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The Sexing of Politics

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, March 30th, 2013 - 59 comments
Categories: Conservation, energy, john key, Judith Collins, national/act government, newspapers - Tags: , , ,

Fran O’Sullivan is most usually a fan of John Key, except she can show how she thinks Judith Collins does it better. In today’s column, O’Sullivan argues that, Key’s ministers are using dubious tactics in dealing with Rio Tinto over Tiwai Point:

The problem is Key’s Cabinet ministers – particularly State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall – have become so captive to the Budget forecasts which Finance Minister Bill English wants to make good on when he unveils the next major numbers in Parliament on May 16, that they are prepared to sacrifice the integrity of the State-Owned Enterprises model for short-term gain. Cabinet ministers are not supposed to bypass an SOE board when it comes to negotiations between the company and its customers. Yet Ryall – without even a blush – has done just that.

On top of this, O’Sullivan argues that Key has lost his edge in the negotiations with Rio Tinto, and suggests an alternative:

If they had strong guts they should simply call Rio Tinto’s bluff (as Key originally signalled would be the case). If the aluminium company walks away the price of electricity will come down (no bad thing) and Meridian will have the potential to market renewable power to attract other energy-hungry international users like data centres instead of a company which just adds to our carbon emissions profile.

However, in critiquing Key, O’Sullivan can’t resist the attention-getting ploy of drawing on the mainstream style of sexing politics.  In so doing she equates sharp, savvy and successful  deal-making in business and politics with masculine dominance and prowess.  Her column begins:

John Key earned himself a fabulous reputation as one of the “big swinging dicks” of the international foreign exchange business. But in going toe-to-toe with Rio Tinto over the Tiwai Point smelter electricity negotiations, all the signs are his Government is about to be screwed by a major player with plenty of form in the tough world of international brinkmanship. Cruel observers of this political game would probably say it’s just another example of the “swinging dick to limp dick” syndrome which afflicts too many business people when they enter national politics.

That kind of thinking also spills over into Judith (Crusher) Collins style, who does a slightly feminised version of macho bullying. This is in keeping with many studies of gender in politics, which show that it is a dilemma for women as political leaders because they need to portray feminine characteristics, while embodying the dominant (masculine) ideals of leadership.  For instance, in Women and Politics: The Pursuit of equality (2012) by Lynn E Ford (pp 192-3) women politicians in the US tend to be more into consensus building and collaborative approach as politicians and leaders.  In contrast, men tend to be

strong, directive and oriented to power and control. (p.193)

O’Sullivan collaborates with such sexing of political leadership styles, right to the end of today’s column. She finishes saying:

Meridian’s board has not been cut into the Government’s secret negotiations with Rio Tinto’s representatives. The Meridian directors include some tough players: chairman Chris Moller formerly chaired the NZRU for five years and also chairs NZ Cricket; Mark Cairns runs a tight ship at Port of Tauranga and Jan Dawson, formerly head of KPMG, and Ballantyne’s chief executive Mary Devine weren’t brought down in the last shower. So far, they are remaining a cone of silence. They should simply resign – as they have been neutered.

Ultimately this does no favours for women inside and outside politics.  It creates a major challenge for those who don’t want to play the macho game;

men,

Green MP Gareth Hughes sleeps rough to highlight homelessness

Green MP Gareth Hughes sleeps rough to highlight homelessness

Mana Party president Annette Sykes

Mana Party president Annette Sykes

women ,

 

 

 

 

 

 

those who cross traditional boundaries a sex and gender

Ex-Labour MP Georgina Beyer

Ex-Labour MP Georgina Beyer

and all those who want to contribute to a more collaborative, nurturing and inclusive society.

59 comments on “The Sexing of Politics”

  1. geoff 1

    “…Rio Tinto’s bluff…”
    That’s about right.

