Why Labour Should Take Moroney’s Tip & Put This ‘Man-Ban’ Silliness To Bed

By   /   July 6, 2013  /   28 Comments

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The true test of whether a policy is right or wrong is to turn it on its head. For example, would it be right to exclude women from selection? Would it be right to exclude candidates on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation? No, of course not. Just as it is wrong for any entity to exclude people from employment or opportunity based on their gender.

Labour MP Sue Moroney.

Labour MP Sue Moroney.

While the ‘man-ban’ silliness consumes the national debate, Labour is forced to create some wiggle-room to edge its way back to ready-to-govern status. It did this this morning on TV3’s The Nation.

The Nation’s host Duncan Garner had a fabulous line up to debate all the angles: Chris Trotter, Martyn Bomber Bradbury, Jordan Williams and Labour’s own Sue Moroney.

It made for excellent telly. Every angle was covered, and even Jordan (who was the spokesperson for the anti-MMP campaign in 2011 alongside fiscal conservative strategist Simon Lusk) said: really, this week’s debate should have been whether the Prime Minister lied over knowing of Kim Dotcom earlier than he admitted to, and, if so, should John Key resign if found out to be a liar.

The face-palm question was: why did Labour “trip over its other foot” as Chris Trotter said, and allow Key to get off the hook once again? And, is Labour really match-fit and ready to own the ‘Cabinet In Waiting’ label when it allowed a weird party membership recommendation to dominate the mainstream media headlines yet again.

Firstly, on The Nation, Sue Moroney was a perfect representative for Labour. As a woman, Moroney argued rightly that Labour must ensure the proportion of women in its caucus reflects the percentage, role and contribution women hold in today’s contemporary society. I’m sure, that thousands of others couldn’t agree more.

Then, when pushed, she permitted Labour’s red-curtain to part enough to present a shimmer of light, just enough of a glimpse, to show a way out of this mess for her leader David Shearer and also her Party activists to resolve the ridiculousness of this man-ban move.

Moroney said in its current form, this recommendation to give LECs (Labour Electorate Committees) the right, on application, to exclude men from seeking candidate selection, would not make it. She indicated there were other ways the party could achieve its goal of equal gender proportionality without subscribing to the so called ‘man-ban’ method.

As Sue Moroney will have been well aware, and as Duncan Garner rightfully noted, this fiasco has drawn into question David Shearer’s ability to lead. Shearer is now centre-stage, where he will be judged on whether he is able to put to bed this recommendation from the Party’s activist-base… or not.

The activists have momentum on a principle that has merit, one of equality. But it is ill-thought out on how to achieve this. If the issue is not given strategic attention now, where it resolves through establishing common ground and progress, then the party is on course for a serious collision between political pragmatism and gender-specific idealism. Moroney is aware of this, and her suggestion that the recommendation in its current form is not likely to succeed is gold for David Shearer, and in a way for the well meaning members.

The Party should be thankful to Moroney for creating this wiggle-room. If some disagree then read on.

First, let’s deal with the activists’ ‘man-ban’ move.

With respect, it is ridiculous for these well-meaning members to play the gender-specific exclusion card at this stage in the political cycle.

As every caucus member will rightfully know, Labour, at this stage in the political game, must be ruthless in ensuring the Party, in the mind of the public, is seen as ready and match fit to govern.

Frankly, the revelations this week – that factions within the Party’s rank-and-file are pushing a controversial methodology to exclude some men from standing as electoral candidates – should have been thrashed out during its first term in opposition. Not now (in case it has escaped these members notice, Labour, rightfully or wrongly, is seen by hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders as the political vehicle of change).

In simple terms, this very public proposal is a head-scratcher. The move by Party activists smacks of idealism over political practicalities. If they do not agree with or understand this, then goodness me, they need to go home and have a very long sleep, as they are rather estranged from the contemporary thinking that shapes New Zealand’s public sphere.

Stuart-NashLet’s look at Napier as Labour’s first likely retake of a provincial seat.

