Is a Co-Leader suitable, or can he wear a skirt?

Dave Farrar said yesterday:

While talking Greens I do think it is somewhat ironic that their gender quota for the co-leadership, no doubt originally introduced to help women, is now discriminating against them. I think there is a lesson for everone here about quotas.

He misunderstands why the Green opted for the co-leadership model.

It’s not about ‘helping women’, it’s about recognising that each gender brings a particular world view and life experience to the role. When the party first put the positions to a vote a decade ago, Jeanette stood unopposed and would probably have been chosen as a sole leader if such a position had existed. By comparison, Rod was one of the three candidates. He narrowly won in part because his skill set was viewed as complementary to Jeanette.

In answer to my commenting on his post at his site today, Dave came back with:

But who [sic] only gender power dispersal? Why not by ethnicity also? And sexual orientation? And religious belief?

Do the Greens think without these quotas that simply having the members elect the best people for the job/s would result in bad outcomes?

You’re putting the cart before the horse a bit here Dave. The Greens appoint the best woman for the position of female leader and the best man for the position of male leader (and the co-convenors (President), policy networkers and other not-strictly-admin roles in the Party).

You may have a point. Maybe the Greens should also have a hermaphrodite leader as well. 🙂

But the actual answer is that gender is the most fundamental *difference* between people and a key physical identifier that everybody shares.

At which point, it is worth remembering that dispersing power is the other purpose of two-headed leadership. As such, co-leadership is a trade off between pragmatism and idealism.

You see, the Greens opted for Co-Leadership over NO leadership, not single leadership. Two heads was the logical compromise between the Party’s desire to have no leadership at all and the outside world’s inability to deal with such a scenario. More than two and you might as well have no leaders at all.

Many Green Parties around the world still have no formal position of leader or co-leader.

Note: A clarification on my comment the other day on the male co-leadership. I will not be commenting on the pros and cons of any candidate for the position, however I will be reporting and commenting on the process.

81 Comments Posted

  1. shudder…i just googled cheswas…..most definitely not….(gotta stomp on those sorta rumours ..eh…:)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  2. eredwen..can i suggest that those chary of entering this environment as an identifiable female follow the example of the classically-named percy over at rightwing blog sir humphrey….

    he avoided any possible issues with his birth name by adopting the moniker rightwingdeathbeast..

    could i suggest some similar green-themed non-gender-specific nomes de guerre be adopted by the wary..?..

    who knows what hidden forces might be unleashed/uncovered by the adoption/nurture of an alter-ego…eh..?

    (i did some time newsreading on bfm on wednesday breakfasts as my porn-star-name ‘bruce bellwood’..an aussie blow-in…(mon-tue and thurs-fri i read as me..tee hee..that silly bfm/havoc..)

    it was quite strange..i would become bruce on wednesdays..(filling in the blank spaces in his life/bacground.)…

    i stood differently when reading..held my head differently….different speech patterns and all..and soooo much fun……havoc and i would play with the bellwood personality..(formerly a highly esteemed aussie broadcaster…with a whiff of (unspoken)scandal following him from over over the ditch)

    havoc would constantly throw me curve ball questions(as is his wont) on my/bruces’ past….)

    ’twas much fun..

    i can highly recommmend an outing as a credible alternate personality…:)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  3. Glaister’s VERY INTERESTING assumption: (that my counting, and reporting on, the number of lines written by male and female authors on this thread would be associated with a desire for “a quota system of some sort”) sheds some light on an important “why/how” the Greens and other groups seem to be “talking past each other”.

    Glaister assumption was that external imposed discipline, (rather than each individual’s internal self discipline) would be asked for, presumably by me, to “solve the problem” …
    whereas my reason for doing the counting and then reporting on it, was to:

    1. alert each contributor to a regular behaviour on this blog.
    2. that this behaviour is noticed by others,
    3. and that it is likely to be one of the reasons why female “would be” contributers don’t stay long!

    I did this with the idea that each person would heed this, or not, as he chose …

    eredwen

  4. icehawk, gender is not all culture – it has a large genetic component. Boys and girls are different from the start. I wasn’t arguing that the term gender is equivalent to sex or that it was unnecessary. I’m familiar with quite a lot of the feminist litterature on gender.

  5. eredwen:
    I wasn’t upset… I think you started counting # of lines by male authors and # of lines by female authors and it sounded like you would have some sympathy with a quota system of some sort. I meant to be a little teasing of course… but only a little!

    alastair:
    Thanks for comments… I wish I could continue thinking about your interesting replies, but alas I have to get my mind back on my own work. Thanks again.