  2. handle 2

    When politicians describe themselves in macho terms, it is not surprising for a mainstream newspaper critique to echo that. Inclusive, nurturing languge is unlikely to bring full-of-themselves men down a peg or two.

    • karol 2.1

      It’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing. And it’s wider than politics and the MSM. The qualities that have traditionally been attributed to good leaders tend to be based in the qualities associated with masculinity.

      MSM journalists have a tendency to draw uncritically on such values/qualities.

  3. Crusher’s a real woman. So is John Key.

  4. mac1 4

    Ex-Labour MP Georgina Beyer. Has Georgina Beyer left the Labour party? Or is she the former Labour MP or is she a Labour former MP or is she the ex-MP for Labour?

    There is a difference, and it’s why we must be very careful with that precious taonga, language.

  5. QoT 5

    One especially has to love the way O’Sullivan puts quotes around “big swinging dicks” so she can simultaneously use the scary!!! edgy!!! sexualised!!! language!!! but not actually take ownership of it because hey, she’s totally quoting someone else.

    • Tigger 5.1

      My thought too. She gets to be ‘dirty’ by quoting the deniable ‘they’. Fran’s mouth would never have ‘dick’ in it…

      Great piece Karol. Would love more from you on gender and politics.

  6. Populuxe1 6

    Now imagining Helen Clark and Jenny Shipley having a cry on each other’s shoulder because Fran Wilde’s use of a childish cliche may, if deconstructed to death, imply one needs a penis for politics. Also imagining Georgina Beyer rolling her eyes at the idea that a silly phrase or two in a Fran O’Sullivan column could have in any way inhibited her amazing political achievements any more than her actual hard knocks life and marginalised status as a transgender woman failed to. I wonder how Gareth Hughes feels about apparently not being “macho”, whatever that actually means any more? Has the empowerment and equality of women finally reached a point where we can shift attention to picking apart stupid colloqualisms as if they suggested anything more significant than that Fran O’Sullivan can’t write? If so, glorious utopian day!

    That politics and language is rife with culturalised gender bias is hardly a surprise revelation, but moaning about Fran O’Sullivan noting that the Old Boys Club is a pack of dicks isn’t very high on my list of things that need fixing. Pay equality would be, or perhaps official condemnation of the treatment of women in countries where rape victims get stoned to death for not screaming loudly enough.

    [RL: Edited to correct Fran’s name.]

    • Populuxe1 6.1

      Oops, that will teach me to be working on two things at once. My apologies. All Frans referred to should be Fran O’Sullivan. Good thing I wasn’t watching The Nanny.

    • karol 6.2

      Under NAct watch, we have seen a backlash against women with and without power: for instance against single mothers on benefits and women in politics. The backlash against women in politics began with the right attacking Clark via her sex and sexuality. There are similar moves in the Aus MSM and politics to use Gillard’s sex and sexuality as part of the way to undermine her.

      I could have picked several male Green MPs. Green MPs generally don’t participate strongly in macho political game playing and aim more for engagement and co-operative approaches.

  7. ianmac 7

    Solid Energy: Key/Joyce/Ryall blamed the Management for the Solid Energy SOE failure problem. Clearly they restated their alleged helplessness as politicians could only advise. Not their fault!

    Meridian: Key/Joyce/Ryall deal directly with Rio Tinto bypassing the Management of Meridian SOE.

    Surely this is such a glaringly hypocritical position by Key/Joyce/Ryall and is a huge crime which completely contradicts their Solid Energy position.

  8. Pete 8

    From Urban Dictionary:

    1. the financial industry’s term for a rainmaker; a Wall Street executive who brings in enormous amounts of money for the firm, possibly because he has just screwed a customer.

    An expression made famous by Michael Lewis in Liar’s Poker, published in 1989.

    2. a mover and shaker in any organization

    Calling some one a dick is an insult.
    Calling some one a big dick is a bigger insult.
    Calling some one a big swinging dick is a term of respect.

