Friday, 29 April 2011

Let's just take a moment to remember...

I'm 21 years old and I only really started paying attention to politics when I was about 17. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised when I found out that John Banks used to be an MP. I knew of him as the dude who induced lots of irritated mutterings from my folks whenever he turned up on the telly.

I remember when I opened my first-year law readings to find this particular gem from the debates on Homosexual Law Reform in 1986:

"To pretend that such behaviour is normal and healthy is no more sensible than to celebrate with an alcoholic his alcohol drinking problem... homosexuality is wrong on every occasion"* 
 I remember seeing this on campus during the Mayoral Campaign:

So this guy wants to be an MP again?

Let's not forget who we're dealing with.

*NZPD 427 Homosexual Law Reform Bill.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The National Party's Blitz on Women

In the last few weeks, some of the National Party's teeth have been coming out and they are taking huge bites out of programmes and organisations which benefit women.

First of all there was the decision to cut almost $400,000 worth of funding from a self-defence programme for girls which operated in schools.  $400,000 which was, by the way, the programme's entire budget. Tariana Turia attempted to fend off questions from Jacinda Ardern and Carol Beaumont by 'affirming' her commitment to a New Zealand free of violence.

Apparently the funding can be put to better use such as, oh I don't know, bailing out media companies or building a giant plastic waka.

Next up is the cut to the funding of Women's* Refuges. The government has decided to lop a whopping $700,000 off their funding, claiming and then subsequently refuting that they could apply for funding from a brand sparkly new 'family centred services fund.'

It seems fairly clear to me what the government's doing.

Whenever conservatives get to govern it seems the first things to go are those which do the most good for women and families. Take the Tory cuts in Britain as another example:
"Of the £16bn the budget and spending review plan to raise in tax, benefit, pension and spending changes, £11bn is coming from women. This government is taking more money off women and children with their austerity measures than they are raising from the banks whose greed and recklessness caused the economic crisis in the first place."
 One of the first things the government did was scrap the Pay Equity Unit which had the task of investigating the gender pay gap. Investigating it. Not, y'know, 'taking money off men and giving it to women in paddling pools so that they can swim around in it, laughing like banshees.'** Just investigating it.

This government wants to please 'anti-PC' types, the sort of people who routinely talk about how 'women are actually equal with men and all you feminazis need to shut up'*** while at the same time calling female politicians 'bitches' and commenting on their appearance. The sort of people who deny that their gender, their race or their class gives them any privilege whatsoever.

These programmes may seem small, they may seem inconsequential, but as Carol Beaumont put it:
"“It is hugely important that women feel as though they can talk in a safe environment about issues of sexual violence. The project has enabled young women to not only use their knowledge of self-defence in precarious situations; but it has increased the rates of sexual abuse disclosure.”
The Nats are plainly anti-women, and we need to get them out of power before too many women suffer the consequences.

*Just noting that not all refuges offer services to trans* women, so in some cases a more accurate name would be Cis Women's Refuge (thanks to Octavia Spitfire for pointing this out).
**Clearly I'm being sarcastic. 
***'You've got the vote, what more do you want?'

Friday, 15 April 2011

First Post!

Welcome to the New Zealand Young Labour Women's blog!

While I'm not sure as yet exactly what form this blog will end up in, I'm hoping it can be a place for YL members and supporters to stay up to date with the goings-on of YL Women around the country and also to share news, events and stories which affect women in New Zealand.

If you have something you'd like to feature, a guest post you'd like to write, or even if you'd like to be a regular contributor, email me at

I want this to be a safe space for all our readers, so hurtful or abusive comments will be deleted. That being said, I love a good debate, so feel free to call me or any of our (at this point hypothetical) contributors out on something you have a problem with.

And with that, unto the breach!

Caitlin Merriman
New Zealand Young Labour Women's Representative.