Saturday, 3 September 2011

A Woman's Place - Labour's list & electorate selections 2011

The New Zealand Labour Party has a history of pushing political representation for women, although the pace of change has not always been speedy. 

Historical representation of women:
NB:  Some of this section is rewritten or repeated from the 2008 version.

Labour have had 48 female MPs in their history to date, based on counting from this list and adding Louisa Wall plus the four new women in the 2008 intake.

According to the Elections website their first female MP (and NZ's first female MP full stop) was Elizabeth McCombs, who was elected in 1933. Labour's, and New Zealand's, first woman in Cabinet was Mabel Howard, who was first elected to the House in 1943 and served as a Minister in the late 1940s and again in the late 1950s. Labour was also the first major political party in NZ to have a female leader; Helen Clark, who held the leadership from 1993 to 2008, and has to date been the longest serving leader of the party.  Clark was also Aotearoa's first female Deputy Prime Minister, serving Geoffrey Palmer during the fourth Labour Government. 

In August this year I went to the Inaugural Mary Dreaver lecture, given by Clark.  Dreaver was the first woman elected for an Auckland seat (Waitemata), and then it was forty long years until the second Auckland woman MP; Clark in Mt Albert in 1981.  Other notable female MPs from Labour have included NZ's first Maori women MP, Iriaka Ratana (Western Maori, 1949-1969) legendary feminist and unionist Sonja Davies and the world's first transexual MP, Georgina Beyer.

In Labour's last Cabinet (until defeated in 2008) there were 7 women out of 20 positions (35%), including a female Prime Minister.  Going into the 2008 election Labour's caucus was 37% female. 

2008 Labour Party List:
Women represented across the whole list: 32 out of 77 (42%)

Current representation of women:
Labour currently have 15 female MPs in their caucus of 42 (36%) including a female deputy leader (Annette King).  The party also currently has a female president (Moira Coatsworth).  During this term they have had four retirements - two women out (Helen Clark and Winnie Laban) and one woman in (Louisa Wall, via the List).

2011 Labour Party List:
Women represented across the whole list: 28 out of 70 (40%), with 40% in the top ten and top twenty.

Top 5 -  Two (Annette King at 2, Ruth Dyson at 5) 2/5 = 40%
Top 10 - Four (As for Top 5 plus Maryan Street at 7, Sue Moroney at 10) 4/10 = 40%
Top 20 - Eight (plus Nanaia Mahura at 12, Jacinda Ardern at 13, Darien Fenton at 18, Moana Mackey at 19) 8/20 = 40%
Top 30 - Twelve (plus Carol Beaumont at 22, Carmel Sepuloni at 24, Deborah Mahuta-Coyle at 26, Clare Curran at 28) 12/30 = 40%
Top 40 - Sixteen (plus Steve Chadwick at 34, Kate Sutton at 35, Josie Pagani at 38, Lynette Stewart at 39) 16/40 = 40%
Top 50 - Twenty one (plus Christine Rose at 42, Glenda Alexander at 43, Susan Zhu at 44, Sehai Orgad at 46, Megan Woods at 47) 21/50 = 42%
Top 60 - Twenty four (plus Anahila Suisuiki at 51, Soraya Peke-Mason at 55, Julia Hardon-Carr at 59) 24/60 = 40%

Top 70 -  Twenty eight (plus Vivienne Goldsmith at 61, Jo Kim at 66, Paula Gillon at 67, Carol Devoy-Heena at 68) 28/70 = 40%

New entries via the list are likely to be two men (at 11 and 32) and two women (at 26 and 35).  The second woman (Kate Sutton), and possibly the second man (Michael Wood*) are looking less than likely at the moment, as is current list MP Steve Chadwick.  There will be three list retirements at the election, including one woman (Lynne Pillay).  If the three retirements are replaced by the top three newbies then it will be a direct gender swap.

2011 Labour Party electorate candidates:
Labour is standing in every electorate, including the Maori seats. 

Safe Labour: 7 out of 20 Labour nominations held by women (35%)
Four safe Labour seats have had a selection contest due to the incumbent standing down, and those have split evenly, genderwise, with Megan Woods for Wigram and Louisa Wall (previously a List MP) for Manurewa certain to be in Parliament.  All four incumbents were men.

Marginals:  6 out of 15 Labour nominations held by women (40%) 
Of the four new candidates, only one is female, Paula Gillon who is ranked 67 on the list. She is also the only female candidate in a marginal not ranked far enough up the party list to be in contention as an MP, with the other five all above 35.
  • Auckland Central - Jacinda Ardern (List MP) - probably stay National
  • Hamilton West - Sue Moroney (List MP) - probably stay National
  • Mana - Kris Fa'afoi (incumbent) - probably stay Labour
  • Maungakiekie - Carol Beaumont (List MP) - probably stay National
  • New Plymouth - Andrew Little (new candidate, high up list) - too close
  • Northcote - Paula Gillon (new candidate) - probably stay National
  • Ohariu - Charles Chauvel (List MP) - probably stay United Future
  • Palmerston North - Iain Lees-Galloway (incumbent) - probably stay Labour
  • Rimutaka - Chris Hipkins (incumbent) - probably stay Labour
  • Rotorua - Steve Chadwick (List MP) - probably stay National
  • Tamaki Makaurau - Shane Jones (List MP) - probably stay Maori Party 
  • Te Tai Tonga - Rino Tirakatene (new candidate) - too close
  • Waiariki - Louis Te Kani (new candidate) - probably stay Maori Party
  • Waitakere - Carmel Sepuloni (List MP) - too close
  • West Coast-Tasman - Damien O'Connor (List MP) - too close
Unwinnables: 16 out of 36 Labour nominations held by women (44%)
Of the women standing in unwinnable seats, only three are ranked high enough on the list to possibly be MPs Maryan Street (7), Deborah Mahuta-Coyle (26) and Kate Sutton (35).

To use the same measures as last time, for comparison:
  • Possible post election electorate seat MPs for Labour, 37% female (i.e. safe + marginals)
  • In unwinnable electorate seats, 44% of Labour candidates are women
Note:  Lianne Dalziel and Louisa Wall have the nominations for safe Labour seats and are not on the List.

Likely future representation of women:
The polls are not looking great for Labour right now.  Some are as low as 27%, others in the mid-30s.  However there does seem to be a lot of support for many of Labour's policies, and opposition to some key positions National is adopting (e.g. Labour's Capital Gains Tax versus National's asset sales).  I'm going to be overly generous and assume Labour makes it down to 35 on their list, mainly because it is probably the likely high water mark for them in the current situation, but also because Kate Sutton is a mate and I like including her in my calculations.

If the marginals all go as I've predicted above, and the ones I've labelled "too close" all stay with the incumbents (i.e. Labour loses all of them), then Labour would have 23 electorates, with 7 held by women (30%).  To bring in Sutton at 35 they would therefore need to win a total of 42 seats, as 7 safe electorate candidates are either ranked further down the list or aren't on it at all.  That would require possibly 35% of the party vote, depending on how much goes to parties that don't make the threshold or win an electorate seat.

On that result the caucus would have 17 women out of 42 total (40%).  This would be a significant boost to women's participation, as not only would a major party be at the 40% level for the first time ever, but also it is clear from the construction of the list, and some of the electorate selections as well, that Labour has pro-actively sought to increase the number of women in its caucus and wearing its rosette on the hustings.

However losing just two seats on the list would be troublesome for this scenario, as both 34 and 35 are filled by women (and indeed well-known feminist pro-choice women).  If Labour lose two list seats, either by getting a lower percentage or more people lower on the list getting in (maybe Rino Tirakatene in Te Tai Tonga and Damien O'Connor in West-Coast Tasman), then it looks more like 15 out of 40 (38%).  Still an improvement from the current caucus representation (36%).  

Possible post-election retirements, particularly from list seats, could see the make-up of Labour's caucus change further over the next year or more.

Other observations on candidate diversity: 
Rob Salmond did a great post at Pundit when the Labour list was released with graphs addressing a whole lot of the criticism at the time about "gaggles of gays" and "self-serving unionists" in the projected Labour caucus come December.

More broadly, looking at the List in particular as a whole, the ethnic diversity is quite striking; Koreans, Fijian Indians, Maori, Pasifika, Chinese; I count 26 candidates out of 70 (37%) who are not Pakeha.  It's quite a youthful list too, with many under 40s.  Please let me know if there are any candidates you are aware of who would identify as having a disability.

Official Labour party list
Official Labour electorate candidates list
Idiot/Savant's list analysis for Labour
A Women's Place index for 2008 and 2011 - including Act and the Greens for 2011

*  Yes this chap is my partner.


katy said...

"Auckland Central - Jacinda Ardern (List MP) - probably stay National"


Julie said...

I've been v v conservative on the marginals in this post. I've deliberately included seats at the outside of even qualifying as marginals (like Mana).

I both think and hope that Jacinda can take Auckland Central. It will certainly be one to watch come November 26th!

Bricky said...

"Other notable female MPs from Labour have included NZ's first Maori women MP, Iriaka Ratana (Western Maori, 1949-1969) legendary feminist and unionist Sonja Davies and the world's first transexual MP, Georgina Beyer."

What about Whetu?