    Not a nickname for a large gorilla named Richard.
    But Dick Perle didn’t want to be a mere influence peddler. He wanted to be a businessman, a venture capitalist, a Big Swinging Dick.

  9. fender 9

    A Justice Minister with a gun and weapons fetish is way less than ideal IMO.

  10. xtasy 10

    This “big swinging dicks” comment raised my eyebrows.

    Yes, Fran has been a convinced Key fan for years now, but reading this piece in the NZ Herald online today left my jaw sink rather low in total astonishment, almost shock.

    I could not work out what she was suggesting. So she was earlier all for selling and part privatising the SOEs in question, now she gets all upset about Rile (I think he is also known as “Ryall” by the way) and Key directly interfering in negotiations between a “hated” SOE (as no business should be run by the state, ahem) and the local part of Rio Tinto, to “rescue” the operational survival value of Meridian, which is supposed to be part SOLD also.

    Yes, it raises questions, for sure, but what is Fran throwing around a fuss about this now? Is she getting all worried about the “PURITY” of “market operations” being interfered with? Or is she now really not rather shit scared about the so much fanfared “asset sale plan” now likely to fall to bits???

    There is a touch of hysteria in her column piece. And then going on on “swinging dicks” and “limp dicks”, I was wondering, has she perhaps been “missing out” too much on some “fulfilling” actions herself recently? Surely, this is language I never heard from her before. Happy women do not moan about “limpness” of certain male body parts.

    And then she concluded the board of Meridian have been “neutered” and should resign. The reason is supposed to be that Key and Rile have interfered into SOE negotiations, but perhaps the reason is another, perhaps just “limp dicks”???

    It is time for Fran to take a walk on the wild side, to check out the exciting offerings on K-Road in Auckland, perhaps, or to explore many other services on the internet. There is ample stuff to get her fixed, if she has some lack of something. Fran, take a walk on the wild side, perhaps?

    • karol 10.1

      Or O’Sullivan buys into the way our culture attributes traditional masculine qualities to good leadership. And she has decide Key is on a downward slide and is moving to switch her allegiance to Collins (as indicated by her fan-girl rave about Collin’s toughness in the Dec 2012 article that I linked to in my post).

    • karol 10.2

      xtasy, I also think it’s not helpful to bring O’Sullivan’s imagined sex life into the issue – it’s getting into ad hominem territory.

      The issues are all about how O’Sullivan embraces the dominant intersecting discourses on leadership and sex/gender/sexuality. It is most evident in the Collins’ article that, for her, the best female party leader/PM, is one that has “tough” masculine qualities.

      js below: was pondering my reply.

      • just saying 10.2.1

        I struggle to imagine the response at 10, to the same piece written by a male columnist.

        Karol – I’m often in awe of your equanimity in difficult terrain.

        • xtasy 10.2.1.1

          I blame it on Fran O’Sullivan, using bizarre descriptors and words, which I never expected to come from a leading journalist in her position.

          So it may in part have been over the top and distasteful what I commented, but I found O’Sullivan’s article rather distasteful, hence my comment at a lower standard level.

  11. The Al1en 11

    Wish this was a caption contest topic.

    Drew Barrymore in Charlie’s Angels 24 – Granny get your gun.

  12. tc 12

    Can’t have the ‘value’ in MRP moving through market forces now can we, or because the hand picked SOE’S board may do its job properly. CEO bins hasn’t even done a year there.

    they are now rubbing the noses of their own core supporters (boards and c-level) in it as they are so desperate to keep up the charade that flogging power generators is a great idea.

    Even o’shillivan is wagging her finger….bit late now Franny, too little way to late go and have a cry with all your other NACT fan club members at granny. It’s a big enough club. Can’t even call it for what it is, power abuse and hypocrasy but dress it up a gender issue. Weak and dishonest journalism.

