NRT: “A stupid idea”

Written By: - Date published: 10:28 am, November 28th, 2016 - 89 comments
Categories: feminism, gender, national - Tags: , , , ,

I/S at No Right Turn writes:


“A stupid idea”

That’s what John Key thinks of equality around the Cabinet table:

Prime Minister John Key says the idea of promising a gender-balanced Cabinet is “stupid” because appointments are made on talent, not gender.

Speaking on The Nation on Saturday, Key dismissed the call made by Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue, who would like Key to follow in the footsteps of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who last year unveiled a Cabinet which was half female.
[…]
But Key told Nation host Lisa Owen “it would be stupid” to promise a gender-balanced Cabinet.

And then he trotted out the usual excuse that Cabinet appointments are made on “merit”. Yeah, right. I think Murray McCully, Tim Groser, and Sam Lotu-Iiga are proof of the absurdity of that idea. But even if we accept it, it just pushes the question back another level, from “why doesn’t National select women as Cabinet Ministers” to “why doesn’t National select women as candidates / MPs?” And I think we all know the answer to that question…

89 comments on “NRT: “A stupid idea””

  1. Stunned Mullet 1

    It does seem a daft idea. Most people in NZ would be happy with competent ministers before we start making sure we have particular allocations of gender/race/disability/religion etc etc

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      We already have allocations based on gender and ethnicity. White males are the beneficiaries.

    • If you think this is a daft idea you’re basically saying you think women are stupider than men, or admitting that your preferred party and/or government (whatever that is) can’t recruit enough talented women to fill out half of their cabinet allocation.

      The Greens gender-balance their entire party list, and they still end up with a little more of their talent on the female side of the equation. Labour isn’t doing quite as well, but that’s because they run a lot of white men in electorates, and they have a firm policy of putting the wrong people on the front bench in general.

      National are absolutely abysmal. Partially that because not enough talented women put their hands up for their list, and partially it’s because their list, like Labour’s, is ordered in a smoky back-room full of party hacks. I know talented women who were on their list but below the threshold ever likely to get into Parliament that are more qualified to be making decisions than some of their current ministers. It’s not enough to put qualified women onto your list, you’ve got to give them winnable positions ahead of men (and sometimes, other women) who are just seat-fillers.

      • Katipo 1.2.1

        Exactly, if there is an unjust power imbalance it should always be those that hove the power to do the right thing and take the initiative to redress it. Chris Rock made a similar argument when talking about race relations……

        “So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”

    • Zid 1.3

      Well the idea didn’t exactly work for Cunny and his man ban. Will you lefties ever learn to listen to your constituency?

      • McFlock 1.3.1

        [gets popcorn, waits for moderator]

      • Wow are you wrong, the idea actually had support and was popular with engaged Labour voters.

        It was only sexist media articles that spun the whole thing out of control that were against it, until they attracted The Usual Suspects. Lord knows if any of them would actually vote National just because Labour will have more women- a lot of them voted for Clark even though they didn’t like feminists.

        You’ll also notice nobody’s ever bothered to attack the Greens for already doing the same thing, because everyone knows it works for them. They’ve extended their policy to wanting to negotiate for gender-balance in their cabinet positions in any coalition government too, and again, nobody batted an eyelid.

        Labour can do the same, it just needs to select talented people instead of more Mallards.

        • In Vino 1.3.2.1

          Love that last sentence!

        • Pete George 1.3.2.2

          “They’ve extended their policy to wanting to negotiate for gender-balance in their cabinet positions in any coalition government too, and again, nobody batted an eyelid.”

          Wanting to is one thing, but perhaps no one realistically expects they can dictate what sort of Labour MPs and possibly NZ First MPs can be a part of a Cabinet.

          If Labour named their Cabinet MPs, and NZ First named their cabinet MPs, would the Greens ensure gender balance by only putting forward female MPs if that was needed for overall?

          Or do they simply mean they will negotiate to supply a balance in their own MPs?

          • Matthew Whitehead 1.3.2.2.1

            Your last sentence is accurate. The Greens will, as part of their coalition negotiations, ask that any cabinet appointees from their own party be for equal numbers of men and women, at least assuming they get an even number of positions. (I expect they will ask for an extra woman if they get an odd number, but they may leave it up to the discretion of the Labour Party)

            • Kevin 1.3.2.2.1.1

              But I suspect PG already knew that.

              • Probably, he’s a long-established troll who’s great at misreading posts, but the issue is that if you don’t address him, someone else comes along and thinks he has a point somehow, so then you’re stuck arguing with someone whose opinion actually matters, so unless he gets moderated it’s better to reply.

    • AB 1.4

      In general, balance is the best way of ensuring competence.

