Archive for June, 2011

General Debate 30 June 2011

June 30th, 2011 at 7:26 am by David Farrar

Am in a remote part of Scotland with no cellphone or Internet so don’t expect many posts for another day or two. Thanks to Jadis for some timely guest posts.

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Is Sweden emasculating boys? Is NZ next?

June 29th, 2011 at 11:42 am by Jadis

I am hoping like hell that our policy makers in the area of Early Childhood Education aren’t looking to Sweden as way of the future.

Simply put, the Swedish National Curriculum for Early Childhood Education affirms three values - children’s rights, gender equity, and education for sustainable development.  The gender equity component indicates that girls and boys should have the same opportunities to develop and learn “without limitations imposed by stereotyped gender roles and patterns.”  So, the teachers in have worked to counteract traditional gender patterns and gender roles.  I am actually supportive of that, within limits.

The latest, albeit radical,  representation is the pre-school with no gender references.  This is a taxpayer-funded ECE provider.

  • There are no fairytales
  • All children are referred to as “friends” (may as well be ‘comrades’)
  • No references to ‘him’, ‘her’, ‘he’ or ‘she’
  • Construction activities (like Lego) are placed next to the toy kitchen so that no “barriers” are in place between the two activities

But this centre also goes further to breakdown views beyond just gender – into “fostering an environment that is tolerant of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people.” So, this centre has:

  • books that represent gay or lesbian parents, solo parents, and adopted children
  • teachers who suggest children can be “two Mums” and not just the stereotypical Mum and Dad

To be fair, this is a radical example and representation of the new direction for ECE in Stockholm.  And, there are certainly calls  for it from parents and caregivers – the Centre Director says there is a long waiting list for admission to the kindy.

My concern, shared by Child Psychologist Jay Belsky, is that boys like doing boy things and that if ECE is to go to the extremes as evident above then we run the risk of emasculating our boys.  Yes, it is important to break down barriers for girls and women to succeed but not at the expense of boys and men.  In turn, I do want to see an acknowledgment of different family structures however this centre appears to have gone beyond the ‘tipping point’.  I suspect it is meeting a need within their local community.

The New Zealand education system needs to reject the Swedish model (and radical representations) and instead focus on celebrating being male and being female without placing undue barriers or judgments in the way.  The problem with removing gender is that too many pieces of curriculum actually remove ‘being male’ and inadvertantly place the ‘being female’ as more important.  The more that we emasculate our boys the fewer roles we allow them to have within our society.

 

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Macsyna King and ‘that book’

June 29th, 2011 at 10:26 am by Jadis

As we have all heard by now Ian Wishart has produced a book about Macsyna King.  Perhaps memories are short but through Chris Kahui’s trial we got a picture of Macsyna’s life. Yes, Macsyna has had a hard and awful life, but she has had several opportunities to make a difference to the lives and memories of her children.

  1. If Macsyna was so concerned about the environment she was introducing her twins to she could have adopted them out to a family that could have ensured a safer and healthier environment.
  2. If Macsyna suspected abuse or neglect from herself or others within her household she could have spoken up for her babies… yes, she could have spoken anonymously or otherwise to CYFS, the Police, a Not-for-profit, Plunket, and others.  Her previous children are cared for by others, why not these babies?
  3. She could have kept her eyes open.  Macsyna either never noticed or didn’t care about injuries caused to the twins in previous “attacks” or incidents.
  4. After the hospitalisation of her babies, Macsyna could have spoken to the Police fully about what she did know.
  5. Macsyna could have encouraged others in her family to speak to the Police.
  6. Macsyna could have told her story to the court throughout the trial. Indeed she did do this, but why not the whole story (as suggested by Wishart)?
  7. And, she certainly could have told her story to the coronial inquest.
  8. Macsyna has even had multiple opportunities to talk to mainstream, sensitive interviewers where she could have told her story in a non-confrontational way.

