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Old boys’ club

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, August 1st, 2008 - 46 comments
Categories: same old national - Tags:

John Key: “We don’t have enough women in our caucus, so we’ve had to start cross-dressing” (Press, June 9, 2007)

He’s not wrong there:

46 comments on “Old boys’ club”

  1. Scribe 1

    Labour: 31 men, 18 women. Not exactly equitable, Steve.

    NZ First: 6 men, 1 woman.

    And do you really want to go down the “cross-dressing” line of discussion?

  2. Scribe 2

    Oh, and the Nats have 13 female MPs, not 12, regardless of what you little picture says.

  3. Felix 3

    Yeah and they even have a little Asian one at the front, so that proves they’re not racist either.

  4. Nedyah Hsan 4

    Not racist, but definitely not inclusive. Wong is stuck on the side of the core group, almost like an afterthought.

  5. monkey-boy 5

    What is the ratio of male/female of those who post articles on The Standard Steve?

  6. Anita 6

    I’d be fascinated by analysis of gender, ethnicity and religion across all the parties. While sexual orientation would be interesting too I suspect it would devolve into a rumour and innuendo session pretty quickly 🙁

  7. yl 7

    it is all fine to say that national have got 12 (13? a reference would be nice) women and Labour have 18, but the important part is to look at the power that the women hold in the party.

    I think that old boys club is well justified looking at the front bench.

  8. vto 8

    SP, yesterday you said this …

    “Now, you offer an objective argument that having a male PM is better for rugby than having a female one (note: you’re not arguing specific males or females, you’re arguing between genders). If you can’t but you assume it’s true anyway and so argue that we should have any male instead of any female as PM, then, by definition you’re a bigot a bigot holds a prejudice against a group of people in spite of a lack of supporting evidence.”

    So following your own words, simply having any females as opposed to any males means you are a bigot. By your very own words SP you are a bigot.

    Unless you were simply talking shit when you said that yesterday. So, either talking shit or a bigot.

  9. Matthew Pilott 9

    vto, there are legitimate arguments (supporting evidence, shall I say) for representation of females in our parliament. Y’know, representation and all that PC nonsense?

    Leave the long bow at home next time.

  10. Anita 10


    National have 13 (Katrina Shanks replaced Don Brash after this photo was taken). The list of MPs is here.

    If you’re doing the comparison remember Steve Chadwick is a woman, it’s an easy mistake to make with a list of names.

  11. djp 11

    black/white, woman/man.. who cares.. vote for who does the best job

  12. Higherstandard 12

    Shouldn’t competence be the issue rather than gender – personally it doesn’t worry me at all who we employ as MPs as long as they do a good job.

    The assumption that men or women aren’t capable of representing those of the opposite gender just as capably as someone of the same gender I find somewhat absurd.

    edit – DJP beat me to it

  13. Anita 13


    If Parliament/the National Party caucus/the Labour party caucus was truly representative we’d expect to have roughly equivalent proportions for gender, ethnicity, and so on, as we find in the rest of the population.

    If the proportion is not roughly equivalent there are two possible causes:

    1) Randomness (I feel a reference to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead coming on).

    2) Some kind of selection bias.

    I’m going for some kind of selection bias in the cases of Parliament, Labour and National. Are you arguing it’s randomness?

    Do you think that analysis of representation is bigotry?

  14. yl 14


    dont really want to open a can of worms here, but your comment only works if black, white, woman, and man are viewed and treated equally, and they are not.

    I am still optimistic that one day in the future maybe, but not just yet. There is still are too many prejudices out there regarding minorities.

  15. Scribe 15


    While sexual orientation would be interesting too I suspect it would devolve into a rumour and innuendo session pretty quickly

    Well, all we can say on that score is that Labour is grossly over-represented in its Caucus based on the known homosexuals and lesbians (at least five).

    black/white, woman/man.. who cares.. vote for who does the best job

    Now that’s a novel idea djp.

  16. Anita 16


    black/white, woman/man.. who cares.. vote for who does the best job

    So, are you arguing that fact that the proportions are consistently far from the proportions in NZ as a whole is randomness?

    Or that it’s selection bias but that it doesn’t matter?

  17. vto 17

    MP, it aint no long bow. SP said it not me.

    But I agree with you in that.. Men representing mens issues (example – that quietly but heavily dissed in certain halls matter of rugby). Women representing women issues. No problem. It is SP that seems to have the problem, namely consistency and hence credibility, in that he had a real problem with the idea that one of the country’s major sport and cultural icons, which is heavily male dominated, could be assisted by having a male in leadership. Which is completely contrary to this post of his concerning women being assisted by having women in leadership, namely within the nat caucus.

  18. Ben R 18


    “I think that old boys club is well justified looking at
    the front bench.”

    Excerpt from Tim Ellis’ comment yesterday:

    “National has two women on the front bench of ten, Anita: Judith Collins and Anne Tolley. Labour also only has two women on the front bench of ten: Helen Clark and Annette King.