I mean, let’s look at this hypothetically: Would this group prefer that a high-quality Labour candidate like Stu Nash be blocked by a LEC (Labour Electorate Committee) from having a shot at candidacy selection in Napier?

Surely, if there was a potential Labour woman candidate of equal political talents eyeing up that electorate then she would/should battle it out face-to-face with Stuart. If this person won the selection on the basis of merit, then I’m sure even Stu would tip his hat to his successor. If this challenger missed out by the skin of one’s teeth then, for goodness sake, the Party should compel this person to pitch for TukiTuki in an effort to remove National MP Craig Foss from that seat in 2014.

You can apply this logic also to Manurewa.

Louisa-WallIn my view, in an ideal world, south Auckland’s LECs would agree that Manurewa MP Louisa Wall is truly the political face of the region’s medium-term future.

As such, Labour MP Louisa Wall is a political rock-star and has demonstrated this year how much south Aucklanders have to offer this country through political leadership. Through Wall’s efforts and skills New Zealand has been upheld on a world stage once again on the strength of the morality of its argument. That is something we have not seen since south Auckland’s David Lange championed New Zealand’s right to establish nuclear free status on the basis of morality.

Louisa Wall’s politics, of non-gender specific equality, was embraced by members of all parties in the New Zealand Parliament on a principle of morality and fairness. As such, Wall’s policy became law and was noted all over the world for the merits of its moral ideal.

Wall’s politics was most probably founded on her experience as a woman who witnessed bigotry based on labels and a legal institution that prevented her from being able to marry the person she loved/loves. She got into Parliament, she challenged the status quo, and changed all that. But first, she achieved candidacy status by convincing the Manurewa LEC of her merit, of her conviction for equality, of her ability to truly represent the people in this electorate. The Manurewa LEC recognised her for these attributes and realised the electorate had changed in the past twenty years and required a representative that reflected this change, reflected the electorate’s culture. This LEC understood that Wall understood the issues confronting her people, and that Wall had solutions to address those challenges in essence to progress the life experience shared by her people, her electorate, and her country.

Wall achieved the right to run for Labour in Manurewa over a strong candidacy pitch by the EPMU’s Jerome Mika. Both lead candidates were unionists, both were strong. Both fought a solid fight, and Louisa Wall won, on her own merit.

Now to Manukau East.

Efeso Collins.

Efeso Collins.

The EPMU’s Jerome Mika is again positioning to campaign to become a Labour candidate. Again Mika’s strengths are comprehensive and compelling. But the LEC will have to consider whether Labour’s south Auckland representation needs balance. Should it give Mika (the trade unionist) a shot and position him as Manukau East’s Labour candidate in 2014, running under the Party’s banner next to his neighbour, former candidacy opponent, and fellow trade unionist Louisa Wall? Or, should it respect a call from within the electorate for local representation from the likes of Efeso Collins? Really, the Manukau East LEC should meet this conundrum head on, think strategically, and make its selection based on merit.

Let’s look at the merits of local candidacies.

Clearly, and I mean clearly, Efeso Collins would be a huge asset to Labour in this south Auckland electorate. Yes, the trade unions have impressive representation in Manurewa, the social conservative elements in south Auckland’s Pacific communities have established Labour representation in Mangere’s William Sio, and perhaps it would be strategically advantageous for Labour to position a strong voice from its local constituencies to compliment the south Auckland MPs it takes to Parliament in 2014. In other words Labour needs to cover all its bases.

Regarding Manukau East, yes it is a safe Labour seat, and yes it has been occupied by a former trade unionist Ross Robertson for three decades, but in my view it is time for Manukau East’s Parliamentary representative to truly reflect the electorate as it is today, not twenty years ago. And here there is a compelling case for the LEC to endorse an impressive and driven local candidate to represent its peoples.

