In fact I will not be surprised if she becomes a Minister (if National wins) very quickly.

    And finally Nikki Kaye is Auckland Central is going to have a tough battle with Judith for the seat, but I suspect will also be in a winnable list place.

    On the issue of diversity, it is also pretty likely National will have six Maori MPs – Georgie, Tau and Paula are existing and to be joined by Hekia, Paul Quinn and Simon Bridges (if he is candidate for and wins Tauranga).

  11. Occasional Observer 11

    Louise Upston in Taupo is going to evict Mark Burton from the seat, by a wide margin. Amy Adams is going to have one of the largest majorities in the country, in Selwyn. Hekia Parata will almost certainly be in Parliament. So will Nikki Kaye, who is going to send Judith Tizard packing.

    Four outstanding, high-achieving, brilliant New Zealanders who happen to be women, who will all be in Parliament flying the National flag.

    Meanwhile, in other news, Labour will have no new women MPs after the election. Yet, according to the Standard, National is the party that is anti-women.

  12. Billy 12

    David,

    Is Sam Lotu’liga given a chance? (I know, I know, he’s not a woman, but it’s relevant to the diversity thing).

  13. Lew 13

    HS: I’d prefer you didn’t lump Sod and I in together – we’re not arguing the same in this case.

    ” … for example a male cannot make any useful offering on anything that is deemed a woman’s issue of a Maori member of parliament is incapable of commenting or advocating for policy outside of a Maori sphere of interest.”

    I’m certainly not arguing that men are incapable of advocating on behalf of women; Mill did a fine job of it in his day and others have done since. The point is simply that women are the best people to advocate on their own behalf. and will typically do a better job of it equally-qualified men. Likewise other groups.

    Note that I have no opinion and little knowledge of how each party sits as far as gender representation goes. I was responding to the general `minorities don’t need representation’ line. DPF’s angle, which actually argues against the post’s fact, rather than its premise, is much more enlightening.

    That said, in my research I’ve come across some quite awful things said and agreed to by folks on the right, including John Key, about women.

    L

  14. higherstandard 14

    Sorry Lew accept my apologies I in no way lump you and sod together.

    I’d also point out there have been some horrible things said about men from folks to the political left and horrible things said about racial minorities by people in the racial majority.

    Thankfully most of those on all sides are I believe not sexually or racially biased against one group or another despite their occasional pontification

  15. Lew – that should be “Sod’ and me” as the verb (“lump”) is being applied to only one subject (in this case the two of us as a pair) other than that I agree – I would hate to be lumped in with someone who can’t construct a grammatically correct sentence.

  16. Have a pineapple lump robinsod.
    I wonder if National will start a Ministry of Mens Affairs?
    We need more male role models not more women who should be at home looking after their young children.

  17. Billy: I think Sam will definitely be an MP, and will be an excellent one. Maungakiekie will be a challenge to win, but if anyone can win it for National I think Sam can. Gosche retiring as the electorate MP will also help somewhat.

    Depending on the election result, there is also a reasonable chance of one or two Indian MPs.

    So all up National could have 15 female MPs, six Maori MPs, eight to ten MPs under 40, a Pacific MP, an Indian MP, a Chinese MP and oh yeah a gay MP. All we need is a lesbian for the trifecta :-)

  18. randal 18

    David I think you are talking a load of old cobblers…this election is going to be the one where the polls and the national party opposition are going to be made to look like the idiots they are!

  19. Billy 19

    Oh…really…randal? Then again…maybe it’s…you…who…looks like an…idiot.

  20. randal 20

    yes really billy…National are going to disintegrate into space dust like the alien in the tim allen space movie…one moment they there the next minute gone…real gone!

    [lprent: less of the personal insults please]

  21. Phil 21

    “So all up National could have 15 female MPs, six Maori MPs, eight to ten MPs under 40, a Pacific MP, an Indian MP, a Chinese MP and oh yeah a gay MP. All we need is a lesbian for the trifecta ”

    PErhaps I’m a little bit sheltered, which one is the third part of the sexual trifecta? Do the Nat’s have a Transgender MP-in-waiting?

