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On having a more representative Parliament

Written By: - Date published: 6:33 pm, July 4th, 2013 - 323 comments
Categories: labour, sexism - Tags:

meritYou know, I give the Labour Party a lot of stick but I’d like to congratulate them on having the courage to face up to the lack of women’s representation in our Parliament.

Don’t give me this ‘merit’ bullsh*t. You can start by putting to one side the idea that MPs are chosen purely on merit as it is – this is politics we’re talking about.

The fact is unless you believe there aren’t 60 women in the entire country who could be good MPs then you have to accept the problem isn’t women being crap, it’s structural.

Labour could sit around waiting for society to eliminate all structural barriers and usher in full gender equality, but frankly I’d rather they did something about it now.

That’s why it’s so deeply ironic to see the all this squealing from National – a party of the elite that’s dominated by privileged white males and whose policies reflect its narrow social base.

Labour represents a wider constituency, which is why one of the first things you notice when you go to a Labour Party conference is how much it looks like New Zealand. Labour’s caucus should too, yet at the moment only 14 of Labour’s 34 MPs are women and the proportion hasn’t increased in nearly twenty years.

The proposals being debated at the moment aren’t without controversy (this is the Labour Party after all) and some of them won’t make it through. One of the proposals – to have women-only selections if the local electorate wants it and the NZ Council agrees* – has got a fair bit of attention today, but it’s just one of many ideas that will be debated, discussed and voted on by members. That’s democracy – it’s messy, but it’s how it should be.

So, well done to Labour for having this difficult but important debate.

What I’d like to know now is what National’s doing to address its lack of women MPs. Any ideas?

* Ironically, this proposal mirrors one introduced recently by the austerity-loving, welfare-bashing UK Conservative Party. So much for ‘PC Gone Mad’.

323 comments on “On having a more representative Parliament”

  1. McFlock 1

    lol

    What one might call a “king-hit counter example”. :)

  2. Populuxe1 2

    Well a priori I’d like to start with enquiring about what specifically prevents women getting ahead in New Zealand politics that couldn’t be addressed by the existing list system? I don’t mean general patriarchal pressures, but parliament specifically.

    • McFlock 2.1

      Isn’t that a contradictory question?

      • Populuxe1 2.1.1

        No – I require some more detailed points than just “it’s partiarchy, supid. Check your privilege.” I would rather address specific dynamics rather than sweeping gestures.

        • McFlock 2.1.1.1

          So, basically, you want a full description of patriarchal pressures to be spoon-fed to you in comments on a blog?

          Start here. Then click the links in the “see also” section.

          • QoT 2.1.1.1.1

            No, I think Populuxe wants us to pretend that “general patriarchal pressures” aren’t in of themselves sufficient to lead to fewer women in politics, and unless we can come up with enough parliament-specific reasons, obviously we’re just lying and actually there are 61 women MPs in the House of Reps right now.

            • McFlock 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Ah.
              Probably something to do with the plumbing, then. And, oh, periods or something.

            • tracey 2.1.1.1.1.2

              +1

              Gender or race advancement always ends up as a negatively framed shitfight full of pejoratives. Their arguments tend to be similar to those that propose God must be real because *I* can’t prove he isn’t.

              I think white men in the world actually believe that it is perfectly logical that they rise to the top through merit… How emasculating if it weren’t “true”.

              • Rogue Trooper

                how Apophatic tracey; Via Negativa ? ? ?

                could read, or not, St Dionysus the Aeropagite, although some cataphatics may be required for assembly. ;)

            • Populuxe1 2.1.1.1.1.3

              I can think of a list of women I wish there were fewer of in the National caucaus. Before you can have women-only seats , you have to have the women candidates in the first place, which is why I suggested gender-targeted candidate colleges – or is this going to turn into one of those “Oh I’m so much more oppressed than you” pissing matches? Or are you really wanting to paint women as timid victims? Not sure.

              • QoT

                Before you can have women-only seats , you have to have the women candidates in the first place,

                Sure. Which is why no one is actually suggesting the Labour Party randomly draw electorates out of a hat and demand they appoint women candidates without considering the context.

                Under the rule change, from my understanding, LECs have to request the women-only shortlisting. And given they’re the LECs, I have this weird hunch that they might be kinda qualified to know if there are sufficient prospects in their area.

          • Populuxe1 2.1.1.1.2

            No, what I’m implying is that if there are specific issues in the parliamentary setting, they need to be individually addressed rather than this naive, ham-fisted approach which is contrary to the spirit of democracy.

            Wouldn’t it make more sense for Labour to set up something like gender targeted candidate colleges specifically to encourage women? And if Labour really want to pursue direct intervention, why not put more women on their list rather than placing strictures on who can run in what electorate? Change the culture rather than just stick a bandaid on it.

            And what best serves the needs of the electorate – I think the voters have the right not to be experimented with.

        • The Fan Club 2.1.1.2

          For the lols, poppy, you may as well look at the substantial literature on this, much of it summarized in the Selection Working Group’s report.

    • karol 2.2

      Why “parliament specifically”. The fact that the NZLP is considering changes to the candidate selection process, seems to indicate that the, or part of the problem lies there.

      I’m not a member so I don’t have a lot of knowledge of how it works in the LP in practice. However, comments on TS point to candidates being selected by shoulder-tapping by existing MPs and/or party officials. This would be open to selection from the people with power in the party and work in favour of the status quo and against shifting to a more equal selection.

      • lprent 2.2.1

        However, comments on TS point to candidates being selected by shoulder-tapping by existing MPs and/or party officials. This would be open to selection from the people with power in the party and work in favour of the status quo and against shifting to a more equal selection.

        Not really. The preselection mostly consists of who can be bothered even wanting the job. It really is a pain of a task and should only be done if you don’t have anything better to do with your time – ie almost anything else. It is a job with so many downsides. For a starter you have to actually be nice to some people.

        As readers of this site will be aware, that is not one of my notable nor favoured nor desired traits in myself or anyone else. I tend to find it gets in the way of getting things done in a reasonable time frame. Of course most of the work of government is not about that basic point of value. It is about being perceived to be doing things while actually slowing the rate of change down to a pace that people across society can stand. Niceness and politeness are crucial parts of the grit required for a glacial pace.

        Dropping the level of conversation down to that of your average talk back listener is also important. In fact these days it really has to go to the level of being a whaleoil reader – which of course means that it is even politically more stupid than the requirements for being a political journalist…

        So most of all of the possible candidates eliminate themselves prior to even thinking about selection. Some of them get pushed into it, but usually try to get in unwinnable positions – like standing for Labour in the King Country.

        So lets say that you have the required level of either dedication to glacial change (think Helen Clark) OR the required level of self-stroking ego that blinds your ability to accurately assess your own abilities (think Aaron Gilmore for an extreme example); THEN the party MP’s, officials, and various interest groups become important.

        Personally I made a decision a long time ago that I had better and more productive things to do with my time (programming), and that I’d find a suitable MP(s) to help out. Helen Clark was pretty useful in that regard.

        Edit: Hah! Then I look at the post and find Aaron there trying to make me puke..

        • tinfoilhat 2.2.1.1

          You should definitely have run for parliament.

        • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 2.2.1.2

          The preselection mostly consists of who can be bothered even wanting the job.

          Which is why parents of young children – particularly mothers – will never be adequately represented in Parliament.

          • Populuxe1 2.2.1.2.1

            Would you prefer the mothers of young children be marched into candidate college at gun point?

            • weka 2.2.1.2.1.1

              That’s stupid. Guess what Pop, you can arrange anything so that it is attractive to certain people. Our parliamentary system was designed by white wealthy men for white wealthy men, so, understandably enough the structure of that system was made to suit them, and thus wealthy white men are attracted to it. If it had been designed by say mothers, it would automatically include childcare and facilitiate things like breastfeeding. Support systems would be in place so that women with kids could function within the environment knowing that their kids were also attended to.

              What you are saying is that people should adapt to the wealthy white male structure or fuck off. I’m saying, let’s change the system so that we can have true representation.

              • Populuxe1

                You cannot serve two masters – have you been a young mother recently? It’s pretty much an all consuming business, as are affairs of state.

                • McFlock

                  Ah. There shouldn’t be more female MPs because they might get pregnant.

                  • Populuxe1

                    No that is not what I said at all, but if I break my leg, I don’t enter a marathon the next day. A woman can choose to do whatever she likes, she’s welcome to try to do both – but I think it’s a big ask unless like some US politicians you have a bunch of nannies.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Oh, so you think there are solutions to the issue of how damaging a political career currently is to family life, then? That’s encouraging.

                    • Populuxe1

                      So you agree a political career is damaging to family life then? Or do you have some special contempt for family life and those who choose to prioritise it?

                    • McFlock

                      lol

                      So now women are under-represented in parliament because they choose to prioritise motherhood over politics, not because of the attitudes of people who select candidates.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  *whoosh*

                • Rogue Trooper

                  “you’re gonna have to serve somebody”- Dylan ;)

                • weka

                  “Would you prefer the mothers of young children be marched into candidate college at gun point?”

                  “have you been a young mother recently? It’s pretty much an all consuming business, as are affairs of state.”

                  Make up your mind Pop, which is it – young mothers, or women who have young children?

                  I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but shock, horror, women have always had kids and worked. It’s just that now more of them get paid.

                  There is no reason why some women with young children cannot also be in politics. That largely depends on the kind of person she is, how much support she has, and whether the party she belongs to is willing to change the structures to allow women with kids to do well.