Efeso Collins is with every molecule of his being a product of a proud Manukau. As such, he knows who he is, he knows the challenges facing his peoples – and he grew up in Manukau when that city held high its motto the ‘Face Of The Future’. In short, Efeso Collins is match-fit, he’s ready, and has gravitas, he has Mana.

If the Manukau East LEC heard Efeso Collins speak (without a filter of exclusion) it would hear a powerful message premised with the compelling logic of his contemporary experience. The LEC would hear how its electorate would also become relevant under a Labour brand in our Parliament. If only he was given a chance.

But should Manukau East’s LEC remain anchored, in part, to a methodology founded on exclusion, it risks slowly, by degrees, becoming guilty of eroding Labour’s chance of true representation.

No, the Party needs to honour the people who have put their trust in it for generations. These people need true representation now. It is important. Why? Because their opportunity to progress in life is currently being arrested by the abhorrent consequences of the National-led Government’s dogma of economic distribution. Efeso Collins knows this, he has seen it, lived it, experienced it. He knows the cause, the effect, and he knows the solutions that will deliver for his people, Manukau East’s people.

But back to the main point: Should Collins be excluded from candidacy based on his gender? Should he be excluded because he is not from within the trade union fold? Should he be excluded because his whanau originated from the Pacific Islands (Samoa and Tokelau)? No, Efeso Collins should be included as a candidacy contender on the basis of his work, his strength of character, on what he and his people have already achieved, judged on the natural constituencies he attracts, and considered for the communities he already represents. That is progressive politics, rather than the politics of exclusion. And, the Manukau East LEC would be strategically savvy to compliment south Auckland’s overall contribution to Parliamentary debate by giving a local candidate of this calibre a chance at selection.

That is the politics of progression. The politics of exclusion as proposed by the Party’s activist member base, is ill-thought out and is folly.

I totally agree that gender equality within Parliament, and certainly within the Party, is an essential if Labour is to truly represent contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand.

But while the purpose and intent of the Party’s activist faction is not wrong, the methodology is abhorrent.

I have always believed the true test of whether a policy is right or wrong is to turn it on its head. For example, would it be right if these activists pushed through a recommendation that LECs should have the right to exclude women from selection? Would it be right if an LEC was given the right to exclude candidates on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation? No, of course not. Just as it is wrong for any entity to exclude people from opportunity based on their gender.

As a brief aside: don’t we have laws in this country prohibiting such actions?

Fair and Right: Labour MP for Manurewa, Louisa Wall celebrates with MPs of all parties after the passing of the Marriage Equality Bill into law last night.

Left and Right: Labour MP for Manurewa, Louisa Wall celebrates with MPs of all parties after the passing of the Marriage Equality Bill into law.

Now I know some within the Labour Party will grow red with anger over reading the above rationale. I can hear the arguments stating that men have had too much power for too long, that white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males have ruled this country, excluding women, other races, creeds from reaching their potential let alone from having the ability to achieve what must be a wonderful thing: to represent one’s community in Parliament and to make a difference. I know, I know, and I agree. But there are other ways of achieving gender parity without losing the Party’s soul along the way. Look to Louisa Wall for an example of how to achieve this. Look to Helen Clark, Margaret Shields, Ruth Dyson, Margaret Wilson, Dame Cath Tizard; look outside the party frame to Chief Justice Sian Elias, former Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright.

Sure, all the above can reveal the institutional bias against women ascending high office. And I’m pretty sure all of the above achieved their work on the basis of merit, exposed the incompetency of the gender-specific-power elite through the persuasive argument that their intellect commanded. In some ways, to give these leaders a leg up into office through excluding others from having a shot would have been patronising.

Should Labour endorse the party activist recommendation to deploy a man-ban selection policy?

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For what it’s worth, my view is: No, Labour should not endorse this man-ban tactic. Rather it should continue to be a party that promotes equal opportunities in life, in employment, in social standing, as sacrosanct principles. And it should honour this ideal when reforming its candidacy selection process.

