Labour’s gender quota

July 8th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Most focus has been on ’s proposed man ban, but their proposed gender quota is equally worthy of focus. Few people disagree that we should have more women in Parliament, and a gender quota would of course achieve that. But quotas are inflexible and they mean that gender is regarded as more important than all other factors.

To illustrate why this is a pretty stupid idea, I’ve analysed what changes would have occurred to Labour’s caucus in the six MMP elections to date if they had a 50% female quota. Of course you can argue they may have done things differently, but we can only act on the info we have. Also for several of those elections Labour would have had no male list MPs at all, so it doesn’t matter how you argue it – they would have lost every male List MP if they were required to have a 50% quota.

1996 Lose

Joe Hawke
Jonathan Hunt
Mark Gosche
Dover Samuels

1996 Gain

Helen Duncan
Verna Smith
Suzanne Sinclair
Sue Moroney

1999 Loss

Joe Hawke
Jonathan Hunt
Michael Cullen

1999 Gain

Lynne Pillay
Lili Tuioti
Brenda Lowe-Johnson

2002 Loss

Ashraf Choudary
Dave Hereora
Graham Kelly
Jonathan Hunt
Michael Cullen

2002 Gain

Moana Mackey
Lesley Soper
Carol Beaumont
Gill Boddy-Greer
Louisa Wall

2005 Loss

Dave Hereora
Russell Fairbrother
David Parker
Shane Jones
Ashraf Choudary
Rick Barker
Mita Ririnui

2005 Gain

Lesley Soper
Louisa Wall
Denise MacKenzie
Leila Boyle
Jennifer McCutcheon
Linda Hudson
Marilyn Brown

2008 Loss

Stuart Nash
Rick Barker
Ashraf Choudary
Kelvin Davis
Charles Chauvel

2008 Gain

Judith Tizard
Louisa Wall
Lesley Soper
Erin Ebborn-Gillespie
Josephine Bartley

2011 Loss

Raymond Huo
Rajen Prasad
Shane Jones
Andrew Little
Charles Chauvel

2011 Gain

Carol Beaumont
Carmel Sepuloni
Deborah Mahuta-Coyle
Steve Chadwick
Kate Sutton

I think illustrates the inflexibility and dangers of quotas. In 1996, 1999 and 2002 Labour would not have been able to give any male MPs a winnable list place. That means they would have lost Michael Cullen. Ironically, one of the MPs who would have been elected in his place is Lesley Soper. Soper is the only pro-life woman in the Labour Party, and quite hated by most Labour women. The thought that replacing Michael Cullen with Lesley Soper is a triumph for women’s rights is absurd.

Labour would also have lost David Parker, Shane Jones, Kelvin Davis and Andrew Little if they had to apply a 50% quota for previous list rankings.

Yes quotas will achieve 50% female representation. But at what cost?

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28 Responses to “Labour’s gender quota”

  1. jims_whare (408 comments) says:

    I don’t think they could achieve it accurately anyway.

    Labour don’t know prior to an election exactly how many electorate and list MP’s they will have after the election.

    So do they stack the books and aim for 60% female in case they lose 2 or 3 seats or get less of the party vote they they thought.

    If they ended up with say 56% female MP’s could excluded male candidates then take the party to the HRC for discrimination?

    Fools the lot of them

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  2. Ashley Schaeffer (535 comments) says:

    Some of those losses look great! But the gains, not so much.

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  3. david (2,194 comments) says:

    Hey but David you can’t argue that losing Ashraf Choudray on multiple occasions would have been a negative for labour or the country as a whole.

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  4. Redbaiter (10,417 comments) says:

    Quotas or targets, what is the real difference???

    Either way, it means men miss out and women are promoted at men’s expense.

    I resent that my taxpayer dollars are used to promote this daft idea, and whether its Labour with quotas or National with targets matters SFA to me.

    Let the Police do their job, without worrying about Marxist concepts like “gender equality”. Same goes for the Armed Forces, and other such government services.

