Monday, 14 November 2011

A Woman's Place - Act's List 2011- Take 2

I've redone this post because ACT re-did their list for various Reasons.  If you're interested in the original post it is still up here (the first parts are basically the same.)

The Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, more generally known these days as ACT (or Act if you aren't into inadvertent shouting), are an interesting bunch. 

Historical representation of women:
Act was founded in 1993, as a lobby group, and became a political party in 1994.  The first election they contested was in 1996.  Since then they have had 18 MPs of whom 7 have been female (31%). 

Of the 7 female MPs, four so far have only lasted one term (or less), namely Deborah Coddington, Penny Webster, Patricia Schnauer, and the most recent caucus addition (and subtraction) Hilary Calvert.  In contrast all but two of the 11 male MPs have been in for more than a term; Derek Quigley who had previously been an MP for National during the 1980s, and David Garrett who resigned from Parliament after revelations about some criminal dealings in his past.  However Roger Douglas will join them in the one-term male ranks shortly, and John Boscawen may too depending on their result on November 26th. 

Act has only had male party leaders but have had two women MPs fill the deputy leader position; Muriel Newman from 2004-2006, followed by Heather Roy from 2006 - 2010.  They've have had one female president (Catherine Isaac from 2001- 2006) out of 6 to date, and have never had a female vice-president.

Electorate selections have played a role in Act's representation, through using an electorate seat to nullify the need to break the 5% threshold.  Both of the electorates Act have focused on for this strategy have had male Act candidates - Wellington Central with Richard Prebble, and Epsom with Rodney Hide and now John Banks.  Act's electorate selection processes are shrouded in mystery to this blogger, so it is unclear whether there may have been female candidates overlooked for selection for either of these seats.  As electorates otherwise form a minor part of Act's overall selections I won't be analysing them further.

2008 Act Party List:
Women represented across the whole list: 9 out of 60 (15%), with 20% in the top 10.  (Note, this post was updated 22nd Sept 2011 as I had missed two women in my previous calculation)

Current representation of women:
Act currently have 5 MPs in total and two are women (Heather Roy and Hilary Calvert), making 40% of the caucus. Roy is a former deputy leader, while Calvert came into Parliament after the resignation of David Garrett. Roy's antagonism with former leader Hide, while he was still in ascendance, meant she lost her place as a Minister and did not nominate for selection for the 2011 election.  Calvert does not appear on the party list, and it remains unclear whether she was offered a place too low for her to accept or she decided not to stand before the list was finalised. None of ACT's current MPs are standing again, male or female.

2011 Act Party List:

Women represented across the whole list: 12 out of 55 (22%), with 23% in the ranked portion (top 26).
Top 5 - One (Catherine Isaac at 2) 1/5 = 40%
Top 10 - Three (As for Top 5 plus Kath McCabe at 8, Robyn Stent at 9) 3/10 = 30%
Top 20 - Six (As for Top 10 plus Lyn Murphy at 12, Pratima Nand at 15, Toni Severin at 17) 6/20 = 30%
Top 26 - Six (As for Top 20) 6/26 = 23%

From 27 down the list is ranked alphabetically (with the strange exception of Vince Ashworth at 55 which I assume means he was a last minute addition, or has really annoyed a big backer).

There are a further six women on ACT's list (Casey Costello at 34, Alwyn Courtenay at 35, Kimberly Hannah at 37, Beth Houlbrooke at 38, Roseanne Jollands at 40, Barbara Steinijans at 53). 

Likely future representation of women:
Act's return is looking far from certain.  On current polling it is pretty unlikely they'll make 5%.  Falling short of that they must rely on John Banks winning the Epsom seat.  This too hangs in the balance (Banks and Key having just had tea in the last few days and prior polls showing Banks not likely to win).  On current polling Banks would bring one person on the list in, Don Brash, and maybe on election night they could stretch to a second, which would mean Catherine Isaac makes it in too.  After Isaac there are five more men before the next woman on the list. 
Of course a major point of speculation as I type this is the future of Brash as leader of ACT.  Were he to be deposed and resign that could also be a pathway for Isaac to come in. 

Other observations on candidate diversity:
A quick scan of the Act list reveals predominantly male Pakeha names.  Pratima Nand, at 15 and their Mt Roskill candidate, is Fijian Indian, and comments on the original post provided further info that Dominic Costello is Maori and Richard Evans is African.  Casey Costello is also Maori, Alan Davidson is Russian/Scottish/Portugese, and there appear to be a large number of young candidates, including two in the top ten (David Seymour at 5 is aged 28, Stephen Whittington at 7 is aged 25).While there are some profiles up there are still many missing, so further intell in comments will be appreciated. As with the 2008 list for Act, many seem to be new candidates.

I don't imagine the lack of diversity will bother many in Act, or voting for them.  But it should. 


Act's Candidate list
Index of A Woman's Place posts from 2008 and 2011 - so far just Greens, National, Labour in addition to this post for 2011

No comments: