Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Just in case anyone was wondering

Further to the ex-expat's post earlier today.

Reasons why Christine Rankin is not a good pick to be on the Families Commission:

  • Not only opposed the amendment of s59 (which the Families Commision championed) but actually set up and headed a group aimed at opposing said amendment;
  • Famous for introducing the term "culture of extravagance" to political discussion of our public service, during her tenure heading up WINZ;
  • Doesn't actually seem to know all that much about what the Families Commision does;
  • Has more than a whiff of the Razor Gang about her;
  • Something of a "celebrity racist", whose comments on Breakfast resulted in the sacking of security guard who politely called her on it off air (Note to Paul Henry: you got off real light mate);
  • Right-wing Auckland Regional Councillor who tends towards private provision of everything.
  • Isn't a big fan of state support for solo parents.
  • Was once seen having a friendly lunch with Roger Douglas.
And that's just off the top of my head.

Stupid non-reasons that seem to be getting waaaaaaaay too much oxygen:
  • Earrings
  • Skirt length
  • Marital status
  • Not having a university education
  • How old she was when she had her children
  • Her performance on Dancing with the Stars
With so many stellar reasons in the first list why would you need to even visit the second? Oh that's right, because you're a sexist idiot.


Dave said...

was once seen having a friendly lunch with Roger Douglas.That is a reason why she is unsuited to the job? Or, just off the top of my head, are you bonkers?

Julie said...

Well it's a pretty good reason for me - anyone who can have lunch with the person most responsible for Rogernomics and actually stomach their food is off my Friends of Government Support for Families list. Your list may be different of course Dave.

stargazer said...

OMG!! check out this press release from the families commission, "welcoming" the two new commissioners:

The Commission is also aware of Ms Rankin’s commitment to the prevention of child abuse and shares her concern about this issue.

It was this shared concern that led the Board to its unanimous decision to support the new child discipline law.

The Commission’s reasons for supporting the law have not changed...

We based our position on research which shows very clearly that positive parenting strategies (such as rewarding good behaviour and distracting young children and ignoring minor unwanted behaviour) are far more effective and safer than physical punishment.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Julie is barking mad.

Her criteria is thus:

* She has a different opinion than Julie does.

* She ate lunch one day with a man Julie (ignorantly) doesn't like.

* Her support of one policy (s59) isn't Julies cup of tea.

* What is it? A whiff of razor gang or a culture of extravagance? You can't have both.

Wow - going by that rather loose list of excuses we should just eliminate this commission altogether! After all the last commissioner was also deemed by many to be totally unsuitable.

Anonymous said...

Right or wrong, her beliefs seem to coincide with government policy. It's not realistic to expect the government to appoint people who don't agree with its policy.

backin15 said...

Julie, good post - focus on her attitudes and public actions, not her private life. Totally agree.

Stargazer, thanks for quoting the Commission's release; it's a great relief that they're sticking to their principles, they're right too and they'll need to defend them daily with Rankin on the Board.

Julie said...

Those commenting on this thread might want to consider Maia's post from March on the metaphors we use to insult people.Government policy is in fact to support the amendment of s59 that happened, or did someone go back in a time machine and change National's votes on that?

Also today's cartoon in the Herald gets a FAIL for picking from the second list.

Anonymous said...

So her lunch with Sir Roger was in her personal life so leave that out too eh?

Anonymous said...

Oh, for F's sake - Rogernomics wasn't a matter of Julie's 'opinion'. Does no one remember 10% unemployment for the general population, 20% for Maori and up to 50% for Maori women? Hello? Does this sound family-friendly? And if you're still under any illusions about Mr Douglas's family friendliness, have a look at the policies he's currently supporting.

And if you think politics isn't conducted in informal settings like lunches, you're naive. Remember the Winston Peters/Bob Jones/Owen Glenn business? In fact, Ranking only got this job because of her friendships with Cabinet members.

A Nonny Moose said...

Ah yes, I smell a nice big whiff of "We like this woman because she acts like a man".

I'm in agreement with the spirit of the post - I don't agree with her politics, but bringing up her "recent 4th marriage" is rather rank.

Julie said...

David Slack brings teh funny.

Anonymous said...

You know Julie I know for a fact Helen Clark had lunch with Roger Douglas at least once, and presumably didn't throw up. Does that mean you'd oppose her being appointed to the Family Commission?

Julie said...

