Labour’s feel-good list

Labour’s intent to manufacture social outcomes is as strong as it ever was.

Labour’s next conference will vote on a remit originating from the highest levels of the Party that it “pro-actively” select Party List members so they represent special interests.

This means the list will need to cover sexual orientation, tangata whenua, gender, ethnic groups, people with disabilities, age and youth.

The Party is also looking to move to a 50:50 gender split among future candidates.

The General Secretary, Tim Barnett, says the matter is about “stuff which is internal”.

That’s partly true because this represents a struggle for influence and control over the Party. 

The reality is that the matter is very public. It affects New Zealand voters, particularly Labour voters, because the list will be ‘stacked’, resulting in a very particular type of Parliamentary Party. Are these people representing the life styles and biology which get them onto the list, or the interests of people who vote for the Party?

A stacked list shifts the Party firmly into ‘symbolism politics’; where support is gained by appealing in symbolic ways to special interest groups. It moves away from holding values and policies designed to appeal to people who share a common ideology.  

A Party which believes that it can manufacture a social outcome for itself, is very likely to believe it can do so in society at large.

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