In conclusion: if this activist proposal becomes Labour Party selection policy, despite Sue Moroney’s skillful move to provide party leadership and membership a pathway forward to resolve their differences, then the Labour Party would have lost its right to uphold its long celebrated principle of equality and egalitarianism for all.

Let’s hope political sanity prevails.

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About the author

Selwyn Manning

Journalist and Commentator

28 Comments

  1. Nitrium says:

    With respect, it is rediculous for

    Horrendous typo, that we see all too often on forums.
    THE SHAME!

  2. Christ, Selwyn. From buying into media spin, to completely misunderstanding how parties work, to not bothering to check the actual state of New Zealand laws, to kidding yourself that “meritocracy” means anything other than “continuing to let the privileged have privilege”, I just don’t know where to start with this post.

    • Perhaps you could start by getting out of the beltway and into the electorates… Once there, far from the madding nonsense of political theory I challenge you to dip into political realities and consider the impact that naive well-meaning strategies have on a party’s brand and chance of winning votes. Once there you would see that real people, with real lives, are really struggling due to the realities of real exclusion. If you look you will see people who hope that a party such as Labour will win in 2014 (with the assistance of the Greens and perhaps Mana), again in the hope that ridding the Beehive of National’s boys will make a difference to their lives.

      Buying into media spin? Crap. I am reacting to the reality that such B.S. spin actually shapes a public opinion. It is that impact that parties in my view should be able to gauge. And when a proposed policy emerges from a membership base or elsewhere it is considered early on as being for-or-against the underlying principles upon which a party is founded and considered as to what impact it has on the party being able to advocate and bring about progressive change.

      And don’t bother with your anti-meritocracy tangent. If we adopt a view that progress is asserted through exclusion rather than appointment on merit, then I’m sorry you are deluding yourself. Again, save it for the beltway.

      And by privilege, on this issue it is fair to presume you mean male. I respect your agenda to rid this nation of gender bias, I actually agree that we must achieve this. But I argue that exclusion on the basis of gender only serves to institutionalise another form of imbalance as opposed to progressing equal opportunity.

      On the state of New Zealand’s actual laws… that’s why we have parties that occupy a constituency of egalitarianism and fairness in the hope they acquire a chance to legislate so as to address abuses of human rights (irrespective of gender).

      • karol scribe karol scribe says:

        I’m with QOT on this, and am pretty disappointed in your line here, Selwyn.

        For me your posts are must reads, and this is the first time I can recall disagreeing with one so much.

        Responding by giving a lecture on the struggles people are living with daily just adds to it.

        We can be fully aware of that (and of the way poverty is feminised), and still disagree with your post.

        You are buying into the MSM line by making it all about quotas, when this is just one possible way of dealing with gender imbalances. It has been done in many places. There are pros and cons that can be discussed. And there are alternatives that can be discussed.

        And there are issues about the diversionary way the right has promoted the remit to the MSM and the poor way that Shearer has dealt with it.

        But as for thinking a panel composed largely of men is a great one to look at all sides of the issue of gender (im)balance….. I’m staggered!

        • karol scribe karol scribe says:

          Sorry, correction, I should have said:

          You are buying into the MSM line by making it all about Man banning…

        • Karol, first off much respect to you and your writing. I have never read one of your pieces and left it in disagreement – this response included.

          Should I apologise for underlining the realities of inequality impacting on real people? No, and I never will. You me, everyone should be lecturing on this at every opportunity.

          I refute that I am buying into the MSM line by making it all about quotas. If this is the impression I have given then I have not articulated the purpose of this post satisfactorily.

          There are alternatives that can be discussed, and that is why I referenced Sue Moroney’s tactic today of paving the way for that debate to occur.

          And yes, the MSM had relished the opportunity to juxtaposition Shearer into the frame. But my argument is that the party and Shearer should have seen this coming.

          As to suggesting a panel composed “largely of men” is a “great one to look at all sides of the issue of gender”… where on earth did I suggest that? I have no idea why you would fathom or paraphrase that as a conclusion of what I have argued.

