- The National Infrastructure Advisory Board (8 men, no women)
- The Tax Working Group (13 men, no women)
- Don Brash's 2025 Taskforce (5 men, 1 woman)
- The Independent Advisory Group on National Standards (4 men, 1 woman)
Hon PANSY WONG: The member will be pleased to know that the Government looks at the overall result, and in the quarter from October to December 2009, 47 percent of the board members appointed to Government boards and committees were women. I acknowledge my National Cabinet colleagues for recognising and appointing competent women to their boards.Readers may recall I had been in discussion with the Ministry of Women's Affairs about accessing information to verify this, and do some further analysis*. Good on them, they came up with the goods, after a bit of a hiccup which they went to a great deal of trouble to make up for.
And what the data from the MWA shows is quite clear. Wong is correct with her 47% figure for appointments to Permanent State Sector Boards and Committees in the Oct-Dec 2009 Quarter (in fact it was 47.4%). To be counted in the Permanent category, for the stocktaking figure the Minister used to respond to Delahunty's query, a board or committee must be permanent, which is defined in the MWA information as "bodies established to work on a particular project that are expected to have completed their core business within a year."
But Delahunty didn't ask about Permanent State Sector Boards and Committees and she didn't ask about appointments made in the final quarter of 2009, which Wong relied on to respond to questioning in the House. In fact none of the appointments Delahunty asked about would have been included in the stat the Minister quoted to rebut implications her Government wasn't walking their talk on women's representation on their own boards.
The Tax Working Group was set up in May 2009 and has already completed its work (so not Permanent, and not counted in that quarter anyway). The Independent Advisory Group on National Standards started up in February 2010 and the Minister's statement indicated it will only be operating in the first year of the implementation of National Standards, i.e. for the rest of 2010 (also therefore not Permanent, and also not in that quarter).
Both the National Infrastructure Advisory Board and the 2025 Taskforce would fit in the Permanent category. But the former was established in May 2009, while the latter's spots were appointed in July 2009. So again, that single woman, and 13 men, would not have been in Wong's precious 47% figure.
I'm not an expert on what constitues appropriate responses to Parliamentary Questions, so I'll ask you, dear readers - did Wong mislead Parliament?
* More on this when I have a chance to properly write it up.