                  We would be so much better off with more women with young children as MPs. They’re likely to look past the next three years for a start, when considering policy.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Oooh, a typo – so glad I could have given you your jollies. Pretty sure women with older children can remember back that far. And still overly optimistic about the ability of a mother of young children to multitask two of the most important and stressful jobs in the country. Unless she’s Wonderwoman and has a staff of nannies and feels ok having her children raised by strangers most of the time, I do not see it happening. It is a matter of focus.

                    “I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but shock, horror, women have always had kids and worked. It’s just that now more of them get paid.”

                    You are priceless. You might want to do some reading on early childhood development and what members of parliament actually do in their very, very long days.

        • tracey 2.2.1.3

          “Dropping the level of conversation down to that of your average talk back listener is also important. In fact these days it really has to go to the level of being a whaleoil reader – which of course means that it is even politically more stupid than the requirements for being a political journalist…”

          Mostly it seems to be about directing conversation to reinforcing strongheld (and largely unsupported by fact/evidence) views of a certain group of society. God forbid the world should be any way other than how they view it from their respective living rooms or office floors. People are naturally resistant to change and “dated” (even if failed) lparty policy is ideal for assuaging those fears… If things cant go back to the “good old days” then it’s better they stay as they are…

          The “good old days” are, of course, a myth.

  3. BM 3

    Explaining is losing.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Electoral suicide. Expect the Roy Morgans in August to reflect this.

    • BM 4.1

      Wait till a few within Labour get in the media and try to justify this.

      Blah, blah, it’s all the fault of Men

      Blah, blah it’s all the fault of white Men

      Blah,blah, it’s all the fault of white heterosexual men.

      John Key, must be the Labour parties biggest fan, every time the bastard looks in trouble
      Labour comes out with this sort of stuff.

      It’s quite hard to believe.

      • McGrath 4.1.1

        I have to agree. What was Labour smoking when they thought up this genius plan!

    • tc 4.2

      FFS Labour try and get some fundamentals right like having members that can get some coverage in their portfolios. Finance, Industrial relations, Transport, akl, health, education etc etc…..what a bunch of useless has beens ‘led’ by an amateur.

      • Populuxe1 4.2.1

        IK, R? They can’t even sort their portfolios out in the first place – all that needs to be sorted out before they can even contemplate overhauls like this.

    • Tangled up in blue 4.3

      Yep.

      Bad political move by Labour.

    • Blue 4.4

      If there is one thing Labour is good at, it’s shooting themselves in both feet.

  5. feijoa 5

    Well, one might get treated like Julia Gillard for starters
    It’s an absolute disgrace the way she has been treated.
    Helen had similar treatment though not as much in the dregs of the gutter as the Ozzies

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Did you see Gillard’s knitting photo? I’m surprised that did not save her Prime Ministership. Perhaps strumming a guitar would have been more appealing.

    • tracey 5.2

      Pretty close, her sexuality was constantly questioned as a negative… if not to her face behind snickering hands and in blogs.

  6. Wolf 6

    Labour also needs to introduce a policy so that the gays are more equally represented in the parliament. I think there needs to be a policy so that there is a minimum of 10% gay candidates for full true true representation. They should be given a higher position in the list to ensure that they get into parliament. This needs to include gay women to, so that gay women are represented. The gays have such a unique perspective on life. Viva la Rainbow!

    • felix 6.1

      Are gays actually under-represented in the labour caucus though?

    • Populuxe1 6.2

      Don’t forget transgender, queer, intersex, bisexuals, gingers, monobrows, people who don’t like television sport, little people, wiccans, vegans, and anyone with an unusually spelled name.

  7. Bill 7

    2c worth.

    I’m thinking patriarchy is a bit more than structural barriers – it’s an entire culture. And that suggests women encouraged into and promoted through the structures of patriarchy would (needs must) ‘adopt’ certain patriarchal values and even weaken the argument (though not the need) for a genuine cultural revolution and make the attainment of that revolution much more difficult through their presence having a ‘masking’ effect on the reality of how we are as a society.

    • weka 7.1

      Or, you get enough women in parliament, and things start to change eg you get a properly funded Ministry of Women’s Affairs that in turn steers funding towards the community, and grassroots women’s community groups have an easier time organising (cuts to the Ministry’s funding by the incoming National govt in 1990 had a big impact on the ability of women’s groups to survive. The benefit cuts didn’t help either. I’d like to see NACT try that with a caucus of 50% women, and a cabinet close to that).

      The more women you have in parliament, the less pressure there is on women MPs to play the macho game, and the more the culture of parliament can be changed. It’s only because women are so outnumbered that the pressure to be blokes remains so strong.

      Personally, I think the govt should legislate that all parties ensure gender equity amongst their MPs. Some people are afraid that this means we’ll end up with a parliament full of Jenny Shipleys and Ruth Richardsons, but I think it will be more a spread across the spectrum and parliament would hang onto good women MPs like Marilyn Waring, Ann Hercus and Jeanette Fitzimmons.

      • Bill 7.1.1

        If patriarchy only existed within the confines of parliament, then I’d whole-heartedly agree with your comment. But it doesn’t. It exists through-out society. It’s everywhere, including within grassroots/community groups – and is usually much more subtle and pernicious than mere expressions of ‘blokiness’.

        I don’t know any solution that doesn’t include an appeal to a proper understanding of the phrase ‘the personal is political’. And that is not, obviously, something that can be prescribed from on high or something that can be ‘legislated’ for.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          Not sure what you mean in the first paragraph. How does the existence of the patriarchy throughout society mean that one shouldn’t address bits of it at a time eg in parliament?

          And with all due respect, how many feminist collectives have you worked in? While it’s true that many women internalise patriarchy, that doesn’t stop women from working together collectively to effect change.

          I guess what I am saying is that ‘genuine’ cultural revolution is more likely to take place where people have access to resources and things are easier. Whereas you seem to be saying that getting gender equity in parliament would some how mask the need for revolution? Well it’s already masked, so why not tip the odds a bit more in its favour?

          “And that is not, obviously, something that can be prescribed from on high or something that can be ‘legislated’ for.”

          Why not? We legislate against things like sexist discrimination for the betterment of women and the whole society.

      • tracey 7.1.2

        “things start to change”

        God NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, anything but change. That scares folks like BM and Winston the most… unless it’s change that puts themin a better (perceived) position of course.

  8. wtl 8

    There is actually a sure-fire way for Labour to fix this policy and turn the debate around: simply alter so that it is clearly about ensuring ~50% female-male representation regardless of which gender is under-represented i.e. allow “all male” electorates if it does happen that males become under-represented. In practice, this change would have no real effect. However, it makes it clear that this policy is about equality. And the headlines can no longer be that it is ‘women only’ or ‘man ban’ or whatever.

    • The Fan Club 8.1

      Ughhhh Jesus fuck the thing is I don’t give a damn if there’s 60% female representation. Floors not ceilings guys.

      Also, in point of fact, that’s not possible, cause the proposals out today are the proposals going to annual conference. (that being the way internal party democracy works.)

      It is funny to see members who continually complain about the lack of democracy etc whinge about this (am think of cv here), a fine example of internal democracy…

      • QoT 8.1.1

        I do have to agree. Especially with the people saying “OMG this is such a terrible political move!!!”

        It’s not a political move. It’s [part of] the [possible] will of the membership. And it warms my dead feminist bitch heart to see a party’s membership stand for principle over [what many people assume is] electability.

        • tracey 8.1.1.1

          ++11

          National gave the media a great way to frame the proposal, man-ban, and they took it and run. As much as it’s about the National party reaction, it is also about media, including women, who chose to take that framing and run with it. Accordingly it is now a negative thing, and it doesn’t even yet exist as a policy.

          Eddie, perhaps you could change the merit picture to a montage… Banks should be there, Worth, Field and so on…

        • Bob 8.1.1.2

          QoT, do you agree with Sue Moroney’s statement “In the Labour Party we’re really clear that we want to be more representative of the New Zealand society at large”?
          If so, do you think we should kick some Maori out of parliament? 23/122 MPs are of Maori descent, representing 18.9% of Parliament, but only 14.6% of NZers (according to the 2006 census) are of Maori descent. Maybe we could replace some of these Maori with Asians who, like women, are also underrepresented in parliament?

          • QoT 8.1.1.2.1

            Shockingly, I have no problem with less-privileged groups getting (hardly significant) over-representation. Maybe we can replace some of the horde of older, upper-middle-class white men first (what proportion should they get, pray tell?)

        • Populuxe1 8.1.1.3

          The only potential female empowerment I can see this possibly delivering is Judith Collins’ premiership in 2014.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Personally, I think it is quite condescending towards women to suggest that they might need some sort of preferential treatment to get selected rather than on the basis of their own merits. Labour would be better to take steps to actively encourage women to apply to be candidates. So long as the selection process is fair, then the gender balance problem will be addressed if there are more women applying.

    • tracey 9.1

      I think they are taking more steps to actively encourage women to apply… hence the proposal… Gives the message from the top down that you are welcomed and wanted.

      • Populuxe1 9.1.1

        Then they should just say that, rather than implying they can’t do it without goalposts being shifted.