          But again, full respect to you and your work and I do realise if that’s what you came up with from reading my piece then it is me who is at fault of not writing it in a way that conveys my intention.

          • karol scribe karol scribe says:

            Thanks, Selwyn. Two things I majorly disagree with in your post:

            1. The bit captured at the top of the post, about the test being by turning things on their head. That’d be fine if we were in an equal society. However, where there is structural inequality, then sometimes there needs to be a structural correction. Are you also in disagreement with the Maori electoral role and Maori seats?

            2. The make up of The Nation panel (haven’t seen The Nation today – I was working). In your post you say:

            The Nation’s host Duncan Garner had a fabulous line up to debate all the angles: Chris Trotter, Martyn Bomber Bradbury, Jordan Williams and Labour’s own Sue Moroney.

            Unless there were others on the panel, I’m still staggered you haven’t noticed the gender imbalance.

            This is not a line up I would look to as the best to “debate all angles”. Now if there was a woman from the National Party (why are they being let off the hook when their caucus is very male heavy?), and/or a woman from, say, the Glen Innes housing protests, or a woman who is a solo parent on a benefit…

            I think the heat needs to be taken out of the MSM debate. It is one we can have along side some of the pressing issues that are current.

            My own view is that underlying gendered attitudes and culture are the biggest problem in politics. But I have no problem with seriously looking at whether a women-only candidate list was necessary in some electorates, without all the “shock”, “horror” theatrics.

            I think the idea of tackling gender-imbalance in the Labour caucus, goes back to the Labour Party Conference last year. In her speech, Judy McGregor suggested a few possible ways of tackling the under-representation of women. I did a post on that back then, and my views are still pretty similar.

            Actually, I slipped in to mixing quotas with the “man ban” earlier. Quotas are another possibility, that don’t go as far as women-only candidate lists.

            I also think there needs to be more diversity in the House in other aspects – more men and women from working class backgrounds, for instance.

            • Hi Karol, OK, this really helps me understand, so thanks.

              1. First, absolutely I agree with there being a real need for the Maori electoral role and Maori seats. My view is the electorates should be expanded not retracted. The fact that we co-exist in a bi-culturally founded nation, and the two parties to the Treaty do not share equality of representation suggests there is a long way to go before we can all stand up and claim we have honoured the Treaty. I wont ‘lecture’ here as I am sure you see where I am heading with this.

              And I agree totally that where an imbalance is institutionalised then corrective measures need to be used to overcome the imbalance, even overwhelm those who would block progressive change. I just do not buy into the exclusion methodology. My reasons for that go back to breaking a huge issue in the 1990s where Jenny Shipley as Minister of Health had established the core health services committee which developed and implemented exclusion criteria for those seeking renal dialysis treatment. The policy excluded people based on their health status, age, whether they had a history of mental illness, intellectual disability, were able to ‘enjoy’ the social benefits of the treatment, whether they had history of anti-social behaviour, criminal offences. The exclusion list went on. Ever since that awful realisation that the state had implemented this policy through stealth, I find the principles of exclusion destructive. And, in turn, I find the methodologies of inclusion fit with social provision and with progressive politics. Gender exclusion to me is a slippery slope. Once used to achieve a shared and agreed to goal, I question where it will end.

              2. Ok, right, yes now I see what you mean about the almost male panel. OK, yes I failed on that. You know, truthfully I didn’t see the panelists on The Nation as representing their gender, but rather the overlaying angles that this issue has draw upon itself. Perhaps that is because I am male – possibly, maybe. But I have to say that is how it is for me, I don’t see gender within a discourse environment.

              Yes, absolutely, you say: “My own view is that underlying gendered attitudes and culture are the biggest problem in politics.” Agreed. But, I think we are all better than having to resort to exclusions to achieve a realignment in this area.

              And yes, I agree with you on your final point that surely there is a way to have more people from working class backgrounds representing us in Parliament. Only wish it was possible. Just imagine if that was achieved and one, just one, irrespective of gender, achieved prime ministerial status.

