No ‘man ban’ for Labour

The Labour Party will not ban men from becoming candidates for election in some seats. The Labour Council wants to discuss the idea during the Labour Party conference in November of having 50% women MPs. However, David Shearer, the leader of the Labour Party in Parliament says it is not a good idea to say that only women can be a candidate in some seats. Instead he wants the Labour Party to aim for 45% women in the next election in 2014, and 50% women by 2017.

At the moment, there are 40 women MPs out of 121 MPs in Parliament. National has 15 women out of 58 MPs. While the top four National MPs are men, 7 of these women are Cabinet Ministers (There are 25 Ministers).

Labour has 13 women (41% of all Labour MPs) and the Green Party has 8 women and 6 men. The Maori Party has one woman and New Zealand First has 3 women.

Questions

1. Should there be more women MPs? Why or why not?
2. Should there be more people from ethnic minorities in Parliament?
3. Is it a good idea to have quotas e.g. 50% women, 20% Asian, 20% Maori etc?
4. If there is not a quota for women, what other ways can the Labour Party increase the number of women in Parliament?
5. How can more people from ethnic minorities be encouraged to become MPs?

Vocabulary

• ban – stop, not allow
• candidate – want to be an MP; put their name on the voting paper
• a seat in Parliament – an electorate, an area which the candidate represents
• to aim for – this is a goal, they will try to do this
• Cabinet Ministers e.g. Minister of Education, Minister of Immigration

• Other words for gender quota: reverse discrimination, affirmative action






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