    • aspasia 9.2

      But perhaps not as condescending as your assumption that Labour and women are somehow two different entities and that Labour (apparently not female) should be encouraging women to be candidates. It does not seem to have dawned on almost anybody in this debate that the proposals come from Labour women who have already spent DECADES doing all your kindly meant suggestions. But having raised women’s representation in the Labour caucus from 4 to 14 by years and years of arduous effort ( none of this happened by accident or evolved inevitably) the process is now stuck and probably going backwards. In other fields of endeavour the phrase “low hanging fruit” is often trotted out at this point. The next step towards more equal representation will take greater effort. Once women become about 30% in any context they are perceived by men ( and some women) to be a majority. The result of all our strenuous hard work, though, is perceived by commentators such as Tim Watkins on Pundit as just the natural state of affairs in the Labour Party. It is not! One minute’s cessation of effort and the rock begins to roll back down the hill.

      Two points for the “Labour shooting itself in the foot again” brigade to consider. 1. In 1981 62% of women voted National. 2. National only has the female representation in Parliament that it does because Labour has created a benchmark that has National has needed to make some efforts to match.

      By all means win back the male blue collar vote. Much of what is needed to do that is good for women too. But if misogyny is the only strategy to reclaim these voters Labour needs to be very aware that women’s support is neither natural or inevitable.

  10. jaymam 10

    Labour already chooses list MPs by balancing gender and ethnicity during the election process. I think that is a bad idea. This new idea is even more stupid.

    • Anne 10.1

      At the Labour regional list conferences I have attended delegates have been particularly sensitive about ensuring a reasonable balance of gender and ethnicity. If there is a fault with the current system I suspect it lies further up the hierarchal ladder and not at membership level.

      I’m inclined to agree with CV. Labour does love to open itself up to misrepresentation… and laying the foundation for false perceptions to be created amongst the public at large. Think light bulbs and shower roses. Just because the party currently has a lower ratio of women representatives probably has more to do with electoral misfortune (think lightbulbs and shower roses) than a return to patriarchal style selection processes.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Where is Labour’s sense of spin and timing in putting out a proposal like this? Ok, say I don’t like the details of the proposal for whatever reason – but at least the party could be presenting it to the public and media sphere in a politically sharp way. In order to raise important gender equality issues that we face in our society and how Labour is looking to address them.

        Isn’t the ability to do this like bread and spuds for any political party? Why isn’t it happening? Why is it being left to fall flat on its face? The proposal is a liability IMO but does that mean that the execution and presentation needs to be a liability too?

        I mean, wtf.

        • McFlock 10.1.1.1

          Spinning and delaying (sorry, “timing”) remits and proposals from the membership?

          Yeah, that would be a better look /sarc

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, like its just sooooo good right now McFlock /sarc

            • McFlock 10.1.1.1.1.1

              I agree. I can see you’d support it 100% if the Labour head office had delayed and “spun” remits for conference. My mistake.

              • Colonial Viper

                If a political party can’t even do basic PR preparation and framing, it’s toast. The fact that you think that’s OK, is not a surprise to me.

                • McFlock

                  Go on, show us how the super-Viper would have spun (sorry, “framed”) these remits in such a way that the tories would not be saying exactly the same shit?

                  And if they’d delayed it based on the coverage of the KDC hearing, I reckon there are good odds that you’d have been bitching about anti-democratic suppression of remits in labour (or somesuch bullshit).

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Go on, show us how the super-Viper would have spun (sorry, “framed”) these remits in such a way that the tories would not be saying exactly the same shit?

                    Nah. Don’t waste my time.

                  • weka

                    Someone suggested this morning that Labour could have used social media, and had several good posts up on the issue before WO got hold of it.

                    • lprent

                      They aren’t very good at that…

                    • McFlock

                      Maybe.

                      But I reckon it would still have the same result: flash in the pan now with screams of “sexual discrimination”, maybe another at conference, forgotten by next year. And Labour lives with it, becomes more inclusive because of it, and takes a move back towards the left.

                    • weka

                      Except, we could have been having a discussion about what the proposed rule change is, and how it could work, instead of this on the back foot defense thing because WOKB are in rant mode.

                      It’s kind of pathetic still having some hope that Labour might get its shit together though.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Why would they need to do any media on the issue? It’s just one of twenty or so proposals to go to conference and it is an internal issue, not one that needs a press release.

                      I’ll be voting for it, btw.

                    • The Fan Club

                      It’d be kinda improper for Head Office to use media to try and sell members on proposed rule changes. We’re not that kind of party.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Nope, but you could issue a press-release saying something like “issues to be considered at next months meeting will include…” staid, boring, etc. Then the story is that you’re thinking about something, and newsflash! It’s a non-story.

                    • The Fan Club

                      Except, ah, they did that. About lunch time yesterday, at the point they intended to release those proposals, absent the leak from WO.

                      The proposals have been around for months. The Party can’t always be paranoid about internal democracy.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Paranoid? How about proud of it for fuck’s sake?

                      The proposals have been around for months, but the best time to talk about them was just after Cameron Slater introduced them to the public. Naturally.

        • AmaKiwi 10.1.1.2

          Yes, CV. this is a PR disaster.

          Mentoring. MPs and party leaders mentor people you want to see move up the ladder into Parliament.

          Watch David Cunliffe. He is often encouraging (mentoring) young, minorities, and women.

          If there is a quota system, it is in his head, not in the party rules.

          Mentoring is how Helen Clark brought so many women into Parliament.

          • Alanz 10.1.1.2.1

            “Mentoring is how Helen Clark brought so many women into Parliament.”

            I can’t see Shearer capable of doing any mentoring, whether that is mentoring upcoming young potential leaders, ethnic candidates or women.

            But I can see him needing a lot of mentoring for quite a while yet.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Bugger. I’ve been looking for someone to teach me the finer points of mumbling insincerely while looking tough and peeling a mango.

            • Rogue Trooper 10.1.1.2.1.2

              lolz Alanz

  11. Im speechless, Im without speech.

    Go right ahead Labour and push this thru, your giving National a third term.

    • felix 11.1

      Yeah, because no-one in their right mind would vote for a woman.

      • Brett Dale 11.1.1

        Felix:

        yeah because this is what this is about, huh.

        So felix, if you wanted to run for the labour party in your district, but cant because
        of your gender, your fine with this??

        Im honestly truly stun by the bs here.

        I thought you had integrity.

        • felix 11.1.1.1

          I don’t know what you mean. It’s not as if I could just “run for the labour party” now.

          I think you might be a bit confused about what the Labour party is, Brett. It’s not like a public swimming pool where anyone who feels like it can jump in and have a go on the slide.

          [lprent: You’re losing it – how could you forget to reference peeing in the pool? :twisted: ]

          • Brett Dale 11.1.1.1.1

            Felix:

            Im guessing, someone can join the labour party, and then put there name forward to be a candidate for them, in what electoral they live in?

            Well isnt labour saying now, we will just pick female candidates for certain areas.

            How can anymore not be disgusted with this.

    • weka 11.2

      “Im speechless, Im without speech.”

      We wish.

  12. Curtis 12

    What a great distraction from the GCSB Bill the mainstream media have pulled here. OH NO! Labour are going to discuss equality at it’s annual conference lets take to the streets! Who gives a toss what dodgy crap the Government is getting up too!

  13. redbaron77 13

    The public is likely go along the idea of a more representative parliament and Labour is right to take steps toward addressing this issue. However its going about it the wrong way with a hamfisted change to its rules that essentially posits Labour naively favoring gender over talent . Aside from adding to the perception that Labour is “too PC” and out of touch, the proposal is likely to grate against a deep-seated value of equality that is an integral part of New Zealand culture. However if Labour launched programme that actively looked to seek out and developed great talent from across society that would add value to New Zealand life then it is more likely to fly with the voting public who will recognise the benefits of a more representative pool of people in its line up including gender.

    • swordfish 13.1

      Absolutely agree with redbaron77 and CV. The political naivety is just breathtaking. Verbalised a loud “Oh for fuck-sake !!!” when I heard it on my car radio (courtesy of Radio NZ National News) while driving down Boulcott St towards Willis St (as it happens, but that’s not important right now).

      It may only be one of many proposals and it may involve various caveats but it now seems to be dominating the news in a particularly crude, unnuanced (and entirely forseeable) way. Labour is now the Party with the “Man-Ban”. Way to reconnect with the average voter.

  14. millsy 14

    I think Labour needs more inspiring candidates. Regardless of gender. It seem they are all PolSci and MBA graduates these days.

    • Tamati 14.1

      MBA?

      Can’t think of any. All B.A’s and Law Degrees.

      Not that I think they should be chasing the MBA type!

      Perhaps some more people who haven’t spend half their working life in a University, some real life experience would be good. Some actual working class people wouldn’t go a miss. Just because they haven’t gone to Uni, doesn’t make them stupid.

      • tracey 14.1.1

        I remember when a real working class woman went to parliament (Sue Bradford) she was another who got pilloried and parodied the entire time…

      • Populuxe1 14.1.2

        Whenever I hear someone suggest academics don’t live in the real world, I have this vision of a humanoid creature in tweed that photosynthesises and reproduces by binary fission.

    • lprent 14.2

      Huh?

      I think that Cunliffe has a public admin degree. Parker was a lawyer. That is about as close as any of the current MP’s got to to a MBA (like my antique Otago one). Mind you, National are no better. Lots of talk about business – but mostly I just see a lot of business amateurs who are more used to brown-nosing their mates than actually making a business (Steven Joyce comes to mind).

      Since Helen Clark left, I think that Phil Goff is the only polsci degree in Labour. I could be wrong on that. But basically polsci these days is like a compsci degree – if you do it, then you tend to leave the industry early.

      I think that you’re just making it up myself.