        • marc says:

          Karol – having been to soooo many activities, pickets, protests over the last 2 years, I have had sympathy for you and others on your stand so often. Sadly, we are at a cross roads now, the Labour Party are dismembering themselves. I see their supporters almost nowhere. The people on the street walk past, they do not bother taking a stand and join pickets and protests for whatever right or maybe not so right cause. Activists are struggling, they are facing a death and non existence (not lastly due to goverment making it impossible for advocates also being activists getting funding to help the poor!).

          The public are apart of that simply also not interested in a party that is dominated with inside issues, with inside members bringing their personal agendas into play, and some approaches are reaching a level not understood by the public out here anymore!

          We have a Human Rights Act, against racial and other discrimination, we have the Bill of Rights Act, we have the EEO, we have many other laws and institutions supposed to ensure equal treatment here there and everywhere, under the law. Sadly some of this is not followed, we all know this, and that deserves action.

          But the proposal by the LEC is perhaps understandable in a sense, but it is to the public not a priority, certainly not now. That is the issue. The media have – like expected – grabbed the “man ban” story with full vigour, and they love such crap stories.

          It is all wrong, but it has got out of control, it has back fired, it will not work and will need to be dealt with accordingly at the conference end of year.

          Where are Labour’s real policy matters and goals???

          What about the economy, labour, social welfare, health, housing, environment, and the list can go on, what about it, we get zilch! The Greens at least have some things together, and they dealt with gender equality questions long ago, it is not a media issue for them.

          Labour is digging its own grave with indulging too much in this stuff at this time, while they should offer a true alternative to this rotten government, and they should have a damned leader that leads a caucus and party of members into a direction. We get NO direction, NO guidance, NO leadership, NO policies, we get side issues and infighting. Sick, sick, sick, I am sorry, why can you not see this and engage in same side issues here?

          This all follows the old guard being caught out at a Sky City entertainment box at Eden Park some weeks ago. What does Labour stand for?

      • If we adopt a view that progress is asserted through exclusion rather than appointment on merit, then I’m sorry you are deluding yourself.

        Dude, if you think appointments aren’t already being made based on exclusion in every single arena of life (and guess what: usually in favour of dudes like you), I can’t help you.

        • The Daily Blog Selwyn Manning says:

          “Dudes like you…” what exactly is a “dude like” me? Nice to see your politics of exclusion is matched by the politics of cheap shots and labels.

      • Kathy says:

        As someone from the provinces (Sth Island) I am sad you think we are all bigots. Given you work for the media in Auckland, do tell about your finger on the pulse of the heartland…

        • I think I will leave the heartland politics to you Kathy. After all, isn’t it your prerogative to argue that the cable be cut?

          As a person from south Auckland, thanks for the invite, but I feel more aligned to the cause-effect-solution politics founded on the experiences of the people I grew up with.

          By the way, I don’t work for the mainstream media in Auckland or elsewhere.

          • Kathy says:

            So what is your solution for the flatlining of women’s representation since 1996? You are against this measure, sure, but what do you support? One idea would be making sure women mps/pundits are included in the media you produce so they gain a profile, but you’re demonstrably not doing that either. Which is why I have you pegged as an apologist for the status quo

  3. marc says:

    I had mixed feelings, yes rather towards the sceptical on this proposal by the Labour Party’s LEC. It is indeed not sufficiently thought through, I fear, even if ‘QoT’ on The Standard is making a strong case for it today.

    What about existing Labour MPs of the female gender adopt a peer support program for prospective female members and candidates, to “train”, support and accompany them, from their own, or other electorates, to prepare for standing as candidates in elections, for the electorates as such, but also as prospective list members.

    What about focusing on equality enhancing policies, to push for more participation of women in any areas, to involve the EEO office more, to enforce laws that will close the pay and income gaps between women and men, to re-instate the training incentive allowance for sole parents, and invalids, to be different beneficiary category members shortly? What about ensuring union involvement at work places, and also legal changes, do away with any remnants of legal disadvantages for women?

