So much for supporting women

Dame Susan Devoy got no support from the left-wing sisterhood when she was appointed Race Relations Commissioner.

Now the appointment of another woman, Dr Jackie Blue, to the role of Equal Opportunities Commissioner, is being labelled  cronyism.

Justice Minister Judith Collins is being accused of cronyism for appointing National MP Jackie Blue as the next Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.

Opposition parties and the Council of Trade Unions are criticising the appointment, saying Ms Blue has supported legislation that disadvantages women.

“It’s yet another example of cronyism from the Government,” said Labour MP Sue Moroney.

“Hard on the heels of Dame Susan Devoy’s appointment as Race Relations Commissioner, the Government is fast turning the Human Rights Commission into a recruitment agency for its supporters.”

Both positions are part of the Human Rights Commission.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says cronyism is a legitimate description of Ms Blue’s appointment.

“It’s very unusual for a sitting MP to be appointed to a position like this,” she told reporters.

“Jackie Blue has voted for legislation that has harmed women… she needs to explain how she is going to undo the harm.”

These women can’t see past their left-wing bias to celebrate the success of another woman.

But Dr Blue does have the support of Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) which welcomes her appointment:

The Mt Roskill MP was instrumental in securing public funding for a twelve-month treatment programme of Herceptin for New Zealand women with HER2-Positive breast cancer.

BCAC chairperson, Libby Burgess, says Dr Blue’s actions in advocating for the Government funding of Herceptin demonstrate her commitment to women’s health.

“Dr Blue is a passionate advocate for New Zealand women and her drive to see that women with HER2-Positive breast cancer received life-saving treatment in the form of Herceptin was inspirational.

“She has a clear sense of fair play, a firm commitment to equality for all and a desire to see New Zealand develop as a better society. We firmly believe Dr Blue will fulfil her new role with the energy and dedication it deserves,” Ms Burgess says.

I’d take the view of an organisation which backs up its view with evidence over the politically motivated criticism by opposition MPs and the Council of Trade Unions.

10 Responses to So much for supporting women

  1. Lindsay says:

    I don’t get why National has retained all these quangos anyway.


  2. ZenTiger says:

    Women used to occupy so few senior positions it was a safe bet to champion “any women” for the post. We must be getting closer to equality now that each women candidate is openly attacked in this way.

    I like your point that the BCAC provides tangible reason to back up their position, whereas Sue Moroney seems to be stuck reading from the opposition playbook.


  3. JC says:

    I think National should have followed the worthy example of Labour in appointing the EEO, ie Judy McGregor. Here she is delivering a partisan speech to the 2012 Labour Party Conference.

    Incidentally I thought only braindead bogans would call Chris Finlayson a queen in such a forum. Nevermind, Judy has obviously achieved “equality” in this field.



  4. Dave Kennedy says:

    I am a male teacher in a profession dominated by women and even though I would like to have more male colleagues, it is the actually the ability of the teacher to do the job rather than gender that is important. We need to attract more able men into teaching by making it a more attractive profession rather than just giving a preference to male applicants who want to train.

    In the case of Susan Devoy and Jackie Blue, neither of them have particular qualifications or a history in the areas where they will now have a leadership role. Susan Devoy has made public statements that demonstrates an ignorance of our Treaty history and has upset groups that she needs to be able work with in an constructive manner. She has not got a strong record of diplomacy when managing difficult situations.

    Dr Jackie Blue is respected for her work in the health sector but she has a limited experience in industrial matters and the broader aspects of human rights. She has voted in support of legislation that has eroded the status of women and has seen the levels of female participation in leadership roles in our country drop considerably.

    Also in appointing Dr Blue to this role it has removed another woman from the male dominant National Party caucus (her replacement will be a male). National will now have 14 female MPs compared to 60 male MPs, over four times as many men than women. One would have to wonder why the party doesn’t attract strong female candidates.

    Labour has the about the same number of female MPs despite having almost half the total number of MPs, while the Greens have more females than males and New Zealand First has a 50% split.

    Most Governments make appointments that will support their interests and philosophical approach, but they generally ensure their appointees have a reasonable degree of competency and intellectual independence. We now have a Speaker who is barely managing the role and is blatantly favouring the Government, a race relations commissioner who has a limited race relations background and is unlikely to question racially divisive policy and an equal opportunities commissioner who has supported legislation that has negatively discriminated against women and minority groups.

    With report after report showing that this Government ignores proper process we are now seeing important public watchdogs being reduced to lapdogs.


  5. Gravedodger says:

    @ Dave Kennedy, re your comment on the current Mr Speaker.
    How do you rate him in comparison to, say Margaret Wilson?
    Would your assessment be different if we had not had the innovative and rather above average effort of Lockwood Smith in the mix?
    Many of those who denigrate the efforts of David Carter have as a common theme, a significant gap in their assessment skills that seems to be closely aligned to their rather biased opinion of all things National.
    The only member of NZLP who I would rate as a good speaker in recent times, would be The Late Sir Peter Tapsell and remind me again who nominated him and why.
    When Carter was elevated he was genuinely unimpressed with the move and who did Mr Shearer nominate as an alternative????

