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Labour proposes “Women Only” Rule!

Filed under: General — Alastair @ 5:00 pm Thu 4th July 2013
Labour is poised to introduce new party rules to ensure half of its elected MPs are women by 2017 and would allow individual electorates to run “women only” candidate selections.

The proposed rule changes, to be decided at the party’s annual conference in November, would force the party’s list selection committee to ensure caucus would be 45 per cent woman in 2014 and 50 per cent by 2017.

In putting the list together the moderating committee would also have to take into account the electorate MPs that were likely to be elected, to ensure that balance.

A local electorate committee would be able to request that the NZ Council decide “only women may nominate for the position of Labour candidate for their electorate”.

That approval would override the right granted elsewhere in the rules for any member to be eligible for nomination.

The rules would also require a list that had a mix of ethnicity, gender, geographical spread, sexual orientation and disability representation.

Party secretary Tim Barnett said the 50 per cent target through the moderating committee was the big change, because everything flowed from that.

Its aim was to ensure a more equitable gender mix in caucus, which had been stuck at 35 per cent to the low 40 per cent for the last 20 years.

He said the proposed rule changes were circulated to members yesterday, and were to be released to the media later today but were provided early after a copy was obtained by right-wing blogger Cameron Slater.

Candidates for Maori electorates, and list-only nominees who were Maori, would be eligible to nominate for a separate Te Kaunihera Maori list that would be ranked in bands of two and would be incorporated into the final list selection process.

Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson said the aim was to achieve gender balance and the rule changes were proposed mechanisms to achieve that.

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor said he was confident his electorate would “not ask for something so stupid” as a women-only candidate selection.

List MP Clayton Cosgrove joked that he had been a Labour member for a long time and would do most things for the party but not “have the operation”.


  1. By the time you take into account the gaggle of gays in the Labour Party and then add 50 per cent women you might be lucky to have 25% men left. That would be a totally ineffectual representation of men in New Zealand. Sad end to the Labour Party considering the humble beginnings from which it began.

    Comment by Down Under — Thu 4th July 2013 @ 5:28 pm

  2. Bevin what homophobic nonsense. So you cannot be male and gay? The Labour rainbow “gays” are of both gender and when Georgina was there they even had transgender.
    I do think this is a silly idea and even if a party list is one man then one woman right down the list gender symmetry will not be “perfect” even if we accept that is some ideal. Electorate seats face the decision of voters and we (voters) are known to be unpredictable despite the best planning of party list selectors.

    Has the current system produced “effective representation” for men in NZ?

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Thu 4th July 2013 @ 6:15 pm

  3. Good on you Alan. You can’t distinguish between gay people and gay politics. Well, I’m not that stupid.

    Comment by Down Under — Thu 4th July 2013 @ 6:43 pm

  4. Mmm, so discrimination on the grounds of gender is ok? In our system of government too. So then we can expect male only appointments for nurses, midwives, lawyers, doctors and all other areas in which we don’t have equal gender representation. And woman only appointments in trades, mining, fishing, rubbish collection etc. Never mind how adequately the roles will be filled.

    Comment by Man X Norton — Thu 4th July 2013 @ 7:41 pm

  5. I suggest that ths proposal contravenes the Human Rghts Act. Ths act Prohibits discrimnation on many grounds includng gender.

    Comment by Gwahir — Thu 4th July 2013 @ 8:25 pm

  6. I say let them have their new rules.
    50% (or more) women in the interests of gender balance.
    Presumably they’ll 10% gays, in the interest of sexual orientation balance.
    And 33% Muslims (aren’t they about 1/3 of the global population – severely under-represented in NZ politics);
    Presumably they’ll also need an age balance too, with some candidates in their teens and some in their 80’s.
    And I’d like to see a mix of employed, non-working, and beneficiary candidates, and crims / non-crims too, as well as 15% Maori, 12% Asian, 5% Samoan, etc etc.

    Non of this should scare us. With these sort of targets, labour won’t have a shitshow of getting back into parliament. Shearer will be well and truly shorn.

    Comment by Never Again Will I Vote Labour ... — Thu 4th July 2013 @ 8:52 pm

  7. We have already had an “Unemployed” Politician! Alamein Kopu Refer (A good example of fallices wth MMP)

    She was critisised for her lack of participation and attendance at parliament!

