Labour lacking in gender balance – and female capability?

Labour is going backwards with their ideal, gender balance, especially in their senior ranks.

In October 2017 (just after she became Prime Minister) Ardern vows to improve Cabinet gender balance

Women would hold just six of Labour’s 16-strong Cabinet posts, and just one of its five ministerial roles outside of Cabinet.

Ms Ardern said that was not good enough and she was vowing to bring more women up to the top level.

“I’m going to make sure that we continue to work on bringing through more of our team”.

“We set ourselves a goal as a Labour Party that we would bring more women into our caucus. When we set that goal we set it at 50 percent, and we came very close to achieving that this election and I’m proud of that”.

“We’ll continue to make sure that we try to see that reflected in our membership as they come up through roles and responsibilities through both our caucus and through our Cabinet.”

That’s not happening yet – in fact it’s deteriorating.

With the resignation of now ex-Ministers Clare Curran and the sacking of Meka Whaitiri there are now:

  • 8 female of 26 ministers
  • 6 female ministers of 19 in Cabinet
  • 3 female ministers on the front bench (top 10)
  • 5 female Labour ministers

As a comparison, the last National-led line-up (April 2017):

  • 9 female of 27 ministers
  • 7 female of 22 in Cabinet
  • 2 female ministers on the front bench
  • 9 female National ministers

In the Labour-led government, NZ First and Greens balance each other out. NZ First has 1 female of 3 ministers, while Greens have 2 female of 3 ministers.

Labour now has just Jacinda Ardern (1), Megan Woods (6), Carmel Sepuloni (9), Nanaia Mahuta (12) and Jenny Salesa (15) – five out of fifteen.

And there’s not many stand outs there, yet at least.

Gender balance in Parliament and in Cabinet are great ideals, but to achieve that requires enough quality female candidates standing for Parliament, and enough of them capable of handling roles as ministers and in Cabinet.

Both failures as ministers have been Labour MPs.

While I think that most people would like to see approximate gender balances in Parliament, I think that most voters – male and female – would choose competence over tokenism and making up the numbers with MPs not up to the job.

38 Comments

  1. National’s female contingent is markedly more capable than Labour’s, something they have failed to publicize adequately.

    • Blazer

       /  September 21, 2018

      like who for instance?

      • artcroft

         /  September 21, 2018

        National run the table in this event.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  September 21, 2018

          Why should they publicise it, as if it was extraordinary to find capable, clever women ? How patronising.

          • Not for finding them KC. Attracting and deploying them is the accomplishment. That to me is noteworthy and worth highlighting.

  2. PartisanZ

     /  September 21, 2018

    Oooooh … that’s a good point scored against Labour today …

  3. Ray

     /  September 21, 2018

    And if we are honest the ones left are seriously light weight.
    Muhutu is famously lazy,(name just one thing she has achieved that doesn’t come from her birth), Woods, I reserve judgement on but judging by her past efforts might surpass Muhutu and nothing much going for the other two.
    On the other hand there is some serious female talent in the Labour backbenchers and new-intake.

    • PartisanZ

       /  September 21, 2018

      However, as a TEAM, Labour-led are outshining National like a searchlight in the fog … albeit a searchlight nowhere near as bright as it could be …

      Yesterday in the newspaper National were crowing – via strategic press release – about Matt King’s ‘Coward’s Punch’ legislation being drawn from the ballot …

      I’m not against some recognition of Coward’s Punch in law but it turns out the Bill is only for Coward’s Punch causing death …

      What about Coward’s Punch causing permanent brain injury or other long-term effects?

      And does stiffer sentencing for “causing death” even begin to address the primary cause and main lubricant of Coward’s Punch – ALCOHOL?

      • PDB

         /  September 21, 2018

        PZ: “However, as a TEAM, Labour-led are outshining National like a searchlight in the fog … albeit a searchlight nowhere near as bright as it could be …”

        You’re more delusional then I thought, or else you haven’t noticed in the news how dysfunctional the govt has been up to this point. Ignorance is bliss so they say.

        • PartisanZ

           /  September 21, 2018

          It’s foggy PDB and artcroft … and you both have your lights on full beam looking through blinkers at the road you know so well … You think it’s the only possible road.

          I suspect that someplace else Labour-led are repairing and improving the road less traveled.

      • artcroft

         /  September 21, 2018

        You can not be serious.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 21, 2018

      Mahuta, not Muhutu, Ray.

      The village idiot would be voted in if their name was Mahuta.

  4. PDB

     /  September 21, 2018

    Why hasn’t Louisa Wall had a look in? Has to be some internal bias against her for some reason?

    • spanish_tudor

       /  September 21, 2018

      She’s internally quite unpopular (a bit full of herself?), and was always seen as being too close to David Cunliffe.

  5. NOEL

     /  September 21, 2018

    And what about the tokenism in the Public Service when the Greens demand for gender balance on quota is putting inadequate people in positions by merit they would not obtain.

  6. robertguyton

     /  September 21, 2018

    “The Prime Minister has made the right call by deciding to sack Whaitiri.

    Labour Ministers ought to treat their staff with dignity and respect. No ifs no buts.

    The decision will reinforce for Ardern a deserved reputation for toughness. She is a lot more than stardust.”
    Two of Labour’s women in the news; one tough and the other … a little too tough…

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 21, 2018

      Are any of the survivers competent?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 21, 2018

        No.

      • robertguyton

         /  September 21, 2018

        They certainly are, Jacinda in particular is exhibiting a high degree of competence and toughness. The Maori caucus are expressing their confidence in Whaitiri, so she to must be competent in the areas they value.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 21, 2018

          Thuggery?

          • robertguyton

             /  September 21, 2018

            It may be that they’ve implemented measures to prevent the behaviour that got her into trouble, believing that her skills in other areas are worth supporting. So quick to slight, you are, Alan. Maggie – do you believe bullies should receive support? Better to help them change behaviour than to condemn them. I expect that’s what a team that regard aroma highly would do.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 21, 2018

              Apart from thuggery what do you see as her areas of competence?

            • robertguyton

               /  September 21, 2018

              The Maori caucus are in a better position to me to answer that question, Alan. Aside from the (alleged) behaviour that got her in trouble, what do you regard as behaviour by Whaitiri that is not competent? She had attained a significant position in Government; she must have competence.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 21, 2018

              I have no idea. Normally competent people do not have to use thuggery and have good relations with their staff so my expectation is that she probably is generally incompetent though possibly just has psychological issues.

          • Florence

             /  September 21, 2018

            Thuggery comes in all shapes. Just ask Hekia Parata what was the nature of her employment history with her staff members. The Nats are just better at making problems go away. Big coffers help.

        • Maggy Wassilieff

           /  September 21, 2018

          What a tragedy that the Maori Caucus are supporting a bully.
          How much better for all NZers would it be if they stood firm against Whaitiri and told her that Leaders do not bully; Leaders do not use violence against employees;
          She has shamed them and no longer has their support?

    • adamsmith1922

       /  September 21, 2018

      As usual Robert Guyton is delusional