  13. Ad 13

    Both O’Sullivan and this post confuses gender with political force. Fran definitely has a problem that she wants the Government to do something, anything, but this time it isn’t the flimsy and glamorous film industry. She is simply aghast watching this government’s moral hazards move quickly into full on highway smash.

    This time it’s the moving parts of three major forces colliding: one of the top ten largest companies in the world, one of the largest electricity companies in New Zealand and its grid supply to the whole of New Zealand, the entire Southland economy, and a major public share float.

    Remember it was only this week Key promised to remove the old and never-used SOE protections for these companies over price and profit.

    Into the scenario we now all know Key’s SOE Minister Ryall decides to panic.

    John Key sure knows how to intervene and damn the moral hazards. But now he has rude choices in front of him:

    – Reverse his decision to intervene, let the commercial force return hard onto the contract between Rio Tinto and Meridian.
    First likely outcome: Rio Tinto breaks the contract, pays damages up front or ends up in Court and pays damages through a settlement.
    Second likely outcome: the global and local sharemarkets especially the Aussie one watching the Mighty River Power float have their faith restored that the NZGovernment’s promise to be just another shareholder, and not intervene as it could as an SOE. Same goes for those 400,00+ New Zealanders who just signed up and just felt the chill of government intervention roll over their forecast share price.
    Third likely outcome: within a year the aluminium plant folds, and with it goes any hope of sustaining the Southland economy, no plan for replacing it, hundreds of manufacturing jobs are exported fast, the Terms of Trade tilt down hard, etc. Sutch’s ghost turns in grave.
    Fourth likely outcome: a major regulatory test as the spot price goes nuts, probably no impact on retail prices at all as Huntly takes the load to the north for a while as Manapouri can’t redistribute easily to Auckland for years. etc etc

    – Or stay on the interventionist path. As ever, without a plan, a strategy, even a reason.
    First likely outcome: The global share markets mark down every public company, as this would be show globally to be an irrational interventionist government. The whole share sale process is destabilized.
    Second: Key outflanks Labour hard, by playing the economic development and regional security card.
    Third: Meridian Board and new CE resigns, as Fran suggests. This is far worse than Solid Energy. Far worse. That’s a reputational shiver though every golf club in New Zealand.
    Fourth, he puts 400,000 voters on notice that he will interfere with their proposed investments in his own float. OMG Key.
    Fifth, there’s no change to retail electricity price and the Electricity Commission goes nuts trying to explain it. Answer: market is retaining profit to make the massive required grid upgrades, and will take a decade to rebuild the grid to suit.

    I like governments who are prepared to intervene. Intervening is what leftie governments should do to secure jobs. There are so many posters on this site who beg for it, at scale. But intervention always begets moral hazard: which way will you be damned.
    But going into a massive moral hazard with no plan, again, is going to truly damage this government this time. Key’s clumsy commercial crash-through is damaging to all of us.

    So the above has nothing to do with Fran’s sexualisation of anything, it’s simply the shock at watching the force of the collisions unfold.

    • karol 13.1

      ad, you’ve have done a very good and thought-provoking analysis of Key’s options and O’Sullivan’s related comments on the issue. You make a very good point about Key’s double-bind: to intervene or not to intervene. And you also show up how Key is good at responding to problems quickly but not so good at long term planning – the qualities required of a finance trader/speculator, but not the qualities of a PM.

      Of course Key and the neoliberals have never been opposed to intervention to support the interests of banks big corporates etc. This double-bind exposes their hypocrisy about “the market will decide”.

      But politics and sex/gender are deeply interwoven with contemporary western political discourse, ideas about political “force” and political and commercial leadership. Your analysis does nothing to show that the two are not related.

    • alwyn 13.2

      You appear to have some illusions about the size of Rio-Tinto.
      You describe it as being “one of the top ten largest companies in the world”.
      According to the Fortune 500 list, which is generally regarded as reputable, it is actually number 153.
      It falls between China Southern Power Grid and A P Muller-Mursk Group, neither of which I suspect you have ever heard of. It was less than a quarter the size of the number 10 on the list.