    What about so many other measures, like protecting women on benefits, women being supported, not by any measures like this, by “positive action” or positive discrimination being applied?

    I am sure there are ample other means to achieve that more women stand as candidates and get voted into Parliament or any other offices. It may need to start with education, with employment, with so many other things, but I agree, this proposal is the wrong approach.

    What has happened is, the rather biased media swooped on it, turned it into something totally idiotic for a term, like a “man ban”, and that is now what most talk about. This has turned into a total disaster, as if Labour did not have enough to deal with already.

    As for Shearer, he is now exposed as the total fence sitter within, neither here nor there, ambiguous on so much, incapable to lead and say clearly even what Labour stand for. Helen Clark would have stepped up and said “basta!”, this is how we move on.

    No more dilly dallying, no more infighting, no more comments by individual MPs from male and female sides, contradicting each other, leading to confusion and embarrassment.

    Labour have lost all guidance and leadership now, it is totally clear, a cleansing, a sweeping out is needed anyway, amongst caucus, and the leader needs to be challenged, if not certain MPs themselves.

    It is so damned overdue. At present Labour are betraying their own voters, the traditional ones and the prospective ones. It is a party in disarray, in confusion, in division, in a rudderless boat. All attacks on Key during Question Time look like desperate attempts to distract from own failings, that is the reality to the outside observer.

    No way will Labour win more votes next election, as long as this nonsense goes on. I would appeal at all in the party, the activist basis, same as the caucus, get back to your senses, engage with the local branches, with the people in electorates, out there across the country, and take on board what is at their hearts and concerns, first of all the workers struggling, the working poor, and also those on benefits, who are getting treated like idiot crap by this government.

    We need policies in economic, social, housing, transport, environmental, educational, health and other areas, but all we get is little side-shows and no clear message.

    I will again consider voting Green, or even another party, not you lot, dear Labour Party, if you carry on like this. It is like a total disconnect between your world and what affects the people you expect to vote for you. And do not try to focus primarily on the ones that vote for National, go out and talk to the bloody non voters, please, they can and will decide the future of this country!

  4. weka says:

    Shame on you Selwyn and shame on TDB for using such misleading wording in such an inane and demeaning poll. That’s at about the level of uselessness and social flaming that the Herald and Stuff engage in and that TDB normally mocks.

    It’s one thing to have an opinion (although I agree with QoT about the lack of perspective and fact in this post), but what’s the point of the poll exactly? To use bias to gain support for your position?

    • Weka, obviously the poll is there to give readers an opportunity to tick whether they agree, disagree, or indicate they don’t care. There is also, obviously, the comments section for those like yourself to express a response beyond the closed-question limitations of a poll. What more do you want?

      Also, for the benefit of accuracy, do point out the inaccuracies in the post.

      • weka says:

        Please reread my comment Sewlyn – it’s not about how people will use the poll, I raised both the wording of the poll, and why would you want to use the kind of poll that TDB regularly mocks? Wording in polls creates bias in results, I’m surprised I have to point that out to you.

        I’ll respond to the post itself upthread.

        • OK, I see your point now. In case I still miss the point would the poll have avoided a bias if it read:
          Should Labour endorse the party activist recommendation to deploy a gender-exclusion selection policy?

          • weka says:

            Not really (although the language itself is better), not least because of the people like me who can’t answer the question because we don’t see it as a gender-exclusion policy. Why not ask if people support gender equity in parliament?

            For the poll to be useful, we’d first have to know what the proposed rule change is and how Labour would use it. I’ve still not seen a decent analysis of that latter (your post notwithstanding).

            And of course, I think that Labour already use a gender-exclusive policy, it’s just not an overt one. Not that Labour are that bad relative to say National, but I’m with QoT on this one – the existing processes are in no way neutral, that’s the whole point.

