Women on Labour’s front bench

Over the New Years break I had a conversation with a (Labour) friend of mine about the number of women on David Shearer’s front bench. With two of the eight members of the front bench being women, it’s not exactly the strongest level of female representation.

I thought it would be worth taking a look at this issue from a historical perspective – is this issue better or worse than itwas under Helen Clark?

(Note that I have not looked at the caucus as a whole, or the party list. There are so many other factors in play there that it warrents it’s own post)

Women on the front bench

Obviously when Labour were in government from 1999-2008 we had a lot more seats in Parliament, and therefore more front bench seats. For comparisons sake, I’ve used the top 8 in the caucus rankings to compare it to Shearer’s front bench. If you’re interested in the raw data, you can get it here (Google Docs). Here’s what we’ve got…

So it turns out that from a historial point of view Shearer’s front bench is pretty standard. In the 1999 cabinet the Alliance’s Sandra Lee took up the number 7 slot by virtue of being her party’s deputy leader.

Women in the top 20

If we expand it to the cover the top 20 (which was mostly the size of Helen’s cabinet, and the number of MPs that Shearer has given a caucus ranking), we’re still not going to see a massive difference…

Again, 7 out of 20 is not a fantastic result. However, it is better than the Labour cabinet of 2002 and 2005, at a point where we had a female leader.

Labour, and I’d venture to say all parties, need to do better with female representation. However it would be rash to pin this problem on David Shearer – it has existed for quite some time.

There has been much said about Labour’s selection processes, and I’m sure they’re going to come under the spotlight in the upcoming organisational review. I’m really looking forward to hearing the ideas that come out of the woodwork to address some of our long-standing issues.

 

36 thoughts on “Women on Labour’s front bench”

  1. one thing missing from your analysis is the actual rankings themselves. in all years other than this current one, we had a woman in either the number 1 or number 2 positions. this time we don’t even have one in number 3. that sends quite a big signal.

    1. The rankings are in the raw data I’ve used.

      I think it would also be a pretty powerful signal if the finance spokesperson wasn’t in the top 3. That then begs the question as to if any women wanted that job…

    1. A woman in Labour capable of holding the Finance portfolio? Come on? Who out of the current line up is even remotely qualified?
      Welfare is a woman’s and minority portfolio, even the Nats treat it as such now and have done even stretching back to Shipley. It shouldn’t even be a number 4 slot regardless who has it. How hard is it to propose more spending on welfare, which is the lefts play.

  2. also, i can’t see how it would be a major disaster if finance was at 4. or it could have been at 2 or 1. ie the finance portfolio is not a barrier to having a woman in the top 3.

    1. One of Labour’s biggest problems is that it’s not seen as being economically credible. Dropping the finance spokesperson to number four would have also sent a pretty strong signal.

      1. you know, you’re argument is sounding a lot like TINA, when there are clearly many alternatives. it depends on priorities and a commitment to making things happen if you want them to happen, it depends on the way experience and talent is measured.

        and also the “i wonder if women asked for the portfolio” is kind of like putting responsibility on individual women for what are structural and attidunal problems. kind of like “women are paid less because they don’t ask for raises” (except that the latest research, covered in the washington post, clearly shows that they do).

        also missing from the analysis in your post is the kind of portfolios given to women over this period. do women in the current lineup have portfolios beyond what they traditionally tend to get like corrections, finance, foreign affairs instead of education and social development? what i’m saying is just looking at the numbers in the way you have is way too simplistic and misses a whole heap of important issues. it certainly isn’t a basis for making a generalisation such as “the current rankings aren’t any worse than previous rankings”.

  3. This is meaningless Patrick. Why don’t you have a look at the last time we didn’t have a woman at number 1 or 2? People can explain their way out of any stats but this front bench is worse for women full stop.

    1. As you well know, the positions of leader and deputy are elected rather than selected by the leader, so it’s a pretty different issue.

      Taking your point on the last time we didn’t have a woman in the first or second position, that would be David Lange and Geoffrey Palmer until 1989. I don’t have the caucus rankings from then at hand, but would be interested to know what it was like. I’d hazard a guess that we’ve made a big leap forwards since then, though I’m not sure how much of that is due to MMP.

      1. This is not an excuse. The society has moved on since 1989. Don’t tell me we are heading towards to a direction of less equality.

