Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rich irony

Looking through an old Listener, as I now and then do,
I find Bill Ralston’s interview of Katherine Rich in the
issue of July 14, 2007. Someone (it was probably me;
I was deputy editor then) has put this intro on it:

National Party leader John Key acknowledges that the
women’s vote is crucial to winning the next election—
and outspoken MP Katherine Rich is the linchpin.

Hm. Rich of course announced six months later that she
was pulling out of politics and wouldn’t be standing at
the coming election—thereby still hangs a tale—leaving
National’s parliamentary line-up looking even more male
than it already was. There are actually 13 women in
National’s current caucus of 47, but you wouldn’t know it,
because most of them are ranked lower than 30th, and
hold only minor or associate spokespersonships: you
hardly ever hear from them, except when one (think Kate
Wilkinson a few weeks ago) says something out of line
and is swiftly shut down. The highest-ranked is Judith
Collins (social welfare spokesperson) but it seems highly
unlikely that the only other woman in National’s top 10,
the almost invisible education spokesperson Anne Tolley,
will become education minister: it’s a fair bet that, if
National wins the election, the only women in a John Key
cabinet will be Collins and Georgina Te Heu Heu.

Whatever the election result, the proportion of women in
the National caucus is likely to remain at about a quarter;
but where it counts, at the top, and in the Cabinet room,
the boys will still be very much in control. Just how crucial
was that women's vote again?


Mary McCallum said...

well that says it all - thanks denis

Virginia Harris said...

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Even on the question of whether women should vote!

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Deborah said...

I wrote soemthing quite snarky about National and the women's vote back in Feb, when Katherine Rich announced that she was leaving.

They just don't want women

That is, presciently, I have endorsed the point you are making.