    If private companies want to indulge in this madness then fine, they’re choice, but it should not be a matter for taxpayer funded government agencies.

    They should just get on with what ever services they were set up to deliver and skip the social engineering.

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  5. KapitiCoast (114 comments) says:

    But DPF, it would never have been enacted/overtly in policy under Helen (ironically who actually promoted women like no other labour leader, perhaps she did under secrecy along with the selling of land to foreigners…shhhhh), so back tracking is a folly, take it from next election. Which is a moot point I know because it will be voted down now as a joke in NZ media/voters sphere so will never be a policy….but another distraction, again, and another shot in the foot for Labour….:)

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  6. Pete George (23,798 comments) says:

    It’s well known that the Greens aim for gender equity, but they don’t do this with quotas or fixed percentages.

    From Gender equity in Parliament – Metiria Turei:

    We have a gender equity rule for our list (no more than 60% of any gender from place 6), coleadership at every level (national, provincial, branch, electorate) and a strong culture of gender equity.

    They exclude the rule applying under 6 candidates as it gets two hard, and 60% leaves room for pragamatic flexibility. And they don’r have a special rule for either gender.

    I think they have one of the best systems to deal with this, and they achieve the best gender balance of all parties.

    They do have something else in their favour – Greens seem to attract sufficient female candidates who are as capable in Parliament as their male counterparts.

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  7. Redbaiter (10,417 comments) says:

    “Some of those losses look great! But the gains, not so much.”

    Damn right there, left wingers are useless as a matter of course, but left wing wimmin? God save us.

    (Remember Steve Chadwick?? FFS..!!! Yes in spite of the Steve, she was a woman. Well, she presented as one anyway.)

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  8. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Greens seem to attract sufficient female candidates who are as capable in Parliament as their male counterparts.

    Well, perhaps, but where the Greens are concerned that isn’t a very high standard to begin with.  

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  9. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    If you support “marriage equality” you should support this. It’s all part of the looney world of equality.

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  10. SHG (321 comments) says:

    Raymond Huo
    Rajen Prasad
    Shane Jones
    Andrew Little
    Charles Chauvel

    2011 Gain

    Carol Beaumont
    Carmel Sepuloni
    Deborah Mahuta-Coyle
    Steve Chadwick
    Kate Sutton

    So in the interests of diversity Labour would have eliminated a Chinese man, an Indian man, a Maori man, a Pakeha man, and a Nieuean man.

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  11. anonymouse (705 comments) says:

    Pretty much a pointless academic exercise thou,

    Uf course they would construct the list differently if they had different criteria,

    A glaring example is 2002, do you really think that the Minster of Finance would be placed in a list position that would allow him to not be selected….

    Nor would the future speaker be booted from his list position in 1999….

    [DPF: You miss the point. To achieve equality Labour would have been required to give no male a winnable list place. Cullen would be the highest ranked male – but he would be below Lesley Soper!]

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  12. labrator (1,851 comments) says:

    I’m still waiting for the legislation that will ensure 50% of all mothers are men.

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  13. Rich Prick (1,750 comments) says:

    That all looks pretty talent neutral to me … no matter what it hovers around abysmal.

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  14. Redbaiter (10,417 comments) says:

    Will Durant-

    “freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.”

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  15. dubya (245 comments) says:

    “Greens seem to attract sufficient female candidates who are as capable in Parliament as their male counterparts”

    That is to say, not very capable. Gareth Hughes looks like an ugly young dyke and acts like it to boot, so not much to live up to for the green wimmin.

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  16. PaulL (5,449 comments) says:

    @anonymouse: you’re missing the point that no men would have been elected on the list – so whether Cullen had a winnable place or not would be immaterial. Presumably they’d achieve this by setting their list, then asking men to stand aside if not enough women got in on the electorates.