      • Colonial Viper 13.2.1

        Yeah it would’ve been more accurate to call Rio Tinto the 2nd or 3rd biggest mining company in the world, by market cap.

        BHP being no.1

    • xtasy 13.3

      Ad: A rather good analysis, I’d say!

      This one could cost the Nats the narrow margin to keep up and ahead in the polls, once it all unfolds. Solid Energy delivered one major shock news, now this one, what is next?

      The gloss is coming off brand Key now, for sure, even amongst his business supporters and media fans.

  14. Ad 14

    How will analysis through a patriarchal filter help anyone here? There will be worse language spoken before this is played out. It’s one small tool of those available to all sides.

    You infer a book that says women are more consensus-building in politics. Haven’t seen it here so far. Maybe in an essentialist sense it’s true, maybe it isn’t. Maybe a feminine politics, as Ghandi said of Christianity, would be a good idea. Maybe. Maybe the Greens have a happier, fruitier way of dealing to Rio Tinto. I await their pleasure.

    But a feminine politics is somewhat hard to discern when there ain’t much feminine politics being demonstrated by Rio Tinto, or the New Zealand electricity grid, or indeed anyone in this great play right now. And ain’t likely to be. I would never deride a Derrida disciple, but right now being thrown by the language is to be spooked by a small explosion inside a cheap magic show.

    • karol 14.1

      It’s not an either all thing, ad. It’s a more complex situation than you are acknowledging.

      I selected one book that I could find links to relatively quickly. In the past I have read several peer reviewed articles on the way leadership, especially political leadership are gendered. And there’s also a lot of stuff about the tendencies for male and female politicians approach politics differently and to be treated differently by the media. It’s not a clear cut thing.

      O’Sullivan’s article points to ideas in many studies of PMs like Thatcher and Helen Clark, on the need to walk a fine line between presenting as feminine, and embracing masculine qualities. These things have real impacts on the way politics are conducted and social and economic life is organised.

      And I’ve never been much into Derrida. I have been more into looking at social research and real life experiences.

      But a feminine politics is somewhat hard to discern when there ain’t much feminine politics being demonstrated by Rio Tinto, or the New Zealand electricity grid, or indeed anyone in this great play right now. And ain’t likely to be.

      here you acknowledge the way politics and business deeply embraces masculinity within them, but then conclude that it’s the way it is and not worth commenting on.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        In the US one of the most important political polling attributes is to be seen as a “strong leader”. It is one of the best predictors of whether or not a nominee will win the Presidency. On the other hand you don’t want your nominee to be saddled with a “Mommy problem” where they are seen as caring and nurturing, but not as a “strong leader”.

        Now I don’t know how that breaks down between voters, and it will be different in NZ, but it is obvious that masculine/feminine balances are crucially important in politics and also within the same politician as you pointed out.

        Is it worth commenting on – by all means. Are you going to change what the electorate looks for as Prime Ministerial material (not just a backbench MP) through the conversation? That’s an interesting question.

        • karol 14.1.1.1

          Yes, I think the difference from NZ is that US governance is at the centre of more hard global power. I think in NZ the gendering is similar but more subtle.

          I have in the past read a lot of peer reviewed articles and some books on the topic, both referring to overseas and NZ. Yesterday I was looking for something that I could link to pretty quickly. I particularly was looking to read the latest article by Margie Comrie (and Karen Ross) on it, and couldn’t find a version requiring a paid subscription. In fact, there’s an open access link to it on her Uni web page.