    I could make a cheap shot and ask what value Judith Tizard, Sue Moroney, Lynne Pillay, Jill Pettis and Lesley Soper bring to Labour’s caucus. They’re never going to be front-benchers are they? Actually, I suppose even saying that is a cheap shot, but I will live with it.”

    All of the new women candidates National has selected for this election have the potential to become front-benchers. Will they become front-benchers? Potentially. Only time will tell.”

  19. BeShakey 19

    Scribe – At the risk of confirming Antia’s worries, I think ‘known’ is the key word there. Personally I’d rather have out MPs than ones who feel the urge to hide it.

    Surely the most overrepresented group in parliament are lawyers? My view is that we want some degree of diversity, without necessarily going for proportionality. Despite a few stand-out performers, I think parliament is underrepresented on the moron front, that suits me. Also underrepresented on the poor single parent front – I think some of them would help, but what exactly would you do to achieve it?

  20. vto 20

    beshakey “what exactly would you do to achieve it?” more referendums. Let the people decide, directly, many many many more things. Put trust in your fellow manwoman.

  21. monkey-boy 21

    This really is becoming tedious. I’ve noticed there is a tendency here to ‘examine the splinter in soemone else’s eye, and ignore the rafter in your own’.
    By this I mean – The ‘workers’ party and its allies have been in power since 1999 haven’t they?.
    I have yet to encounter any provisions for even the basic womens needs in many of the bastions of progressiveness ie – creches.
    Helen Clark herself is on record as having foregone the priviledge of having kids for her career, yet, has done very little to my mind to empower women further to engage in the workplace and have their kids close by.
    Or if a woman works for a strongly unionised environment as well, what incentives for in-work provison are they? SImilarly, How many educational institutions that promote ‘gender issues’ but have no creche available.
    So in short, it’s a cheap shot again, to accuse one party of institutionalised sexism, but ignore how it may occur under the actaul government of the past decade.
    Teach me otherwise.

  22. Anita 22


    To risk repeating myself, but to make the point that you’re overgeneralising.

    I said in this thread that I believe both Labour and National have selection bias which leads to lower representation by women.

    I have said in another recent thread that I believe the labour movement struggles with gender pay equity issues.

    I have said publicly that the current government has not advanced the equity of women in NZ as far or as fast as I believe they should have.

    That said…

    I believe the current government has advanced equity further than the previous government.

    I believe that electing the current Key-led National Party into power would make less progress toward equity than another term of the current government.

    I also believe that the current Key-led National Party shows signs that, at least in some issues, they would make decisions that lead to the rights of women going backwards.

    This is not an endorsement of the current government, I have enormous problems with some of the things they have and haven’t done. It is, however, an expression of my fears for what a change of government would mean for women.

  23. This into the Bat Cave from a wet Cat Woman – I suppose it’s not much better than the Labour Old Girls’ Club, who are nothing more than [if you want bigotry, vote John Key, don’t write that kind of stuff on our blog. SP]

  24. Those of you saying ‘whoever is best for the job should be chosen’ are correct – but consider these two things – a women’s point of view is a valuable quality to have when you’re making polcies that affect a population that is 50% female and when you’re often making policy directed specifically at women… 2, given that there’s no reason to think men are inherently better at MPs than women, shouldn’t the ratio of men to women be close to even? even Key concedes National is male-dominated..

    vto. I’m not arguing that it would be better to have any female as a Nat MP than any male… Im saying, given that women and men are just as suitable for the role, you’ve got to have question when the gender split is so uneven.

  25. Matthew Pilott 25

    vto, if Key was running for Graham Henry’s job you might just have a leg to stand on, but no, you don’t, because he’s not.

    monkey-boy, just because you’re thoroughly (and, I suspect, willfully) blind to advances for women over the last few years (think breastfeeding, paid parental leave, even WfF), don’t expect others to run about finding evidence for you! Why parade your ignorance?

  26. lprent 26

    Hah – going sort of off the topic here… But there is a discrimination topic more immediately relevant..

    Human discrimination!

    Why are the right so hypocritical about humanness? from 08wire.

    Someone has actually done a micro example of the code I want to write to emulate the more stupid trolls

  27. vto 27

    ok ok. I disagree a little but there you go. sometimes I step out further in my posts than the point where I actually sit, so as to tease out and push a little, the thoughts expressed. Gotta go – the weekend beckons and there are flooded streets to row the dingy down. Til next time.

  28. insider 28

    But Steve the point is , you are making an issue out of this for National alone, yet Labour (the governing party) have very similar ratios. So why is it a big deal for one and not the other? That just shows it;s a purely partisan dog whistle, another mindless attack for the sake of attack. As a blog supportive of Labour shouldn;t you be more concerned about their imbalance, or even have mentioned it?

    I suspect the reasons for the imbalance across all parties is similar to that across the economy – women tend to have different priorities primarily family, so don’t tend to want to make the sacrifices required for senior political or business roles. I wouldn’t either.

    However, look at most committees actually doing things in our society – voluntary social welfare groups, schools, sports – and I expect you will see the situation reversed.

