Senior Labour MPs are pressuring the party to dump or modify gender quota and “women-only” selection proposals ahead of today’s regular caucus meeting.
“Free and frank” views are expected to be aired by supporters of the quota and a group of male MPs, including Shane Jones and Clayton Cosgrove, who have openly rubbished the moves.
Manurewa MP Louisa Wall has backed the rule changes and list MP Sue Moroney has also spoken in favour of their aims, although she has hinted at a compromise.
After a series of meetings that spilled over into the evening, Labour sources yesterday said the solution rested with the party’s ruling council, not its MPs.
David Shearer refused to go on television last night to talk about GCSB, unless the broadcasters promised they wouldn’t ask him any questions about the man ban. They refused of course, so he refused to appear. Not sure I can recall a previous occassion where an opposition leader boycotts television interviews!
He has managed to man ban himself!
A solution would likely centre around redefining the 50 per cent quota as an objective, rather than a requirement.
But will the NZ Council and activists agree?
The Dom Post editorial:
Wacky ideas and politics go hand in hand. One of the reasons people join political parties is because they’ve got ideas they want to advocate. Selling raffle tickets and leafletting neighbourhoods only has so much appeal.
Hence it is no surprise that there are people within the Labour Party who think a gender quota should be introduced to ensure that women make up half its MPs after the 2017 election.
What is surprising is that the proposal has been adopted by the party’s ruling council. And what is even more surprising is that leader David Shearer has not dismissed it out of hand.
Shearer is a member of the Council that approved it.
Women bring a different perspective and different life experiences to Parliament. In recent years Ann Hercus, Fran Wilde, Ruth Richardson, Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark have all left their marks on New Zealand and Judith Collins and Paula Bennett are doing the same thing now.
It is not easy being a woman in a traditionally male institution, but none required special treatment to get selected by their parties or to rise to influential positions once they had got to Parliament.
The Labour proposal is condescending to women and counter to the party’s interests.
The people who seem to be most angry about this are in fact women.
Mr Shearer and his saner colleagues know this.
So which colleagues are not “saner”?
The Labour leader has said he prefers targets to quotas. His failure to stamp out a nutty idea leads to only one conclusion. He lacks the power within his own party to do what he knows is in its best interests. That does not bode well for him or Labour.
But good for New Zealand!