      But it’s not really selection based on competence anyway – competence doesn’t come into it. It’s really about sharing the same worldview, set of beliefs, networks and habits of mind. People with power select people who comfortably reflect back their own way of thinking.

      And in any case I don’t think the addition of right-wing women to a cabinet of right-wing men benefits humanity in any way. I’m old enough to find right-wing women even more appalling than right-wing men – some old-fashioned, residual belief that women are intrinsically more human and nurturing and less inclined to sociopathic beliefs

      • garibaldi 1.4.1

        Quite agree AB, their caring, nurturing instincts seem to go out the window. It’s the same in Real Estate. Male agents tend to be less backstabbing than the female agents.

  2. Key says doing as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done would be “a stupid idea”. I thought he was glad-eyeing Trudeau. Stunned Mullet comes out in solidarity with Key, his “man”, against the idea of having more women in decision making positions – will wonders never cease? Where’s James? Pucky? BM? The rest of the old boys crew? Is there a game on?

    • Cinny 2.1

      Maybe all cabinets should have an equal balance of men and women regardless of the government in power… now that would be interesting.

      I’d be pissed off to be offered a job based on gender rather than talent, mind you i’ve been turned down for jobs based on gender, and that’s pissed me off too. It’s a complex subject,

      However, if there was a rule to say there must be gender balance within cabinet, that would be rather awesome. Gosh there are some talented intelligent women on the left, looking forward to next year when they will be in government.

    • Stunned Mullet 2.2

      Robert – I don’t know where you get the idea that my comment was ‘in solidarity with Key’.

      I was making what I thought was a rather obvious observation that most people would expect Ministerial positions in government to be filled with the most competent person for the job regardless of who that person might be, it is just a shame that the pickings amongst the MPs are not what might be considered competent outside of parliament.

      • Sorry, Stunned, I lumped you in with the obvious crew. I think that if there was an expectation that the balance would be equal or close to it, the downstream effect would mean that the gender balance would level early on and this debate would be unnecessary. Knowing that males will dominate the top roles will have effects on women considering the path to the top. Key’s comments cement an unbalanced view, such as might be held by people other than your good Stunned self.

        • wellfedweta 2.2.1.1

          Key’s comments promote a meritocracy, where women and men compete on a level playing field for cabinet positions. Of the current Ministers, 10 out of 25 (40%) are women. Women don’t need quota’s.

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.2.1.1.1

            Women don’t want to have to rely on quotas. They want to be getting around 50% of leadership positions because people realise that women actually are talented, and that their experiences are relevant to senior positions.

            But the upside of parties enforcing quotas is that it instills those values in the party, creates a culture where women are viewed that way, and then later on you can just lift the quota because some cabinets will have a lot more than 50% women, so it becomes okay when other cabinets have less.

            • wellfedweta 2.2.1.1.1.1

              “But the upside of parties enforcing quotas is that it instills those values in the party, creates a culture where women are viewed that way…”

              Or, it makes people question which women are there on merit, and which are not.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Just as we know for a fact that the white men certainly aren’t there on merit.

                • wellfedweta

                  That doesn’t address my point. Quota’s result in people being in positions for reasons other than merit. That leads to people questioning the ability of those who are there on merit.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Quota’s result in people being in positions for reasons other than merit.

                    Do they?

                    I know that’s a common line that people who oppose such measures trot out ad nauseam. Is it true, though?

                    Certainly it’s true of the current situation, where people get advanced beyond their abilities on the grounds of being white and male.

                    Whereas if we look at the Green Party, perhaps you can give me an example of an MP or list member who isn’t there on merit.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “Do they?”

                      Yes.

                      “…where people get advanced beyond their abilities on the grounds of being white and male.”

                      You’re living in another century.

                      “Whereas if we look at the Green Party, perhaps you can give me an example of an MP or list member who isn’t there on merit.”

                      Is that a rhetorical question?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Whereas right now, the favouring (cf. R vs. Bartlett) of men over women achieves precisely the same outcome.

                    • wellfedweta

                      Favouring any person over another in selection for reasons other than merit is wrong. Quotas don’t fix that, they simply replace one error with another.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      That doesn’t follow: we already have a problem – privilege is a crutch for the incompetent (don’t tell me you haven’t met any). Quotas reduce the problem.

              • Do you question if any of the female Green MPs are there on merit? Because I guarantee you Green supporters disagree. Every woman on that list is qualified to be in Parliament. The only “advantage” they get is that the list alternates between women and men, because the Greens believe women deserve to be in Parliament in equal numbers.

