Nats’ list: when diversity isn’t

National’s house organ the Herald gives its party list a great big sloppy kiss this morning (hat-tip: kiwiblog). The editorial opens with great fanfare:

“When the National Party published its candidate list on Sunday a greater ethnic diversity was immediately apparent. Six Maori, three Asians and a Pacific Islander have been placed high enough on the list to get into Parliament if National polls as well as it expects.”

Note that last little qualification.

But the saddest bit of the editorial is where the continuing exclusion of women is swept under the carpet with a single sentence:

“National’s list, incidentally, still looks light on women; only four rank in the top 24, from which a cabinet would be likely to be drawn.”

Farrar’s apologia is instructive:

“There is still some way to go. It looks like women will comprise 26% to 28% of National’s caucus, much the same as is currently the case. This is more than double the international average for female parliamentary representation. The problem is not so much where women are placed on the list, but that not enough stand to be a candidate.”

Farrar also says that it’s “very foolish to assume that the top 24 are automatically the Ministerial pool.” True, but it would be very foolish to assume that the vast majority of Cabinet don’t come from that almost exclusively male pool. And only two of the top ten, all guaranteed to be in Cabinet, are women (and they’re at 7th and 10th).

One wonders whether National’s problem recruiting (and retaining — remember Katherine Rich — women is in some way related to the way they treat their women.

So, it’s “incidental” that there are hardly any women in the top 24. Sorry, but in gender terms, National’s list is about where Labour was in 1984. Come on Granny, even Blind Freddy can see that the Nats have a woman problem!

[Edit: 1980 changed to 1984 after DPF pointed out the paucity of women in Labour’s caucus in that year. For which thanks.

Stargazer posts on National’s women candidates at the Handmirror.]


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14 Responses to “Nats’ list: when diversity isn’t”

  1. dpf Says:

    You are so far wrong, you should do a retraction. In 1981 Labour had 4/43 women MPs. That is 9% – one third the level.

  2. Better Dead Than Red Says:

    Lets have wimmen, Asians, blacks browns and whatever at the expense of perhaps more skilled and more competent white male Europeans, but “discriminate’ is a dirty word right. Once again, we see a stark example of the clear thinking that characterises the left.

    Katherine Rich was a whiny liberal and would/should have got the arse long before she did, male or female. It was only because of the Nat’s gutless pandering to sexist female power groups that she lasted as long as she did.

  3. Tim Ellis Says:

    Why is Katherine Rich symbolic of National’s failure to recruit and retain women? She was an MP for nine years. By all accounts she’s leaving without any acrimony, to focus on her family. Nine years doesn’t sound like a retention problem. A big proportion of MPs, male and female, have failed to last more than nine years.

    If you really wanted to take a partisan view on the selection of women, you could say Labour took two years longer to have a woman Prime Minister than National did. Or, eighteen years after National appointed the country’s first ever female Minister of Finance–the second most important spot–Labour still hasn’t done so.

    There’s no doubt that in the past National hasn’t made particularly successful efforts to recruit outstanding female candidates. That isn’t a swipe at the women candidates they have selected–they’ve been on a par with the male candidates. Labour, conversely, appears to have sacrificed quality for quantity. There’s no doubt that Labour has a better gender balance, but you wouldn’t exactly say that Dianne Yates, Jill Pettis, Janet Mackey, Judith Tizard, Sue Moroney, Lynne Pillay, or Lesley Soper are poster-children for caucus brilliance. On the other hand, Labour does have a fairly large degree of pretty mediocre male MPs as well: Ashraf Choudary, George Hawkins, Ross Robertson, Martin Gallagher, Mark Burton and Harry Duynhoven to name a few more.

    In fact, Labour’s problem seems to be to select meritorious candidates full stop. If they’re going to select candidates who are going to be nothing more than lobby fodder, who believe that being an MP is the greatest thing they will ever achieve in life, and have no ambitions to being a cabinet minister, then there might as well be a gender balance between them. Their only qualification seems to be an unquestioned loyalty to the Labour Party and the union movement.