    Sheesh I get rather exercised when blinkered souls act in such an inane way as you did with an otherwise interesting comment up till that point.

    Your comments on Dame Susan may or may not pan out but the negative comments on the appointment of Ms Jackie Blue are IMHO misguided at best particularly in light of the recent blatantly political efforts of Judy McGreggor, who Dr Blue is replacing,at the NZLP Conference with particular reference to her unfortunate comment on the Hon Chris Finlayson’s sexual orientation. A comment that was revealing for one supposedly focused on “equal employment opportunity”.


  6. JC says:

    Here’s a partial list of over 50 Labour cronies appointed under Labour’s last three terms:



  7. TraceyS says:

    This just shows that a person’s political opinion doesn’t automatically make them wrong for a role. In fact, those who suggest otherwise should brush up on the Human Rights Act 1993, specifically s1(j).

    I learned a lot about EEO from Judy McGregor at University. Maybe she even inspired me… and I was glad to see her get that role at the time. I don’t know Jackie Blue, but wish her all the best.

    I feel that the role-holder’s personal passion for the cause is more important than anything else, even experience.


  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, one could question the motives behind National’s choice of Carter as Speaker. Lockwood Smith was an effective speaker who demanded that Ministers directly answer direct questions, Carter was a reluctant appointee who has not demanded that Ministers answer questions, but only address them. We now have the situation where addressing a question can just involve abusing the opposition. It seems to be a deliberate tactic to employ a speaker who will not follow the rulings his predecessor established.

    I am concerned that we are losing robust checks and balances, where the Government must justify decisions and accurately report progress. I have no faith in the speaker nor the two new commissioners to ensure the Government can be held to account.

    When we have a government who often ignores good process (according to numerous ombudsman decisions and judicial reviews) we do need closer scrutiny. We no longer have the five yearly reporting on the state of our environment and and the Government refuses to establish what constitutes poverty so that we can properly assess the enormity of the problem and track progress. It appears that this Government wants to hold everyone else to account except itself.


  9. Gravedodger says:

    @ Dave K, not surprised you omit to comment on my assessments of previous Speakers as I guess par for the course is appropriate in your mind.
    Carter will appear to the supporters of the sad bunch around Mr Shearer as a step backward but in light of the behavior of Mallard et al it could be said they get what they deserve. As one who was appalled by the performance of Wilson, a screaming banshee solely focused on protecting the decaying labour government, and before her, the “Minister for Wine and Cheese” who was fortunate to further his mediocre career at the Court of St James where his most memorable act was to remain in his limo while a flunky placed a “wreath” on the cenotaph because “it was raining”.

    I realise socialists just ignore the embarrassing rather than accept or comment, as was made an art form by Ms Clark but in the age of the internet it is always there for those who look it up.

    In reference to your last Paragraph, that is all total BS, the current Government is far more transparent than the 5th Labour Government ever was. How many times was the phrase, “nothing to see here just move on” or “it is a beltway issue” used by her majesty and the MSM just rolled over. Yes Mr Key takes a high risk approach by making himself too available in the eyes of some perhaps but if the polls are to be believed it seems to work for many New Zealanders.

    Could I respectfully suggest you peruse a list of the sinecures the Clark Administration awarded, nearly without exception they were all jobs well in advance of the ability on offer and the recipients of the largesse probably should see that good fortune for what it was.
    Dianne Yates a high point and the total dismay of Georgina Beyer a most revealing pointer.
    Nice that the NZLP was able to fund their very average Party Chairman with a plethora of paying appointments that required no application but left him free to persue his party work with total focus. Pity the wasted time in Melbourne did not pan out eh.


  10. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, Am am not a Labour Party member or supporter and I am not going to defend the past performances of their members. I respect both Dame Susan and Dr Jackie Blue, both have served our country well in other roles and I am only questioning their suitability for their new appointments based on their experience and qualifications. I refuse to engage in personal attacks.

    I am also aware that if we track the history of our parliament then we have generally made progress in introducing greater transparency of process and more honorable ways of operating. We have few members drunk in the house (as was common) and there are fewer personal attacks. We once had an intoxicated PM announce an election and MPs referring to gays as sodomists. Select committees have allowed greater public involvement in decision making and Lockwood Smith made some good rulings in relation to protocols in the House.

    I would like to see ongoing improvements in accountability and not backward steps. Under this Government select committees have often treated submitters appallingly and even cut short the process without good reason. Why should we accept lowered standards during question time after Lockwood raised the bar? How could anyone think that snide comments and flippant answers like “I dunno, can’t remember” are prime ministerial?

    Your argument appears to be that Labour was just as bad, if not worse, so suck it up. A “They did it too” approach does not support a mature debate or allow us to move forward to a higher standard of governance.


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