    Comment by Gwahir — Thu 4th July 2013 @ 9:33 pm

  8. This is madness. Bad enough when you shoot yourself in the foot but shooting yourself in the head is political suicide. Too late to take it back now.
    This suggestion comes from the same source as our current child support laws, and this is why nobody wants to change that law for fear of these shrieking harpies. I would swallow a massive dead rat and vote National if they ever did something about making child support even remotely fair.

    Comment by Des — Fri 5th July 2013 @ 8:38 am

  9. With labor’s ‘thinking’ we should have 20% of candidates who’s favorite ice-cream vanilla, and 3% who are dog owners.

    I can hear Helen Clarkski laughing all the way from Geneva.

    Comment by Skeptic — Fri 5th July 2013 @ 12:15 pm

  10. Note how the media are calling this a “pro-women plan” and not an anti-male agenda. Imagine for a split second if the genders were reversed in this situation and what the media would be saying!

    Comment by Scott B — Fri 5th July 2013 @ 1:30 pm

  11. Maybe it could be paired up with a rule that gives child custody to men only, until a 50/50 gender split is obtained.

    Comment by Ted — Fri 5th July 2013 @ 6:49 pm

  12. This is new reason way I am not voting for Labour.

    More when in politics more chance of seeing them making more women friendly legislation at cost of mans right.

    New Zealand is already matriarchal society and woman are better off making it more easier for women to gain more power.

    Comment by Shinhee Yi — Tue 9th July 2013 @ 6:20 pm

  13. What have we lost …

    Comment by Down Under — Tue 9th July 2013 @ 8:45 pm

  14. in countries such as China where there is huge pressure on parents to produce males to carry on the family name and for to look after them when they retire,gender selection is reinforced by the ‘One child’ policy that currently stands, meaning parents who have more than one child can be heavily fined. If gender selection was legalised in countries such as this, then there would be a massive reduction in the number of female babies being born it would see a rise in the number of illegal abortions, and could have disastrous consequences demographically. A survey in Hungary found that, of those who would consider using gender selection if it were made legal, 87% of couples said they would want their first child to be male. In this case we would be left with a heavily male-dominated population. Such a population imbalance would undoubtedly lead to problems both with reproduction and the general structure of that society. In light of what most of us on this site know about the relationship between science, politics, and power, may quickly lead to a heavily gender biased society whilst also opening the possibility of other types of genetic selection which is being driven by a desire to “improve” the human species where new eugenics is driven by our personal desire to be as healthy, intelligent and fit as possible-and for the opportunity of our children to be so as well. And that’s not something that should be dismissed lightly. Taken from such a radical a perspective, gender equality in politics in my opinion is most imperative.

    Comment by Anon — Sun 14th July 2013 @ 10:48 am

  15. Anon, your conclusion doesn’t seem to follow any argument you made. Calling for ‘gender equality in politics’ does not follow from your concerns about the choice of Chinese parents to prefer male babies for whatever reason. Indeed, you warn about the dangers if ‘gender selection’ is made legal, yet that is exactly what the Labour party has proposed, gender selection applying to those standing in elections. Discrimination on the basis of gender is either desirable or undesirable, not desirable when it suits your own preference but undesirable when it doesn’t.

    Comment by Ministry of Men's Affairs — Sun 14th July 2013 @ 11:57 am

  16. To Ministry of Men’s Affairs (#15)
    Gender biased in terms of open gender discrimination is nothing new in this country. Girls can join boy-scouts. Boys cannot join girl guides. Women can join men-only clubs (best they be opened up or disestablished). Men cannot join women’s clubs (e.g. contours gym for women). Men are not allowed in the hallowed halls of the women’s refuge. Women have their ministry of women’s affairs. Women have a ‘women in business’ group in Wellington. Doubt I’d be allowed along. Women are encouraged to seek a woman doctor if they prefer. I’d have a hard time insisting on a male doctor – I’d be sexist!
    The list could go on.
    So Anon (#14) has a point. Gender discrimination at birth, when it is eventually sanctioned (as no doubt one day the femi’s will allow in through the back door – and how dare men control women’s personal choices anyway!) will inevitably lead to a huge swing towards demographic female imbalance. Guaranteed.
    Who the hell would want a boy when there is open choice for abortion, when they are failing so miserably at school; are of no use as fathers; are universally accepted as the root of all domestic violence and serious crime; when the only good man is a locked-up man?
    Just ask any wannabe couple. She will always pronounce she’d love a baby girl, and he will simply dumbly defer to her wishes.

    Comment by Who the f? am I addressing? — Sun 14th July 2013 @ 2:35 pm

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