Sunday, 14 November 2010

farewell pansy wong

so farewell pansy wong ... dammit, where's david slack when you need him??

i'm not any good at poetry, so i'll stick to a prose farewell. i've known pansy wong for many years, if regularly bumping into a person at various ethnic events could be described as knowing someone. i actually still remember the first time i'd met her. the local women's branch of the nz society of accountants (as it was then called) invited her to speak, so i went along, mostly to fill up my quota of CPD hours. even though i totally disagreed with her politics, i have to say that i was reasonably impressed with her as a person. of course, i wasn't really very interested in politics at that time.

the only other in depth experience i've had with her is that we were both the first interviewees of the asian radio show, broadcast on radio live (sorry, don't know how to link to the actual clip, so you'll have to visit the site if interested). we were interviewed by tarun mohanbhai who is one cool dude.

as things go, ms wong is someone i found easy to get along with, non-confrontational, & she has a good way with people. as a minister, of course it's a different story. i've been frustrated, as i'm sure many readers will be, with her inaction in regards to her ministries (women's affairs & ethnic affairs). she has remained silent while some pretty stupid things were being done, and has shown no plan for action nor any progress in either of the portfolios. that she remained silent through the whole paul henry thing showed a marked contrast to her predecessor, who would have had a press release out within hours & would have been visible in his vocal opposition through a variety of media. the census of women's participation shows that women have in fact gone backwards under her watch.

i can't say it's good thing she has resigned from her portfolios, because i can't see anyone of any greater competence to replace her. georgina te heu heu is also someone i have a lot of respect for, but i don't think she was effective as maori affairs spokesperson in opposition & i can't imagine her achieving anything substantial now.

so, yes, farewell pansy wong. i'm sorry that such a long and respectable career has ended in this fashion, even if it was entirely your own fault.


Hugh said...

I sometimes wonder if the things that make people easy to get on with, particularly that non-confrontational nature you've praised, stargazer, make them bad Ministers. So much of Pansy's inaction has been justified by what seems to be an extremely passive approach that minimises problems and seeks very low-key solutions. Perhaps if she'd been more confrontational she'd have made a less favourable impression in social settings but been a better Minister.

But actually I doubt it. The overall agenda of the political party she chose to align herself with basically precludes any meaningful progress in Women's Affairs or Ethnic Affairs. That doesn't excuse her, though. It seems the only principled thing to do would have been to resign rather than allow oneself to become a token presence. Georgina Te Heuheu did it when Don Brash came out swinging against Maori. A shame Pansy didn't do the same.

I wonder who will replace her, and whether they'll do anything differently.

stargazer said...

georgina te heu heu has replaced her for now, hugh. did she actually resign her position when don brash was leader, or was the position taken from her? all i can remember is that we had the wierdness of gerry brownlee being the spokesperson for maori affairs.

Hugh said...

I seem to remember Te Heuheu resigned because she felt unable to support Brash's policy towards Maori. Maybe she jumped before she was pushed and I certainly never got the sense that Brash or his leadership clique were unhappy to see her go but the formal reality was that she resigned.

I hope she's more effective as a Woman's Affairs or Ethnic Affairs minister than Wong was.

Carol said...

The issue of Pansy Wong's travel perks came up when Wong was being questioned about the census of women's participation. She claimed in response (on the census) that things had improved for women and that the gender pay gap had in fact closed.

I wish the MSM had given as much attention (or even more) to the census, gender issue as they have to the travel perks. In practice Wong's abuse of MP perks has over-shadowed that more important and wider issue.

I still don't know how to make sense of Wong's claims that the gender pay gap has decreased under National, while (Green Party) Delahunty is claiming the opposite. The two MPs use different series of figures to arrive at their conclusions, but I don't know which series is more valid.