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Analysing the lists

Written By: - Date published: 11:17 am, September 5th, 2011 - 38 comments
Categories: election 2011, racism, sexism - Tags:

There’s plenty of good posts around already on National’s election list, how its dominated by white men and there’s very little room for new blood. But just how bad is their list? I thought I would do a comparison of the ethnic and gender balance of the National, Labour, Green, and ACT lists. Judge for yourself.

Oh dear, National only 25% women in its top 20 and is the only party without a woman in its top five. It has the most male-dominated top 20, even beating the Angry Old White Man Party. The gender balance doesn’t improve until you reach unwinnable slots. A strong performance by National would probably see the gender balance of the Parliament worsen for the first time in many elections.

The Greens and Labour have real gender balance while ACT’s performance is may appear surprisingly strong but don’t be fooled – or the remotely winnable slots, only one has a female candidate (assuming Number 3 is Catherine Isaac)

I’m not for tokenism. But the Right’s claim that the only way to get the Left gets diversity in its lists is by tokenism tells you a lot about what they think about women and non-Pakeha. Unless your party is inherently about the privilege of one group in society (cough white men cough), you’re going to find that you have talented people of all groups in your ranks. In fact, if you look lower on National’s list, it’s clear they engage in a lot of tokenism – as in their 2008 list, the late 30s is where they’ve plonked all the token MPs, high enough to get in, not high enough to have any power, and surrounded by white men above and below.

The Green’s lack of diversity is a bit disappointing, although if you define a Pakeha is only a New Zealand-born person of European extraction the Greens have 10% less Pakeha and 10% other (an Aussie and an American).

Assigning ethnicity is obviously a bit fraught. It’s always best to go with self-identification I guess, so Paula Bennett and David Clendon are both under Maori because, at times, they make reference to their Maori lineage. For similar reasons, I didn’t try to do a comparison of sexual diversity.

So what’s this about Labour being tired and old? Their top 5 has the same average age as the Nats’.

The Greens have the youngest leaders by quite a way but the average is dragged up by Kennedy Graham.

ACT confirms it really is the Angry Old White Man’s Party with all of the top 5 being Pakeha, 3 being over 60, and only 1 woman (all this assumes Number 3 is Catherine Isaac)

– Dean

38 comments on “Analysing the lists ”

  1. toad 1

    Denise Roche at 11 on the Green list also identifies as Maori (Ngati Raukawa & Ngati Huri), which means three rather than two Maori in the Greens’ top 20.

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    How about Auckland candidates in the top ten. Greens would lose that one every time. Labour aren’t too flash either.

  3. Classic attempts to obfuscate the real issue, by focusing on other metrics Zaphod.

    I have lovingly reproduced your gender graphic on a post debunking Farrar’s misleading analysis of the gender diversity, here:
    http://thehandmirror.blogspot.com/2011/09/farrar-disingenuous-over-lack-of-women.html

    Hope that’s ok, thanks for putting all these pretty pictures together.

    • Tigger 3.1

      Nicely debunked Julie.

      Including sexual orientation would definitely be appreciated by this poster, identifying LGBT candidates. Obviously you can only include those who identify as such but I’m sure between us we can figure it out…

      Labour – Street, Chauvel, Robertson,
      National – Finlayson
      Greens – Hague

      These are the ones I know of. Not an expert on the Greens so there may be some hiding in the top 20 that I’ve missed.

      • mik e 3.1.1

        Tigger National still has plenty hiding in the closet because they are worried they might loose the redneck vote.

        • QoT 3.1.1.1

          Yeah, whereas queer Labour MPs can feel totally assured that their party will never sacrifice them for the redneck vote. Trevor “lol Tinkerbell” Mallard and Damien “gaggle of gays” O’Connor will stand up for them every time.

      • Izzy 3.1.2

        Jan Logie at #9 for the Greens is a lesbian, so 2 LGBT in top 10.

  4. NEWSFLASH! John Key stated in a press conference this morning that “everything is just fine.”

    The prim minster then explained that the list was “based on his perception of the general public, and because there’s more old white men than anybody else, and it’s a bad life decision being born into a minority group or as a woman in New Zealand, the list was just hunky dory as it is.”

    He would not comment about the demoted token Maori and tweeting buffoon Tau Henare. After giving his trademark smile and wave, he walked out the door saying “How about that RWC eh!

  5. Lanthanide 5

    It would be nice to see the more complex list analysis that involves electorate MPs.

    Maggie Barrie is sitting down there at #58, but will almost certainly win her seat, which will throw off the gender calculus that is being done solely on the list rankings.

    For someone unfamiliar with who is likely to win which seat, you can check http://www.electionresults.co.nz for the ipredict predictions for each seat. You’ll need another list to cross-reference actual MPs with their electorate seats, though.

  6. Chris 6

    What happens to the age averages if you extend it to the top 20 like the other graphs?

  7. tsmithfield 7

    The most important thing is that there is a selection process that is fair and open to people from all genders and backgrounds.

    The result should be that the best person is selected for the job, what ever race, gender etc that may be. If the selection process runs counter to this principle due to p.c. objectives then the effectiveness of the organisation may well be compromised.

  8. The “top 20” is not relevant to what’s likely to happen. It would make some sense if proportions were based on likely number of seats for each party.

