The Labour Party conference voted yesterday for a mandatory quota of at least 50% women members of Labour Party Local Electorate Committees (LEC's).
We reckon that this is tokenism of the worst kind. Labour claims to be a progressive party, yet having to mandate a quota for women is not progressive at all; it's totally regressive.
So what will be next? 50% Maori? 50% Rainbow? Or will it be the ultimate; 50% unionist? The mind well and truly boggles!
We have been told for years that girls can do anything, and it's true. Being female didn't stop Dame Jenny Shipley from becoming Prime Minister of New Zealand. Nor did femininity stop Helen Clark from becoming leader of the Labour Party, being elected as Prime Minister three times and being appointed as head of the UNDP. Did they need a quota to get ahead? Absolutely not.
Attention has focused on the Labour leadership this weekend, and this rule change has slipped under the radar. It ought not have. Rather than being a positive, this rule is actually demeaning to women because it implies that they cannot get ahead on their own merits.
Once again, in a rush to be all things to all people Labour has shown that as a party and not just a caucus of MP's, it has learned nothing from the defeats of 2008 and 2011. Tokenism has no place in 21st century society.