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Mike's Minute: Politics should be about the best person for the job

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 21 Aug 2023, 9:35AM

Mike's Minute: Politics should be about the best person for the job

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 21 Aug 2023, 9:35AM

Here's another of our theory vs reality lessons.

This one is on gender diversity.

Read Thomas Coughlan's piece in the NZ Herald yesterday. It is a textbook example of how you can get wound up in a never-ending spiral, or maybe even boondoggle, of do-gooding.

Gender balance, allegedly, has been an issue for the National Party.

"We need more women." The list came out Saturday and there are now more women than men. Not by much but in fact the sensible summation would be it's balanced.

But Thomas tries to point out a few things.

One is that National have had trouble getting to this point. Two is that a lot of the local electorate selections made by local committees in so-called winnable seats have favoured men.

And thirdly, if things play out roughly as the polls would have them you will end up with more woman than previously, but barely, thus indicating perhaps the attempt has been a failure on the part of the leader, who is more bullish in these matters than others in the party.

It is also pointed out that Labour are very good on gender.

It's at this point I want to ask what I would argue is a slightly more important question than whether gender balance is important - would you rather have gender for gender's sake, or competence?

Is a Government there to govern in a way that progresses the country, and therefore is broadly popular, or are they there to be able to meet markers like gender or race?

Has Labour's excellence at gender provided us with a Government and a country we are proud of?

It's important to point out, in case the angsty are getting a bit exercised, this Government's performance is not necessarily gender related. In other words, just because they are useless and where they are in the polls isn't because they promoted their fair share of women.

But the point is, the more you focus on artificiality i.e needing to balance the ledger or the colour or the background or the social input, the less you are focusing on the real issue - who is the best to do the job?

What we so desperately need in this country, now more than ever, is excellence.

We need excellence and experience and performance. What shape, size, gender or height someone is, is a long way down the totem pole.

Just give me some winners.

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