                Do you question if any of the male MPs from the National Party earned their list positions on merit? If not, why not? Because I think it’s obvious that the examples I gave earlier have not earned their list positions. (Hell, arguably some of them shouldn’t even be Ministers at all) Why is it okay for men to be in positions they haven’t earned but somehow a quota is unacceptable? Because what this indicates to me is you believe that women somehow posess less then half of the talent and experience in the world. And that’s simply not true. Women are just as likely to be talented and have valuable life experiences as men, it’s just a matter of whether we recognise it or not.

                • wellfedweta

                  Again, your bias to preventing you making an objective assessment. If you cannot see the shortcomings of, say Materia Turei, I can’t help you.

                  “Why is it okay for men to be in positions they haven’t earned…”

                  It isn’t.

                  “Because what this indicates to me is you believe that women somehow posess less then half of the talent and experience in the world. ”

                  No. I just don’t believe women need quota’s. And I don’t believe we need gender balance for the sake of feeling good.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    *Metiria.

                    You’re missing the point. Women don’t need quotas: we will have a better representational democracy when Parliament is genuinely representative.

                    It’s not for women, it’s for everyone. Even the poor mollycoddled white men will have to become stronger once they aren’t leaning on that crutch of privilege any more.

                    • wellfedweta

                      ‘Everyone’? So you do agree with quota’s for gender, sexuality, ethnicity, culture….?

                      And there is no white male privilege….it is an invention of failed middle aged liberals. But neither should there be. People achieve on merit, not quota’s. We don;t need them.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    …failed middle aged liberals…

                    …and the Supreme Court. Get over it.

                    PS: seriously: you can offer advice about quotas when you’ve learnt to spell it.

                    • wellfedweta

                      Which Supreme Court? Which case? Which quota’s?

                      On one hand you say women don’t need quota’s, on the other you advocate them. Which is it?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Quotas: the plural of quota is quotas. Not quota’s: the apostrophe denotes possession.

                      R vs. Kristine Bartlett.

                      In fact, I said we all need them, which you might have picked up on if you weren’t still learning English.

                      I can sense this disability of yours will impel you to ask “why (we all need them)?”, despite the fact I’ve already explained why. Please make an effort to grasp the argument before asking the question.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “R vs. Kristine Bartlett.”

                      What does that case have to say about quota’s? That’s right, nothing.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      It speaks to male privilege. If you think quotas (please note the grammar) aren’t part of that conversation that’s* your crutch.

                      Lean on it.

                      *literally, the crutch of you.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “It speaks to male privilege.”

                      But nothing about quota’s.

                  • Firstly, there’s no apostrophe in the plural “quotas.” (“Quota’s” means “of or pertaining to a quota”) If you’re going to keep talking about them, you might as well stop punctuating the word incorrectly.

                    Meyt isn’t some sort of superwoman with no flaws, sure, but as someone who was a successful corporate lawyer, and given her record in Parliament, I would put her up against, say, Judith Collins any day, given they have similar experience pre-Parliament, and similar levels of ambition within their parties. (Meyt is a co-leader, Collins wants to take over from Key when he walks) The Greens lost some things and gained others when Jeannette retired and Meyt won the selection to replace her. Overall I think she’s grown into the role very well, and I actually view her as the stronger half of the leadership team currently.

                    Gender balance isn’t for the sake of feeling good. The fact is, different decisions (better, in my view) get made once you start including women around the table and giving them the opportunity to have their voices heard, as women largely have different life experiences and therefore different approaches and perspectives to men. For example, most new trends in city planning come from focused work around serving the needs of women, because they’ve found that doing so makes the design better for everyone else, too. It’s not about feeling good about ourselves, it’s actually about realising that different people are different, and that there are valuable perspectives to be had by having a diverse leadership team that actually make your team better when compared to an equally qualified team that was made up of, for example, almost exclusively white men, it just requires a bit more willingness to get used to having different people in the seats.

                    The fact is, you don’t actually seem to acknowledge that quotas come with benefits as well as possible downsides. I agree in the long run, quotas or other forms of affirmative action aren’t a permanent solution and should be repealed when they’ve done their work. But they’ve proven very valuable as a short-term measure to help us solve other problems that are easier to solve with women in leadership positions, (because often it takes a woman to figure out the inequalities women suffer in a system) and I look forward to the day when it’s a matter that’s not for debate that on average we expect all of our leadership positions to be roughly evenly distributed between men and women, and it just happens as part of good organisational practice, because that will indicate we’ve solved a lot of the structural problems that made quotas a practical solution.

                    • wellfedweta

                      Quotas (there we are FIFY) and affirmative action achieve nothing, other than to make white middle class liberals feel better.

                      As to Metiria Turei, the best thing I can say is to point you to this video http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/video/46833, in which she demonstrated she knew nothing about the current tenancy laws in NZ. MT has repeatedly shown her unsuitability for her position, and is perhaps the best argument yet that the Greens form of quota (where there MUST be both a male and female leader) simply promotes people above their level of incompetence.