      • Chris 14.2.1

        Shane Jones has a Masters in Public Admin… think he did Pol Sci first. Joyce has a Degree in Zoology… perfect leader for the nats

        • lprent 14.2.1.1

          Shane Jones… Ummmph. Well I’m sure that doesn’t diminish the value of those degrees. I just think he has crap political instincts at both a strategic and a tactical level. No amount of training can correct entirely for that.

          Interest courses and degrees are actually fun to do. And surprisingly effective at what you wind up using out of them. Certainly I get quite a lot of interviews based on me taking history courses. But not as many as I get from the comment about being addicted to multiplayer online startrek on the DEC 1170 at Waikato in 1980.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 14.2.2

        Let’s have a quota to address the lack of polsci graduates.

        • vto 14.2.2.1

          A quota for beneficiaries too.

          A quota for union members.

          A quota for rich pricks.

          A quota for Pacific Islanders.

          A quota for immigrants.

          A quota for Asians.

          A quota for males.

          A quota for the disabled.

          A quota for christians.

          A quota for fish.

          A quota for the young and a quota for the old.

          A quota for the quota-holders.

          I mean really, where do you stop? Where do you stop?

          • Colonial Viper 14.2.2.1.1

            I think we should have a quota for capable leaders.

          • marty mars 14.2.2.1.2

            “Where do you stop?”

            When we get to equality and the disadvantaged in our society are not structurally and daily discriminated against by those who have advantage for no other reason than they ‘belong’ to the right group.

            • Colonial Viper 14.2.2.1.2.1

              The poor are the most structurally descriminated against on a dauly basis.

              Why is there not a quota for them, using your own criteria?

              • McFlock

                maybe you should have suggested a remit at your local branch meeting.

              • rosy

                Gotta +1 that for a Labour Party that is meant to represent the needs of the poor. But equitable representation for poor women. I wonder how that would go down?

    • tracey 14.3

      Did you just make that up????

  15. Te Reo Putake 15

    Pop quiz! Guess which wannabe MP this comment is from:

    “I can’t understand why the Labour Party would be emphasising something like this when they’re trying to get the focus on jobs and power prices and the need to get wages up, so strategically it doesn’t make sense to be talking about this right now.”

    She did not feel a need to be pushed forward as a candidate based on her gender.

    “Certainly I wouldn’t stand in a seat where I felt like the implication was I couldn’t win it on my own accord without some ‘special help’,” she said.

    “That’s the thing about quotas – for me they are short-term measures, they’re a kick-start when needed.”

    While there could be a need for quotas in countries such as Afghanistan – where women have been excluded from the political process – that was not the case in New Zealand.

    “We absolutely need more women represented in Parliament – but we need a diverse section of women represented in Parliament – and I think that’s more effective.

    “I feel there needs to be a diverse range of women represented in political processes and in the Labour Party, but I think this is a blunt instrument.”

    • felix 15.1

      “We absolutely need more women represented in Parliament – but we need a diverse section of women represented in Parliament – and I think that’s more effective.”

      Any idea what she means by this? I’ve read and re-read it a few times and I have no idea.

      • vto 15.1.1

        I think it’s a bit like how they talk when they give dairy farmers big dollops of money

    • tinfoilhat 15.2

      Trevor Mallard ?

      • Te Reo Putake 15.2.1

        Nope, but right end of the island. For what its worth, Damien O’Connor was even worse:

        West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor said he was confident his electorate would “not ask for something so stupid” as a women-only candidate selection.

        • QoT 15.2.1.1

          Stupid enough to (s)elect Damien O’Connor …

        • Chris 15.2.1.2

          Having been part of a branch committee and LEC, I suggest Damien doesn’t know his electorate as well as he thinks.

    • karol 15.3

      I cheated and googled it. That’s the way with Blairite Third Wayers – want to have it both ways and end up a contradiction in terms.

    • tracey 15.4

      “While there could be a need for quotas in countries such as Afghanistan – where women have been excluded from the political process – that was not the case in New Zealand.”

      This is like saying we don’t have poverty in NZ because here people are way better of thanin the Sudan.

      Until people understand that the real key to equality of selection is opportunity, they really ought to keep their comments to themselves… And opportunity doesn’t mean “they can apply if they want to”.

  16. Matthew Hooton 16

    The fundamental flaw in this debate is the idea that gender is the main factor in whether or not one is represented in parliament. Speaking personally, the person who has best represented my economic views in parliament in Ruth Richardson; my law and order views Judith Collins; my Treaty of Waitangi views Chris Finlayson; my child discipline views Sue Bradford; my foreign policy views Don’t McKinnon. People’s ideas and diligence are much more important in terms of being effective as representatives than gender.

    • How do you feel about our representatives not being representative of us?

      • felix 16.1.1

        He’s cool with it, as long as they’re representative of him.

        • Tamati 16.1.1.1

          Perhaps he should be asking, should Parliament represent our views, or represent us demographically?

      • Matthew Hooton 16.1.2

        Micky:
        You seem to imply that women can only be represented by women and men by men.
        That is a bit of an insult by you to Helen Clark isn’t it?
        Presumably, although you are male, you felt she represented you well?
        But she didn’t really represent conservative, anti-abortion Catholic females did she?
        And are you saying David Cunliffe can’t represent women?
        Or that Judith Collins does?
        All crazy.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 16.1.2.1

          Where does Mickey “imply” that?

          Oh, in your “mind”. Are you telling the truth about what you think today?

          • Matthew Hooton 16.1.2.1.1

            Because in a discussion about a gender quota, he says our parliament, not having a 50:50 gender split, is not representative of “us”.

            • tracey 16.1.2.1.1.1

              Which is an interesting from someone whose daily bread is very much based on perception isn’t it Matthew?

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 16.1.2.1.1.2

              Yes, which you twisted into a weasel question about whether an individual can be represented by another one with no regard to the overall makeup of the group as a whole. Nice shot, well played, etc.

              Sixteen out of fifty nine. Tell me, do you think the low-life gender bullying endemic in right wing circles is to blame for drop-kicks like Gilmore and Bennett and Key being selected in favour of talented female candidates, or is it something else?

    • tracey 16.2

      Which is why we need as many people believing (and actively pursuing) representation is open to them. Collins and Richardson, for example, had made it a long way up the glass ceiling before entering politics. They were used to succeeding in a very patriarchal environment already…

      It is human nature to appoint, favour those who reflect ourselves or seem “like us”. But when you know better it is discrimination born of wilful ignorance.

      • Rhinocrates 16.2.1

        It was said of American East Coast country clubs that they always had one Jew on the board whose job it was to ensure that no other Jew was allowed to join. More or less the same principle applies to Hoots’ specious blithering about how “representative” NACT is.

  17. Matthew Hooton 17

    The fundamental flaw in this debate is the idea that gender is the main factor in whether or not one is represented in parliament. Speaking personally, the person who has best represented my economic views in parliament in Ruth Richardson; my law and order views Judith Collins; my Treaty of Waitangi views Chris Finlayson; my child discipline views Sue Bradford; my foreign policy views Don’t McKinnon. People’s ideas and diligence are much more important in terms of being effective as representatives than gender.

    • Socialist Paddy 17.1

      The fundamental problem with your comment Matthew is my sense of deja vu …

    • felix 17.2

      “The fundamental flaw in this debate is the idea that gender is the main factor in whether or not one is represented in parliament.”

      What a lovely strawman – ooh look I can see his little ears!

      • Matthew Hooton 17.2.1

        Um, do you have a point to make?

        • weka 17.2.1.1

          His point was that your comment had no bearing on what is actually being debated and was posted as a way of diverting attention from the real issue.

          ie no-one has said that “gender is the main factor in whether or not one is represented in parliament.”. That’s just stupid.

        • vto 17.2.1.2

          Mr Hooton I think you should just defect and get over it

        • felix 17.2.1.3

          Yep, and it was very straightforward.

          No-one has claimed “gender is the main factor in whether or not one is represented in parliament”.

          I’m surprised you didn’t manage to follow that, there weren’t many big words for you to read. Did you get confused by all the not-believing-your-obvious-bullshit in between them?

          edit: what weka said

        • mickysavage 17.2.1.4

          I am sure the Greens will be happy to have you as a member but they may be cautious on your effect on Green policy …

    • Sable 17.3

      You really are the doctor Jekyll and Mr Hide of voters aren’t you.

      • felix 17.3.1

        Hardly. He listed National, National, National, a private member’s bill, and National.

        More like Doctor National and Mr National.

        • Matthew Hooton 17.3.1.1

          That’s right. They have represented me well, with gender, sexuality and other identity aspects not being relevant. On the grounds someone needs to be the same gender as you to represent you, Labour males must have felt terribly unrepresented at the highest levels from late 1993 to late 2008.

          • fender 17.3.1.1.1

            Don Brash is the best fit for you.

            • felix 17.3.1.1.1.1

              Matthew is so far out on the wing, and so unaware of his position there, that he doesn’t even realise that could be taken as a slight.

          • felix 17.3.1.1.2

            Are you considering voting Labour next year Matthew?

          • Rhinocrates 17.3.1.1.3

            other identity aspects not being relevant.

            “Relevant”

            Translation “I’m alright Jack/Jill. I’m so comfortable with my privileges, I can’t even see them.”

    • Rhinocrates 17.4

      I wonder who Hoots thinks represents his views on race, considering his egregious attempts to promulgate the worst stereotypes of the violent “dumb bros” in his recent NBR column?