Gee this lunch thing has really hit a nerve hasn't it? I suggest all those perturbed by it's inclusion hike on over to New Zeal where Trevor Loudon frequently determines there are Reds under Beds because people were are the same conference together 20 years ago.

For those more interested in the actual point of this post I recommend Anita's thoughts on the matter and of course Russell Brown's. Oh and Ari's too.

Chris Nimmo said...

What about her calls to boycott Barnados for supporting the anti-child abuse movement?

Anonymous said...

Well said Julie.

Anonymous said...

Good to see that bigotry is alive and well inside the feminist moment.


Anonymous said...

The reason people are focusing on it is because it seems fairly trivial. And if your best justification is that Trevour Loudon does it too, well, I think that says it all.

Julie said...

Clearly it's trivial to you. It's not trivial to me. It's part of a picture of someone I don't want in mi Famliez Cmssn judgin mi famli.

Surely though we can all agree that Rankin's earrings and appearance are undeniably trivial?

Bruv when you don't explain yourself you put yourself at risk of being perceived as a troll. Try again or return to Kiwiblog from whence you came.

Anonymous said...

So if it's not trivial for you, then I'd be right in thinking Helen Clark would be similarly unacceptable for similar reasons?

Julie said...

Because this post is all about Helen Clark all of a sudden? Talk about being the definition of a troll Anon.

Helen Clark has not been appointed to the Families Commission. Christine Rankin has. I prefer to discuss the actual latter rather than the imaginary former.

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to troll, let alone make this thread about Helen Clark. I'm just trying to point out that people might have reasons to have lunch with Roger Dodger beyond thinking that he's an awesome dude and his policy ideas need to be implemented.

For the record, I agree with everything you've said except the bit about the lunch and the bit about her lack of education not being relevant.

Anna said...

This is the appointment of an unsuitable person to the body responsible for the 'It's not OK' campaign, which has been very successful. I don't see anything trivial about this - unless you consider efforts to stop domestic violence trivial.

Anonymous said...

It's not the appointment itself it's trivial, it's the idea that who she had lunch with is a criteria for appointment that I find, yes, trivial. Just like I find her marriages or earrings trivial.

I don't see why that's so unclear.

Penny said...

I was in the Alliance Party until 2 years ago. I met Sir Roger and went in with all guns blazing. He gave me the time of day to express myself and my opinions and we talked for a long time. His vision for every NZer, rich and poor is something that was not only inspiring, but clear and delivered an equal outcome. It went against everything I learned at University and what my friends in Labour/Alliance/Greens told me.

I doubt you have thought about that remark about having lunch with him properly and it is more a flippant remark to build upon the revisionist hysteria that he is somebody evil or stupid, which I can state right now just makes you the one acting trivial. You almost had a good point but that ruined it.

People like you only reinforce my decision to leave the Alliance and join ACT was a great idea.

Julie said...

I did think about the lunch comment. I even took it out at one point, because I feared the comment thread might get derailed, as it has.

In my defence the lunch was less than a year ago. Rankin was also at the National Party election night shindig, and at at least one of their campaign launches in recent times. Perhaps I should have added those bits in.

As for Clark having friendly lunches with Douglas? I imagine not so much in the last decade.

Penny, I was in the Alliance for seven years. I have yet to convert to Act. Forgive me if I don't entirely believe your comment.

To address another matter, and hopefully move on from Lunchgate, why should Rankin's lack of education be relevant?

Penny said...

You don't believe me? How quaint.
Of course you would say that to somebody who has challenged your point of view, it's just a little bit of a cop out. How disappointing.

Your defence is also shaky, the previous commissioners have had very close association with Labour and Green parties - so surely a little wiff of double standards here.

Anonymous said...

Why should her lack of education be relevant?

Well, for starters, most of the people who work at the Families Commission are required to have degrees of some sort - certainly those working at the policy analyst/researcher level.

It seems only fair that the boss should be held to the same standard as the workers.

I don't think it's controversial to say that a university education provides one with some skills that are useful in analysing and suggesting policies.

But seriously, if you feel that it's wrong to consider somebody's education level when considering how appropriate they are for a government post, the problem goes way beyond this one. Go to www.jobs.govt.nz and see how many jobs require somebody to have a university degree.

Julie said...

Penny we can argue back and forth if you so desire but somehow I don't think either of us are going to change our minds.

On the issue of education - university degrees are not the only path to gaining skills or knowledge. I find it a bit frustrating that we have such a focus on paper qualifications now, to the point where actual demonstrable skills gained through other means are downgraded because there's no certificate that says you studied it.

In some situations a university degree at a certain level is a convenient short hand for "can do research and analysis". But if you've done similar work in the past with some success and you don't have the piece of paper does that mean you can't do it all of a sudden?

I feel like a lot of the criticism of Rankin's lack of university education is actually code for class-based snobbery.

Anonymous said...

Says the woman who probably stayed at Uni to progress her political career. University is there to get the work skills and get into work. Nothing else.

Because Rankin didn't go doesn't mean anything. Many of the worlds most successful people didn't go to Uni. Now we all know Rankin isn't a great person, but surely having somebody in this position is good for us as it means we can watch her carefully and hit National if she stuffs up.

Julie said...

Anon at 9.40am who are you directing your comment at?

Anonymous said...

I agree that the skills you learn at university can be learned outside of university (except perhaps for some very specific skills - I would be sceptical of a linguistic theorist who hadn't studied it formally, but perhaps even there I am wrong)

I'm not arguing that her lack of a university education should outright ban her from the position. But I do think it's a legitimate topic of discussion, if only to say "OK, she doesn't have a university education, can she demonstrate she has acquired the relevant skills through experience or non-university learning?"

I certainly don't feel it's in a league with her earrings and divorces. There's no concievable way those could effect her job performance, but her educational status could.

Julie said...

(Anon at 12.16 are you the same Anon as at 9.40? Multiple Anons get confusing, you can always put a name/initial at the end of your comments to help out?)

I was thinking about this while I was off blog. There definitely are some areas where a level of study of a subject is necessary to work in that area. However there are a lot of jobs out there that advertise "must have Masters or above" or "must have law degree" that actually mean "must have high level of analytical ability" or some other skill, which doesn't actually have to be gained through formal study, and for earlier generations hardly ever was gained at university but through other pathways instead.

For instance, a few years ago I was a library assistant for a while. I was quite interested in becoming a Librarian, but in order to progress beyond the lowest position (library assistant, $12 an hour) you had to do a three year full time or four year part time qualification. I'd already done quite a bit of study, and had a Bachelor's, so wasn't keen on doing more. I find it pretty unbelievable that you needed such extensive study to do anything at all above library assistant level.

Anonymous said...

I agree Julie. It's valid to say 'you need to have writing and research skills, and a university degree is a good way to demonstrate that you have them', but saying 'you MUST have a degree', except for jobs that require highly specialist knowledge, may be overly formalist.

But my point was simply that a person's education - even if we define education broadly, as opposed to exclusively derived from formal study at educational institutions - can be relevant to job performance.

Alex said...

You Julie. The Anon commenter knows, like I do, about your time as a long time student activist and your warped views on feminism.. which is on the fringes for men and women alike.

The same as how you treat others who genuinely have an opposite opinion. You dismissed "Penny" without giving her any respect - and you preach that we should all respect other women... not a great example eh?

Julie said...

Anon at 3pm on Friday - I think we are probably pretty much in agreement, from your most recent comment.

Alex, my political past is hardly a secret, seeing as how I write under my own name and everything. I'm not quite sure what grand master (!) plan I'm supposed to have about my political future, or how starting a law degree that I didn't finish was part of my plotting. Certainly I have no ambition to be an MP, particularly since through being involved in the Alliance I've seen how hard that life is.

I am dismissive towards Penny's claim because I've known many Alliance activists for over a decade now - people who've come and gone from the party as well as those who have stuck with it. I can't think of a similar one who has since gone to Act. So Penny's conversion seems to me to be something rather rare within the ranks of current and former members of the Alliance. Which makes me sceptical.

Anita said...


I thought incomplete law degrees were the way neostalinists signal their allegiances to each other. Much the same way incomplete commerce degrees (and the mix of papers within it) are how followers of the Khmer Rouge identify each other (and signal their sexual availability) and incomplete Ag Science degrees are the identfying mark of Mossad agents.

Where were you when they were giving out academic advice at high school? :)

Penny said...

Believe what you like Julie, I am very happy with my choices I have made and I am glad I left the poisonous atmosphere of the Alliance, what a miserable bunch of people.

They were so bitter, even you have anger about somebody for eating with Sir Roger Douglas, sheesh. I bet you've never been able to even listen to the guy properly in case you're too scared you might hear some commonsense.