    As per tsmithfield, quality needs to be considered as well, competence is surely more important than a theoretical balance. It’s hard enough getting sufficient quality candidates as it is without ruling out some it fit a nice looking graph.

    And the more democratic the selction process the less control over getting balance anyway.

    If women want more women in parties there needs to be more women willing to put themselves forward. Same for ethnicities.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      United Future is 100% male then. Or perhaps Not A Number for divide by zero error.

      • Pete George 8.1.1

        It’s clearly not, based on the first announcement of electorate candidates (two females). The list won’t be released until next month. I think like all parties there are less women willing to put themselves forward, getting dress and hair styles analysed isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

        It’s a pity Judy Turner (party President) can’t stand, she commited herself to a three year term in local government and unlike others is sticking to her commitment, otherwise she would have been promiment.

        • Lanthanide 8.1.1.1

          The “top 20″ is not relevant to what’s likely to happen. It would make some sense if proportions were based on likely number of seats for each party.

          United Future is 100% male then. Or perhaps Not A Number for divide by zero error.

          Just to make it clearer.

    • That’s why I’ve looked specifically at the issue of likely caucus make-up post 2011 election. Feel free to pop over and have a look. Dean’s graphs and points are still v useful for getting an overall picture, especially between Labour and National.

      • Pete George 8.2.1

        Thanks, yes, that’s much better. It suggests that the Labour and Green lists are fairly evenly balanced top to bottom, while National and Act have less female overall but especially at the top end.

        I think the key question is how do parties attract more and better quality female candidates? Politics is not a widely attractive career choice.

  9. randal 9

    there is no category for vain, pompous, stupid, long winded bores of which type makes up most of the national party.

  10. I think it is a more accurate assessment to look at the top 15 in the list because they are more likely to be in influential positions and the smaller parties are unlikely to get 20 MPs elected. The Greens have also shown diversity in that they have a Deaf candidate who strongly represents a huge number of New Zealanders who have a disability.
    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.com/2011/09/comparing-party-lists.html

  11. Ross 11

    Interesting that you think National is a party of white old men, when their list has the exact same proportion of Maori to non-Maori as the census. You probably could say that for the top positions, but when they have the Maori Party, what is the matter?

    • Tangled up in blue 11.1

      There may be some guys in National with Maori decent but pretty much none that are qualified nor aspire to represent Maori interests.

      Also as the past term has shown, having the Maori Party doesn’t mean that decisions are not still decided by the majority. A majority of old white men.

      • Ross 11.1.1

        You clearly don’t know Tau Henare well, and he’s just the stand in before Simon Bridges. He’d like to think he could represent Maori interests. Anyway, they aren’t seeking Maori votes apart from the rich corporate iwi folk.

  12. Cactus Kate 12

    Can we do an ethnic mix of candidates in that and add the Maori Party to the mix? As well as Mana?

    • rosy 12.1

      Can we do an ethnic mix of candidates in that and add the Maori Party to the mix? As well as Mana?

      Does it really matter? Mana and the Maori Party are quite clear about who they’re representing. Act are not. I could care less if Act stated it was representing old rich men and then chose old rich men for their list. However the party professes to represent all of the individuals who are consumers and taxpayers, and the list does not reflect that at all.

    • Lanthanide 12.2

      Mana haven’t released their list, and AFAIK neither have Maori Party. Makes it a bit difficult to analyse their list, doesn’t it?

      Mana seems likely to have Minto and Bradford standing as electorate candidates and will probably get high rankings on the list. So Mana isn’t going to be completely dominated by Maori as you seem to be suggesting.

  13. I’ll be doing Mana and the Maori Party, and United Future and NZF, when they come out, never fear Kate. Just like in 2008. No reason to think it’s only National getting scrutiny, I’ve already done Labour, the Greens and Act, as you know. The reason everyone is talking about the National list is because women’s representation is going backwards on it and people expected better.

    • Ross 13.1

      Julie, have you compared this National list to 2008’s? You will find women have made significant jumps up the list and only Pansy Wong has left. So not going backwards at all. Granted they could have more women, especially in safe electorate seats, but their President has treated this matter like everything else…

      • Julie Fairey 13.1.1

        Hi Ross, while there has been some movement for individual women within the National list since 2008 this hasn’t increased the overall percentage of women in the projected 2011 caucus, and the percentages in the ranking bands aren’t that different from 2008 either. I copied the formatting I used from the 2008 post to write the 2011 one and I didn’t have to make many changes, which surprised me, except for shifting a few of the names around between the bands and re-numbering many within the bands. You’ll see I’ve broken it down by Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, etc, and did the same in 2008.

        In terms of losing only Pansy Wong – they are also losing Georgina Te Heu Heu as she is retiring at the election. They have only gained one woman in a safe National electorate (out of 5 they were selecting) which is Maggie Barry for North Shore. At the moment it is unlikely they would bring any new women in on the list, and they would need a probably unfeasibly high proportion of the party vote to do so. They have clustered a lot of women (9/15 iirc) right at the end of the list, which raises the overall percentage across the whole list, but won’t increase the proportion in caucus.

        The fact remains – National have 16 female MPs now. With a projected caucus of 60 after the election and 41 electorate seats they would only have 15 come November 27th. That’s less as a proportion (15/60) and in actual bodies. And the rankings of women on the list haven’t changed a great deal overall, despite the significant shifts for some individual women.

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