  18. felix 18

    I’d have no issue with this if women were grossly underrepresented in the Labour caucus. You know, like they are in National.

    But are they though? It’s pretty close. Is the proportion falling over time or rising?

    I guess I’m not asking whether it’s worthy, which in principle it is, but whether it’s needed.

  19. Colonial Viper 19

    NZers voted in John Key in 2008 with just 16% women at the top of the National list. Think about what the electorate views as important right now, and focus there.

    • karol 19.1

      Is it just about getting voted into government then, and not about what the party represents?

      • Colonial Viper 19.1.1

        Wrong question. Instead, answer the question, what is the electorate waiting for from Labour.

        • McFlock 19.1.1.1

          Really? Because it sounded a lot like the old “not the right time for this, focus on the real issues, we’ll get around to your silly little identity-politics issue some time”.

          • weka 19.1.1.1.1

            +1. It’s interesting seeing that creeping into the debate in the past few hours.

            • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1.1.1

              Suit yourself weka. Think about a broad church Labour Party which is representative of the interests of the entirety of society, but somehow can’t climb above 32% in the polls.

              And try and figure out where the disconnect is. If you accept that there even is one, because it sounds like most of you think that this is putting Labour right on track.

              • weka

                well just to clarify CV, I don’t think this will do anything fundamental to change Labour in the short or medium term. It’s not going to make up for the problems of Shearer or the ABCs or that Labour is disconnected from their traditional constituency or that Labour are still co-opted by the neoliberals.

                As far as I can tell the problems with Labour are to do with its internal power structures and the fact that the membership can’t effect change. And to be honest, I’ve been watching this debate about what is wrong with Labour for the last 18 months and I don’t see any real substantial change, even with the conference remits last year. Or to put it another way, putting the gender equity issue aside now won’t help your cause.

                Gender equity should happen in the same way as say legalising gay marriage. There is never a ‘good’ time, so may as well be now. The rule changes should just be part of a number of ongoing measures that reflect changes in society irrespective of the bullshit that is in parts of the caucus.

                In terms of the long plan, the point McFlock makes is not new. Women are well used to the argument to sit and wait. Once the glorious revolution happens then we can sort out the problems of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability etc etc. Trouble is that women got sick of waiting (along with everyone else), and we know from bitter experience, if we don’t keep pushing these issues through, they will never get addressed.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Trouble is that women got sick of waiting (along with everyone else), and we know from bitter experience, if we don’t keep pushing these issues through, they will never get addressed.

                  You know a lot of women who want to get on to the Labour list? Great, should be about 13 places for women in caucus after the 2014 elections.

                  Let me know when you think Labour is going to be able to push through legislation mandating a 50% female quota in Parliament and for the public service as a whole.

                  • weka

                    “You know a lot of women who want to get on to the Labour list? Great, should be about 13 places for women in caucus after the 2014 elections.”

                    That’s your job mate, not mine. And if Labour doesn’t have enough women wanting in, what does that say about Labour? Maybe you should talk to the GP about how they manage to get people interested.

                    “Let me know when you think Labour is going to be able to push through legislation mandating a 50% female quota in Parliament and for the public service as a whole.”

                    Strawman.

            • The Fan Club 19.1.1.1.1.2

              Oh yeah. Internal Democracy, but only when it’s manly democracy, not femmy shit. FFS.

          • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1.2

            Fuck your pretty progressive theoretical spin and strawmen quotes. This thing is an electoral anchor, accept it and move on.

            • BM 19.1.1.1.2.1

              I disagree, I think it needs to be openly discussed, no holds bared barred for at least the next six months.

              I nominate weka to be the main spokesperson.

              [lprent: Public nakedness is not appropriate for this forum. Please use a dictionary. :twisted: ]

              • Colonial Viper

                BM, and here I was thinking you were a crappy sexist Righty who didn’t have a sense of humour! ;)

            • McFlock 19.1.1.1.2.2

              If the labour party was run along your lines, it’s be as “left” as and popular as Chris Trotter.

              • Colonial Viper

                Seems to me its getting there just fine mate.

                • McFlock

                  Nah, it’d have work really hard to be the “Waitakere-man” fuckup you want it to be.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Go away and say something nice about Shearer. Or at least how he’s not that important in the lead up to 2014, and its really all about policy getting traction.

                    • McFlock

                      Such a shame. After all your dictats about how Labour should be a party of principle and promote genuine socialist principles such as equity and true representation of the membership (and how it would be if only Cunliffe were leader), suddenly you get all bitchy when somebody tries to bring Labour closer to that ideal.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      More straw men quotes? Good on ya McFlock. On the other hand do you want me to come up with a few instances where you say whoever leads the party into 2014 is quite unimportant, and its really just about good policy?

                    • McFlock

                      Meh. Do whatever you hsve to do in order to pretend that whenever you look in the mirror a fucking hypocrite doesn’t stare back.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Sticks and stones McFlock.

          • Populuxe1 19.1.1.1.3

            Not when identity politics pissing matches get in the way of the rights of the electorate.

        • weka 19.1.1.2

          “what is the electorate waiting for from Labour.”

          To get its shit together. This is one way it can do that, but obviously it’s not the only, nor even most important way. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen though. Or do you have a time when you think it would be better to do this?

          • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.2.1

            Or do you have a time when you think it would be better to do this?

            yeah, not today.

            • weka 19.1.1.2.1.1

              = never.

              • weka

                btw, you think this is bad, wait until you see what happens when abortion becomes a political issue in NZ again. Are you going to say then too that it’s not the right time (because it almost certainly will be a bad time)?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Hey weka, great idea, lets start promoting abortion law reform as a top election issue for 2014.

                  • The Fan Club

                    Why the fuck not? I mean, Christ you fucker, you crucified the party for your own ego trip, but now we do something that’ll make a real change it’s “toe the focu group line”?

                  • weka

                    So you are ok with women’s poor access to reproductive health services and think it’s ok for this issue to be put off indefinitely? And what happens if the ultra conservatives make it an issue? Will you still think that the left shouldn’t move on this? We should let abortion rights degrade further?

                    This is what I meant in the Assange debate when I said that women are well used to men on the left marginalising issues that are important to women but not to men. It’s old, old news CV, and it doesn’t wash anymore.

                    Besides, your arguments are getting weak now.

                    Let me put it another way. Labour are fucked. I think the gender equity issue should happen because it’s the right thing to do, and I don’t believe that it would make that much difference to the election next year. But if it does then (a) Labour are way more fucked than I thought, and (b) good, it’s about time they fell over so something else can take their place (whether that’s just the ABCs being moved on, or whether Labour is eventually replaced by the Greens and Mana). You can’t blame the failings of the Labour party on gender equity policies, that’s extremely ridiculous.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You can’t blame the failings of the Labour party on gender equity policies, that’s extremely ridiculous.

                      Ahhh. You conclude that because gender equity policies are a significant priority for you. But it is actually not what I blame the Labour Party’s failings on.

                      Which is a complete disconnect to what the NZ electorate, men and women, are looking for from Labour right now.

                      BTW this proposal is electoral suicide for Labour in 2014. I said it earlier and just want to make sure people know that I stand by it.

                    • weka

                      “Which is a complete disconnect to what the NZ electorate, men and women, are looking for from Labour right now.”

                      [citation needed]

                      “BTW this proposal is electoral suicide for Labour in 2014.”

                      How? Specifically, how does the timing and implementation fit with the election?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      [citation needed]

                      Are you serious? A frakking citation is going to make the claim credible or not? Who from? Naomi Wolf?

                      How? Specifically, how does the timing and implementation fit with the election?

                      There must be only one focus for 2014. Establishing that Labour is fit to govern the nation on behalf of all its people.

                      But whatever, who gives a shit. I’m off this train for the evening.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I mean, can you tell me if there is a better time than 2014 for Labour to start pushing progress on this issue again?

                  • weka

                    No I can’t, because I’m not closely enough involved in what is going on. You’d have to ask the women that are directly fighting to maintain abortion rights about timing. As I said in the other comment, there is also the issue of whether it’s the fundamentalists that will push the issue into the forefront. The left really doesn’t want to be on the backfoot with this if that happens.

    • weka 19.2

      “NZers voted in John Key in 2008 with just 16% women at the top of the National list. Think about what the electorate views as important right now, and focus there.”

      Some NZers voted in John Key in 2008 with just 16% women at the top of the National list. Think about what the electorate views as important right now, and focus there.

      fify

      But not sure what your point is. Do you mean that Labour’s move towards gender equity won’t get them votes? Can you see that having more women MPs might be a good thing irrespective of election strategy?

      I’m not sure if more women MPs on the left will get the left more votes or not. We should be doing it because it’s the right and fair thing to do. I’d be happy if NACT did it too.

      • Colonial Viper 19.2.1

        Good luck with that. I mean it. Really hope it flies electorally.

        • weka 19.2.1.1

          It works for the GP (women feel valued and attracted to the party as a result of the gender policies). You might want to ask what it is about the Labour constituency that means it might not work for Labour, if that’s what you think.

          On the other hand, you could offer support to women working within Labour to make the policy work (or be adopted). I’d be interested to know how the rule change was developed. Does Labour have a women’s issues group?

          • The Fan Club 19.2.1.1.1

            Hahaha do you mean the notorious “women’s council”? Because yes Labour has one of those. It also has a whole bunch of other bits. This proposal came from the org review via a working group and NZ council.

            • weka 19.2.1.1.1.1

              So, would it be fair to say that the number of women in those parts of Labour had an influence?

