Oh dear. I really didn’t think it was possible for Labour to top its own goal over the Sky City corporate box debacle. But it has.
After a week where the Government ought to be on the back foot over the GCSB saga, Auckland’s nutty property market, and the death throes of one of its coalition partners, Labour has come out with a policy so politically barmy it makes you wonder whether it really has any interest in winning the next election. …
David Shearer has – after initially stating the policy had “some merit” – realised he’s dealing with a political bomb and come out against the policy, saying he favours targets rather than quotas. Senior Labour MPs Phil Goff, Shane Jones, and Andrew Little immediately recognised the damage the proposal would do and have denounced it too.
But it may be too late. This idea needed to be taken out and quietly shot before it ever saw the light of day. From now until it’s debated at Labour’s annual conference in November, Labour’s opponents will have a field day.
The Opposition needs to be talking to the electorate about jobs, housing, incomes, and hip-pocket issues. Not navel-gazing about its gender balance. The public, to be frank, doesn’t give a toss whether Labour has 41 per cent women MPs or 50 per cent. They just want good candidates and good policies.
Adam Bennett at NZ Herald reports:
No Labour MPs other than Manurewa’s Louisa Wall will publicly back a proposal to have women-only selection short lists for some electorates to boost female MP numbers.
After his initial reluctance to comment earlier this week, party leader David Shearer has now come out against the proposal.
Outspoken male MPs Shane Jones and Damien O’Connor panned the idea in no uncertain terms, warning it risked driving away socially conservative blue-collar voters.
Of Labour’s 34 MPs, only Ms Wall has been prepared to publicly support it since it was revealed on Thursday.
Eleven, including Mr Shearer, have said they don’t support it or are yet to be convinced.
But is David Shearer not a member of the NZ Council that has proposed this?
So either he got rolled at the NZ Council meeting, or he has flip-flopped and was for it before he rages against it.
Fran O’Sullivan supports it though:
Congratulations to Party Central for putting gender equality ahead of diversity when it comes to the ranking criteria for selecting the next crop of Labour MPs.
Quaintly, the notion that a 21st century political party might opt to use its selection process to try to make sure that as many women as men represent us in Parliament has been met with howls of derision and barely disguised outrage.
That’s just on the Labour side of politics. Let’s point out here that the most vocal MP opponents (Yes, I am talking aboutyou, Shane Jones and you, Clayton Cosgrove) are only there themselves by virtue of their list rankings.
When you are in a hole, you can rely on Labour to dig itself into an even deeper one beside you – as it did this week with its shoot-yourself-in-both-feet potential change to party rules to allow women-only candidate selections.
This was not solely political correctness gone stark-raving bonkers. Apart from alienating one group of voters who have drifted away from Labour in recent years – men – such a rule change would be just as insulting to women in insinuating they could not win selection on their own merits.
The proposal should have been kiboshed by the leader the moment he saw it. That he didn’t – or felt he couldn’t – points to deep schisms in the party.
The message voters will take from Labour’s warped priorities is that of a party which cannot get its act together in the snoozy backwaters of Opposition, let alone in the blazing sun of Government.
There is a reasons this never emerged under Helen Clark. She would have strangled this before it was born, even if she privately backed it.
The ‘man ban’. Can things get any worse for Labour. PC madness. @nzlabour
David Shearer is against the quotas. That should guarantee they get passed
The Labour Party manban makes no sense at all. It’s like saying “drinkable organic wine.”
Labour Party wants a quota system for MPs based on gender etc – not merit. Apparently this isn’t a joke.
Labour’s next caucus rule – seats reserved for the disabled, the mentally ill, overstayers, gays, vegetarians, the over 70s, the under 20s.
@harvestbird Over a couple of beers with my mates building a deck, we decided that the manplan has set progressive politics back decades.
Went for a coffee this morn but was refused service. Not enough women had bought a coffee. Seemed about as fair as Labour’s policy #manban
Upside to the #manban : Less likely John Tamihere will get an electorate seat.
Sean Plunket describes the #ManBan as “a completely co-ordinated attack by the Labour Party on itself”; and he’s spot on.
@LewStoddart More women MPs just for the sake of more women MPs is not a noble goal. Sexism lies in the population at large.
50% of houses should b owned solely by women n we should hv zero interest loans 2 fund this #manban
Finally we have Chris Trotter:
AMIDST ALL THE CLAMOUR of its detractors, the true significance of Labour’s “Man Ban” has eluded most commentators.
Yes, the proposed rule change has undoubtedly damaged Labour’s election prospects.
Yes, there are many more important issues the party would have preferred the news media to focus upon.
Yes, it is further evidence of a party with no reliable political grown-ups in charge.
Yes, Labour’s opponents will dine out on it for months.
And, yes, it’s the only thing the 2013 Annual Conference will be remembered for.
But, the “Man Ban” is also proof of something else: that the distance separating Labour’s rank-and-file from Labour’s Caucus has grown as wide as the gulf that once separated the “old” Labour Party from the “new”.
The conference in November should be spectacular!
Tags: Bryce Edwards, Chris Trotter, Colin Epsiner, Fran O'Sullivan, gender quotas, John Armstrong, Labour, man ban, twitter