  22. Paul Robeson 22

    Brett Dale said: “I vote because of their policies.”

    Phew! For a moment I thought you were a National voter Brett. Let me guess you are an Outdoor Recreation man?

  23. Randal: Obviously if National does not do as well as current polling, then they will have less MPs. My comments are based on National getting say 55 MPs, which will be 12 new MPs. Current polling has National up to 68 MPs so they should hold true even if things fall back a fair way.

    Phil: I used trifecta in a general sense of a winning combination, not in a literal sense. No transgender candidate that I know of.

  24. Ari 24

    HS- being a man or a woman is not about what’s in between your legs. Well, at least, not entirely. It’s about how you’re “socialised”- that is, how people treat you, and how you treat other people. Women are treated very differently in New Zealand, like in most parts of the world, and thus offer a useful and different political perspective. In short, women are part of identity politics- whether they want to be, or not. Men too, for that matter.

    Of course, opening up to this perspective involves a lot of baggage that the National Party doesn’t want, and only very rarely finds women patriarchal enough to oppose. When you start valuing good mothers as being as productive as professional working women, that involves having to lay off bashing single welfare mums, which National thinks is okay because they’ve gotten their antifeminist women MPs to do it.

    I also find the implication that the National Party is picking people based on their qualifications to be quite absurd. There are more ways to be qualified to be an MP than just succeeding in traditionally male roles, and if they opened their eyes to that fact, National could have plenty of qualified female MPs that fit their new, more centrist outlook. Unless, of course, that centrism is just a facade.

    I’m going to be simplistic here and say that any party that doesn’t have a list with at least forty percent female MPs isn’t trying hard enough to find qualified women. They compose half of the population, and hold some very respected positions in New Zealand. There’s so many good candidates to pick that the only thing I can see stopping National is the idea that women have to be “like men” to be qualified. Not being sexist involves acknowledging that the genders have some differences as well as acknowledging that our equal rights and common humanity bring us together as a society.

    Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that being heavily into identity politics and in particular gender rights, I have high standards regarding “not being sexist”.

  25. AncientGeek 25

    With apologies to DPF.

    The only thing that is stopping National from selecting woman is the type of opinions you see everyday in the comments section of Kiwiblog. You’d think that a lot of the people in there are straight out of the 19th century.

    National can’t afford to piss off people that vote for them.

  26. Craig Ranapia 26

    I’ve got to admit to finding Espiner’s “estrogen-lite” cracks ever so slight ironic — considering that on either side of the pond, Fairfax Media isn’t exactly over-loaded with women in senior editorial or management. (And would be sexist to suggest that Cate Brett, who is editor of the Sunday Star-Times, is hardly a shining role model for women in media? Though I guess it does prove that ‘girls can do anything’ — including running a profoundly mediocre tabloid as badly as any man.)

    I guess you righties are pretty sure that white middle-aged straight men still know what’s best for women, Maori and queers.

    Not to let facts get in the way of a good head of froth, Robinsod, but I’m rather grateful to a white, middle-class (presumably) heterosexual woman called Fran Wilde whose name was on a private member’s bill that decriminalised private, consensual sexual activities between adult men. It’s called the Homosexual Law Reform Act. Look it up some time.

    I also think “you lefties” might want to check the tendencies of testosterone-heavy blog comment boards to pontificate too loudly on what women think, or patronisingly reduce a majority of the human race to a collective noun.

  27. Phil 27

    “…being a man or a woman is not about what’s in between your legs. Well, at least, not entirely. It’s about how you’re “socialised’- that is, how people treat you, and how you treat other people.”

    On a related note Ari, What also matters is whether or not you have daughters

  28. randal 28

    david…polls schmollss.there is still five months to go to the election and keys will choke by then. hahahahahaha

  29. You know I really don’t obsess about John Key… much, but since he might be the next prime minister I have had to dedicate a lot of time researching the man.

    Remember how he fronted up about the visits to strip clubs while working oversees, claiming that it was just the way banking business works.
    I thought it was about money but it appears some people need softening up, I wonder why, anyway I digress.