  6. Glaister :
    “I guess parties are a funny sort of private club”

    Indeed they are. The Greens are a democratic political party. This may sound like a tautology, but on the contrary, it’s an extremely rare thing. Most parties go through the motions of internal democracy, but actually practise “democratic centralism” à la Lenin/Stalin, where the summit of the pyramid dictates to the base. But it would be completely out of order to legislate on this subject. However S&M it may be, it’s done between consenting adults; and the independence of political parties is a vital intrinsic part of freedom and democracy.

    “Should we understand the Greens to be suggesting by their internal arrangements that in their perfect world the law would be changed”

    An interesting question.
    I think that what the Greens’ internal arrangements suggest is that others should examine their internal arrangements to see whether they are fair and optimal. The fact that the co-leaders are co-ordinators, rather than commanders, is at least as important as gender balance, BUT it is less visible! That’s what I mean about exemplarity.

    I have considerable, and painful, experience of zippers, in the French Greens (personally I actually prefer buttons, less threatening to my “gender identity”:)) I think that they are, in some cases, a necessary evil, in order to break a male stranglehold on decision-making positions.

    In French law, zipper parity is obligatory in all list-based elections (municipal, regional, Senate etc). This has problems :
    * the parties cheat in various ways
    * it doesn’t apply to Parliament (single-member system, something like 15% women in parliament!)
    but it is having an effect of massification of female participation in political life which is supposed to have a flow-on effect.

    I think the single most important element in enabling the participation of women is proportional representation. Winning a nomination for a seat is pretty much always a knock’em down, drag’em out contest, may the best man win. Building a list is another matter : competitive, but also co-operative; and parties have no excuse if they choose not to present a reasonable number of women.

    Buddha thinks all is just dandy in NZ because two of the last 20 Prime Ministers are women (the fact that they are the last two, as he will concede, is not statistically significant! :)) and because the GG is a woman (an appointed, powerless position, therefore ideal for tokenism). In spite of MMP, less than a third of MPs are women; yet there is no general problem of domination of the political cadre by men. Riiight.

    In the context of NZ, I think zipper-type electoral constraints aren’t likely to give positive results. I think the best track is to adapt the mechanisms and practise of political life so that women may find them less distasteful and intimidating. This process will, in itself, improve governance.

  7. Everyone:

    I believe that this whole thread has provided an excellent example of why male and female co-positions are a good idea, even with the “given” that in general Greens (male and female) do tend to exhibit more androgynous (and inclusive) behaviour than the general population.

    BJ: Listening to Baroness Susan Greenfield (talking to Linda Clark on National Radio this morning) I thought of your enthusiastic embracing of (“concrete”)male/female human brain differences as a reason that is “possibly somewhat overstated”.

    Glaister: I wonder at your conclusion:
    “(maybe zippered blogs if eredwen had her(?) way!)”
    and how you came to that conclusion? .. and why you singled me out?

    Rather than “zippering” this blog I would like to see it more inclusive! (and that means more “user friendly” than the recent tone has been.)

    Maybe my comments on gender-different behaviour have offended you?

    In five days I have said very little:
    11:06pm 17/11 I stated my preference for co-leadership(15 lines).
    8:24pm 18/11 I said why I supported co-leadership(23 lines).
    1:06pm 19/11 I said “Well said”(1 line)
    4:30pm 20/11 I ananlysed this thread by gender/frequency/volume(20 lines), because the tone of the blog had become “male competitive”…)
    1:47pm 21/11 I answered Ornith in kind. (3 lines)
    5:24pm 21/11 I answered bjchip in kind. (5 lines)

    … now I have answered you (and anyone else who is up with the play on this thread!)

    I have experienced quite an “off putting” atmosphere here, and yet it is a topic on which female as well as male input is vital.

    Please all think about what has happened … and why …

    eredwen

  8. Eredwen – With respect to Ornith weak grounds to be sure… Association and naming conventions – which may not be the same here as anywhere I am from. The private/public conversation aspect of it seems rather familiar to me….

    Ornith, if you are a guy, it wasn’t intentional.

    As for the rest, I readily concede the nature of the contest. However, you are wrong to think us oblivious. I was learning something through that whole “debate” (to be rather charitable about what it was).

    You are certainly welcome to hop in and add balance to the conversation, and doesn’t this whole thread rather seriously exemplify the REASON for wanting that balance?

