I have written before on how, in politics, “economics”, “finance” and leadership roles have strong masculine and power associations. Men largely being given responsibilities for these high profile portfolios. The same is true of issues of international conflict and state surveillance services.
Yesterday, NZ Labour caucus leader, Andrew Little, was deeply insulting towards the NZ Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei. Little failed in his obligation to consult with opposition parties when selecting opposition MPs to sit on the governments Intelligence Security Committee.
In the past, the NZ Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has sat on that committee, and has been the only member to strongly hold the government to account on its oversight of the state surveillance services.
Little claimed Norman was not suitable because later this year he will step down from the co-leader role. Little was extremely dismissive towards Turei saying:
He had rejected appointing co-leader Metiria Turei because he wanted someone with “skills, understanding and experience.”
Turei has been in parliament longer than Little, and has been co-leader for 5 years.
Today in a parliamentary debate on this committee, Turei spelled out how women are consistently undermined with respect to politics and democratic participation, with reference to Kate Sheppard. She led the campaign for women’s suffrage and equality in New Zealand in the late 19th century.
Kate Sheppard drove [NZ PM] Richard Seddon nuts with her pesky insistence that women participate in the old boys club that was the Parliamentary democracy of the day.
Seddon said of Kate Sheppard that she “did not have the training which fitted her to man’s equal”.
But she presented petition after pesky petition, calling for women’s right to vote. She sure made things more complicated for the Government and, in so doing, she made New Zealand better.
Kate Sheppard helped improve our democracy by asserting the right of all women to play a part in it. She didn’t make it better by keeping quiet about it.
Pablo on Kiwipolitico explains the problem with the lack of consultation for nominations for the Intelligence Security Committee:
Russell Norman took his membership on the ISC seriously and did not just follow along and play ball when it came to expanding state powers of search and surveillance under the Search and Surveillance Act of 2012 and GCSB Act of 2014.
. Little has given his reason to exclude Metiria Turei of the Greens from ISC membership as being due to the fact the Mr. Norman is stepping down in May and Mr. Little wanted “skills, understanding and experience” in that ISC position. Besides insulting Ms. Turei (who has been in parliament for a fair while and co-Leader of the Greens for 5 years), he also gave the flick to Mr. Peters, presumably because that old dog does not heel too well. As for Mr. Dunne, well, loose lips have sunk his ship when it comes to such matters.
The bottom line is that Mr. Little supports Mr. Key’s undemocratic approach to intelligence oversight. Worse yet, it is these two men who will lead the review of the NZ intelligence community and propose reform to it, presumably in light of the debacles of the last few years and the eventual revelations about NZ espionage derived from the Snowden files.