            Really though, I think whatever wording you use, a poll in this context would just be naff, from any side of the debate. This is a very complex issue because of the mess that Labour is in, their really crap PR skills and processes, and the issue of gender equity itself. You can’t reduce it down to the simplicity of one sentence.

            My problem is that as a GP member and voter, putting structures in place to ensure gender equity seems entirely normal. The fact that there has been all this hooha says more about Labour and it’s internal dysfunction, and its place in the world currently than it does about affirmative action.

            btw, I’m not sure if you’ve seen QoT’s post at the standard today, but it does address the points where I feel your post fails. I do agree with the points you are making about how Labour have handled this, both pre-release and post.

    • marc says:

      Weka – yes, the poll question is not well thought through either, same as the matter in question. So blame should perhaps be shared. We are heading into territory of poor information, poor transparency and analysis, and yes, I am starting to worry more, although I feel the LEC proposal is not going to work, and is ill placed at this time. It will not succeed, I am sure, as Labour has too much else to bloody worry about.

  5. peterlepaysan says:

    Labour is very good at insisting something is broken and “fixing” it, inappropriately.

    It is no wonder potential supportive voters stay at home at election time.

    Sometimes it is difficult to see who is loonier, the caucus cabal or the membership.

    Shearer simply goes along with whatever his cabal supporters tell him.

    Neither Shearer nor his caucus cabal have any understanding of why the electorate at large have little interest in the NZLP

    The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party makes more sense than the NZLP.

    I ripped up my LP membership post 1987. I have no regrets about that action.

  6. Kathy says:

    I can’t get over ‘I don’t see gender in a discourse environment’ coming from someone who had an all male panel to talk about lack of women’s representation….I’m so embarrassed for you…

    Just re-affirms our point that those who insist they ‘don’t see’ race or gender are just slaves to old prejudices.

    Selwyn “I don’t see gender. I’ve evolved past that. I just pretend everyone is male and its cool”

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/239121/july-20-2009/reverse-racism

  7. DavidJ says:

    I’m not so sure about you’re “turn a policy on its head to see if its just” moral measuring stick slewyn. For example “tax the rich” becomes “tax the poor” but as the owners of a greater share of both absolute and relative wealth the rich should always pay significantly more tax.

    I know I’m being pedantic here, but I think these sorts of reductions are a symptom of insufficient explanation. You’ve tried to tackle this all in one post but it is an extremely deep issue. That needs a very broad analysis across several articles (I feel), with some history of woman’s liberation, politics and economics as well as aotearoa’s place in contemporary struggle.

    I applaud your effort, but the problem is not just this policy but what other policies they’re not implementing.

  8. Tom says:

    Selwyn, what you’ve not considered at all in this article is the way in which women are already excluded from politics. There are any number of studies showing gendered selection bias but it can be seen in your article and the examples you raise. You point to promising male candidates for electorates (debatable in the case of Stuart Nash but w/e) and say how it would be a shame if they were to be excluded – the very reason there aren’t more female MPs for you to point to is because it is easier and more likely for men to progress upwards in organisations, easier and more likely for them to gain the necessary experience, name recognition, etc needed to become one of the “promising” candidates on your list.

    The status quo is uneven and exclusionary. To suggest that women have the same opportunities for advancement, that what we have currently is a meritocracy free from exclusion, is to suggest that the imbalance in representation is due to women not being as capable as men and that women need to do more which is clearly not the case.

    So essentially you’re criticising elements of Labour for wanting their (male-dominated) ECs to have the OPTION of excluding men (which by the way would still be subject to veto by a male-dominated national council), while ignoring the ways in which women are excluded already. You find the one “ridiculous”, “folly”, “ill-thought out” and anti-progressive, and yet you’re happy to ignore the structural imbalances that work to exclude women at present.

    Why is one form of exclusion more palatable than the other? I’d suggest its because one is easier and more convenient to ignore.

  9. fambo says:

    I’m with you Selwyn. Partly because it is undemocratic to take away a person’s right to stand. But also it is incredibly bad timing for such a debate.


 
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