Labour, polls and gender balanced list

Vernon Small points a tricky problem for the Labour Party.  They have pledged to have a gender balanced caucus by 2017, but with their struggles to make an impression – as shown by polls, this could be a tricky and imprecise balancing act.

Stuff: Poor polls sensitive issue as Labour MPs brace for gender-balanced list

Small suggests that Andrew Little was ill-advised having a moan about this week’s Colmar Brunton poll that had Labour on 26%, about the same level of support they got last election.

Small comes up with an explanation for Labour poll angst – unless they show substantially higher and sustained poll numbers their list is going to be tricky to put together.

It also came at a bad time for the party as it contemplates that most fraught of MMP political processes; the shape of its party list and who will be high, low and shafted.

It all comes down to the party vote, of course, but with a twist for Labour.

It has pledged to gender balance its caucus by 2017.

When the policy was signed off in 2013, then-president Moira Coatsworth said the target would be achieved by calculating the gender mix at various different levels of support and taking into account the likely electorates Labour would win.

But a party vote of 26 per cent, in line with the TVNZ poll, delivers a very different scenario – and a political death sentence for many a male aspirant – than the 35 per cent-plus yardstick the party is assuming.

Labour currently holds 27 electorates, with 17 held by men and 10 held by women.

Phil Goff looks likely to drop Mt Roskill but Labour have a male heir lined up there.

Christchurch Central may be winnable but they have a male candidate confirmed here. Otaki has selected a male candidate.

Can they afford to have any other male candidates in potentially winnable electorates?

To balance their caucus Labour will have to stack the top of their list with female candidates.

But that has it’s own difficulties. Little himself will have to top the list and will get in via the list unless he takes over a safe electorate – there is no way he will risk standing in New Plymouth again, having lost twice there.

If David Parker wants to remain in Parliament he will want a high list position. Trevor Mallard has already announced he won’t stand in his electorate so will want to ensure he gets in on the list so he can line up for the Speaker’s chair.

Currently Labour has five list MPs. Not much room for females there.

To seriously seek gender balance Labour will have to try and stack their list with females to achieve it at various levels of support, they can’t pick a number and base their decisions on that.

25%, 30%, 35% are all looking possible, so they should be trying to achieve approximate balance at each of those levels.

There are some suggestions that Labour’s vote could collapse, but if they drop to 20% gender balance will be a minor detail amongst the anguish that would cause.

No wonder Little is very sensitive about what the polls are telling him – prepare for a range of results.

Leave a comment

40 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  16th September 2016

    More own goals to come from Labour yet I expect. This is what happens the Team Selection Policy’s made on Ladies Night.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  16th September 2016

      * when.

      See Corky? At least I’m consistent & correct everybody’s cockups without fear or favour.

      Reply
      • Nick Ellis

         /  16th September 2016

        Not quite. When it comes to the Grammar Police it’s annoyance when you correct others, but embarrassment when you have correct yourself. ; )

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  16th September 2016

          Must be hell for English teachers these days.
          I wonder what Maths teachers do when they get one who insists on their right to decide 2+2=7?

          Reply
          • Nick Ellis

             /  16th September 2016

            if 2=3.5
            then 2+2 =7

            Reply
          • If you know what they meant regardless of how they wrote it isn’t it fine?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  16th September 2016

              Absolutely. If young Troy wants to continue to write on Forums that in his opinion Christians don’t need to go Church & should be able to whorshop in whatever way they choose, it’s fine, but don’t you think it was worth the laff to at least let him know you were surprised by that one?

            • Nick Ellis

               /  16th September 2016

              How many times has someones correction of something changed the way you read the comment in the first place? It’s a number very close to zero.

            • Gezza

               /  16th September 2016

              That’s not the reason I do it. I do it when I’m bored.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  16th September 2016

              You should maybe look at getting out more then.

            • Gezza

               /  16th September 2016

              I do. Sometimes I like to go fishing, for example, but if I’m not getting any bites I don’t stick at it for long, & often I’m happy if I only get one decent catch. Any extras are just a bonus.

      • Corky

         /  16th September 2016

        Good stuff. But I’m still not voting Labour.

        Reply
  2. Nick Ellis

     /  16th September 2016

    If other pundits are right then their real problem is getting their leader into parliament on a list seat.

    Reply
  3. Iceberg

     /  16th September 2016

    Is this the real reason that Cunliffe was sorry for being a man?

    Reply
  4. Pete Kane

     /  16th September 2016

    For Otaki to come into play, National would need to shed considerable votes not only to Labour, but also NZ First (which they have done in the past, to certain extent). Labour’s advantage is of course the incumbent MP.

    Reply
  5. Pete Kane

     /  16th September 2016

    “If David Parker wants to remain in Parliament he will want a high list position. Trevor Mallard has already announced he won’t stand in his electorate so will want to ensure he gets in on the list so he can line up for the Speaker’s chair.”

    If you are serious about governing, I would have thought choosing between Parker and Mallard was complete no brainer.

    Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  16th September 2016

      “no brainer”

      Just because something is blindingly obvious to everyone else doesn’t make it a useful predictor for Labour these days.

      Reply
  6. Corky

     /  16th September 2016

    You couldn’t script this stuff. Shortland Street writers take note.

    Reply
  7. The best person to represent a constituency should be elected to represent the voters. Gender does not pre-empt capability. Let the voters chose and stop imposing artificial obstacles to choice of the best person.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  16th September 2016

      If Labour did that, they wouldn’t be a broad church.

      Reply
      • deplorable_basket

         /  16th September 2016

        Labour isn’t a “broad church”, its the female, LGBTBBQ party. Men have left Labour in droves.

        Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  16th September 2016

          Some of the men around here are still clinging to the wreckage.

          Reply
          • deplorable_basket

             /  16th September 2016

            They are thirsty beta orbiters – hoping to improve their bleak chances of hitting a home run with a girl by playing the White Knight.

            Reply
        • Corky

           /  16th September 2016

          Best tell them. They are living a lie.

          Reply
      • “A broad church” I believe means a representative group. Logically therefore a “best” person elected to represent the majority of an electorate, does in fact represent “a broad church”. The terms are mutually inclusive?

        Reply
  8. Zedd

     /  16th September 2016

    I think Labour are at least attempting to have a level of gender balance.. representing the people they represent.
    What does it say about ‘Team Key’ : ‘Yes MEN/women in pinstripes’.. representing those they really represent. btw; what is their MALE/female percentage ?

    I’m guessing 70/30 ?? 😀

    ho hum :/

    Reply
  9. Corky

     /  16th September 2016

    “What does it say about ‘Team Key’ : ‘Yes MEN/women in pinstripes’.. ‘

    Doesn’t really matter, does it, Zeddy?

    Reply

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