Before he lost the Labour leadership, David Shearer announced he’d quashed the party’s man-ban:
Mr Shearer yesterday announced Labour’s council had agreed to his request to withdraw a proposal to allow some electorates to open candidate selections to women only, saying it was distracting from issues people wanted Labour to talk about.
The party’s got a new leader and policy is back in effect if not exactly as it was earlier proposed:
The Labour Party has voted to introduce a gender quota system to ensure half its MPs are women.
The new party rule means Labour’s men may have to give up spots in parliament, earned on merit, to female MPs.
Labour’s caucus is currently 42 percent female, but the quota means that number will have to rise to 45 percent by 2014, and 50 percent by 2017.
It means Labour’s party list will be stacked if required, with women put ahead of men to meet the quota.
The party grassroots lost a battle to introduce a so-called “man-ban” on men in electorate seats earlier this year when former leader David Shearer had it struck out.
This time party president Moira Coatsworth won, with a man-ban in drag.
“Women have missed out. This is about getting women equality,” she says.
Are you really equal if you’re more equal than people who might be better able to do the job than you; if you’re there for the cause of equality rather than your merit?
David Farrar analysed previous elections to show which male MPs would have been sacrificed for women had the quota been in place:
. . . In 1996, 1999 and 2002 Labour would not have been able to give any male MPs a winnable list place. . . .That means they would have lost Michael Cullen. Ironically, one of the MPs who would have been elected in his place is Lesley Soper. Soper is the only pro-life woman in the Labour Party, and quite hated by most Labour women. . .
There’s equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.
The former ensures everyone has the same chance and the best candidate wins.
The latter puts gender ahead of merit.
A quota will leave women MPs open to the criticism that they’re there in parliament because of who they are rather than their skills.
If not having enough women in parliament is a problem, serious consideration needs to be given to what’s stopping them getting there rather than manipulating the list.
That is using a second-best band-aid to cover the symptom without addressing the cause.
#gigatownoamaru is getting there on merit.