  29. Sorry Old Boy SP,my bad, and what race and number is that horse
    “bigotry” running in? I want to put a ten each way thank you MADam.It’s a big ol try to win on a rain affected lake or track.Anyway conditions are well suited up for the pollie Mallard Duck so watch out for the biff in the corridor.. Quack off m8!

  30. insider. Labour has 50% more female MPs (13 v 18) and nearly the same total number (48 v 49).

    monkey-boy. People come and go, but I count 8 writers in the last month of which 4 are female. As far as I’m aware, that makes us the political blog with easily the most female contribution, apart from the feminist blogs.

  31. Oh no, I am surrounded by standard females. Well I can tell you I am rather irate about owing Crown Law thousands after I brought unlawful discrimination ( male gender) proceedings against government agencies that claim to act in the best interests of the child. The HRRT struck me out, fobbed me and had the audacity too extort me for making a claim against the various breaches of my basic human rights….not to mention my children….blah…. blah….

  32. Ben R 32

    “insider. Labour has 50% more female MPs (13 v 18) and nearly the same total number (48 v 49).”

    Or 27% vs 36.7% of the total respectively.

  33. Higherstandard 33

    Perhaps not as many women run for selection as MPs in political parties ?

    This would be proof positive that they are the more intelligent sex.

  34. Ben R 34

    “insider. Labour has 50% more female MPs (13 v 18) and nearly the same total number (48 v 49).”

    Or you could say 36.7% of Labour MP’s are female compared to 27% of National.

  35. Jimbo 35

    Good stuff Scribe, Labour does win on the open homosexual front but from working at Parliament I’ve got a fair idea that there are a few gay guys in the National caucus. I’m not going to name them, this isn’t KiwiBlog after all, but you may be wrong in claiming that Labour wins in the gay MP stakes

  36. insider 36

    But Steve et al, the point was not that some parties are better balnced than others (and the implied superiority), but that any imbalance was not a good thing. To quote SP:

    “Im saying, given that women and men are just as suitable for the role, you’ve got to have question when the gender split is so uneven.”

    So we get back to the question, why is the question asked for National but not for Labour?

    I know DPF did some analysis of the possible MPs after the election. I wonder what would happen then. Which raises the point that the balance is somewhat influenced by you and me and other voters.

    PS If you think 18 is 50% more than 13, you need some help wiht your mathematics.

  37. Anita 37


    I know DPF did some analysis of the possible MPs after the election. I wonder what would happen then. Which raises the point that the balance is somewhat influenced by you and me and other voters.

    I just did a quick count. Of the 66 known National candidates only 15 are women. That is 24% – a lower proportion than they currently have in their caucus.

    Until the list comes out we can’t know – but it doesn’t look any better than the current state of affairs, possibly worse.

  38. Scribe 38


    Scribe, Labour does win on the open homosexual front but from working at Parliament I’ve got a fair idea that there are a few gay guys in the National caucus. I’m not going to name them, this isn’t KiwiBlog after all, but you may be wrong in claiming that Labour wins in the gay MP stakes

    I’m not saying there aren’t homosexuals in the National caucus, but I think it’s safe to say they wouldn’t outnumber Labour’s 5+

  39. Felix 39

    5 homosexuals in Labour’s caucus doesn’t sound out of proportion to society. How many in Labour’s caucus? 49? 50?

    So about 10 percent – could be on the conservative side if anything but certainly within the ballpark.

    Strange thing to complain about really – Do you have an ideal number in mind?

  40. QoT 40

    And of course just “electing who’s best for the job” is a wonderful concept if you’re willing to ignore the huge influence of education, healthcare, and socio-economic position on who gets to become “best” for the job. Rich white heterosexual abled men in power forever, wot wot?

  41. Scribe 41


    Steve was the one who starting talking about quotas. And no, I don’t have an ideal number of homosexuals in mind.

    If there were only those five, would 10% be consistent with statistics? I thought the percentage was much lower than that.

  42. Anita 42


    If there were only those five, would 10% be consistent with statistics? I thought the percentage was much lower than that

    The stats are wildly variable and appear to correlate with the researcher’s political views. 10% is quite a common figure, as is 15%, as is 1%.

    If we’re going to completely derail this thread, any chance we could derail it onto finding me a gingernut recipe that works? The one in my Edmonds is Not Good.

  43. Scribe 43

    Well, that’s what you get for making gingernuts. Chocolate chippies any day of the week, Anita.

  44. Felix 44

    Found this the other day while looking for a malai kofta recipe:

    supposed gingernut recipe

    It may be of some use to you – I haven’t tried it but the first line about golden syrup cracked me up 🙂

  45. How sexist are you Steve?

    Why does gender or race matter?

    Perhaps National pick the best people and they weren’t thinking, “Well we better have a certain number of woman/Maori/Asians/ gays, etc etc etec.

    When you start picking on race, then you are racist.

    So National has a bunch of white men as their MP’s, do you have a problem with that?

  46. Felix 46

    So National has a bunch of white men as their MP’s, do you have a problem with that?

    I don’t have a problem with that. Parties can run any candidates they like.

    But if I were a National Party strategist I might be wondering if there are large sections of the population who do have a problem with it.

    (And maybe they don’t – just saying…)

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