                    • Actually Meyt doesn’t demonstrate any lack of understanding of the law, as 42-day notices on property sales are absolutely a thing. (see https://tenancy.govt.nz/ending-a-tenancy/change-of-landlord-or-tenant/sale-of-a-house/) Paula Bennet is trying to shift the debate by saying that most eviction notices are 90 days, (which is entirely possible as the law only gives you three grounds for a 42-day notice) and intention to sell has to be notified, then a sale has to be ready to go ahead before a 42-day notice is given, but Meyt is concerned that even with the notice of intent to sell, that 42 days can be too short, as a notice that the landlord intends to sell the property could go nowhere sometimes, so it’s a little difficult to gauge for tenants if they actually need to be looking for alternative accomodation or not as of the initial notice, and they get zero advance warning if the landlord or their family actually wants to occupy their rented property, it’s 42 days then they’re out.

                      What that exchange shows, if anything, is the relative importance of property rights vs stability of living situation for renters for each party.

                      Paula Bennet doesn’t actually manage to contradict a single thing Metiria is asking about, so I’m not sure how you consider this incompetence. Rather, it just illustrates the difficulties of trying to communicate complex concerns in a format that requires brief questions and doesn’t really allow for statements from the Opposition. It’s very difficult to avoid these kind of “dismissals using context” that Paula is using here in question time, as often the sorts of complicated formulations needed to side-step them either make the question too long, prompting the speaker to intervene, or they bring up quirks of standing orders that allow the minister to dodge the question in a different way. (such as addressing one part of a two-part question and not specifying which part they addressed) Granted, I’m sure Labour ministers have used this against National Party questions, too.

                      I’m done arguing with you about the merits of quotas, which you clearly are making no attempts to understand. They are a tool, like any other, and useful in certain situations.

      • Except in any workplace with reasonable HR practices women are just as likely to be talented as men, if they’re given the opportunities.

        National doesn’t have enough talented women because they don’t put enough women on their list, they don’t put the women high enough on their list, and they don’t mentor the women they have in Parliament to be leaders, so we end up with Paratas and Tolleys far more often than we get Nikki Kayes or Katherine Richs, who as much as you disagree with them, actually do know how to hit the broad side of a barn in a debate, and actually have some basic understanding of policy, which as far as I’m concerned overqualifies them for a National Party cabinet.

        You pick the most talented people for cabinet, sure. But if you’ve picked your party list and electorate candidates right, you should have more options than you have positions. You should be able to worry about things like gender parity, and who gets roles they want rather than just roles they’re needed in. Anyone who’s in the core of the party should be already qualified for cabinet or being groomed for cabinet. It’s okay to have first-term MPs around that aren’t ready yet, but anyone you’re keeping around after their first go should have the talent to get there if they respond well to their mentors. We have enough talent in NZ to have a 120 member parliament, in my opinion, (even though National and Labour are both picking wrong) so we have enough talent to have 60 women in parliament, and half of cabinet be women.

        • wellfedweta 2.2.2.1

          Your premise about National’s list is based on your misconception that quota’s are best. It’s circular reasoning. Merit in list selection will lead to merit in Caucus and Cabinet. And as my other posts prove, National currently has a higher proportion of women in cabinet that either the last Labour cabinet or the current Labour caucus. So, you’re just plain wrong.

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.2.2.1.1

            I don’t think quotas are best. (edit: in fact, I explicitly argued against a particular quota in my latest blog) I think quotas are a way to address the intangibles (or at least, less obvious factors) that bias decisions until the institutional culture has been re-trained to view women as something approaching genuinely equal. I’m open to alternative measures that work, for instance one thing I support to advocate gender equality is public disclose of average pay gaps by various organisations, to create upward pressure on women’s wages to generate good PR. That doesn’t rely on quotas or affirmative action at all, it relies on public shaming, and is a solution that a capitalist would love. 🙂

            As for National, it doesn’t select its list on merit. If it did, it would let the members have an indicative vote on the list, and publish the differences between the final list and the vote. But let’s look at the 2014 list. Simon Bridges, a seat filler who can’t keep his portfolios straight, is listed in the position above Nikki Kaye, who even the opposition respect and is widely regarded as the most competent woman in Cabinet. Murray McCully is ranked higher than Amy Adams, and although they’re both arguably bad, at least Amy isn’t a waste of space whose scandals are a drag on the Government. Chester Borrows is a freaking deputy Speaker and is being convicted from running over the feet of protestors, when Louise Upston is ranked lower and debates better, even if she’s not exactly stellar. (And note that I got to three specific examples without even resorting to Sam Loto-Iiga, who’s even worse than Melissa Lee, so bonus comparison for you)

            And despite all of this, we have wastes of space like Parata ranked as if she’s a heavyweight ready for a senior portfolio, and scandal magnets who couldn’t win a liberal vote if they showed up dressed in drag like Collins lined up as a potential successor to Key.