          From the abstract:

          This article argues that despite journalistic claims of impartiality, a careful, multilayered analysis of print and broadcast news of a general election (New Zealand, 2008) and, more specifically, reportage about the leaders of the Labour Party (Helen Clark) and National Party (John Key) demonstrates clear bias against the long-serving (older female) incumbent in favour of the (younger male) challenger. This bias is manifest in several ways, including the visibility of the two leaders measured by column inches, their uses as quoted sources and the tone and tenor of reportage. Whilst we found few examples of explicitly sexist commentary, there were numerous ways in Clark’s personal attributes, including her sex and age, were slyly used to undermine her continued suitability for the top job.

          And there’s also her earlier version on the same topic.

          Does talking about it make a difference? Maybe not in the short term, but it is more likely int he long term. As is true of other highly crucial issues, like those of neoliberalism and soft neoliberalism.

          • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.1

            TV and media have a huge (I might even suggest irresistable) effect on shaping the national discourse. The Left’s inability (or lack of will?) in creating and supporting robust impartial public service broadcasting has been quite damaging.

            Creating TV7 and painting a target on it’s forehead for the Tories was not the way to go. Forcing TVNZ to be just another dividend paying commercially focussed SOE was short sighted.

            In a serious MSM Fran’s irrelevant gender biases would come under the microscope and she’d be forced to answer for her chosen framing, instead of just having it reflected around the MSM.

            • xtasy 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Yep, the media, the damned media in this country.

              From what I can judge, only Maori TV fits the description of public media, while FACE TV may be a kind of privately run version of independent media (by that will not last due to the deal with Sky TV).

              Forget the rest, especially print media and radio.

              Even Radio NZ is now reporting and broadcasting more and more along the Nat led government’s philosophy and agenda.

              The situation is ideal for the soft form of the Dictatorship of Aotearoa NZ we now have (ruled/controlled by an elite from big business, supporters from other important business-lobbies, right wing ideologues and strategists, senior career administrators and CEOs, and the facilitating National Party with their willing supporters and “enablers” like Dunne and Banks).

              All is set for more brainwashing, to perpetuate the crap we have, to make it last. Fewer and fewer are informed, and without informed voters, there is no true democracy.

  15. ianmac 15

    A bit ominous when Key says that he will not be supporting Rio Tinto in long term BUT short term help will be a good thing. Pragmatic or what?

  16. Helen Kelly 16

    Great post Karol.

  17. O’Sullivan argues that, Key’s ministers are using dubious tactics in dealing with Rio Tinto

    According to Dr Jay Gould, Rio Tinto Mines was formed for the House of Windsor in the late 1950’s.

    If true then dubious tactics are hardly unexpected given that Key & co. have sworn to serve Elizabeth Windsor.

  18. Green machine UpandComer 18

    It’s good to see those gender studies papers, a key pre-requisite of todays Labour member, are being put to good use.

    • One Tāne Huna 18.1

      It’s mind-numbingly tiresome to watch wingnuts criticise stuff they haven’t the first clue about.

      • QoT 18.1.1

        It’s kind of hilarious though how they treat university gender studies courses as this huge, scary mark on a person’s character which automatically designates them as craaaaaaaaaaaaazy.

        • kiwi_prometheus 18.1.1.1

          Gender studies courses are a hilarious joke:

          Herstory, Wymmins Studies, Feminist “Science”, Queer “Theory”.

          Lots of manhating and a high portion of lesbians involved.

          Totally ideologically driven.

          Nothing but pedantry, obscurantism and psuedo intellectual twaddle.

          And you lot wonder why you get called crazy?

          Or more importantly you lot wonder why the NZ public isn’t voting for your ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS gender politics.

          • QoT 18.1.1.1.1

            Still obsessed with lesbians, I see.

            • kiwi_prometheus 18.1.1.1.1.1

              Lesbian and Feminist founding mother Andrea Dworkin:

              “Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.”

              “Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice.”

              “In my own life, I don’t have intercourse. That is my choice.”

              [ if you look at pics of Andrea you can see it is not so much her choice as an inability to score even a blind drunk victim, lol ]

              Its very clear where Karol, QofT, Felix et al are coming from, hiding behind the pseudo intellectual pretension of “Post Modernism”, “Science Studies”, “Social Constructivism”.

