Who is in control of Labour?

This whole “man ban” thing has got me thinking. Just who exactly is in control of Labour?

Colin Espiner touches on this:

Oh dear. I really didn’t think it was possible for Labour to top its own goal over the Sky City corporate box debacle. But it has.

After a week where the Government ought to be on the back foot over the GCSB saga, Auckland’s nutty property market, and the death throes of one of its coalition partners, Labour has come out with a policy so politically barmy it makes you wonder whether it really has any interest in winning the next election.

Labour’s Wimmin’s Division is proposing that the party introduce quotas in some of its keenly contested electorates so that only women can be selected as candidates.

It’s proposing a target of 45 per cent women in caucus in 2014 and 50 per cent in 2017 – despite the fact that already 41 per cent of its caucus are female.

The plan is stupid on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to start. 

The plan was cooked up lower down the party and has passed through all levels including the policy committee that David Shearer sits on. To think this wouldn’t blow up in their faces beggars belief.

Colin then outlines why it is lunacy.

For starters it’s unnecessary. Labour already has far more women in Parliament than any other political party. It can boast to have produced New Zealand’s first elected female prime minister – and one of its most successful. The Labour movement has produced inspirational women in all walks of public and corporate life and who have set New Zealand at the forefront of the fight for gender equality internationally.

It’s outdated. Quotas are unfashionable unless they concern orange roughy or snapper. They were popular among affirmative action proponents in America in the 1970s. At a time when there is real debate over whether we need the Maori seats given the success of Maori politicians generally, Labour is proposing turning back the clock.

It’s divisive. The policy will infuriate at least half of the wider Labour Party – probably more. Candidate selections are often fiercely contested. If male candidates are banned in some electorates there will be hell to pay, and the media will have a field day.

Last, it’s ghastly politics. Labour already has the left-wing feminist vote in the bag. But that isn’t enough. It also needs the blue-collar conservative male vote to regain power. It’s just blown that right out of the water.

Anyone can see this is a touchstone issue. The fact that the policy wonks in Labour can’t or won’t says more about them than it does about the rest of society.

Labour has always struggled with the public perception it was too politically correct, too feminist, and too much in the thrall of minority interest groups. It might have been unfair, but nonetheless this was the perception, particularly during the Helen Clark years.

Already the media has dubbed this new proposal Labour’s “man ban”. I can just see the party’s strategists smashing their heads against the nearest brick wall.

Snigger…ahem…it was me that coined the term “man ban”.

David Shearer has – after initially stating the policy had “some merit” – realised he’s dealing with a political bomb and come out against the policy, saying he favours targets rather than quotas. Senior Labour MPs Phil Goff, Shane Jones, and Andrew Little immediately recognised the damage the proposal would do and have denounced it too.

Interesting point and one that deserves investigating. David Shearer sits on the policy committee. I can;t imagine any political party where if the leader is against something that it makes it through. Winston Peters wouldn’t tolerate it, John Key wouldn’t either. So the question media need to be asking now is whether or not David Shearer was for it before he was agin it. Did he support it at policy committee or did he get rolled.

If he was rolled is he really in command of his party?

But it may be too late. This idea needed to be taken out and quietly shot before it ever saw the light of day. From now until it’s debated at Labour’s annual conference in November, Labour’s opponents will have a field day.

The Opposition needs to be talking to the electorate about jobs, housing, incomes, and hip-pocket issues. Not navel-gazing about its gender balance. The public, to be frank, doesn’t give a toss whether Labour has 41 per cent women MPs or 50 per cent. They just want good candidates and good policies.

I’d say the two month timeframe to roll Shearer has been moved up. These sorts of inept own goals do not endear MPs to a leader. The problem is though whether or not there will be a party left to be leader of.


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  • peterwn

    David shearer can test the water easily – simply declare as far as he is concerned, Wellington Central is a ‘man ban’ seat.