              • The Fan Club

                You mean, would it be fair to say women’s (as a sector) and women [as a a group] are really heavily involved in this proposal? I would say “very fucking much”.

                • weka

                  So we could perhaps conclude from that that having women in the Labour party serves women well?

                  • The Fan Club

                    Yeah, it’s almost like reliying of blokes like cv isn’t a super reliable way of getting anywhere…

                    • weka

                      so it might be a good idea to putt structures in place so that women don’t have to rely on men who won’t advance their issues :-)

  20. RedLogix 20

    Seems to me that the blokes have had a very generous crack at the job for a few millenia now, and so far seem to have made an almighty bodge of it.

    How about total “man ban”? Could only be an improvement….

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      They should have kept the vote to white Christian men of good standing with at least a quids worth of property.

    • vto 20.2

      Sounds good to me redlogix, could do with some time off

      • weka 20.2.1

        “How about total “man ban”? Could only be an improvement….”

        Except that women don’t tend to naturally work as the top level in dominating societies. I’d prefer an egalitarian system that took into account the skills and values of all genders without locking individuals into gender specific roles.

      • Colonial Viper 20.2.2

        Sounds perfect. Missus and her family already make most of the dough.

        • vto 20.2.2.1

          i think the missing link in all of this weka viper is the missing link of the male. how do you overcome that?

          • weka 20.2.2.1.1

            What do you mean?

          • lprent 20.2.2.1.2

            …missing link of the male. how do you overcome that?

            Ah the straight line – how can one resist..

            What you have to do is to fix the weak arse Y chromosome so it doesn’t suffer quite as much genetic deformation… Females have a much more robust and stable genetic profile (just as they do in the human social world as well)..

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_chromosome

            By one estimate, the human Y chromosome has lost 1,393 of its 1,438 original genes over the course of its existence, and linear extrapolation of this 1,393 gene loss over 300 million years gives a rate of genetic loss of 4.6 genes per million years.[14] Continued loss of genes at the 4.6 genes per million year rate would result in a Y chromosome with no functional genes — that is the Y chromosome would lose complete function — within the next 10 million years. Comparative genomic analysis, however, reveals that many mammalian species are experiencing a similar loss of function in their heterozygous sex chromosome. Degeneration may simply be the fate of all nonrecombining sex chromosomes due to three common evolutionary forces: high mutation rate, inefficient selection and genetic drift.[10] Furthermore, comparisons of the human and chimpanzee Y chromosomes (first published in 2005) show that the human Y chromosome has not lost any genes since the divergence of humans and chimpanzees between 6–7 million years ago,[15] and a scientific report in 2012 stated that only one gene had been lost since humans diverged from the rhesus macaque 25 million years ago.[16] These facts provide direct evidence that the linear extrapolation model is flawed and suggest that the current human Y chromosome is either no longer shrinking or is shrinking at a much slower rate than 4.6 genes per million years estimated by the linear extrapolation model.

            Ask a silly question – get a silly but informative answer :twisted:

    • Sable 20.3

      Yes, because Helen Clarke and Jenny Shipley did such a great job when they were in office. Sexist PC claptrap.

      • weka 20.3.1

        Helen Clark got the legislation passed that allowed midwives to attend births without a doctor present. That legislation transformed midwifery services in this country, including midwifery education, the professionalisation of midwives, and gave women a much better standard of care than they had before. Whatever else you say about Clark, she did do something outstanding for the women of NZ.

        (apparently Shipley was pro-women when she first came into parliament too, but go swallowed up by the old boys network).

  21. Tanz 21

    It’s a sexist idea. Gender should be irrelevant, and merit more important. Men generally make better bosses in my experience, they are more relaxed and fairer, on the whole. But merit should win out, and isn’t discrimination against the law?

  22. Sable 22

    I think anyone should have the right to run for political office irrespective of their gender, race or sexuality. The real problem is the “quality” of politicians in this country as this piece touches upon.

    I’m not anti Labour but I do believe Clarke did real damage to the party and its perception amongst voters, a price they are still paying today. Equally Keys is doing National no favours at all, but then they are the party of the rich so perhaps being an “ass” is part of the job description.

    In truth its not what’s between your legs but between your ears that matters.

    • weka 22.1

      So why do you think there aren’t more women in parliament?

    • Pete 22.2

      Clark kept the plates spinning in the air for three terms, but ultimately failed in succession planning. Which is understandable. It can be the case that once a successor is identified, the leader becomes a lame duck and can’t get anything done.

      Labour is still trying to find its way after Clark and I don’t think history will speak of Shearer in the same way it does of Kirk, Lange and Clark. In the absence of sound political leadership, there’s a lot of directionless factionalism and in-fighting, which doesn’t inspire much confidence.

  23. Saarbo 23

    This paragraph sums it up for me, spot on Eddie!!!

    “Don’t give me this ‘merit’ bullsh*t. You can start by putting to one side the idea that MPs are chosen purely on merit as it is – this is politics we’re talking about.”

    This is great, I support it 100%!!!

    Labour needs to become a party of PRINCIPLE, it then needs politicians that can sell their (Labours) message. I was watching Citizen A tonight and they mentioned that no matter what Key says he remains NZ’s most popular PM. Basically National’s 40% to 50% support dont care when Key Lies, which reflects on these people pretty badly…people watch Key and they think that because he can brush anything off by bull shitting then they can too, I sometimes wonder how damaging Key’s leadership will be to New Zealand longer term.

    I guess we (Kiwis) have always seen ourselves as an honest bunch, and in my business I rely on honesty and 95% of Kiwi’s are bloody honest, but you still get around 1 in 20 that will try and do a Key and bull shit. I suspect we will see this ratio increase as Key makes bull shitting in New Zealand part of everyday life, we’ll be no different to Aussies soon.

    Labour needs to do more of this!!!

  24. AmaKiwi 24

    The first rule of politics is, “Get elected.”
    The second rule of politics is, “Get elected.”
    The third rule . . . . .

    Does anyone here (besides CV) want to win the next election?

    • weka 24.1

      Taking this issue out of the next Labour conference will do nothing to help Labour win, because it’s not what Labour’s problem is.

    • Saarbo 24.2

      Why have labour made (and sticking with) Shearer as Leader then? If you created a list of factors that are most important in getting elected I’m sure your party Leader would sit at the top, way ahead of small constitutional matters such as this.

      Tau Henare and his National mates might be happier in the Muslim Brotherhood.

  25. AmaKiwi 25

    The topic was, “On having a more representative parliament.”

    Answer: Break the whipping system.

    Your MP does NOT represent YOU. She/he is the obedient slave of the leader.

    “Would you care to comment, Mr. Cunliffe?”

    DC: “No comment.”

    Obey the leader or be expelled. Them’s the rules.

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      Just about time to end the political party system of MPs…

      • AmaKiwi 25.1.1

        Agreed.

        But how?

        • Pascal's bookie 25.1.1.1

          There is no answer to this question.

          Parties exist for a reason in democracies. They are not top down things created to control thought.

          They exist because there is no consensus. There really truly isn’t. People really truly disagree with each other, about all sorts of things and in all soprts of ways.

          So when you have a parliament, people will form coalitions with people who have similar views to them, in order to outvote those with less similar views. Over time, those coalitions will become more and more formalised. People will stand saying I’m like these people and I oppose those other people.

          If you do away with parties, ban them, or whatever, they will just evolve again under a different name. Political parties are an emergent characteristic, if you like, of the polis.

  26. John Drinnan 26

    Have i gor this right? Fourteen of Labour’s 34 Mps are women. But people think that men should be shut out of some electorates to it can get past 50 per cent.
    ]

    • Pascal's bookie 26.1

      Not really John.

      Firstly I very much doubt that this policy is a knee jerk response to the current make up of the caucus. This is a structural debate, not a suggested bandaid.

    • karol 26.2

      No. It would like the caucus to get up to 50% (not over) by 2017.

    • QoT 26.3

      No. We think men should be locked in tiny cages and fed scraps.

  27. AmaKiwi 27

    What difference does it make? The only opinion that counts is John Key’s.

  28. Green machine UpandComer 28

    Well that’s a shame. I really wanted to stand for the Labour party, but I’m not going to be given a fair go as they already have enough males.

    • weka 28.1

      Why don’t you go and read the actual proposed rule change. Then you will be able to make an informed comment and know what you are talking about. Surely an asset for someone wanting to be an MP.

      • AmaKiwi 28.1.1

        “I really wanted to stand for the Labour party”

        I hope you enjoy following orders and justifying to the voters why you voted for something you don’t believe in.

        We call that hypocrisy. In parliament it’s called being a team player.

  29. Frustrated 29

    I’m a woman and I think this policy is sexist, demeaning and ridiculous.

    It’s like admitting that the Labour Party can’t trust its own processes to pick talented women with leadership abilities, so they have to bring in a silly blunt rule. How can Labour’s female MPs be taken seriously if people think they only got the job through positive discrimination?
    Are we really willing to reject talented male candidates in ‘women only’ electorates? Won’t this simply encourage males not to bother voting in those electorates?
    The trick is to address the barriers that stop women from wanting to go into politics in the first place – the aggressive, combative culture of Parliament, the long hours and family-unfriendly nature of the job, the requirement to have a huge ego and crack schoolboy jokes….

    Get the basics right Labour – simply choose quality candidates who are intelligent, quick-witted, articulate, compassionate, have people skills, are consistent in their values, are focused on core issues like jobs, health, education, affordable housing, keeping national assets, and who have the charisma to inspire other NZers to follow them.
    I don’t care what sex, colour, sexuality or how many limbs they have!

