Georgina Te Heu Heu

National’s Maori Caucus Gap

Thanks to seriously and serially inept planning and non existent leadership by National Party President Peter Goodfellow there are now only five members of caucus who are Maori.

Paula Bennett
Hekia Parata
Simon Bridges
Tau Henare
Jami-Lee Ross

Left caucus:

Georgina Te Heu Heu
Aaron Gilmore
Paul Quinn

Thanks to the hopeless candidate college National has become whiter, blokier and less representative of New Zealand. Heads should roll for this, as it is the basic function of the party to bring through good candidates who represent New Zealand.

The under-lying misogyny of National

Sexist ad from the 1950sJohn Key has worked hard to get women to vote for National. He is perhaps the only reason women vote for National. Unfortunately for National and for John Key National does have the deserved reputation of being a bit of an old boys network.

If you take a look at the board of directors of the party you can see this in that there are only 2 women on the board. Of the 58 MPs just 16 are women. The old boys network though works a little lower than that, with their grip fair and square on the Regional Chairs, in particular in Auckland and in the Central North Island.

The old boys network likes to use whisperings and rumours and innuendo to upset their opponents and this was sheeted home in two selections this year. In Rodney electorate during the first and later abandoned round of selections there was, quite apart from the skullduggery of Brent Robinson, a dirty little smear campaign running against one candidate. This smear campaign was outed by me and it nipped it in the bud. However the tactics and modus operandi of those running the smears had all the hallmarks of the old boys network. Strangely these dirty tactics disappeared in Rodney during the second take at selection and the only difference was that Scott Simpson dropped out of the race there and entered the race in Coromandel.

Scott succeeded in the race in Coromandel but again the old boys network came out to play. The same tactics and similar smears were used. Printouts of old news articles were circulated and whispers about it being “time for a man”, “avoiding the Katherine Rich problem” and bizarrely the sexual orientation of one of the candidates father were all used. Talk about young children was constantly referenced. They even resorted to lying about the involvement of paid advisors who were actually nowhere in evidence for any of the candidates in Coromandel. The whispering was being run hard out in order to spike the women candidates. Scott Simpson, in his selection speech, bizarrely mentioned all this gossip and innuendo and then professed innocence of it all by him or his team. Strictly speaking this was true. You see you can’t really have the Regional Chair, Peter Osborne, being overtly in your team when he is supposed to be running a fair and open selection process. Unfortunately the selection was far from that with a serious amount of interference by Peter Osborne in the attempting to manipulate delegates. It was so bad that at one point that he was spoken to by the hierarchy and told to pull his head in.

I raise Peter Osborne’s name because it is relevant to another rather nasty whispering and smear campaign being run right now against a sitting National MP who also happens to be a woman. Multiple sources have confirmed that the source of the smears and whispers is Peter Osborne and he is gunning for this MP so he can arrange for a bloke to take over when she bottles it and quits. The thing is this story has been around for some time and there is very little substance to the whispers but in politics if you have to start explaining your position then you are losing. And this is how the old boys network operates. They start the whispers, the phone calls, the knowing nods. It is very hard to stop because no one can pin down where it is coming from. But as was the case with Rodney, if these tactics are outed and the people involved named then the whispers stop. They no longer have currency.

However it shows an under-lying misogyny in National in particular sectors. The thing is though, none of these big brave men have ever had the gumption to stand for selection themselves. They prefer the smoke-filled rooms, the sneaky whisperings and manipulations and they have a wee chortle to themselves about it all.

When you start joining dots though you start to see the pattern and it wasn’t until I started blogging about the lack of diversity that National faces with its list ranking that the tipline really started humming. I mentioned Scott Simpson and Peter Osborne, but with Alasdair Thompson making a fool of himself with his sexist and misogynistic utterings another dot was joined. You see Alasdair Thompson was one of the team that Scott Simpson recruited to endorse him in him in his brochure. Another dot fell into place too. The leader of the most sexist and anti-women party in parliament, Don Brash, also lobbied on behalf of Scott Simpson in Coromandel. When you join those dots with the anti-women murmurings of Peter Osborne then you get to see that there really is an underlying misogyny lurking beneath the surface in National.