Macsyna has had multiple opportunities to put this right, and she has chosen the one forum where her words can be edited, where her words can be put in a better light, and where she can release her guilt.  Or, she’s decided that she can make money and perhaps fame from the deaths of her children.  I would be very interested to hear from Ian Wishart if Macsyna has received any ‘gifts’ or ‘expenses paid’ during the production of the book – and what about the marketing of the book?  Will Macsyna be involved in that?  Will she receive an appearance fee?

Putting aside the rationale for the book, the timing of the book is appalling in itself.  Wishart has chosen to market the book during the coronial inquest into the death of the twins. The moment where the media interest in the twins is at its highest.  It is important for Wishart to talk about the book now as, potentially, when the inquest is over the media interest will also wain.

To say that it is ghoulish and unsympathetic is understatement of the year.

Those babies deserved to have a good Mother, a good Father, people that cared for them.  They deserved to be fed, to be held and most of all, they deserved a future.  Macsyna, Chris and the wider whanau may not have been able to do that but there were otehr options.  And, let’s be honest that Macsyna has had plenty of opportunities to atone herself, to tell her story and to put her children before herself.

Wishart says that any profits from the book will be given to charity.  Which one?  Which charity CEO or Board in their right mind will accept money made from this book, effectively guilt money (if not blood money)?

Of course the book should not be banned.  Banning books is a horribly, slippery slope.  We, as consumers have the freedom to buy the book or reject the book.  That means we can boycott the book, and any other books by this publisher – Howling at the Moon.  Wishart could have redeemed himself.  If he had published this book with the intention to bring justice in this matter or to hand over the guilty killer.  Sadly, Ian Wishart has positioned himself as sensationalist, and undermined any previous reputation he had for investigative reporting.

 

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General Debate 29 June 2011

June 29th, 2011 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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Back in England

June 28th, 2011 at 7:15 pm by David Farrar

Had to head back into England for the stag party. We detoured off the M4 to Bath for lunch. Didn’t have much time to look around, but seemed quite a nice city.

The stag do was very civilised – a black tie affair at one of the private clubs.  Gin and tonics before dinner, wine during dinner and port after dinner. Lots of very funny speeches.

On Saturday headed to the famous Portobello Market in Notting Hill. It is huge, and has different sections ranging from antiques to fruit & veg to new goods to fashion to second hand goods.

We grabbed lunch at the aptly named Duke of Wellington pub, where this photo is from.

The apartment for the weekend was on Tower Bridge Road, and they lifted the bridge for this boat during our stay.

Sunday was the start of the drive up to Scotland. We drove via Cambridge and spent three hours looking around there. This is the Round Church, more formally known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

In the UK they are very unimaginative with their street names. Almost every castle we went to in Wales was located on Castle Street. This church was on Round Church Road and the parking building was on, yes, Park Street.

This is inside Queens’ College, Cambridge. What a wonderful place to study at.

The River Cam. As you can see there is almost a traffic jam with all the punts. They have touts asking you every 50 metres or so whether you want to punt on the river. They were almost as bad as the touts in Egypt. It would be nice to punt on the river, but only if not crowded.

The famous Mathematical Bridge, at the back of Queens’.

After Cambridge we drove to Darlington, where we stayed the night. There are no photos of Darlington as there was nothing to see!

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Thompson resignation expected

June 28th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Embattled employers’ chief Alasdair Thompson is expected to quit today as his lawyers fight out the terms of a settlement.

Sources said last night that Mr Thompson had not resigned as chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) and the lobby group’s board had not requested his resignation. But there was no will for Mr Thompson to continue in the role, one source said. …

It is believed that big corporate members of the EMA have agitated for his removal in the past 48 hours but progress has been bogged down.

The initial remarks were survivable. It was the two appalling Tv3 interviews that demonstrated such a poor lack of judgement that made the status quo so difficult to continue with. Everyone has a bad day when they say something wrong in an interview. But to then go on and make things worse, knowing it is such a sensitive issue, and having had hours to prepare, was such a bad look.

Labour list MP Carol Beaumont said it was clear Mr Thompson could not continue in his role, and the board should not need to deliberate so long about it.

What an appalling statement. Carol knows full well that the EMA is bound by the law of the land and they can not make any decision without formally putting towards Thompson their formal dis-satisfaction and allowing him reasonable time to respond to it. Carol’s job used to be to protect employees from employers who do not go through a fair and unrushed process.

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General Debate 28 June 2011

June 28th, 2011 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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The Vote for Change

June 28th, 2011 at 6:16 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

A campaign against MMP was launched today, aiming to persuade voters to opt for change in the referendum that is going to be held at the same time as the November 26 general election.

The referendum will ask voters whether they want to change to another electoral system, and to tick a preferred alternative from a list of options including the old first-past-the-post system.

If a majority want a change, a second referendum will be held alongside the 2014 general election which will run off MMP against the alternative that gets the most ticks.

“Vote for Change wants a system that restores more certainty, that allows voters to easily hold governments to account and kick rascals out of Parliament”, said the organisation’s spokesman Jordan Williams, a Wellington lawyer.

“The current system lets party bosses sneak MPs who have been dismissed by their local electorates back into Parliament on party lists.”

Mr Williams said many people had high hopes that MMP would create a new era of consensus politics but instead “small groups and party bosses can now hold the rest to ransom”.

The Vote for Change website has a list of initial supporters. They include former Labour Party President Bob Harvey.

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Around Wales

June 27th, 2011 at 7:20 pm by David Farrar

Drove west over to Swansea and the Gower Peninsula. Very amused to find these cows sleeping in the middle of a roundabout. This was not unique – unlike NZ, many Welsh farms are not fenced in. Cows, sheep and even horses roam next to and across some of the roads.

All along Gower, there are cliffs and the ocean. Magnificent views.

Many of the roads are what I call tree tunnels. They are barely wide enough for one car, but believe it or not are two-way roads. Beautiful roads to drive along, but you drive very slowly and should be prepared to reverse often.

These are the remains of Oxwich Castle. It is also home to a display about the history of Wales which was very interesting.

This is the view from the Worm’s Head Tavern at Rhossili. Had a nice lunch here and the views are to die for. Which would happen if you fell over the edge.

This sheep is enjoying the good life.

If you walk for a km or so you get to the western most point, where you can descend down and at low tide cross over to the “Worm’s Head”. it does indeed look like a worm with a head. You need to time it carefully as if you stay over there for too long, you will be trapped for 12 hours.

Another view of the beach at Rhossili

These horses are at Cefn Bryn.

This is Arthur’s Stone. The legend is he threw a stone from Llanelli which landed here. In reality is is a burial site from the neolithic period, so is up to 10,000 years old.

The ruins of Swansea Castle in Swansea.

The interior of Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.

Outside the cathedral they’ve got hectares of old cemeteries to rumage through.

This is Caerphlliy Castle, north of Cardiff. It is the second largest in the UK, and well worth a look around.

On the way out of Wales, popped into Caerleon. It was home to a Roman legion and fort, and one can see the remains of Roman baths plus this amphitheatre. There is also a free museum with artefacts from the era.

Caerleon is also where Camelot was located according to Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Leaving Wales via the second Severn Bridge – 5 kms long.

I was not planning to visit Wales as traditionally the reputation of Cardiff especially has been rather dour. But really glad we did. Cardiff is a lovely city, and South Wales is beautiful – the Gower Peninsula especially was just great to drive around.

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Where Hone won

June 27th, 2011 at 5:16 pm by David Farrar

Over at Stuff I analyse the results of the Te Tai Tokerau by-election, and conclude how Hone won, or more why Kelvin Davis fell short.

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Little 16% behind

June 27th, 2011 at 8:48 am by David Farrar

Hannah Fleming and Zaryd Wilson in the Taranaki Daily News report:

Labour’s Andrew Little is moving to New Plymouth in the next two weeks but he already has a mountain of work to do.

The man many are touting as the next Labour leader and prime minister will have to quickly roll up his sleeves after a significant poll of the New Plymouth electorate he covets this week indicated National’s lead in recent nationwide polls is being reflected in the city, previously the country’s most marginal electorate.

The election may be five months away, on November 26, but incumbent National MP Jonathan Young has the early jump on his main challenger, polling well ahead of the former Labour Party president in a Witt School of Journalism survey.