    Yes, it would be nice to think that eventually we’ll get more MPs in Parliament who reflect the diversity of our society, but isn’t that gradually happening anyway? Under the last Labour govt we had the world’s first transsexual MP and she did a great job.

    I made the mistake of voting for a new mayor in my city based on the fact that she was female, as the other candidates were all older males who seemed quite conservative and dull. I assumed she might take a broader view of the city’s future direction. How wrong I was, she’s been one of the worst of the lot. It was wrong of me to stereotype another woman – some are good, some are bad, just like men, and lesbians, and ethnic minorities, and people who own Fords/Holdens.

    I appreciate that it’s hard for women to get their issues on the agenda without equal representation in Parliament, but I really don’t think this policy is the right way to go about it. Positive discrimination doesn’t work in the long run, it only angers and marginalises talented people.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 29.1

      “…Labour Party can’t trust its own processes to pick talented women with leadership abilities…”

      But a change to the process is the wrong way to go about it?

      I think you’ll find, in the real world, positive discrimination only angers racists and misogynist cry-babies.

      • Populuxe1 29.1.1

        “I think you’ll find, in the real world, positive discrimination only angers racists and misogynist cry-babies.”

        Are you still beating your wife?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 29.1.1.1

          The argument is that positive discrimination only angers talented people. Perhaps you can see a similar flaw in that sentiment.

          • Populuxe1 29.1.1.1.1

            Not really. You pass over a talented person for someone of lesser ability but who ticks all the diversity boxes and see what happens.

    • karol 29.2

      The system in political parties, especially the National Party is biased toward selection of male candidates.

      How can Labour’s female MPs be taken seriously if people think they only got the job through positive discrimination?

      By your reasoning, given the traditional masculine bias in parliament, how can any male MPs be taken seriously?

    • weka 29.3

      “Are we really willing to reject talented male candidates in ‘women only’ electorates?”

      Can you please give a citation that this is what Labour intends to do?

      “I made the mistake of voting for a new mayor in my city based on the fact that she was female, as the other candidates were all older males who seemed quite conservative and dull. I assumed she might take a broader view of the city’s future direction. How wrong I was, she’s been one of the worst of the lot.”

      Sure, but can you see that your mistake wasn’t in voting for a woman per se, it was because you thought that voting for a woman outside of other factors like competency was a good thing to do. No-one is suggesting that Labour favours candidates who are women but who are incompetent. It’s a complete misunderstanding of the issues to think that the proposed women candidates won’t be competent.

    • Rogue Trooper 29.4

      yes, made for interesting reading until the last sentence (thanks OAK)

    • QoT 29.5

      a silly blunt rule

      Right, so we’ve established early on that you haven’t bothered finding out what the actual proposal entails.

    • Mary 29.6

      “How wrong I was, she’s been one of the worst of the lot.”

      Do you live in Whanganui?

  30. AmaKiwi 30

    @ Frustrated

    “choose quality candidates who are intelligent, quick-witted, articulate, . . . . and have the charisma to inspire other NZers to follow them.”

    If Labour had a leader like that, they could win an election.

  31. Santi 31

    What is going on at Labour? This policy is ridiculous, absurd, even for those who do not support the party.
    Copying the Greens is no good, no good at all.

  32. chris73 32

    I think Labour needs to be strong and show it will not bow down to opinion polls, this is a brave move forward and will only benefit NZ in the long term.

    Any backtracking now and it will look like they’ve been scared off so they need to push on through with this

    Stand strong Labour and don’t give in to the rampant sexism that pervades NZ

    :)

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 32.1

      Two possibilities here.

      1. You know this is at a “proposal” stage rather than actual policy, but lying about it makes you feel clever or
      2. You’re ignorant and too stupid to fact check your assumptions.

      Which is it?

      • Winston Smith 32.1.1

        Neither, its more like having fun at Labours expense because when they’ve got National on the ropes they do something stupid to take the heat off National (again)

        Its almost like they don’t know what to do when they have the ascendency… :)

  33. Descendant Of Sssmith 33

    Affirmative action policies are sometimes necessary and it would be great to see the Labour Party more representative.

    It seems to me though that the list is the ideal way to fix the gender imbalance and to provide a way for introducing and mentoring new (more women) MP’s to parliament.

    We initially saw this with the introduction of both more female and non-European MP’s and while there was the occasional and spectacular failure in the main we saw more diversity and spread of representation.

    In general I still want my electorate MP to be a person understanding of and committed to local issues and prepared to work on constituent issues.

    List MP’s on the other hand can and should be used to address both gender and ethnic imbalances and to provide a training ground for up and coming MP’s and succession planning

    Pairing the new list MP up with their future constituency location MP to develop those community relationships and get the support of the local people at some point in the future would be part of the succession planning.

    This approach gives someone at least three years to learn the parliamentary ropes, learn select committee processes, etc.

    Too often the list is being used to protect existing power bases rather than as both a balancing and development tool.

    • Pascal's bookie 33.1

      See any problems with using the list as a way of ensuring diversity?

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 33.1.1

        Some experienced MP’s might have to fight a bit harder for their electoral seat?

      • karol 33.1.2

        A lot of females added to the bottom of the list to ensure overall gender balance, while males hog the top positions?

        Gender balance is an issue in politics, and candidate quotas is one way to try to tackle it. Another is mentoring potential candidates, providing them with skills and political knowledge to give them confidence and capabilities to stand as a candidate.

        The biggest and most fundamental problem that I see for women (and LGBTi) people in politics is in the stereotyping. It has a major impact on women MPs in senior and leadership roles. it impacts on the kinds of ways women are expected to behave to be politically successful: ie the need to balance “feminine” presentation with “masculine” traits deemed necessary for political success.

        This impacts on the kinds of portfolios women in the governing party are given.

        Quotas may go some way to countering this. But I think there needs to be more awareness by selectors of how gender traits are perceived (by themselves and the public, via the way the media portrays them).

        My biggest criticism right now of the Labour caucus, gender-wise, is that it has a very male-dominated leadership team. And it panders a lot to gender stereotyping (eg Shearer’s courting of John Tamihere a while back).

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 33.1.2.1

          There’s also the personal stress. Can you imagine the reaction if anyone went after Bronagh Key the way the National Party went after Peter Davis?

          MPs get a lot of personal abuse directed at them; the men’s families are off limits.

          • Populuxe1 33.1.2.1.1

            Unless you’re Hone Harawira – though I seem to remember a while back that Max Key copped some attention for tweeting homophobic comments or some such.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 33.1.2.2

          No not to the bottom of the list but to the top. I thought that was self explanatory.

    • Tangled up in blue 33.2

      I agree that positive discrimination is fine in some contexts. But 14 of Labour’s 34 MPs and 8 of their 22 electorate MPs are women. I’m not convinced that it’s necessary here.

  34. One Anonymous Knucklehead 34

    On first blush it looks like a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

    On closer inspection, it appears that the walnut is made of teak, or maybe oak :)

  35. AmaKiwi 35

    My MP could be a two-headed tri-sexual Martian for all the difference it makes.

    Your MP does NOT represent their constituent. They serve at the pleasure of the party leader. They are dogs on a leash unless they get to the head of the pack.

    How could any self-respecting person approve a bill on which 29 pages were blacked out? Do you imagine all National MPs are so thick that everyone of them supports the GCSB changes or charter schools? Of course not.

    Get the power to recall your MP and suddenly they will serve YOU.

    Liberate your MP. Make him/her accountable to the voters in YOUR electorate.

  36. AmaKiwi 36

    Wikipedia: “A recall election (also called a recall referendum or representative recall) is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended.

    “Recalls, which are initiated when sufficient voters sign a petition, have a history dating back to the ancient Athenian democracy[1] and are a feature of several contemporary constitutions.

    • Colonial Viper 36.1

      You answered your own question :)

      There should be an option to recall specific pieces of newly passed legislation as well.

      • McFlock 36.1.1

        Nah. Too californian. They ended up with too many projects and not enough taxes to pay for them.

        Someone suggested an 18-month expiry for some legislation (might even have been you), which needs to be re-passed to become permanent. I’m probably more into that than recalling legislation or MPs, although with firm electoral finance limits the recall option isn’t so bad.

        I reckon the more pressing alteration is around lowering the threshold for list seats, so you don’t get the 2008-11 situation where one party just missed out on the threshhold but another ended up with five mps by virtue of an electorate seat, even though it got many fewer party votes.

        Side note: “many fewer”? “a lot fewer”? “much fewer”? Hmmm.

  37. Adrian 37

    The first thing a potential candidate needs is legitimatcy, so offer an electorate a candidate that is deliberately chosen from only one sex and see how that goes.
    Should go well, ay.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 37.1

      Actually if they are a quality person it won’t matter.

      Positive discrimination means that you favour one group when you have more than one person suitable.

      So if you have three suitable people, two male and one female, you would choose the female.

      Quite a simple concept to grasp.

      Now if the issue is that there are stuff all suitable people regardless of gender or ethnicity then Labour is in extremely poor shape.

      • tracey 37.1.1

        AAA+++

        Succinct and simple and look how many posts we had to wade through to get to it. THIS is how Greens describe their policy. WHY is that so hard for Labour…

        The blind leading the blind over there. The Labour Party will be single-handedly responsible for National’s second and third (if they get it) terms and any damage done to our country (further asset sales and attached lolly scramble) will be on their collective heads. I wonder if that’s a message sinple enough for them to comprehend.

