Coddington on Women in Parliament

Deborah Coddington has an article in the Herald on Sunday following?up my posts on National’s diversity problem. She starts off whining about the demise of Heather Roy.

Another strong woman MP bites the dust. Act’s?Heather Roy is leaving Parliament while she still has a life. Her triumph is the party’s loss.

An even greater loss, though, is the urban liberal gap that won’t be filled on the right of the House. The seat she vacates, and others around her’s, are increasingly being sought by deeply conservative, hand-wringing, recycled men.

She is wrong about Heather Roy being a strong woman. She would cry at the drop of a hat, and she was a 5 time loser in the coup stakes. In the end ACT had to get a bloke to roll Rodney because this so-called tough woman couldn’t muster the courage to actually roll Rodney Hide. She?preferred?instead to white-ant and leak to the media. She also hardly fits the urban liberal description, being married with children. Being sexually liberal does not equate to being urban liberal.

Now Heather is dispensed with, I expect?Rodney Hide and David Garrett will tango back to Act’s list. But Act doesn’t hold a monopoly on shabby treatment of women MPs.

She got that wrong too. I seriously doubt that either will be on the list. They may well?stay?involved in other capacities as is their democratic right but they won’t be on the list.

And so now onto the National party. She has good sources here and her accuracy improves considerably.

If stories filtering back to media are anything to go by, National should hang its head in shame. In the past few months, female candidates have been dismissed in a cavalier and sexist manner by National’s selection process.

Why is it acceptable, in the 21st century, to ask women with children what childcare arrangements they have should they be chosen to represent their electorates?

And ask childless women if they will be “doing a Ruth Richardson or a Katherine Rich” and having babies while in the House?

Peter Osborne (fails rule 12) and others in the Northern and Central North Island regions should hang their heads in shame over those comments. I know of three women candidates across those regions who have been asked those exact same questions. It is retro-grade and shows that the old gray men still control National.

National doesn’t need this, but the sexist and?misogynist?attitudes prevail, which is why, led by a current board member and by a couple of regional chairs there is a quiet campaign underway to white-ant a sitting female MP.

Coddington then starts talking about Maori diversity:

One of the former Act Party’s best policies was media access to everything. Sadly that free spirit of a party – where bright women MPs were promoted – is history and Roy’s departure is another nail in Act’s coffin.

Leader Don Brash insists Maori special treatment is racist but, at a Masterton meeting this week, said: “I’m confident of getting at least one Maori candidate high up on the Act Party list.” Tokenism?

Don Brash should ditch that idea. Maori don’t vote ACT, they never have and never will. Having a Maori candidate didn’t work for them last time aso why should it work for them again. Coddington is right, it is tokenism. ACT would be far better to treat maori the same way maori treat them, blissful ignorance. Don’t speak of them, don’t talk about Maori issues, just maintain a silence. Speak to the people who vote for you by all means but that is not maori and so a healthy silence should prevail.

Coddington started off appallingly, hit her mark in the middle of the article and then dribbled off into?irrelevance?at the end. Not one of her better articles. Perhaps Colin was away and couldn’t contribute.