All of this is of course highly ironic when you consider that National is sending out a brochure to all its members right now celebrating Women in the Party. It even has a slogan, “Service before Self”. Worse the brochure leaves off National’s longest serving woman MP, Georgina Te Heu Heu and doesn’t mention her service at all. She epitomises “Service before Self”. She was the first Maori woman to gain a law degree admitted to the High Court in New Zealand and the longest standing woman mp in national, and was the Women’s Affairs Minister 1998-1999, and now current minister. They can’t say it is because she is leaving because they include 3 former MPs.

The time os the old boys network is over. They should pack their bags and bugger off, their type of politics has no place in New Zealand anymore.

National's List Ranking – Stopping the Blokefest

Captain Panic pantsNational is destined to have five new MPs in safe blue seats after November the 26th, and only one of them is a woman. As mentioned yesterday the tipline has been saying Captain Panic Pants (that’s him looking over John Key’s shoulder) has got his knickers in a proverbial twist over too many blokes, meaning some careful juggling of the National List will need to happen to untwist CPPs knickers.

The candidates for the list who don’t have safe seats are:

Claudette Hauiti: Respected Maori TV producer and highly rated by Hekia Parata, which means she is likely to garner the patronage of media darlings like Simon Power. She is  though considered by many in the party to be destined to only ever be a List MP because she is not electable. Claudette was unsuccessful in her attempt to win a seat on the Eden Albert Local Board in 2010, and cynics suggest that sending someone out to fail at local board level is a good way to send a message to them that they are not fit to be a politician. Would be a welcome addition to National’s Rainbow Caucus. Taking one for the team in Mangere. The tipline though rang hot since yesterday asking questions about her former membership of the Labour party, despite her alleged rehabilitation through C&R. She is also known to be close to former Alliance MP and Whaleoil mate Willie Jackson.

Leonie Hapeta: Successful businesswoman in Palmerston North and a contributor to the Manawatu community. Regarded as a very solid operator who could give Iain Lees-Galloway a huge fright in Palmerston North, especially if he continues with his nasty, criminal campaign against her. Good background in tertiary education management which is an area National is weak in. This blog shares John Cleese’s opinion of Palmerston North, a position that may be held by senior people in the National Party and could count against Leonie.

Jonathan Fletcher: Word is he is the most likeable of all the new candidates, which will count for something, though his Y chromosome is going to count against him. Unlike many others in the National caucus he only has a solid rather than stellar career in the private sector behind him.

Paul Foster-Bell: A well credentialed diplomat, and another who is likely to suffer from Captain Panic Pants’ phobia of a bloke fest. Rather too smooth to appeal to the common man but perfectly suited to the liberal elite in Wellington Central. Does provide and enjoy fine Cuban cigars and quality booze though. Top bloke even if he breaks Rule 12.

Sam Collins: A genuine team player who is taking a huge one for the team in a seriously red seat in the socialist republic. Relatively inexperienced, and spent more time in think tanks than in the real world. Would benefit from several years in sales before attempting to run again, though rumoured to be lining up Ilam when the inevitable health issues nail the big guy. No XX chromosome so expected to take a very low list position and will not complain about it either.

Jo Hayes: Wanganui based member of the bro-racracy who is another who has taken one for the team by moving to Dunedin to run for National. Finished third in the Palmerston North selection race behind Leonie Hapeta and Karen Rolleston. Little else is known about her as she has no candidate profile on the National web site.

The pious within National will state National is meritocratic and will rank based on potential as an MP rather than chromosomes but we all know this is not true. Georgina Te Heu Heu is a case in point, ably supported by Katrina Shanks and reinforced by the high list positions of Sam Lotu-Iiga, Hekia Parata, Melissa Lee and Kanwal Bakshi in 2008. Obviously Hekia and Sam are talented on paper but grouping four ethnic candidates together in high list positions demonstrates National is not a strict meritocracy.

Claudette, Leonie and Jo become the front runners, with the unfortunate sacrificial lambs being Jonathan, Paul and Sam. Untwisting CPPs knickers may yet be possible, especially if National give high list positions to women who are not standing in a seat. Tomorrows list ranking post will detail all the rumour, gossip and innuendo surrounding the women who have been asked to stand as List only candidates.