  4. I think another important fact you have missed out in your analysis is that we do not have a woman party leader or deputy leader this time which has been the Labour party’s tradition for a decade. We had an opportunity to have a very capable woman deputy leader this time, but narrow minded MPs chosen not to have one.

    This is a sad situation, that’s why many Labour women are so unhappy about this recently leadership selection process. It is important for the current leadership team to recognize this issue and reconcile with the general Labour Party membership.

  5. This is very interesting Patrick. As a woman I am more interested in the content of someone’s beliefs and their ability to sell, then deliver a progressive set of policies to the electorate rather than whether they have a penis or a vagina.

    People I have spoken to are really positive about the new leadership. Patrick is right, if anyone has an issue with this new line-up, it needs to be taken up with the caucus – men and women – who voted for it. But I suggest that if Ms Sutton wants to be on the side of winning the next election for Labour that carping on the sidelines about not meeting some feminist agenda is not the way to convince women who didn’t vote for us last time, to do so in 2014.

    1. “This is very interesting Patrick. As a woman I am more interested in the content of someone’s beliefs and their ability to sell, then deliver a progressive set of policies to the electorate rather than whether they have a penis or a vagina.”

      o rly? then it should concern you that very capable women MPs are not having their talents appropriately recognised. and what suri said. why are you assuming we haven’t taken this up in various ways? and writing this off as “meeting some feminist agenda” is just another silencing tactic to try to stop people who are pushing for the kind recognition which you purport to believe in.

  6. @Meryn. I think you’d be interested to know that many women in the party have directed their disappointment to the caucus. Not one has received a reply back yet. None of us are “carping on form the sidelines about not meeting some feminist agenda”. We’re talking about it in the party from the position of being party members. The post dismisses very legitimate concerns. What concerns me about the Labour party at the moment is that we think we are progressive and stand for equality where as our actions and the result of these actions indicate otherwise. At least the right behaves according to its principles.

  7. I don’t agree with that Kate Sutton that we should still see people according to their gender rather than their contribution. When did judging people by their genitals stop being bigotry?

    As a Labour Party member I am disgusted and appalled that a senior party official has declared war on caucus in this public environment. What she needs to state is who she would have promoted and who she would demote to make up a quota – then we could judge whether that is a more talented choice.

    One of the women we know she promoted was herself. Maybe there would be more women in senior positions if she spent more time helping create a party list people wanted to vote for, instead of the worst one in MMP history so that she could rank herself ahead of far more capable women whom she helped shove down the list behind her.

    Remind us again – how many women in Waikato voted for Kate Sutton, and how did her vote compare to that achieved by other women behind her on the list? How did it compare to male candidates whom she wants to supplant?

    1. ooh nice. ad hominem personal attack instead of dealing with the issues. discredit kate instead of trying to discredit her points.

      your main point is that women in the party should just shut up and be quiet? just stay in the kitchen and make the tea? patrick is the one who put this issue in a public forum, so you should really take that up with him. you can’t expect that he can put up this kind of simplistic analysis on a public blog, promote it via facebook, then expect everyone who disagrees with him to meekly keep their mouth shut, supposedly for the good of the party.

      it doesn’t serve the good of the party to have people afraid to speak out when things are going in the wrong direction – i refer you to the fourth labour government. those who care about the party have the courage to speak up, especially when something like this is presented to us.

      and finally the old “judging people by their genitals” line, taken straight from the right and wholly unoriginal, in order to avoid the fact that certain people’s contributions have significantly failed to be recognised and isn’t funny that they happen to be women. that needs to be pointed out and it will be pointed out.

      1. For the record, I don’t expect anyone who disagrees with me to “meekly keep their mouth shut”, and like you, I welcome debate. It would be a sad day indeed when members of political parties couldn’t discuss these issues.

        Also, I do agree that it is a simplistic analysis – but I did point that out in the original post. This post only looks at a small slice of the issue and I’m happy to admit that is the case.

        Sam has commented on my Facebook post toying with the idea that below the first few places rankings become largely irrelevant. I’m not sure I agree with that, but it’s worth a thought.

      2. Daniel Davies once wrote a very good post where he said that while there’s a snappy latin tag for ad hom, there’s no snappy Latin tag for “trusting people based on their acknowledged expertise and skill”. We’re a political party. We judge success in large part on winning votes. To accuse someone of an inability to win votes isn’t an illegitimate attack. It’s one of the most legitimate attacks you can make.