    But let’s not pretend that that balance enhances genuine representation. It just gives the perception that it does.

    The result of Labour’s selection policies, however, are that they have been much more successful at attracting women voters than National has. This is National’s real concern. This year for the first in a long time, National is attracting more women voters than Labour. Having strong women candidates will help with that. The solution for National isn’t to select women candidates for the sake of it, but to go out and actively recruit strong women candidates, rather than passively hope they will just arrive on the doorstep.

  4. jafapete Says:

    DPF: “In 1981 Labour had 4/43 women MPs.”

    Before the 1981 election it was actually three. After the election we had Mary Batchelor, Helen Clark, Ann Hercus, Margaret Shields, Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan, Fran Wilde. Six. Two of whom got into cabinet in 1984 (Hercus and Shields) and two of whom later joined the Cabinet (Clark and Wilde). It will be interesting to see how much better National does 24 years later, should it win power.

    Also, you seem to be comparing candidates with those elected.


  5. Better Dead Than Red Says:

    Wimmen vote left by nature. Its a left lobe-right lobe thing. Emotion over reason. Take the vote away from wimmin, and the Labour government would never be elected again.

    Better Dead, great self-parody. Funny thing is, you only have to go back a few decades and the pattern was that women in NZ tended to vote National nore than men. It was said at the time that this natural conservatism was due to the urge to protect the family. What happened to women’s left-lobes in recent years?

  6. Better Dead Than Red Says:

    “What happened to women’s left-lobes in recent years?”

    Damn good question Jafa. Right on the button for once. I’m sure we could both write endlessly on the issue. My take would be that the woman’s so called liberation fad and their increased attendance at universities etc has just been a cover for the widespread introduction of progressive political ideas to women. Example Helen Clark.

    Progressive political ideas appeal more to emotion than to reason, hence their popularity with the fairer sex. Hell, you only have to look at the dropkick guys they team up with to know most wimmen let their hearts rule their heads.

  7. jafapete Says:

    Better Dead, you’re going to give Redbaiter a run for his money at this rate. Perhaps you are Redbaiter! Anyway, given you’ve adopted an old redneck saw as an alias, I love your statement “Progressive political ideas appeal more to emotion than to reason”. You should try travelling around the South of the US and talk to some real rednecks. Then you’d learn about emotion and conservative politics.

  8. Inventory2 Says:

    JP said “You should try travelling around the South of the US and talk to some real rednecks. Then you’d learn about emotion and conservative politics.”

    Not to mention the right to bear arms eh JP!

    I2, QED!

  9. Better Dead Than Red Says:

    Inventory- What Jafa omits from the above comment is that they (the rednecks) would most likely be Democrat voters. The South, with its largely slave owner/ racist society was always a Democrat stronghold. Racism has always rent the left, and it does so today.

  10. dpf Says:

    The 1984 caucus was also well below the 27% National now has. Same for the 1987 caucus.

  11. roger nome Says:

    hey DPF – how’s it going? Only a few weeks till my ban’s over.

    oh and BTW – gender relations in NZ have come a long way since the early 1980s (well at least on the left). You should know that.

  12. roger nome Says:

    Keep on spinning anyhow. I hear it’s a good way to boost your metabolism….

  13. Better Dead Than Red Says:

    “Only a few weeks till my ban’s over.”

    This doesn’t necessarily mean you will be permitted to post. Redbaiter’s ban was up some days ago, yet I have it on good authority he is still forbidden to post on Kiwiblog.

    Better Dead, Surely Farrar hasn’t got around to allowing you to post is all. I mean, what else was the ban on except on posting? How can a ban on posting end, but a ban on posting remain?

    If you read this DPF, please lift the ban on Redbaiter & Nome!

  14. dpf Says:

    The bans get lifted on the dates listed. However the old password will not work for the user so they have to click on the button to reset their password and then login in with the new one.

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