Just when the country imagined women were doing well in politics, particularly in the Labour Party, the party’s organisational wing says they are not. It is so worried that women do not yet fill half the party’s seats in Parliament it might allow electorates to ban males from selection as the Labour candidate. Predictably, the “man ban” has been ridiculed from all sides but if Labour wants to do it, why not?
I hope they do!
They have set a goal of a 50-50 gender balance in their caucus and women make up only 41 per cent so far. To reach perfect equilibrium by the election after next, they may need to turn away good men. Local electorate committees may be able to seek permission of the party’s New Zealand council to say that only women need apply for their selection.
If this is repugnant to the meaning of equal opportunity in most people’s minds, it is not foreign to Labour thinking.
Make no mistake this “Man Ban” furore has raised potentially fatal questions about David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party.
Here at “The Nation” last week we got a front row view of just how dysfunctional the Shearer leadership machine is.
First up, it is mind boggling that it was left to Cameron Slater and his “Whaleoil” blog to reveal that the party was proposing to allow women-only candidate selections as part of a bid to evenly balance its gender representation by 2017.
This proposal is part of the party’s Organisational Review which began work last year.
Its proposals have already surfaced at a national conference; at local LECs and at regional conferences.
They then went to the party’s Policy Council.
Either Mr Shearer is so out of touch with what is happening inside his own party or alternatively — as one Labour source suggested to me over the weekend – he simply wasn’t listening.
But nor, apparently, were the rest of the caucus.
The Herald continues:
Positive discrimination is central to the philosophy and character of the Labour Party. It does not believe in equal opportunity but in equal outcomes, which it believes require the playing field to be tilted in favour of those disadvantaged by race, gender or relative poverty. The “man ban”, even if the executive backs away from the idea in public, is a good defining issue for voters.
I think that is a key difference between National and Labour – the focus on equal outcomes rather than equal opportunities.
To anybody who shares Labour’s belief that women are inherently disadvantaged in competition with men, an idea as drastic as the “man ban” will show how determined a Labour government would be to address remaining gender imbalances in all walks of life.
Imagine what quotas will be introduced by a Labour/Green Government?