  • blokeintakapuna

    Kate Sheppard will be spinning in her grave faster than a Sky City poker machine over this issue. The Sheppard would no doubt want the Shearer to flock off!

  • Agent BallSack

    My advice to Dave would be the same it was 2 months ago – Get out now while you still have a shred of decency left in you. Resign as Labour Leader and stand well back so you don’t get caught in the ensuing shit fight. Don’t give them a chance to knife you, leave head held high as master of your own destiny. Or it’s only a matter of time until you’re gutted and forever tarnished with the same brush Goof and English are.

    • Travis Poulson

      All the more reason why he should stay. Shearer is the biggest hope for Nats 2014.

    • Hazards001

      He’s this centuries Bill Rowling for sure isn’t he?

  • steve and monique

    Said it yesterday,no balls,and full of cunts.problem is now I have to add indecisive cunts. Go you good things Labour, you are special.

    • Bad__Cat

      Special needs

  • MrAuz1989

    This is a self inflicted kick in the nuts of mind blowing proportions. Someone has set Shearer up (again!). The ideal opposition leader should, as Bob Jones said of Muldoon, not only never give a sucker an even break, but should lie awake at night gleefully coming up with fresh indignities to heap upon him. It seems Labour has plenty of people of this ilk, but they are using Shearer not the Government as the butt of their sadistic humour. If Shearer appears on national TV in bra and panties and eating a banana, you can be sure they have struck again.

    • AnonWgtn

      Smells of Robertson and Barnett, lovelies together.

    • Hazards001

      He sits on one of the committees that approved it, the only person setting him up is him. He’s a no balls no brained elitist trougher that got his political sense from the most senseless organisation of human history the UN!

      Shearer like the rest of the hand wringing panty waist liberals needs to man up and take the fags and ho’s of the left to task and remind them that the labour party is supposed to represent the blue collared working class man not the lipstick wearing arts degreed high heeled wearing ponces they have turned their caucus into!

  • Elitist Tory

    And I thought it was just the Australian Labor party which was run by “21 Faceless men”, as Bob Menzies so wonderfully put it.
    If I were John Key I would jump into this with both feet making an appeal to [heterosexual] white men with any sort of pride or dignity who may consider voting Labour as to what they are doing.
    Even a change of Leader no longer matters to National because David C supports it.
    Handled correctly this is the eternal baseball bat to wallop Labour with.

    • Middleagedwhiteguy

      If I were John Key, I would be making some back channel overtures via third and fourth parties to the likes of Damien O’Conner to see how he would feel about becoming an independant and supporting the government. Seeing as National won the party vote in West Coast by 6000 votes and O’Conner’s majority is only 2500, it could be argued that he is reflecting the will of the elecorate, whereas if this policy was to be enacted, Labour is not.

      • Dave

        Now that is a top concept Well said !!

      • Hazards001

        You really can’t say back channel when discussing any element of Labour any more…I’m sorry..but seriously…you can’t…I nearly piss myself laughing.

  • Bart

    I got bored, and thought old Adolf could sum things up better than I could, so, with a few historical inaccuracies, I give you, the Labour Caucus Bunker!

    • Bad__Cat

      Good one Bart!

    • Middleagedwhiteguy

      Best Godwin ever!!

    • Middleagedwhiteguy

      Best Godwin ever!!

    • Agent BallSack

      Kudos and wow! Sharing!!!

      • Bart

        If you want to share, click on the link, it will open it up in Youtube, you should be able to share from there

    • davcav

      That is so bloody awesome, well done Bart!

    • Phill

      Bro…funniest thing I have seen in ages. Hat’s off to you. What are you drinking?…I’ll buy your next one. Cheers.

  • Hazards001

    ” It can boast to have produced New Zealand’s first elected female prime minister – and one of its most successful.”

    WTF is successful about buying two elections through multi billion dollar bribes that the current government borrows $130,000,000 a week to continue to pay?