    @Pete George: I agree the Green policy is probably more sensible (did I just say Green and sensible in the same sentence) if you wanted to achieve this outcome. I seem to recall the Greens used to have a very strong policy towards Te Tiriti as well. Surely they should have Maori and Pakeha co-leaders as well? Would that mean 4 co-leaders (1 male Maori, 1 male Pakeha, 1 female Maori, 1 female Pakeha)? At every level in the organisation?

    The bottom line is that if you run an organisation where the “leader” has little authority, making every leader into a co-leader makes little difference. I’m not sure most organisations would work that way. If the Greens won a majority and formed a government would we have co-prime ministers? Would that be OK?

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  17. Shunda barunda (2,986 comments) says:

    Soper is the only pro-life woman in the Labour Party, and quite hated by most Labour women.

    How is that even possible?, do they keep her in a cage?

    How can we help this poor woman? her life is clearly in danger, the woman’s refuge ‘wheel of abuse’ makes that abundantly clear.

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  18. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    Only 27% of National MPs are women. That says a lot about National.

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  19. Ultima (30 comments) says:

    So if the #manban was in place when Dr Michael Cullen was elected we wouldn’t have got WFF, KiwiRail, free student loans, earners over $60k labelled as rich pricks? Well…..

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  20. Huevon (228 comments) says:

    A pro-life woman in the Labour Party? The sisterhood must hiss at her as she walks by. What a brave woman.

    DPF, one more implication of your analysis is that men are more successful in electorate seats for Labour. Could this be motivating the proposed man ban? The electorate must find so many of the woman in the Labour party so off-putting that they can only get seats through the quasi-corrupt MMP list system (ie not elected by the people – and don’t give me that BS line about “proportionality”, we all know what real democracy looks like and MMP isn’t it).

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  21. Matthew Percival (20 comments) says:

    “I think they have one of the best systems to deal with this, and they achieve the best gender balance of all parties.”

    It’s much easier to get gender equality when your party is comprised entirely of list MP’s. When your party genuinely contests electorates, some of which are marginal from election to election, it makes it a fair bit harder to get gender equality.

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  22. Ed Snack (1,940 comments) says:

    One has to cavill at the statement “Soper is the only pro-life woman in the Labour Party, and quite hated by most Labour women. The thought that replacing Michael Cullen with Lesley Soper is a triumph for women’s rights is absurd.”

    Soper probably represents more for at least one sector of women than any of the “abortion at any time up to {and maybe after} delivery mob, and that sector is the disproportionate number of female fetuses aborted. And the thought that woman’s rights are so completely dictated by abortion seems to be one of the most absurd and damaging fallacies of the last few decades.

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  23. hemihua (31 comments) says:

    So if more than 50% of females happened to vote for a male? Their votes may be discarded at a whim?

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  24. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    Have the Greens ever been asked what would happen if the nation went mad and voted them into power?

    Would we have two Prime Ministers?

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  25. Redbaiter (10,417 comments) says:

    “the thought that woman’s rights are so completely dictated by abortion seems to be one of the most absurd and damaging fallacies of the last few decades.”

    Well said.

    And there are sure some fallacies to choose from.

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  26. edhunter (554 comments) says:

    Quick History lesson:
    1893 – women get the vote
    1919 – women allowed to be elected into office
    1938 – fisrt woman elected into parliament at a general election
    1947 – first woman cabinet minister
    1981 – 7 women in parliament or 7.5% (Batchelor, Clark, Hercus, Shields, Richardson, Waring, Wilde)
    1993 – 21%
    1996 – 29% MMP
    2008 – 34%

    Yes the first woman elected was 33 (1st maori woman 49) both bye-elections both took over their dead husbands seat.

    My point is the trend is upwards & shows no sign of stopping so why the need for a quota in the first place especially now?
    Also look at the names from 81 & there’s some pretty heavy & recognisable names on it, no body handed these women a free ride & I cant see any of them thinking this is a good idea.

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  27. edhunter (554 comments) says:

    PS in 1981 John Banks was in his 1st term as a MP

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  28. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    Most of the women I have asked about this think the idea is daft and patronising and simply think the best candidates should be selected whatever their gender.

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