            Women in general are too rare, and too low on National’s list, and the ones they do rank highly are terrible MPs who are drags on the party there for tokenism or because they prevent factional war. Talented women interested in politics, one of whom I know personally, have left the party after being placed in unwinnable positions on the list.

            • wellfedweta 2.2.2.1.1.1

              ” If it did, it would let the members have an indicative vote on the list, and publish the differences between the final list and the vote.”

              Your assuming ‘merit’ is better determined by one group more than another. Unless you can substantiate that claim, that argument is a fallacy.

              The rest of your argumentation is based on your own prejudices, not actual facts. And you haven’t addressed my point that 40% of Nationals Ministers are women. The evidence shows National to promote women in a higher rate than Labour. Fact.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                You haven’t explained why you think the fact that National are doing better on this front than Labour (assuming that they are – I can’t be bothered checking your sums) means your opinion of quotas is correct.

                Right now, the situation – backed up by evidence and at least one high court ruling, is that certain people are being advantaged by either positive discrimination in their favour, or that others are being discriminated against.

                Since you’re so concerned about perception, perhaps you can explain why it’s fair to white males that they are tarred with this privileged brush. Can’t compete on a level playing field or something? Whaddarya?

                • wellfedweta

                  “You haven’t explained why you think the fact that National are doing better on this front than Labour (assuming that they are – I can’t be bothered checking your sums) means your opinion of quotas is correct.”

                  Let me help.

                  National promote on merit. More women in ministerial positions.
                  Labour promote on genital configuration. Less women in ministerial positions.

                  Women don’t need quota’s.

                  “… perhaps you can explain why it’s fair to white males that they are tarred with this privileged brush.”

                  Yes, I have pondered this. It seems to be a naive view of the world by social justice warriors who are seriously detached from reality. I tend to ignore them.

              • Uh, yes? By definition if merit is any measurable quality, the ability to perceive it will differ.

                The reason I say holding at least an indicative vote on the ordering of their list is an excellent way to establish merit is because for an MP, the easiest way to measure their merit is their appeal to voters, and party members are voters you know are going to be voters for your party, so you know they will have an incentive to be honest in evaluating your MPs.

                The list I have of Cabinet has 7 women out of 20 cabinet members, but we can call that 40% if you like. 40% is 10% too low. That is all I really need to say on the fact that National have a few female ministers in its cabinet, but I’m sure you’ll want details.

                During the fifth Labour Government, there were 28 total cabinet-level ministers (although a couple of them were technically outside cabinet due to being from minor parties) 8 of them were women. (or 28.5%) While this was too low as well, Labour has finally acknowledged that equal gender representation in their party is necessary, and I expect their next cabinet to be much more equal.

                By the same method of counting, 10/31 of the members of cabinet during the fifth National government are women. That would be 32.25%. (the number is lower than current women serving in cabinet because by this method of counting, women have been moved around between cabinet positions, but the overall number hasn’t exactly increased over time, and the men are in positions that change more often, inflating their share of the total. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a list of Clark’s various cabinets so had to look at all her cabinet-level ministers instead) While this is better, it’s also eight years later, so it’s what I would expect given the progress of time. National haven’t taken any particular additional effort to include more women in their caucus and mentor them to be ready for the front benches, they’ve just been careful to promote the women they already have, in some cases arguably because of tokenism.

                It’s also reasonable to point out that Clark was the first woman elected as Prime Minister, and was already facing criticism that her government was dominated by feminists and lesbians early into her term, and of “social engineering.” She had to be careful not to stoke that perception too much while still making progress. In contrast, when Key appoints more women than Clark does, because the sexists are already on his side, they don’t feel worried, especially as they know a man is still in charge, but because he’s also the first man to hold the office after our first two women Prime Ministers, he’s expected to have made some progress, so he’s dragged literally any woman he can (and arguably, at least three he shouldn’t) into Cabinet to make it look like he’s being progressive, despite the fact that he can’t get many into his actual party.

                • wellfedweta

                  “…party members are voters you know are going to be voters for your party, so you know they will have an incentive to be honest in evaluating your MPs.”

                  Party, members may know nothing about a candidate. Look at the unmitigated disaster Labour’s leadership selection is.

                  “40% is 10% too low.”

                  Says who? What is the objective basis for such a claim?