        I wanted Shearer to be leader. However I heard him speak after Norman on the radio about the GCSB… he is still awful…

      • Adrian 37.1.2

        In reality it does because the perception would be that the selected female was inferior to the quality of males in the selection process therefore the males had to be eliminated purely on the basis of gender, or a whole new undefencible political concept of Gendermandering.
        Whatever electorate, even a safe left one, that this stunt would be pulled in would be unwinnable.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 37.1.2.1

          Bullshit.

          • Adrian 37.1.2.1.1

            Try it and you’d finish behind the McGillicuddy Serious Party! The candidate would spend the entire campaign defending the selection process and the fact that they were selected in a discriminatory fashion, meanwhile poverty, health disparities, and true gender equality issues etc wouldn’t get a look in.

            • Colonial Viper 37.1.2.1.1.1

              Labour is too blind to take off its beltway glasses and see the obvious. Make no mistake; the measure will pass and Labour will be pilloried all over again by the media going into election year.

    • AmaKiwi 37.2

      “The first thing a potential candidate needs is legitimatcy.”

      No. The National candidate in my (Labour) electorate needs GPS to find his way to the electorate.

      Under MMP, the party vote is all that matters.

      Key, Goff, and Cunliffe don’t live within a 4 hour walk of their respective electorates.

  38. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 38

    Your post has a picture of Aaron Gilmore, presumably to show that the person who was 56th on National’s list would have done a better job had he been selected solely on the basis of his gender. Fair enough.

    Anyone remember Alamein Kopu? Selected by the Alliance only because she is maori and a woman. How’d that turn out?

    • tracey 38.1

      How many more can you name, that fit your paradigm, and how many that don’t? Worth, Banks? Capill, ….

      • jaymam 38.1.1

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Awatere_Huata

        “Shortly before the 1996 election, Awatere Huata joined the ACT New Zealand party. This surprised many commentators, as ACT was not generally associated with the sort of cause that Awatere Huata had previously supported. She was ranked in fourth place on ACT’s party list…”

    • felix 38.2

      “Selected by the Alliance only because she is maori and a woman.”

      Yes, it’s inconceivable that a maori woman would be selected on any other basis.

      The problem beautifully illustrated, thank you gormless.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 38.2.1

        Felix, what other knowledge and experience did she bring? Her years of unemployment immediately before entering Parliament clearly prepares her well for the hard work and high moral standard she applied during her stellar parliamentary career. But give her a tick for representing an entire gender and one whole ethnicity.

        • felix 38.2.1.1

          I don’t know. What did Aaron Gilmore bring? What does David Bennett bring? What does Chris Tremain bring?

          I can’t think of a single useful quality or skill between the three of them. So I guess by your reasoning they were only selected on the basis of their ethnicity and gender.

          • Populuxe1 38.2.1.1.1

            Yes, actually – they were more than likely shoulder-tapped because they were white and male. It’s still a bunch of undemocratic shit.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 38.2.1.1.1.1

              Except Gilmore is maori.

              • Populuxe1

                Is he? It’s hard to tell under all the grease.

              • felix

                Really gormy? What’s his iwi?

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  I do not know. Why?

                  • felix

                    Because I don’t know and I thought you might, seeing as you’re the only person on the planet who had any idea about his no doubt proud maori heritage.

                    Not that it has any bearing on the comments above. I still have to assume, according to your own claims, that he was selected only on the basis of his ethnicity and gender.

                    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                      you’re the only person on the planet who had any idea about his no doubt proud maori heritage.

                      Do you doubt it?

                    • felix

                      I don’t follow. Do I doubt what?

                    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                      That he’s maori.

                    • felix

                      I have no reason to doubt you.

                      But it makes no difference to him being selected only for his ethnicity and gender, does it?

  39. tracey 39

    Wow, look at the number of posts, for my sins I read them all…

    A party that is lagging in the polls is generating this much vitriol over a proposal

    I don’t know, I guess it just seems like some folks find this kind of suggestion threatening, but to what, they say “fair play”, but the evidence is the system has been contra fair-play for hundreds of years. It has improved in that time but why not keep improving it?

    Encourage more women to put themselves forward for candidacy and election. What a truly horrible concept and a true affront to notions of fair-play.

    I googled the policy and all I got was links tot he media discussion (I use that term sparingly) of it.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 39.1

      It’s a good discussion to have though.

      You’ve seen the easy reversion to a male dominated party in National after it too made some headway.

      You’ve seen the Maori Party with both male and female co-leaders and Greens the same.

      It shouldn’t be surprising that the left wing parties move to a much more equitable playing field.

      Letting the right paint this as a nonsense and set the portrayal of it as such is problematic to a small extent but those things should be expected and will blow over in a few days.

      It will get supported within Labour or it won’t but the discussion and the debate will be worth it because it can only advance equality and equity issues.

      Hopefully there will also be discussion on workers rights, welfare systems and so on as well.

      • Waffler 39.1.1

        Agreed. It’s a good discussion to have. It’s a shame that they couldn’t have framed the discussion better and been less reactive.

        Personally I think 50% should be the target – and judicious use of the list is a good way to get that.

  40. Delia 40

    Until I was about 25 everyone in parliament was a man usually white. Us girls growing up got the message you do not matter in the affairs of running the country. How can National justifiably criticise Labour for this, when they themselves have a target system to get women on boards. What is the difference? The more women in parliament the better. National it has nothing to do with you, how Labour selects its candidates anyway.

  41. tas 41

    Asians are even more underrepresented than women. Asians make up 10% of the population, but less than 5% of MPs. (They are also an important voting block.) Will Labour take action to ensure there are more asian MPs?

  42. Populuxe1 42

    Here’s a good left wing critique as to why this is a silly idea on Labour’s part
    http://nzagainstthecurrent.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/the-gender-trap.html

    • Pascal's bookie 42.1

      The author clearly wants deeper changes in Labour, and that’s great.

      But as a critique of this proposal it’s a mess.

      The author says that Labour should be doing other things, but that doesn’t mean that doing this is what’s stopping those other changes from happening.

      The things the author wants to see could happen alongside these changes, or without them. They are not connected in any way, so far as I can see.

      • Colonial Viper 42.1.1

        The piece is fairly simple. Labour is happy to pursue issues of gender balance as it doesn’t pose a challenge to the capitalist and neoliberal portions of its economic thinking.

        • Pascal's bookie 42.1.1.1

          Yes, and?

          the problem isn’t the gender issues, it’s the failure in other areas.

          Failing as well on gender issues sounds like a great plan.

          • Colonial Viper 42.1.1.1.1

            Shall I spell it out for you? These measures would get 3 more female MPs into today’s Labour Caucus.

            Celebrate this success in “gender issues”, by all means.

            • Pascal's bookie 42.1.1.1.1.1

              So?

              The author says that Labour should be doing other things, but that doesn’t mean that doing this is what’s stopping those other changes from happening.

              The things the author wants to see could happen alongside these changes, or without them. They are not connected in any way, so far as I can see.

              Adress this, or GTFO.

              How would not doing this help with the other changes?

              I see Jones and others whinging about this, but I don;t see a peep out of them in terms of actually making the other changes. So what gives?

              • Rosetinted

                I want it all, and I want it now! And why not? We have been waiting long enough to see good women, Maori and other ‘minorities’ to get into the padded chairs of decision making, structural change and power.

                A forward move by a political body to make way for more capable women to advance shouldn’t take up all available energy to make change and progress people’s, and the country’s circumstances. That is if the body concerned is not so diseased, frail and sick and wasting away that it cannot summon the vitality to make positive moves to save itself and the rest of us who care about the country’s direction.

                We will still get some good girls who have too much undeserved respect for male views and the status quo that such women have left leave, but then that’s just another diversion from clear thinking like alcohol, and we’ve plenty of lushes we accommodate in our leading figures. Maybe they all will learn to be more discriminating in their standards and vision eventually.

                • Rosetinted

                  I’ll just reply to myself, talking to oneself often produces…? The idea of Labour having a set 50% of women on their list is arbitrary and sounds sexist and patronising. Also pc and ideological.

                  Just because someone clicks their tongue disapprovingly and says they have thought of a way to make things fairer and better, doesn’t mean that they come up with a sensible and workable idea. Labour gone middle class away from beating poverty and bad working conditions, tends to attach itself to nice theories too often short on practical outcomes.

                  More women of merit should be encouraged, and it just can’t be left to electorates who might tend to find a male, middle aged lawyer, to be a more suitable candidate than an active Labour supporter from a factory with good political nous. (Few of those around because of a lack of factories now, and perhaps that is because of too many middle class lawyers, men and women, getting picked! A vicious circle.)

      • The Fan Club 42.1.2

        The people who are against this change are against deeper changes also. All one fight.

    • fender 42.2

      Looks to be an article about how it’s futile for Labour to do anything until it shakes off the neo-liberal fleas.

      • Colonial Viper 42.2.1

        Nope – its an article which expects Labour to keep doing everything but challenge the neoliberal economic paradigm of growth through free markets and free trade.

    • RedLogix 42.3

      I’m not too surprised at how this modest proposal (it’s not all that radical really) has brought out the reactionary underbelly of this country. It’s par for the course really.

      The underlying idea to promote gender equity is a good idea, but the execution from Labour has been appalling. Sheer lack of political skill at every level.

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    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
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  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
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    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
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    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
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    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
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