    I don’t think it applies to everything… but it may well be a good idea for leadership positions in mixed gender organizations.

    respectfully
    BJ

  9. Thanks for comment Alastair:

    I guess parties are a funny sort of private club…one with a very special relation to the wider public and to the law in general.

    Should we understand the Greens to be suggesting by their internal arrangements that in their perfect world the law would be changed and there’d be at least tolerance of and maybe a requirement for mechanistically zippered hiring everywhere (maybe zippered blogs if eredwen had her(?) way!) etc.? and with general mission-creep one imagines the zipper over time would contain many requirements and be much more intricate than just m/f/m/f…. ?

  10. bjchip:

    Familiar… yes. Entertaining … no.

    You gentlemen seemingly become oblivious to anything other than “scoring that next point”.

    I’m interested that you assume that Ornith is a woman.
    On what grounds?

    eredwen

  11. Ornith;

    You are on to it!

    It is both the bollocks and the load … often known as “male pissing contests”.

    eredwen

  12. Buddha : you keep repeating like a mantra (hmm… I mean Ommm…) that the male/female leadership split is not a matter of principle. Though others may have conceded that, I certainly never have.

    James (apologies for the sarcasm :]). Deep down, you don’t believe that men and women are different enough to justify equal representation… (this is both fundamentally unknowable, and a matter of opinion).

    I firmly believe that a split male/female leadership is a matter of principle, and one which should be stoutly defended against opportunistic attacks.

    It is my belief (and my experience) that gender-balanced governance is of generally better quality. Institutionalising the gender balance is the only way of guaranteeing its perennity. I think society in general, in NZ and everywhere else, would be better if this model were generalized. This is why I believe the Green leadership is exemplary, and ought to be maintained for that reason, even if it were somewhat disadvantageous in the short term for the Party (which is by no means sure).

    In any case, I think the new co-leader should come from outside Parliament.

  13. Buddh:
    “alistair: I don’t think we should have to pay income tax either, or obey the road code. This is a straw man.”

    Fair enough, it’s a straw man. But I have a much better idea who I’m talking to now 🙂

    Glaister :
    “In many repects then, if this is so, then Parties function like private clubs, essentially beyond the reach of anti-discrimination law.”

    I should certainly hope so. It would be a very slippery slope indeed, messing with the internals of political parties through “political correctness” laws. (You seem to be at the opposite extreme from Buddha, who doesn’t believe in traffic lights…)

  14. free at last ..free at last..lordy lordy..i am free at last…(ahem..from moderation..and aplogies to the late dr king….)

    um…now i’ve got nothing to say….

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  15. phil: I have emailed you directly, check the box where you find my messages

    All: Moderation is a blunt instrument, apologies if there has been a delay in your posts appearing, we’re still trying to get the new mix right.

  16. Glaister – I was thinking of it more as the co-leadership being a single person in the same sort of legal double-speak that makes a corporation a “person”. I am not encouraging anyone to think like a lawyer, but if they can create legal constructs like that for the corporation I can imagine that the stretch to co-leaders is not too difficult 🙂

    respectfully
    BJ

  17. Thanks for your reply BJ – truly you are a Greens warrior!

    I need to think more about this to be sure but… Unless you have a special exemption (e.g., single-sex schools, counseling service…) you can’t legally advertize (a) for a woman (say) for a half-time position, no matter how many males have previously been hired half-time, nor (b) for a woman for an un-paid internship, no matter how many unpaid male interns you’ve had before.

    Still, you’re probably right that party leadership is not quite a public service, not quite a job (not even a volunteer or unpaid one), etc. so there’s an “area” problem with an unlawful discrimination complaint.

    In many repects then, if this is so, then Parties function like private clubs, essentially beyond the reach of anti-discrimination law. So like clubs that exclude certain sexes or races or whatever, the Greens use a procedure that would be unlawful if applied more generally. That’s weird.

  18. Buddha – The hardware is different. Which is what I have been pointing out forever here. You want to bring SW into it as though that can make a difference after you’ve blown the display input stage. What ails you? I am NOT talking about “communications skills”… I am talking about the way we reach conclusions at all.

    Since the party IS balanced and has decided to maintain itself in a “balanced” state, perhaps that is more than merely an external perception. It is important for the external reasons. I don’t think it is AS important otherwise, but I may well learn otherwise as I have learned other things from the people here. I don’t accept your conclusion that it is merely expedient… but you’ve made it clear that you think it is far worse than that.

    I am not always disposed to believe that which appears white is really black, if the Green Party so decides.