        It is not entirely pleasant, but then eh, unpleasantness is sometimes necessary.

        For too long we’ve accepted a culture of sectoral self-interest: this is good for women, this is good for rainbow, this is good for ethnic. We can not afford that any more. We have to start talking about what, and I apologise for how much of a cliche this is, is good for Labour.

    2. Given Kate should have stood in Auckland Central and Ardern in Waikato, judging her vote in Waikato (a safe National zone) probably isn’t fair.

      1. Cactus Kate,

        I am not jealous of Jacinda nor do I think I should have stood in Auckland Central. I do not see Jacinda as competition and support her whole heartedly. I am promoting more women not supplanting them! But you are right – its not fair to judge me on my Waikato result I did “better” than the National swing against us and that’s all I could do.

        and unKate
        We shouldn’t get into who got more votes should be the MP thing cause there are plenty of awesome MPs who got absolutely wasted for various reasons but we still want them there!!!! Its a silly argument and doesnt work in MMP times. I dont know who you are but as you are a party member I think its important for you and I to discuss this in real life at some stage.

        I worked hard to promote many women onto our list and anyone in the womens sector and practically everyone on the NZ Council would that. I got agreement for a 40% women quota on our list and that was achieved (although due to our crap result it didnt work out that way). Yes I promoted myself – because I think I would be a great MP and many others do too BUT I never promoted myself at the expense of other women! Sure you might have a bee in your bonnet about someone you really wanted to see get there but didnt and thats cool but this is not what this debate is about.

        I think its absolutely fine in a modern progressive party to have debate and discussion and you clearly dont support that – that’s cool but I do.

        Cheerio

  8. thanx patrick. that part of the comment wasn’t directed at you but at the person(s) who are so shocked that we women would dare to exoress our disagreement of a piece posted in a public forum.

    re sam’s comment i would disagree. to see someone who has shown herself to be a very capable spokesperson like sue moroney sitting outside the top 20 is pretty sad. it matters. but as i said in an earlier comment, the allocation of portfolios is also important. i think we need to take a more holistic view of the issue.

    and just another point regarding the personal attack on kate above: she is the elected women’s VP. if she doesn’t take leadership on this issue for the party, who on earth is supposed to? it’s just bizarre.

  9. Well the women’s VP statement by Scargazer raises another point that needs real debate; do we need sector councils any longer? Are they just another outdated example of a once relevant structure that we should now be beyond? What we must do as a party is open ourselves to include a much wider and larger number of kiwis by having a one member, one vote system of internal elections (proportional elections naturally) and candidate selections. Perhaps even open up leadership elections to the entire party membership like UK Labour. That way a case for an evenly divided leadership te can be put and judged by the party in it’s totality. Also, enough of the put-downs that call people who disagree with you right-wing. Grow up. New reality now. There’s going to be debate and discussion in our party.

    1. i hope that wasn’t a deliberation mis-spelling of my handle. and i didn’t call anyone right wing – i said the line was taken from the right. perhaps you need to read a little more carefully instead of childishly demanding that other people “grow up”?

      and now you want debate and discussion, whereas your earlier comment criticises us for the very same thing. yes, lets have that debate. when you count the party members who have issues that are represented by a particular sector, they make a majority of the party and the majority of the country.

      most of the people who want to pretend that there aren’t issues related to identity are the ones who haven’t had to face discrimination because of their gender or skin colour or some other characteristic. the reality is that inequality continues to exist, and this is a party that is supposed to care about inequality – of all kinds, not just economic. it’s a party that’s supposed to have policy which ensures that every person gets the chance to reach their full potential.

      so yes, let’s have that debate and discussion. and you’d better expect that people will be fighting for their rights to be represented and to have a vehicle to express their issues and push for them. we aren’t going away any time soon, and we will continue to fight for our rights outside of the party as well. because we can multi-task. so can the party – we can put in place policies that relate to the economy as well as disability issues, women’s issues and so on. sometimes those things even overlap, just to make it easier for everyone.

  10. It is unfortunate a woman was not elected to the leadership but considering 4 men ran and 1 one woman it was the statistically likely probability that no woman was selected for either role. Of those who ran for the list only 40% were women and the result was actually consistent the entire way down around 40% getting selected in list rankings. When it came to the actual election a lot of male electorate MPs got in while many female did not making an even lower than 40% figure of female representation.

    Logically based on the proportion of women in Parliament 2-3 should be on the front bench of 8 (assuming level of quality is consistent between men and women) which is what occurred although the rounding happened to the lower end.

    The issue begins much earlier than those who draw up lists or select within caucus rankings. The issue for the party is that it is not encouraging enough female candidates to stand for the list and not selecting enough women to be electorate MPs. The party actually needs to address how they treat women within the general party and train and encourage people to become MPs not demanding they select women out of the current caucus for specific roles which they may not be suitable for (or may be great for but then hopefully they get picked for it.)

    I don’t think abolishing the sectors is any kind of option. Sectors exist to ensure representation and support for specific groups that need it and are a healthy function of the party. Not all of the sectors function as they should but that is a result of the quality of their executives not the fact the Labour Party has a sector structure. A future development it should consider is actually the expansion of sectors to include more features by which people define themselves, examples of recent expansion in this area are the environment sector and the youth pacific sector both of which are good things because they provide people interested in these areas a more comfortable way to be involved which is critical if you want minority involvement.

    1. “Logically based on the proportion of women in Parliament 2-3 should be on the front bench of 8”

      i don’t think anyone has been disputing that much here. what we’ve been talking about is the positions they should be holding within that front bench of 8.

      “(assuming level of quality is consistent between men and women)”

      why on earth would you assume anything else?

      agree with the bulk of your comments though.

      1. As I said as my first line “It is unfortunate a woman was not elected to the leadership but considering 4 men ran and 1 one woman it was the statistically likely probability that no woman was selected for either role.”

        When only one woman runs for the leadership positions then changes her stance to a ticket deputy for the leader who did not in the end win it is very unlikely a woman will be in the top 2 roles. More women should have ran if they wanted the role, the fact is only one did enough.

        The selection of David Parker for finance and thus third was a result of how the leadership contest played out and thus was essentially guaranteed a man would also be in the third position.

        If someone is on the front bench they have every opportunity to be as influential as all of the other front bench ministers/spokespeople other than the party leader and the finance minister/spokesperson. Only positions 1 and 3 give any specific additional advantage, the rest of the roles are about what you do with them and I am sure the new front benchers will all do well.

  11. This reaction is incredible. Patrick starting a debate on the make up of the front bench cannot possibly be viewed as silencing anyone. All he has done is highlight how hopeless the Party has been historically at attracting more than a handful of decent women candidates.

    Kate are you seriously suggesting that regardless of talent or ability we should have a leadership team determined by gender? Or that we move to the Green approach of having to have a man and a woman in the leadership position?

    It was those very rules that blocked the Greens from having two women as co-leaders – when the best options were both women!?

    Helen Clark was never elected leader due to her gender – she was elected leader because she had the talent to be a great leader.

    And I would argue that her gender was only an issue for people on the extremes – at both ends of the spectrum. Most people just voted for her because she was the best person to lead the country.

    1. is your comment really addressed to kate? because she has made all of one comment here, not even three lines long so i’m not really sure why. not one person has accused patrick of silencing anyone. not one person has said that we should ignore talent or ability – we have said that the talent and ability of our women MPs are not being fairly recognised. see the difference? hence your comments re helen clark really aren’t relevant – she was a woman whose talents and abilities were recognised, but who had to live with constant attacks based on gender throughout her whole political career.

      1. My response was not entirely to Kate – but she is a senior official in the Party and candidate, so I was absolutely highlighting her repeated calls (in several different fora) that women should be promoted seemingly on gender instead of ability.

        I was saying the fact that Helen is a woman was irrelevant because it was talent and ability that got her to the top.

        Let me be even clearer – David Shearer and Grant Robertson form the best leadership team of the talent available in the current caucus. Because of their ability. THEIR ABILITY. Not because they are men, but because they are ones with the vision and plan to grow the Party and get LAbour back into Government.

        Ive also no doubt that in time Jacinda will be rising further up the ranks – but not because she is left or right handed, or straight or gay, Maori or pakeha – nor because she is woman or man – but because she has the talent and ability and is putting in the work.

        And if Patrick isn’t being accused of silencing people, why did you think he felt the need to say the following? “For the record, I don’t expect anyone who disagrees with me to “meekly keep their mouth shut”, and like you, I welcome debate.” Also, if you are so keen on debate, it’s not a great idea to tell people their perspective is irrelevant.

  12. “Because of their ability. THEIR ABILITY.”

    which is entirely your opinion. they got voted in, but please provide me the absolute proof that they have more ability than any other member of caucus? make no mistake, i have a lot of respect for them, especially grant who i have worked with in the past. but you need to give some facts to that statement: line up everyone’s ability and experience, tell us your criteria and those criteria are likely to be a matter of debate, and then we’ll see who has better ability. i went to one of the leadership meetings, i’ve been a member of the party for at least 8 years and have had quite a bit of interaction with most of those who were putting themselves forward.

    you presumably weren’t in the caucus room during the vote and weren’t part of all the discussions and debates between various MPs. unless you can confirm that you were, you have no basis for saying why these two were voted in instead of the other two. there was no record kept of the vote and no-one has publicised their reasons for voting the way they did. maybe they were chosen for perceived electability, which is separate to their ability to be able to run the country, and especially in an environment where people like chris trotter and any number of the white male commentariat are decrying identity politics for no reason that actually makes any sense (other than “it’s unpopular, because we say it is”).

    again, you are deliberately missing the point that the ability and talent of current women MPs is not adequately being recognised. you can scream ability in capitals as much as you like, but it doesn’t change that fact. you want to ignore that women face barriers in getting recognition for their contributions, that’s up to you. but if you expect us to ignore our own lived experience and the evidence before us, then you’re wasting your time.

    as for patrick’s comment, i have no idea why he felt the need to make it, because i made clear in my very next post that my silencing comment wasn’t addressed to him. perhaps he just generally wanted to let people know that he didn’t agree with those people who were criticising women for daring to disagree with the post.

    1. Oh dont get me wrong I am not criticising your right to disagree with the post or me, I’d never stop anyone doing that – but I take issue with the nonsensical identity politics you spout – and no I am not a member of the “white male commentariat”.

      But let me do a little disclaimer anyway, while I am white (I know… sorry… 🙁 lol) I was not in the caucus room during the vote because Im not an MP (now or ever) and I have never been a candidate – but I am a member.

      My opinion on the current leaders, just like my opinion of Helen, is based on having met both David and Grant – worked with them on issues, campaigned for them, listened to their vision for NZ and their values. Similarly I have met David Cunliffe and Nanaia Mahuta – and just about every other member of the caucus (including all those with vaginas!).

      From my perspective and what I know of the candidates – the caucus made the best decision.

      My main focus now though is not matching the caucus to a Resene colour chart – it is on campaigning for Labour to beat National and for it to form the next government.

      National are the opponent – not the men or white people who support Labour.

      By all means we need to get out there and bring in new talent – but first and foremost we need good people – i’ll take any hair colour, gender, religion as long as they’re good.

  13. Hi all

    Sorry I have not responded until now – out there in the real world busy doing stuff and didnt get a chance to check up on the blog till now. Sorry if I miss addressing all your points.

    Righto – When reading Patricks blog post he says that he has spoken to people – they are saying that women are worse off he wanted to check the facts and present a picture of what was really going on (lets remember also that one or two people is a big difference in such a small caucus) he shows that overall there is no big difference. A few of us called him out and said that this is too simplistic look at leader and deputy leader and also look at the rankings – it would also be good to look at portfolios and the perceived importance of those portfolios – this analysis would paint a more serious picture of gender representation in the party. Patrick does admit his analysis is simplistic and I was saying – sure its fine to put the graph up BUT its too simplistic, its meaningless and I stand by this.
    The comments now raise a whole lot of other stuff which stargazer has done well to address and I will try too (remembering that I dont want to spend all day online commenting on blogs – have things to do etc)
    I think I will address two main points here.
    1) The merit argument (coupled with the – if more women wanted it they should put themselves forward argument)
    2) Our ability to win elections

    Never for one second have I said that we shouldnt select people according to merit and never I have wavered from my support for David and Grant – this conversation is not about them and not about their ability to lead Labour. Anyone who thinks that questioning the lack of female representation in the Labour Party is about attacking David and Grant is missing the point.

    I dont want to over simplify this but this is how I (and all the international research sees it)
    If over 50% of the population is women and women are smart and articulate and want to change the world a) why dont more women put themselves forward and b) wny dont more women get selected and the answer is prejudice. All the international research shows that to get over 35% women in a caucus or parliament you need to positively discriminate.
    ALP is 40% 40% 20% for their seats. UK Labour has all women short lists. Across other countries they have specific seats for women. Zipper list systems in Scandinavia.

