Deborah Coddington displays a wonderful talent for taking a set of incidents over 20 years apart, and out of context, as proof that National dumps on women. Let me look at this more rationally.
First of all, it is true that National needs to do better with female voters. This is no recently discovered secret. But it is also not unique to National. In the UK, Australia and the US, the centre-right party has almost always done better amongst men than women.
First off all Deborah refers to how Muldoon was nasty to Marilyn Waring. My god that was 25 years ago almost. Norman Kirk wasn’t known for his high regard of women either.
Then Deborah talks about Ruth getting sacked in 1993. Umm is she saying Ruth was sacked because Ruth is a woman??? And how about the context of National having the country’s first female Finance Minister and then the first female PM.
Then Deborah talks about Michelle Boag being sacked. Oh wait so Michelle was also sacked because she is a woman? Not because of the election result? Does Deborah think a male President would not have stepped down also? Is she also unaware of two male Presidents who have also lost the presidency? And how about the fact he current President is female.
Then she talks about a former acting chief of staff being let go, Glenda Hughes. Well yes she was. But so were the two male chiefs of staff before her. And her female predecessor was very successful. Plus Deborah gets it wrong about Brash having her “tossed aside like a smelly running-shoe” as she finished her role prior to the leadership change, so it is not just hyperbole, but wrong hyperbole.
Then Deborah talks about how National sacked some of their best researchers – who went off to have babies. Umm yes some female researchers were let go, but more male staff were. First time I’ve heard of any ex-staff thinking they were let go because they were female.
Then Deborah turns to Katherine Rich and Georgina Te Heuheu. And yes both their demotions were regrettable. But hello anyone recall the male Maurice Williamson being suspended by Bill English and Don Brash demoting Brian Connell.
The entire piece is just a ridiculous collection of non connected incidents where she only reports on bad things which have happened to females in National, over looking equally bad things have happened to male MPs and staff. Look politics is a tough business – MPs often fall out with leaders, and staff often lose their jobs. But this silly attempt to paint it as a problem with women is just cheap journalism.
If Deborah had just focused on the one or two real problems, like the regrettable comment over not attacking Clark because she is a woman, she would be on much stronger ground. But trying to paint Ruth Richardson and Michelle Boag as victims of being female is just ridiculous.