    It turns out that Merrill Lynch, the bank he was working for has a bit of a problem: It’s banking structure was so sexist that it has been sued numerous times by thousands of women for discrimination and has had to pay out millions of dollars to women after they won court cases against the bank. Was it limited to the US. Well no, in a word.

    Women in England and the US have sued Merrill Lynch on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, so John Key would have been well aware of its policy towards female employees.

    By the way John Key himself describes himself as having lived of and on in New York on the National Website in a speech commemorating the attacks of 911 for the America/NZ friendship association.

    Since John Key rose to the very top I think we can assume that sexism didn’t bother John Key much and he will have participated in it.

    In fact taking customers to Strip joints is a well known way of keeping women out of the negotiations unless they are prepared to sit around while the boys were getting their jollies.

    I’ll only put in two links to show that I don’t make this up but I suggest you google Merrill Lynch and women and find out how bad their attitude was at the time Johnny boy was working there.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E0DD1631F936A35756C0A96E958260
    http://www.njentrepreneur.com/articles/new_jersey_legal/women-workplace_20051209142/

    oh what the heck, here is another one, just for the fun of it.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1295/is_9_63/ai_55671578

    So what do you say ladies, is this the man we want for our next prime minister.

  30. Oh this just to good,

    it seems Merrill Lynch doesn’t like Muslims much either:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9804E0D91F3FF934A15755C0A9619C8B63
    And this is not about Merrill Lynch alone but supports my remark about using strip clubs and prostitutes as a way to keep women out of the top jobs:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2006/jan/10/genderissues

    I put it to you that John key took part in a sleazy bussines and with the links provided I think we can safely assume that he is a sleaze himself, and since he is the leader of National and capable women politicians are leaving I can only assume that this sleaze is permeating throughout the party as a whole.

    It’s a rich prick angry sexist white guy party.

    And no, I have nothing against wealthy people. In fact I count some extremely wealthy people among my close personal friends.
    But with some many nasty characteristics within one party combined I find it rather repulsive.

    And no, I have nothing against strip clubs but when used as a weapon against female colleagues I find it extremely objectionable and not something I want to see in the past of a man who together with his ministers of the same ilk is going make decisions that will impact on women, such as health care, pregnancy leave, childcare support for single mothers etc.

  31. higherstandard 32

    I think you should let Georgina Te Heuheu know that National is a rich prick angry sexist white guy party.

  32. r0b 33

    My guess is that she’s already worked that out HS.

  33. Probably about the time Gerry took shadow Maori affairs off her.

  34. higherstandard 35

    rOb

    Yes indeed I wonder if all the other women in the National party and the wives, partners and girlfriends of current MPs have figured out the secret as well.

    Gosh it’s lucky we’ve got fine people like yourself and Eve to flush this all out in the open

  35. higherstandard 36

    Yes sod absolutely perhaps he can do it at the same time as Phil rolls Helen

  36. r0b 37

    All part of the service HS. No charge.

  37. HS – he did it in 2005.

  38. HS,

    It’s not a secret. It is out there in the open.
    Just because you were not exposed to it doesn’t mean nobody knows.
    Hell, it only took one search attempt.

    And just because men are sexist (no not all men, this is not an anti men rant)at work doesn’t mean they are at home.

    See, no conspiracy just a bit of investigative journalism.
    Something our press has forgotten how to do.

    You should try it sometime.

  39. dad4justice

    -I wonder if National will start a Ministry of Mens Affairs?
    We need more male role models not more women who should be at home looking after their young children.-

    Did you really just say that? Guess your wife and you are no longer together judging by your name.

    HP This is an excellent example of a rich prick angry sexist white guy voter, I guess.

    While it would be wonderful if both fathers and mothers could spend more quality time together with their kids wages are now such that both mothers and fathers have to work and don’t have much choice in the matter. I’m sure a lot of women doing menial jobs to feed and cloth their offspring would love to chuck it in.

    See no conspiracy, just out in the open.

    By the way can anybody tell me how to change that avatar thingy

    Captcha: Street broidery. ?