Mr Young secured a tiny 105-vote majority in 2008, but he won 41.56 per cent of support in Witt’s random telephone poll compared with Mr Little’s 25.33 per cen

The poll, which had a margin of error of 4.55 per cent, asked 820 voters to choose between Mr Young and Mr Little. Of that number 462 people responded.

New Plymouth is going to be one of the interesting seats. National won the party vote by 6,500 votes, so for Little to win, he will need to attract a chunk of National voters.

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General Debate 27 June 2011

June 27th, 2011 at 5:32 am by David Farrar
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Six seek Epsom

June 26th, 2011 at 6:37 pm by David Farrar

Belinda McCammon in the SST reports:

Six people have put their names forward to contest the National Party nomination for Epsom, including former Christian Heritage leader Ewen McQueen.

McQueen did not return for calls for comment all week but sources have told the Sunday Star Times he is seeking the nomination after unsuccessfully standing for selection in the North Shore seat.

I’ve not met Ewen McQueen who might be a very nice man, but my gut reaction is I’d rather vote for a Labour candidate, than for a former leader of Christian Heritage.

If National did select McQueen, that would guarantee it for Banks I suspect.

Former Auckland City Council councillor Richard Simpson, who stood under the Action Hobson ticket, is also seeking selection.

Simpson’s bid for selection has raised eyebrows within some National Party members, with one member describing it as “odd” given his voting history on the council.

Simpson served one term as a councillor from 2004 to 2007 before failing to be re-elected and had a history on the council of voting with the centre-left, including installing Bruce Hucker as deputy mayor and supporting mayor Dick Hubbard as Mayor.

I have to confess I did not know Richard was a member, let alone wanted to be a National MP. His voting record will come under scrutiny I expect. The battle for the nomination could get interesting as Bhatnagar won his Auckland City Council seat off Simpson in 2007.

Ray Presland, a former Auckland mayoral candidate at the last election, could not be reached for comment but is also understood to be standing.

Again, not someone I would have guessed is a National Party member.

I’ve previously blogged on the other three candidates, Bhatnagar, Goldsmith and Krum.

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Coffin meet nail

June 26th, 2011 at 9:23 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday reports:

At a dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant in Washington, Thompson approached Kelly, Street and the business leader.

Thompson is alleged to have made lewd comments at the social event about the relationship Kelly had with Prime Minister John Key, who has been married to wife Bronagh since both were teenagers.

Late last night, the Prime Minister’s office dismissed Thompson’s allegations as “totally ridiculous”.

The source said the comments were made without any basis other than Helen Kelly and John Key’s “good working relationship”.

“He asked her what the relationship was between her and John Key. There was sexual innuendo. Then he said he asked John Key, the last time he saw him. He said he asked if he [Key] fancied Helen.”

The source said Kelly was visibly upset by the comments. She said to Thompson: “That’s disgusting.”

I think I’m speechless. I can’t decide what is stupider for the head of the Auckland Employers Association.

  1. Asking John Key if he fancied the President of the CTU
  2. Telling the CTU President that he had asked the PM if he fancied her
  3. Doing (2) in front of a Labour MP

EMA president Graham Mountfort said Thompson would be asked to explain himself to the board and was no longer allowed to speak with the media.

“He won’t be an advocate for us in the future.”

I note the Wellington EMA went to the trouble of specifically e-mailing all their members disassociating themselves from the comments of their Auckland counterpart.

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The largest majority?

June 26th, 2011 at 9:02 am by David Farrar

The SST reports:

… party leader Phil Goff said Davis “was able to take a Maori seat with the largest majority and make it the most marginal Maori seat”.

Really?

Te Tai Tokerau’s majority was 6,308. Tamaki Makaurau was 7,540, Te Tai Hauauru was 7,817 and Waiariki was 6,812. So Goff is massively wrong – Hone did not have the largest majority – it was 4th out of 7.

