IS THERE anything more irritating to a backbencher trying to score a serious political point than when the minister defuses one's meticulously constructed case by getting a big, fat laugh?This is the behaviour of the new Minister of Women's Affairs? Head meet desk.
Women's Affairs Minister Pansy Wong's offbeat observations, rendered in her endearingly thick Chinese accent, often bamboozle the House, and it appears she has come to see her apparent ingenuousness as a secret weapon.
She used her butter-wouldn't- melt sweetness with wicked timing to deflate crusading Labour MP Sue Moroney on the question of pay equity yesterday.
Ms Moroney had been grilling her on the Government's lack of momentum on equal pay for men and women, and had even gone so far as to quote Barack Obama in support of her case.
Why, Ms Moroney said in peroration, had Mrs Wong ignored a group of pay parity protesters on her recent trip to a women's conference in Hamilton?
Mrs Wong gave an innocent- spanielly tilt of her head, and said, wide-eyed: "I never ignore de protesters. I actually tell dem, 'Please tek care, don't get too wet!' "
(Not sure I appreciate the writer making fun of Mrs Wong's accent btw).
I guess this sums up how National seem to be responding to the pay equity issue. They simply don't see it as worthy of consideration. It's not worth taking seriously. Which means if we want to make some movement on pay equity before/without changing the Government we need to have a hard think about how to change their minds.
Lacey sunhat tipped to The Glorious T.
Update: Idiot/Savant has another excerpt from the exchange between Sue Moroney and Pansy Wong during question time which reinforces the problem:
SUE MORONEY (Labour) to the Minister of Women’s Affairs: Was she consulted over the Government’s decision to “discontinue” pay equity investigations for social workers and school support staff?Further update: David Farrar thinks Wong's response about the rain is "wonderful". Good to know that the focus on the game, rather than substance, is important to him. Interesting that he (and the Dom Post) completely ignored the excerpt Idiot/Savant has highlighted above, which is actually rather significant.
Hon PANSY WONG (Minister of Women’s Affairs): As I advised the member in my answer of 3 March to her written question, no.