              You won’t find QofT et al denying any of the above by the lesbian Andrea Dworkin, but they are careful not to repeat any of it to the general public for very obvious reasons.

              Imagine Shearer announcing on the 6pm news that” heterosexual marriage is rape culture!”.

              Feminists are destroying the Left.

              • McFlock

                So the only girlfriend you had, if only platonically, left you for a woman, didn’t she.

                • kiwi_prometheus

                  Lesbian and Feminist founding mother Andrea Dworkin:

                  “Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies.”

                  “Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice.”

                  “In my own life, I don’t have intercourse. That is my choice.”

                  Please explain your support for this, Flocky, and how it could help demolish Keys in the polls.

                  [karol: k-p, this comment is getting well away from the topic of my post, and seems to be just cherry picking some quotes from a radical feminist. You have made no attempt to apply your understanding of this to the topic. If you persist in diverting the discussions under my posts into areas of your own pre-occupation with feminism as you see it, I will be getting your comments moved to Open Mike]

                  • McFlock

                    Lol
                    Well, Prommy, even assuming none of those comments have been stripped of source or context, what is controversial about comment three? Surely dworkin’s celibacy is both her choice and completely irrelevant to nz politics?

                    I mean, seriously – how fucked in the head you must be to consider dworkin’s sex life a matter of nz political interest.

  19. kiwi_prometheus 19

    Karol, you keep appealing to “peer reviewed studies”, but that means very little when the social “sciences” are infected with relativism/Marxism/Feminism.

    A social constructionist who presents a “study” to other social constructionists for “peer review” that concludes her political agenda eg Queer “Theory” is “true” is nothing but intellectual fraud.

    By the way Derrida is an intellectual fraud.

    [karol: k-p, this comment is getting well away from the substance of my post. You have made no attempt to apply your understanding of theory to the topic. If you persist in diverting the discussions under my posts into areas of your own pre-occupation with feminism as you see it, I will be getting your comments moved to Open Mike]

    • karol 19.1

      *sigh* Still tossing up umbrella labels, k_p with no argument of substance. I’d take the peer reviewed articles over the reviews of a miss mash of labels done only in your head.

      Where did my post say anything about Queer Theory. I’ve never been into the writings of Dworkin or Derrida. Where in Margie Comrie’s article that I linked to @10.59am 31st March do they incorporate the “political agenda” of queer theory?

      What in her articles is fraudulent? Please could you try to show you have even a little bit of a grasp of the substance that you refer to so superficially? The labels you toss out refer to a diverse range of ideas, research and methods done by researchers drawing on vastly different theories. You show little understanding of any of it.

      PS: You keep using “social constructionist” as a criticism. What are the actual theories, research and arguments that you have a problem with? Is society, (language, media, social/cultural institutions and practices, etc) not socially constructed? When investigating matter and the properties of physical matter, scientific methods are appropriate. When investigating the nuances of human behaviour, communication and social activities, we get into the realm of aspects of life that are socially constructed – like language, media etc – the methods to investigate these need to be appropriate.