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General Debate 26 June 2011

June 26th, 2011 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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Cactus Kate MP

June 25th, 2011 at 10:04 pm by David Farrar

Audrey Young reports:

Cathy Odgers, the author of the acerbic website Cactus Kate, is expected to be approved today as an Act candidate – one of the reasons sitting MP Heather Roy is likely to today announce she will stand down at this year’s election.

Heather has since announced her retirement. It is a shame that the internal politics of the last year played out the way it did. I’m someone who admired both Rodney and Heather, and think they both made good contributions to Parliament.

Cathy’s impending demotion to Parliament has appalled and excited many on the left. First we have Bomber.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me be 1000% clear, Cathy Odgers is a hateful person who is the very last human being one would ever wish to enter politics.

I understand that Cactus is delighted with this endorsement by Bomber, and is considering turning it into billboards around Auckland.

At the Dim-Post, the commenters are salivating with excitement over her blog posts. I don’t think they realise that every journalist in NZ has probably already read them all.

But at Kiwipolitico, Lew endorses Kate’s candidacy:

It is in this vein that I endorse the rumoured candidacy of Cathy Odgers, aka Cactus Kate, for the ACT party in the forthcoming general election. If true, Odgers will be doing Aotearoa a genuine service, showing us all what ACT really stands for. …

But this endorsement isn’t all about foreshadowed electoral schadenfreude. Odgers, for all that I disagree with nearly every aspect of her politics, is intelligent, articulate and possessed of a sharp and analytical wit. By reputation she is driven, hard-working and will not tolerate time-wasters or time-servers. If her boasts about the expat lifestyle and her drinking habits are to be believed, she will be taking a considerable cut in pay and increase in workload if elected to parliament, so we might reasonably assume her intentions are genuine. In other words, aside from her politics — which is admittedly a very big aside — she’s just the sort of person we need more of in Parliament. It may be that the rigours of public office mellow her, or it may be that her prickly public persona hides one more rounded and reasoned. They often do.

I can’t wait until Cactus is interviewed on Campbell Live.

If Cactus does become an MP, I have the perfect job for her. Make her Minister of Revenue, with her job being to close down all the loopholes. Ultimate poacher turned gamekeeper :-)

Plus the Hon Cactus Kate MP has a certain ring to it.

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Hone wins

June 25th, 2011 at 8:48 pm by David Farrar

With only three polling booths to report, it is clear Hone has won re-election. His majority is 761 at this stage.

Hone got 48% of the vote, which is close to an absolute majority, not just a plurality. It is down from the 62% at the general election, but still a reasonable result.

Kelvin Davis and Labour will be pretty pleased to have got 41% and reasonably close. But they will be a bit nervous about what attacks from their left they may endure from the Mana Party. They will be hoping Mana targets Maori Party voters rather than left wing voters.

Mana is now a parliamentary party, and will be in Parliament after the next election. They can now campaign for party votes and tell people a vote for them is not a wasted vote.

Mana in Parliament may be an issue for both Labour and National. Labour doesn’t want the competition for the votes, but having Mana there might help a Labour-led Government get formed. If the election is so close that the support of Mana could decide the Government, then I have no doubt Labour will do a deal. My small anarchist tendencies would almost like to see Phil Goff managing a Government of Labour, Greens, Maori Party, Mana Party and NZ First.

So today is Hone’s victory – the gamble paid off. Attention will now go on the wider Mana Party, specifically their party list. Will the No 2 be John Minto or Annette Skyes or Sue Bradford or someone else?

UPDATE: Election Night majority is finalised at 867. 1,916 specials to be commented but will not change result unless Davis picked up 73% of them which will not happen.

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London Talk and Drinks

June 25th, 2011 at 5:22 am by David Farrar

I’m back in London for two days. About to head off to a black tie stag party tonight, and tomorrow night am hosting with Rotorua MP Todd McClay, a pub talk on the latest in NZ Politics.

The event is on Facebook.

If you are in London and free early Saturday evening, come along to the The Old Star pub next to the St James Tube. It’s address is 66 Broadway, Westminster, London SW1H 1DB. We’ll be there from 5.30 pm in the Upper Function Room and probably wrap up around 7.00 pm. I suspect a few of us will head out to dinner afterwards.