                  “The list I have of Cabinet has 7 women out of 20 cabinet members, but we can call that 40% if you like.”

                  There are three ministers outside of cabinet. 2 are women.

                  Your last paragraph is a hilarious attempt at self justification. Clark was an excellent PM in many respects, but you might want to consider why during her tenure the proportion of female cabinet ministers actually declined.

                  • Labour’s leadership selection was not a disaster. It was caucus rebelling against a legitimate leader that caused the disaster, which is unsurprising as Labour members have little say on who becomes part of caucus.

                    Party members are the best equipped to judge candidates of all the practical options. If you leave it to party officials, frequently the ordering will reflect the MPs that please the party organisation rather than MPs that are popular with the public or effective as MPs, as we see with the National Party list. (which you still refuse to defend) If you let anyone who wants to vote have a say, then potentially members of other parties will try to “sabotage” your list by voting for the worst MPs. If you want to have any sort of indicative list vote in a closed list system, it realistically has to be restricted to members.

                    The objective basis for why 40% of cabinet being women is 10% too low is based on the principle of representative democracy, which is supposed to be one of the philosophies behind our government. The idea is that Parliament should, on average, roughly resemble the people in its demographics and ideologies. Given our population is roughly 50.1% women and 49.9% men, you would actually expect the average to skew slightly female on that principle, but it’s reasonable to just say let’s make things even.

                    If you want to count ministers outside of cabinet, we should be talking about 40% of ministers rather than 40% of cabinet, but that’s no problem. I compared cabinets to cabinets because I couldn’t find data on ministers outside cabinet for the fifth Labour government.

                    As for who says we should gender-balance cabinets- why exactly do you think this idea of gender-balance in politics keeps coming up? The answer is because people are asking for it,

                    I don’t need to justify Labour’s choices because I’m not actually a Labour supporter, I support the Greens, who have been for equal representation from the word go. I talked about it because you brought up the perpetual “but what about Labour eight years ago?” objection. The issue with that is that support for equal gender representation has been growing over time, so it isn’t a fair comparison. If I compared the fifth Labour government to the fourth National one, I expect the gender gap there would be quite noticeable as well. That’s not “self-justification.” It’s putting events in context, so please stop it with your childish ad-hominem attacks on my credibility. You’re supposed to play the ball, not the player. 😉

                    • wellfedweta

                      “Party members are the best equipped to judge candidates of all the practical options.”

                      I disagree. Most members will have little or no knowledge of the candidates. Although that may not be true of Labour, who have only a handful of members.

                      “Labour’s leadership selection was not a disaster.”

                      It was and it is. Labour currently have a leader who was spurned by the vast majority of his own Caucus. He is a union puppet, who will never get Labour elected into government.

                      “The objective basis for why 40% of cabinet being women is 10% too low is based on the principle of representative democracy”

                      So, there should be not only gender quota’s but race quota’s, sexuality quota’s, culture quota’s, religion quota’s…
                      You also make the assumption a man cannot represent a woman, a woman a man, a gay man a straight man….which is bs.

                      “The answer is because people are asking for it,”

                      No, they’re not. A small number in a single focus echo chamber may be, but the general population are more sensible.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @wellfedweta

                      You make the mistake of confusing representation with experience: diversity of experience is where it counts when it comes to representational democracy.

                      The Supreme Court is not an echo chamber: men (especially white men) are bludging off the system, wrapped in cotton wool, mollycoddled, welfare dependent: whatever other smears you righties love to fling about whenever you discriminate against people.

                      Please learn to spell the plural of quota.

                    • Well this Weta seems to be stuck on repeat and more interested in bashing Labour than discussing the issue, so I’m done with it. 😉

                      His problem is one of grammar, not of spelling, doesn’t realise that you’re not supposed to use apostrophes for plurals. 😉

    • james 2.3

      Im here – I agree with Key – its a stupid idea.

  3. Cinny 3

    It should always be the best person for the job. However there really aren’t that many competent women in the outgoing government. There’s your answer 🙂 And why are women reluctant to join the National Party? Maybe because competent women aren’t stupid.

    Outgoing PM will be shutting down the subject because his gender balance is way way out easier not to talk about it than acknowledge it

    • Gosman 3.1

      Please let you be someone who helps develop a campaign position for a let wing political party. I would so love it to see the left fight the next election with gender being prominent in their policy settings.

    • james 3.2

      “It should always be the best person for the job.” – So you agree with Key ? because that is in effect what he is saying – and not Andrew Little who leads a party who has a plan for 50% women in cacaus despite them being the best person for the job or not?

    • wellfedweta 3.3

      40% of the current Ministers are women. In the last Labour Cabinet, only 3 out of 15 (20%) were women.

