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Heather du Plessis-Allan: It pains me to say, but Michael Woodhouse has a point

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Aug 2023, 4:46PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: It pains me to say, but Michael Woodhouse has a point

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Aug 2023, 4:46PM

It pains me to say this, it really does, but unfortunately for Michael Woodhouse- diversity does matter in politics, as much as I hate that it does.

I think Michael Woodhouse has been treated poorly. There are other white men who work less hard than him and should’ve been bumped down the National Party list instead.

But he’s been punished because he’s not in right friendship group in National, and he’s a bloke. That’s really what it comes down to.

Now, the Nats will try to avoid admitting that he’s been punted down the list for being a bloke, because they know that heaps of their voters don’t like this kind of diversity nonsense. But that’s absolutely part of what’s happened.

Luxon’s been banging on about the need for diversity since before the Tauranga by-election, where the spot to be National’s candidate was fought over by four white men in suits. They got so much grief for that- so Luxon ramped up the calls.

Now, of the top 30 on the National list- 15 are women, just like Labour.

Six sitting male MPs have been dumped into insultingly low list positions in the 50s- Joseph Mooney, Scott Simpson, Stuart Smith, Tim van de Molen and a couple more who deserve to be further up.

And way higher up the list at 20, 21, 22, 23 and 27, there are five women you’ve probably never heard of because they aren’t in Parliament. That’s very high on the list for newbies.

Now, personally I hate this stuff. Because I would hate anyone to think that I got any breaks because I was a woman.

But this is how it works in politics. And parties have to do this, they have to play the diversity game.

And they have to play, because the media play. The media are obsessed with whether political parties or corporates or whoever have enough women or Maori or people of colour or members of the rainbow community.

And if that is what the media care about, then that is what the media will writes stories and headlines about. And therefore, it becomes an easy way for opponents to attack a party.

Just like National got attacked and got negative stories and negative headlines for having too many white men last year.

And so the political parties, if they want to give themselves the greatest chance of winning an election, have got to neutralise any weak spots that can create negative headlines. So they have to play the diversity game.

Look at the current parties in Parliament- every single one of them have a man, a woman and someone Maori in the top four. 

This is the way it is, and this is the way it will be until we stop being fixated on gender and race. Until then, white men will be bumped down, like Michael Woodhouse.

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