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General Debate 25 June 2011

June 25th, 2011 at 4:20 am by David Farrar

As there is a by-election on today, please refrain for commenting on which candidates should be supported etc in the by-election until after voting closes at 7 pm.

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Wales

June 24th, 2011 at 12:14 pm by David Farrar

This is the front of the Lincoln Hotel where we are staying in Cardiff. It was ranked No 1 in Trip Advisor, and is great quality and service for rooms as low as 60 pounds a night. Very good location also.

Thee hotel backs onto the Sophia Gardens, which are huge and lovely. They run next to the River Taff.

You walk through the gardens to Cardiff Castle. The grounds are pretty large, and it took us 2 hours to get around it. During WWII up to 1,800 people used it as a bomb shelter.

This Norman keep within the castle walls. I would not have wanted to try and take that keep.

And also within the castle, is this Victorian mansion.

A view of the castle from the top of the keep.

The castle has falcons and owls. Isn’t he cute?

The interior of the mansion.

The famous Cardiff Animal Wall.

Anna, at the top of the Norman keep.

We then took the aquataxi down the river to Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay. As we get off the boat, we see this touching memorial. I wonder which local died here? It was Ianto Jones. Yes it is a shrine to a dead Torchwood character. I’m all for fandom, but that is getting creepy.

Had lunch at Demiros on the quay. I had two traditional Welsh faggots for lunch. They were in fact very nice. I think I might eat faggots more often in future. We also had pitcher of Blue Hawaii for lunch, as it was on special. Was a very nice lunch.

This is the Norwegian Church. It is famous as the place where Road Dahl was baptised. The church was for Norwegian sailors who were in port.

This building is the Welsh Assembly. It is right on the waterfront – a stunning location. I net you the Assembly Members voted on it. The building host basically just the debating chamber. Offices are elsewhere. The debating chamber is circular, as is the visitors gallery above it. There are glass panes so the assembly chamber is cut off from the visitors but they can see you easily. Each visitor seat has a TV screen in which you can watch either the Assembly itself, or the Westminster Parliament or various news channels. So I managed to observe the Welsh Assembly in front of me while also viewing the UK Parliament on the monitor with headphones.

Walking home back through the Sophia Gardens after we got the aqua taxi back to it.

Crossing the Rover Taff.

These were taken Tuesday (Wednesday in NZ). Cardiff is much more enjoyable than I thought it might be. My only complaint is the accent – I’ve never had so many conversations where I have not understood a single word they’re saying to me. Am getting very good at nodding and agreeing a lot. I just hope I have not accidentally agreed to take part in any bomb plots or the like.

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A horrendous own goal

June 24th, 2011 at 11:14 am by David Farrar

The original comments by Alasdair Thompson were unwise and stupid (and I will detail why further down) but his dual performances on TV3 are the stuff legends, or nightmares, are made of.

Watch his interview with Rachel Morton and then with Mihi Forbes.  I don’t think I have ever seen such sheer awfulness before. Lew at Kiwipolitico has done an initial list of 10 things the EMA did wrong.

This has gone from just being an issue about Alasdair to an issue about the EMA Northern. I can imagine employers all over Auckland quietly removing from their office walls their certificate of membership before anyone notices it. They’d be embarrassed to be associated with the last 24 hours.

This may have been the most effective brand destruction we have seen since Wellington Airport tried to rename Wellington into Wellywood, or the CTU declared war on hobbits.

Before we come back to the interviews let’s focus on the substance of the issue, as a couple of people think this is just about political correctness – far from it.The issue is why do women on average get paid less than men.

Now I do not think the gap between the average hourly rate for men and women is due to discrimination. Sure there may be the odd employer who is an old bigot (and they generally are old) and actually thinks women are inferior. But they are dying out.

Part of the gap is because men and women tend towards different jobs. More men are police officers and more women are teachers for example and police officers get paid more on average. But that doesn’t explain all the difference as there is a gap within professions also. On average male lawyers get paid more than female lawyers and male teachers more than female teachers.

