National needs a “man ban” and more diversity. Seriously… that’s his suggestion:
Looking forward to the National Party’s new “man ban”?
Think I’m kidding? National leader Christopher Luxon wants half his MPs to be women. As reported by the Herald’s political editor, Claire Trevett, over the weekend, he would “love to see a 50-50 gender balance”.
So how is that going to happen? Bear with me, for some numbers.
Trevett also reported there are 44 electorate seats in Parliament that National can realistically view as “winnable”. The party has chosen its candidates for all of them, and 33 are men. Just 11 – a quarter – are women.
National has been stuck on about 35 per cent in the polls since early last year. If that becomes the election result, it will translate into 42 seats. Once the votes for parties that don’t reach the 5 per cent threshold are discarded, that would climb to 44 seats.
This means that if the party wins all 44 of its “winnable” electorates, there will be no room in its caucus for any list candidates. No capacity to address the profound gender imbalance produced by candidate selection in the electorates.
This isn’t business as usual with National, by the way. They currently have 11 women MPs, but only 34 in all. Women make up a third of the caucus, but, even from that low base, now they are going backwards.
I know, I know, this is all nonsense, they should select the best candidates for the job.
But it’s 26 years since we first had a woman prime minister. We have heaps of inspirational women leaders, in Parliament and in most other parts of society. There is clearly no shortage of women who want to be MPs and no shortage of women with the life experience and skills to suggest they’d be good at it.
The thing is, if National really was choosing the “best candidates for the job”, they wouldn’t keep preferring men. The gender split would be roughly equal.
But they’re not even close. There’s only one credible explanation for this: bias has influenced their selections.
Luxon is a fool for even suggesting this, but Simon Wilson is equally deluded in asserting that National Party selections are biased against women.
This is the sort of cringe-worthy, disabling and patronising narrative that the left like to use to create divisions in society. You see it all the time: ‘vulnerable Maori’, ‘vulnerable Pasifika’ and ‘you didn’t get selected because you are [insert demographic here]’. It presupposes that if you are one of the poor afflicted groups, you can only be saved by affirmative action because you aren’t good enough to get there on your own.
At least he got the date of our first woman Prime Minister right. It was Jenny Shipley and I doubt she thinks she should have only got there by being given a helping hand. It is patronising and lazy journalism to even make such a suggestion.
Simon Wilson is from the hard-left of politics and his suggestions are meaningless to a party that supposedly embraces individualism and free enterprise.
And if National is going to shift the dial at all, you know what they’ll need? A “man ban”.
“Man ban” is the sneering phrase National used in 2017 when Labour announced it wanted to achieve gender equity in its caucus. But unless National stuffs the high spots on its party list with women, its caucus will be hardly any more gender equitable than it was 20 years ago.
The plain fact is, if you leave it to “choosing the best person” without recognising the inbuilt bias in your concept of “best”, you will perpetuate the inequity.
Once National has grasped this, what chance it might apply the principle to its understanding of wider society?
Taking advice from an avowed communist won’t make National more electable; nor will applying quotas for supposed minority, disenfranchised groups. It’s a game the left love to play, labelling everything a ‘community’, even when no such community actually exists.
Simon Wilson has no good advice for the National Party. In fact, if you do the exact opposite of what he proposes you’ll be heading in the right direction.
The only person who’d give worse advice to the National Party would be Martyn Bradbury: a man who has a picture of terrorist Che Guevara on his living room wall.
Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. This article was first published HERE