  40. r0b 41

    Eve – for the avatar thingy see here:

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?page_id=1799

  41. Wow, that was really easy, Thanks again r0b, oh oops not so easy. lol
    try again

    [lprent: it is showing an gravator on my screen. Sometimes takes a little while to get around your local caching]

  42. r0b 44

    Thanks again r0b

    All thanks are due to our sysadmin Lynn / lprent (who added to your comment just above). Lynn puts heaps of time into improving the technology behind the site, providing more tools, and a faster more reliable blog for all of us. Thanks Lynn!

  43. Matthew Pilott 45

    ‘Sod, billy, you’re going to let Farrar’s less MPs slide? Cripes.

    DPF – good on your for not apostrophosising (sic) “MPs” though, full credit there.

  44. yep, I was to impatient. I went back and it said wait 5 to 10 minutes.
    Thanks Lynn

  45. Scribe 47

    Ari,

    Not being sexist involves acknowledging that the genders have some differences as well as acknowledging that our equal rights and common humanity bring us together as a society.

    Being chosen to run for National — or Labour for that matter — is not a right, regardless of whether you’re a woman, man or half-and-half. And if National is so “anti-woman”, why are women steadily drifting over to them in the polls?

    Travellerev,

    I put it to you that John key took part in a sleazy bussines and with the links provided I think we can safely assume that he is a sleaze himself, and since he is the leader of National and capable women politicians are leaving I can only assume that this sleaze is permeating throughout the party as a whole.

    As far as I can tell, one woman has left (Katherine Rich), and as I said above, women voters are coming to the Nats in pretty large numbers.

    And I think it’s a long bow to draw to call John Key a sleaze because of where he worked. And it’s borderline outrageous to say the National party is full of sleazy people. It’s guilt by association, with tenuous proof that the original person is actually guilty of anything.

  46. Phil 48

    “It’s guilt by association”

    You forgot that guilt by association is OK when you’re on the same team as Nicky Hagar

  47. I said: I can only assume that this sleaze is permeating throughout the party as a whole. That is not the same as saying that National is full of sleazy people. In fact I think that most National voters and politicians are your everyday salt of the earth hardworking people, who want a change of government after having seen the same faces for 9 years.(hope that is correct, it seems NZ is the only country in the western world that elects every three years)which is why it is so sad that National with leaders with a proven track record of screwing up the economy and privatization is the only alternative.
    I am sure that a lot of women are driven by the need for change as well.

    About the quilt by association remark the following: since the boys club seems to have precious few women in its ranks period and from the mistresses from Don Brash to the racist remarks of English’s son(don’t they say like father like son) and John “it’s only banking business” Key’s strip club visits while his employer Merrill Lynch has to fight court battle after court battle for it’s sexist policies I have to say it looks pretty sleazy at the National top. Sleazy, sexist, racist and poorist( i.e. they don’t like poor people). lol.

    oh by the way I have read Nicky Hager’s book, and I can understand why National politicians hate his guts. But since they could not refute a word he wrote and it in fact was the end of Don Brash I have to assume he does his home work.

    captcha: rarest husband. I do have indeed a rare husband, and I love him to bits

  48. Scribe 50

    I do have indeed a rare husband, and I love him to bits

    You’re fortunate, because Mrs Key and Mrs English and Mrs Brownlee and Mrs Power and Mrs Smith and Mrs Ryall all have husbands who are “Sleazy, sexist, racist and poorist”.

    Count your blessings, Travellerev

  49. I do Scribe, I do.

    Perhaps the ladies share their husbands prejudices. It is after all not uncommon for females to be racist, sexist, sleazy and poorist as well.
    Not to mention elitist and ambitious.

    I suppose Mrs Key knew of her husband’s “it’s only business” trips to strip joints. It didn’t seem to bother Key to talk about it so there you go, that’s bit sleazy right there.

    I can just here her say: “Ok baby, you go and do your “it’s just business” evening “to the strip club with the next customer that needs softening up before you get him to invest heavily in Sub prime bonds and derivatives and I’ll stay home with the kids telling them fairy tales about how you make your money.”

  50. Oh oops it should be: “hear her say”. My bad

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