      With the ‘man-ban’, in today’s Labours Caucus, 12 out of 31 (39%) are women.

      So despite the ‘quota’, Labour’s own caucus is less gender equal that Nationals Ministers.

  4. Rosemary McDonald 4

    When it comes to ‘stupid ideas’, Our Leader is an expert.

    And Idiot Savant is soooo right about poor old Sam Lotu IIga….the man is just so….unsuited….for any ministerial responsibility.

  5. framu 5

    “appointments are made on talent, not gender”

    strangely enough – they can be made on both.

    Much like minority places at uni, you still need to be qualified for the role, with gender becoming just another aspect that gets considered

    • Or you know, you accept as a given that women are likely to be talented at similar rates to men given the same life experiences, and put programs in place to aggressively mentor women (and anyone else who’s under-represented, like queer people, or Māori, or Asian New Zealanders, and so on) who have the innate talents needed so that they’re able to contest the relevant leadership positions.

      • framu 5.1.1

        that too – or rather, that first

        Just pointing out that the idea of seeking gender balance doesnt negate a requirement for talent.

        more speaking to the “hired on merit alone” argument than anything else

        • Yeah, the issue is that when internal promotions are an option for a vacancy, that’s when you should have been thinking about this diversity mentoring stuff for months or years in advance. Just looking at who merits a position at the time of hiring is shallow stuff, especially in a political party where there’s a reasonable expectation that each internal faction should be grooming its own young(er) talent for prime positions in the party, as you know you have a “workforce” that’s likely to stay locked in for three years at a time.

      • wellfedweta 5.1.2

        Why? Why are the groups you mention so entitled?

        • They’re not entitled. They’re equal, and they’re talented, and they work hard, and they have the social skills needed, just like white men, so you would expect that over time (I understand changing cultures can take a few years to get results, that’s OK) their representation in leadership positions, both in government and private sectors, would approach a representative average. (for women, that’s 50%. For others, the hard numbers are a little more difficult to agree on, but they should still have a say and be represented fairly)

          It’s people who look like me (but probably aren’t bi) who are entitled. We think it’s okay that men get two-thirds of leadership positions. We think it’s okay that government and the private sector leadership is siginificantly whiter than it should be. I disagree with that. I want to know when someone says I’m talented, or important, or listens to me, that I’ve actually earned it, and it’s not because they’re thinking in terms of structural racism, or sexism, or heteronormativity, assuming they don’t know I’m queer.

  6. Nick 6

    I question the word ‘talent’…shonkeys greatest talent is lying

    • garibaldi 6.1

      I question the theory that it should be the best person for the job. If that is the case how come we have such a crap Cabinet? !

  7. james 7

    Labour promised a gender quota of at least 50% women for 2017.

    Wonder if they are still on track for that:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9357211/Labours-gender-quota-gets-go-ahead

    At the moment – they are running quite a lot lower at the moment – will be interesting to see how they meet their commitment.

    • Gosman 7.1

      I suspect the selection of the candidate for Hutt South was influenced by their genda quota (even if just subconsciously). Their selection was certainly the choice of Labour HQ. Not that the new candidate stands much of a chance of victory.

    • Gosman 7.2

      I suspect the selection of the candidate for Hutt South was influenced by their gender quota (even if just subconsciously). Their selection was certainly the choice of Labour HQ. Not that the new candidate stands much of a chance of victory.

    • To be fair Labour has a harder job of things than the Greens because they have electorate MPs, which means you have to kick some men out of safe Labour seats in order to approach the desired quota.

      Labour has bigger problems than gender parity though, they still haven’t managed to make a coherent ideology known to the public, they’re more defined by what they’re against than what they’re for.

      • Zid 7.3.1

        Oh so true

      • james 7.3.2

        Yep – just read their rules:

        “The Moderating Committee must, in determining the list, ensure that for any percentage of the Party Vote likely to be obtained, and taking into account the electorate MPs likely to be elected with that level of Labour support, the resultant Caucus will comprise at least 50% women.”

        So is it right – or even a good idea that some candidates in safe seats may have to be replaced, or other very capable males on the list being dropped down – simply because Labour MUST ensure that caucus is at least 50% women?

        Is that ensuring that the best person gets the job?

        • Oh, it’s absolutely right that men lose safe seats to women. That part I have no problem with.

          What I don’t trust Labour to do is to eject the right ones from safe electorates, and replace them with effective women who actually deserve a safe seat, like Louisa Wall. Mallard, for instance, should be much lower on the party list AND running in a competitive electorate, so that we know he’s actually out there campaigning for the list vote and inpiring non-voters into Labour’s camp. A unifying and Labour-specific political philosophy and message should be agreed on, and caucus members who can’t get behind it should either quit or fight it out in competitive electorates to prove their message resonates better than the one the party chose.

