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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;


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

          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

          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

            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

              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

          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

            Still obsessed with lesbians, I see.

            • 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.”

              [ 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

                    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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  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    6 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    6 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    7 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    7 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago