Damien O’Connor was criticised for the intemperate language he used to describe the Labour list.
His criticism shouldn’t have been directed at the list, one of its roles is supposed to be to add to the diversity of parliament.
The question to ask of Labour is why doesn’t it have much diversity among its electorate MPs?
Labour’s selection is strongly influenced by unions and head office which makes it relatively easy to select people who don’t fit the WMM (white middle-aged male) category as candidates for red seats.
In National, providing an electorate has 200 members, it is they who select the candidate and the party hierarchy has no influence at all over who they select.
In spite or because of that, Kiwiblog points out, National has eight MPs of Maori descent now.
Georgina te Heuheu is retiring in November but the party has new candidates of Maori descent in Northland (Mike Sabin), Wellington Central (Paul Foster-Bell), Dunedin South (Joanne Hayes) and Mangare (Claudette Hauiti).
That means 11 out of 63 National candidates in general seats are of Maori descent.
Is part of Labour’s problem the Maori seats? Has it taken for granted it would win them and thought that means it doesn’t need Maori in general seats?
Perhaps if Labour trusted its members and exercised a little more democracy in selecting candidates for electorates, it wouldn’t have to depend so much on its list to get a caucus more representative of New Zealand.
Apropos of yesterday’s post on participation, National’s Northland selection would be the most democratic of any for any party in the country. It was made by 275 voting delegates representing a membership of more than 4,000.