    I know my s&&t on this stuff and there is nothing different about NZ to all these countries except MMP and a deliberate attempt from list moderating to bring more diversity into parliament did increase our representation. Candidates at moderating are judged on merit as well as gender and ethnicity etc

    Also it is well known that people judge merit based on “what is most like them” and often find it hard to see talent in those who are different or view the world differently so there is no surprises that those who are not pakeha men are less represented in parliament/board rooms etc.

    ALSO we have tonnes of great, talented, smart, overachieving women putting themselves forward to be selected so if say the people out there in the party DO think that the women we have in parliament are not good enough – for arguments sake – We ALL have to take responsibly for that the leadership for not promoting more women and asking more women to run, the NZ Council for not promoting more women, the list moderating committee for not doing its job properly, the membership for not suggesting to more women that they stand etc etc.

    All the arguments about – just put more people forward, just be smarter, just be trained more are fine and good but there is no evidence (perhaps anecdotal but I like to rely on peer reviewed research) that shows that women (or any other marginalised group) can achieve equity in this way.

    You can ask Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson and other women from that time and they will say yes they had the abiltiy but it was a deliberate push by women to get them there was what got them there! It seems some of the commentators are re-writing history on what actually happened at that time!

    As for – how is Labour going to get back in if we keep focussing on agendas like that for gender equality?

    Well – I got into politics to make society a more fair, just and equitable place where everyone has the opportunity to work hard, use their talents, be ambitious and succeed. The New Zealand I want to live in is one where we are prosperous and proud and where ALL kiwis get the opportunity to work their guts out, take responsibly for their lives and do well. Where we are free to live our lives.

    When we are not calling up institutionalised discrimination in society and taking deliberate steps to do something about it we are not working towards my vision above – all kiwis cannot have the opportunity to be successful if some are marginalised.

    Will Labour win or lose the next election based solely on whether we have 40% women in the caucus? No, will Labour win or lose based on their leadership team, no! But we will win or lose based on our ability to be the voice of NZ and like it or not that includes being the face of NZ. We know we have lost our relatively loyal female voter base over the last few elections and we know that having more women is one way of getting them back but our ability to show a diverse caucus that looks like NZ but can also talk about NZers hopes and dreams is the real key to success( that and timing!)

    I don’t think that fighting for justice and equity/equality within the Labour Party is in anyway taking eyes of the prize of winning in 2014. Its in-line with our values and what we want for the rest of society and practising what you preach I think is pretty important for politicians!

    I dont have time to read this back and its probably all sorts of points jumbled but if you were going to take home one point its that – of course we should promote based on ability and merit. Ability and merit are judged differently by different people. We know on a population basis we dont have enough women – why? we know why cause all the research has been done. Okay lets do something about it cause we are the Labour party, progressive and based on the values of social justice thats why!

    Got things to do people – happy to have this conversation with any members in the real world.

    Kate

    Ps- we do have one member one vote and in the UK they have all womens short lists so there is positive discrimination there.
    Also some of my colleagues would disagree with me but I would be first to say goodbye to the womens sector council if we had nothing more to fight for Sector councils are not outdated or divisive or anything negative. I am really interested in how we can make our party more modern and I think that a modern party does obviously have groups of people that we advocating for a more progressive and representative party.

    1. @Kate Sutton

      “We know we have lost our relatively loyal female voter base over the last few elections”

      All is not lost. On current polling and list rankings the highest ranked female in the next Labour-led Government will be Metiria Turei. I’m sure she’ll make an excellent minister.

      “All the international research shows that to get over 35% women in a caucus or parliament you need to positively discriminate.”

      Indeed the Green party have a target of 40% plus women in their caucus. Currently though they are over that number – 8 of their 14 MP’s are women.

      Perhaps one explanation for the lack of women higher in the Labour list and the loss of women voters is that when given a choice smart capable women tend to vote with their feet:
      http://www.greens.org.nz/join

      1. Thanks Richard! But I am happy with Labour. The Greens have got a good group of smart capable women in this time – its really exciting to see. I guess it shows other parties what you can achieve when you make a deliberate choice.
        Also lets not kid ourselves the Nats deliberately have searched for new women and people from minority groups cause they know this stuff is important too. If its Key doing it people dont cry on about merit eh!

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