There are a couple of factors at play here. One is historic – until 20 years ago men far outnumbered women at university in the high paying professions such as law, medicine etc. So most of the senior ranks are still men. Fortunately at entry level the numbers are now more balanced, so over time the gender mix may get more balanced at the senior or higher paying levels.

The other factor (which Alasdair correctly pointed out) is that more woman than men take a break from the workforce to be the primary caregiver, and when they return are more likely to be part-time so prospects for advancement are not so good as the person who has stayed working full-time throughout.

Even this doesn’t fully explain the gender gap, as there has been a recent study that even early on in a profession, men are being paid more than women. Now one has to be careful about a study over a profession, rather than just one employer, as differences between employers may account for the gap. However if one accepts the study at face value, a possible answer is that generally younger men are more assertive than younger women in pushing for pay rises and generally in salary negotiations.

So I tend to reject the thesis that women get paid less because evil employers discriminate against women and think they are inferior.

The possible factors I have laid out above are all about individual choice. You may choose to enter a less well remunerated profession, because it isn’t just about the money. You may choose to take a break from the work-force. You may choose not to be aggressive in your pay negotiations and take whatever is initially offered. These are all individual choices. Sure there are issues around societal expectations, but that is a debate for another day.

But here is why what Alasdair Thompson said is so stupid and counter-productive. he listed something women have no choice over (having a menstrual cycle) and cited it as a reason why women get paid less. He basically said that women are less productive because they are women. It undermined all his other (generally sound) arguments.

This reinforced every prejudice unions and others have about employers – and worse this comes from the head of EMA Northern.

And I can only imagine how women feel, to have to put up with having a menstrual cycle is I suspect bad enough by itself, so to have some employer bigwig come out and say oh yeah and your monthly cycle is also why you get paid less would be beyond infuriating.

It is possible of course that some women do have a high use of sick leave due to their menstrual cycle. But I do not believe, and have not seen a shred of evidence in support, the notion that the prevalence of this is significant enough to actually affect average pay rates.

Now the original comments by Alasdair were survivable. All he had to do was to say something along the lines of “A couple of employers had anecdotally mentioned to me this was an issue for them, but I was quite wrong to link it to average pay rates between genders as it is not a factor, and I apologise for mentioning it in the interview”.

But instead we got the Tv3 interviews where he could not have made a worse impression of himself. If Helen Kelly could invent a wicked caricature of an employers boss, she couldn’t have done better than what we saw. Rambling justifications, instructions to the cameraman as if he was the producer, demanding no interruptions, walking out, patronising the female reporters, constantly referring to his own staff members in a way which I found demeaning, standing over Mihi Forbes and angrily remonstrating with her, calling her a liar, demanding previous footage be declared off the record retrospectively and the list just goes on.

I don’t know how professional media trainers like Brian Edwards, Judy Callaghan, Bill Ralston and Janet Wilson even managed to watch a few minutes of the video without their heads exploding in despair that someone could come across so badly in what is meant to be a damage control setting.

EMA Northern need to consider what they have to do to repair the damage. My only advice is that it does not involve Alasdair doing another round of TV interviews.

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Mana Party flunks Treaty 101

June 24th, 2011 at 10:10 am by David Farrar

The Mana Party announced its first official policy this week, the Treaty of Waitangi Policy. It said:

Remove the 2014 deadline for lodging historical claims with the Waitangi Tribunal to better enable iwi with such claims to properly research and state their cases.

The only trouble with this policy is the deadline is not 2014, but was 2008. S6A of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 states:

… after 1 September 2008 no Maori may submit a claim to the Tribunal that is, or includes, a historical Treaty claim

So Mana’s presumably most important policy, is wrong on the most critical of details. That is just appalling.

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General Debate 24 June 2011

June 24th, 2011 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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Friday Photo: 24 June

June 24th, 2011 at 7:53 am by Chthoniid

Someone believes that vitamin C is important at Winter time :)

Click for larger, high res image

The white-eyes/tauhou are back and including our place in their foraging area.

Hope everyone enjoys their Friday. It’s a busy one here…coffee will be consumed

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