          Doing it right, of course, will cause divisions within caucus. It might risk another rebellion like what Cunliffe incurred. But honestly, it’s overdue, and it’s causing these races to be close, rather than simply ousting key in a landslide, so for the medium term, it’s a political strategy move, not just a rejuvenation one. They could even throw a few women out the door if they’re a drag on the party and replace them with new faces. Annette King comes to mind, she should have been mentoring a replacement or two for a few terms now.

          The other thing they could do is hold a vote for their members and affiliates on their list, and base selections loosely around that vote. That ensures accountability for list MPs, and helps identify new talent that core supporters actually believe in. They’ve already conceded they have to give members a say on the leader, so why not the party list too?

      • alwyn 7.3.3

        “you have to kick some men out of safe Labour seats”

        Just what are these “safe Labour seats” you are talking about?
        I had a brief look at the results in some of the Labour seats held by men. It isn’t terribly scientific because I only looked at seats I knew were held by Labour male MPs and I only looked at those in the first part of the alphabet.

        Looking at Dunedin North, Hutt South, Mana, Mt Albert, Mt Roskill, Napier and New Lynn I see that in every one of these electorates a male Labour MP won the seat but that in every case National got a larger Party vote than did Labour.
        Are these “safe Labour seats” or did a Labour candidate win the seat because he was a better candidate?
        In seats like Mangere a Labour man won the seat and the Labour Party beat National in the party vote but that seat is about as likely to be won by National as Labour is to beat Key in Helensville.

        If you replaced all of the candidates with a Labour woman, obviously a new candidate in the electorate, would they win, or would the electorate seat go to the National Party?
        Just what do you mean by a “safe Labour seat” anyway?

        • james 7.3.3.1

          Alwyn,

          Indeed you are correct – and my way of wording was – well – pretty confusing to say the least.

          You are 100% – that is down to an effective MP as opposed to being a safe labour seat (I was meaning more safe for labour – because of the MP if you get my drift).

          So to counter this – there will have to be more women on the list and higher – and men lower.

          Using the 50% in the last election even Andrew Little would not have gotten in on his list position. (according to kiwiyouknowwhat).

          Question – if Andrew Little fails to win a seat (again), and there needs to be x women at the top of the list to make the 50% – what gets changed – does Andrew go down the list to ensure the 50% gender balance as per the rules – or does he get a free pass based on his position and being the best person to be the Labour leader?

        • 2014 is an interesting year for evaluating safe seats because of the ABC rebellion during the campaign where they tanked the Party Vote. It’s also worth noting that you can’t compare straight labour-national in party votes in determining safe seats as there is a high incidence of vote-splitting among all the minor parties, and that seats get “safer” or more “dangerous” depending on who’s viewed as having political momentum, hence why a lot more Auckland electorates were in contention under this Government than have been previously. Arguably a reasonable comparison would be some sort of average between the current Labour/National candidate splits and the Labour Party Vote + Green Party Vote – Green Candidate Vote vs National Party Vote.

          The great thing about the electorate vote is that you don’t lose a seat for Labour if you lose an electorate. You can put a young star into Hutt South or one of the previously safe Auckland seats while putting them low on the list, and see what happens. You could also use it to test public perception on a backbencher who could be a potential frontbencher, like Louisa Wall, and say: “You need to get within 5% of our previous incumbent’s result here to prove you can campaign like a front-bencher,” or something similar.

          Remember, Georgina Beyer did great in a very rural and highly conservative part of the country as well, so you can reasonably put some women into the competitive seats and they’ll manage to win them despite expectations of sexism if they’re actually good politicians. Men will vote for women by a pretty good margin if they know how to fight.

          • alwyn 7.3.3.2.1

            “You need to get within 5% of our previous incumbent’s result here to prove you can campaign like a front-bencher”.
            Well, if that rule had been in place there would be one Andrew Little who would never have made it into Parliament.
            Rather a good thing for New Zealand, what?

            • Matthew Whitehead 7.3.3.2.1.1

              Yeah can’t say I disagree with more methods for the public to hold candidates accountable.

              Not that I view electorates as being the only or even best way of achieving that, but high-stakes electorate contests are better than leaving good candidates too low on the list, or cutting them off from the front benches despite being obviously superior to many of the party “leaders.”

              And yes, Andrew Little isn’t a particularly good leader. The thing is, as Key has proven, you don’t particularly need to be a leader to be an effective Prime Minister, you just need to be responsive to your party and to the country as a whole. A fast follower with their own bottom lines isn’t too much worse than a leader.

  8. james 8

    I wonder what poll results / estimates they will use to look at the percentage of party vote?

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