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    Mt Albert MP David Shearer is being proposed for a demanding and exciting role heading the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “David has kept me fully informed about this opportunity and we are ...
    1 day ago
  • Karori Kids and Campbell Kindergarten must be saved
    The Minister of Education needs to show some leadership and secure the future of two not-for-profit early childhood education centres that could be faced with closure as the land they sit on is up for sale, Grant Robertson Labour MP ...
    1 day ago
  • Ministry reveals shocking charter school results
    NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated with documents revealing many students leaving school without basic NCEA level two qualifications despite this being a main educational target for the Government, says Labour Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Documents obtained ...
    1 day ago
  • Minister must protect MSD staff
      The Minister of Social Development should immediately implement safer work practices to ensure tragedies such as the Ashburton killings don’t happen again, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.   ...
    2 days ago
  • A vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National
    Comments made by the Māori Party leadership in the wake of John Key’s surprise resignation make one thing clear: a vote for them is a vote for a fourth term National Government, and the increasing inequality and poverty for Māori ...
    2 days ago
  • Collins and English split over police funding
    The bloodletting has already begun with splits and divisions emerging after the Police Minister knifed the Finance Minister via the media, says Labour Police spokesman Stuart Nash. ...
    2 days ago
  • Next Prime Minister must tackle foreign speculators
    The public rightly puts much of the blame for the housing bubble at the feet of foreign speculators, and the next Prime Minister must listen to their concerns, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ student performance slips in international study – again
    The continuing fall in Kiwi kids’ performance in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study shows the damage being inflicted by National’s cuts to education and one-size-fits-all approach, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “For years, National has ...
    2 days ago
  • CYF reforms dangerous backward step
    Child protection has taken a massive step backwards today with the Government passing a Bill that will give significant powers to unspecified ‘professionals’ or contract holders, says Labour’s Acting Children’s spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    3 days ago
  • Improve workplaces, and address domestic violence
    Last week the Productivity Commission put out a report about how to grow “weak labour productivity”. These views are being criticised as being straight out of the 1980s. What is a real problem is that we have a problem of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • Palm oil industry implicated in human rights abuses
    The Green Party has campaigned for several years for mandatory palm oil labeling to give consumers choice. Most consumers do not want to support a palm oil industry that is destroying tropical rainforests and contributing to dangerous climate change emissions. ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 days ago
  • Syphilis on the rise in NZ
    Cases of syphilis are increasing in Auckland. You read that right, syphilis!  RNZ reported today that rates of syphilis have increased by 71 percent (between 2013-2015). We have known about the increase in syphilis figures for a while, but nothing ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • We need to work smarter not longer
    The charade of this Government’s sound economic management is unraveling. Misleading GDP figures, pumped up by property speculation and high immigration, have given the impression that all is well, masking our continued productivity decline compared to OECD countries. In fact, ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    4 days ago
  • Statement on John Key’s resignation
    Labour Party Leader Andrew Little has acknowledged John Key’s contribution to Government.  “John Key has served New Zealand generously and with dedication. Although we may have had our policy differences over the years, I respect the Prime Minister’s decision to ...
    4 days ago
  • Positive plan secures victory
    The victory of Labour’s newest MP, Michael Wood, in Mt Roskill is the result of a well-organised campaign run with honesty and integrity, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “I congratulate Michael Wood on his great victory. He will be a ...
    6 days ago
  • Wave of support for Kiwibuild continues to grow
    Apartment builder Ockham Residential has become the latest voice to call for the government to build affordable homes for Kiwi families to buy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Helen O'Sullivan of Ockham has now joined prominent businesspeople like EMA ...
    7 days ago
  • Cuba Si Yankee No – Fidel Castro and the Revolution
    The death of Fidel Castro is a huge historical moment for the older generation who grew up with the toppling of Batista, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the death of Che Guevara and the US blockade against Cuba. For younger ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery
    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • ‘Exemplar’ Māori Land Court under siege
    TheMāori Land Court, hailed as an “exemplar” by the Ministry of Justice chief executive and Secretary, Andrew Bridgman is under siege by the Government through Māori land reforms and a Ministry restructure, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • He Poroporoaki ki a Te Awanuiārangi Black
    Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai. E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • CYF reforms ignoring whānau based solution
    When approximately 60 per cent of children in state care are Māori processes need to change in favour of whānau, hapū and iwi solutions, said Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “Widespread concern about Government reforms of Child Youth and ...
    1 week ago
  • Hip and knees surgery takes a tumble
    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    1 week ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    1 week ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    1 week ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    1 week ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    1 week ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    1 week ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    1 week ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    1 week ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    1 week ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 weeks ago