    It’s clear you don’t like the policy and don’t like that greens came up with it.

    So how about it? ARE you a member of the party or are you just stirring?

    BJ

  19. Ah Glaister – back again. Of course it is an elected position, so I don’t know if there’s a real application of hiring law, but the rest of your argument takes mine far past where it stopped.

    I pointed out we are different… do you accept that we are?

    I pointed out that the reason for the policy has to do with the public perception… and if you wish to split hairs, we are electing co-leaders, not a single leader, the leadership position is no longer singular and I believe that this as well as it being elective, gives us the ability to specifically require a pair. We aren’t filling ONE position, we are filling half of one position… I have seen lawyers play stupid word games with less to work with… it would be fun to watch.

    However, it has nothing to do with employment. My POV has as a basic root that Men and Women are equally capable, but do not reach that capability in the same manner. My example was quite explicit. Same results reached differently. So neither of your examples actually hold any relevance to what I have been saying.

    As Alistair pointed out there is balance… I don’t care much about that but I do care that it appears to work and there is an appearance of balance to the rest of the world. Maybe I will understand that the balance itself is important in time, at present I only accept that it might be and certainly is in our external appearances.

    Don’t worrry if you don’t understand yet… stick around, get to know the gang. Don’t assume everyone here is a party member.

    If you believe the world is headed up s**t creek with no forms of propulsion in evidence then you’re halfway home. That’s pretty basic for all of us AFAIK… and after that is said we’re all pretty different.

    I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “herding cats”… I think that was why we originally needed two leaders 🙂 – before my time here though…

    respectfully
    BJ

  20. bjchip: you know what happens when you feed a raster display a vector input

    I know that raster *hardware* is not compatible with vector *hardware*, but I also know that vector *software* for raster hardware can make up the difference. Now you can feed that vector *software* your vector input and get the output you’re hoping, on raster *hardware*! Human males can learn communication skills and empathy that may come more naturally to females, and I expect that male MPs have learned these skills.

    bjchip: Which is to say, it has a justification.

    It has a justification, provided one does not mind presenting to the general public the shared “leadership” as evidence that the party is “balanced”, so neither male chauvinists nor female chauvinists will be “put off” voting for the party, when in fact the shared “leadership” is inconsequential. Now since the parliamentary party arguably is “balanced” (2 males, 4 females, one vote each) this may be harmless political street theatre, but as the only justification I do not consider this system exemplary; it’s just politically expedient.

    bjchip: I think when psychology and the sciences of the mind catch up with the rest of the sciences a bit more, […]

    I’m sure you’ll have your fallacies of accident prepared.

    bjchip: The power of the co-leadership is perceived rather than real in terms of the party. It is real however, in terms of the rest of the world.

    I am not always disposed to believe that which appears white is really black, if the Green Party so decides.

  21. Greens leadership policy appears to require same-circumstance differential treatment for the reason of sex in a matter of hiring, hence be in conflict with s21 of the Human Rights Act 1993.

    This may be able to be avoided by some manoeuvre (no remuneration perhaps), but make no mistake it would be a sophistry if it can be so avoided – the point of the Act is to ensure hiring/position-filling on merit so that the reasons for hiring/position-filling must be sex-blind among other things. That’s in tension with all quota-filling/getting-particular-social-outcomes sides of social policy, but so be it.

    And surely the discussion above tells us all why that must be the case. If BJ’s POV is allowed to stand, for example, then sex is itself a merit/qualification for almost every job and, yes, the high road back to God knows what opens up.

    e.g. 1. “I can understand cooking and cleaning and baby care, I just can’t understand it in the *way* vector graphics processing/female units do. I thought I was lazy, but it turns out I’m unqualified! That’s me outta there…”

    e.g. 2.,
    “I was planning to rent my apartment to a same-sex couple but then I realized that only an opposite sex couple’s uniquely different and complementary cognitive stylings and ways of understanding rentors’ obligations would suit my rental property.”

    But perhaps I’m missing something. God knows I’ve tried to understand Green stuff before and (despite sympathy with certain aspects) found it fundamentally incomprehensible overall. If I heard Rod Donald express disdain for all middle grounds/centrist positions *at the same time* as he preached politics of consensus one more time….

  22. JeanetteE – Good thought… I just relate better to machines than people, so I tend to use this during ANY free-time. I don’t have a lot of that but I think (and type) rather fast. respectfully BJ

    As in – I want one of these for Christmas…

    http://www.daskeyboard.com/

    🙂

  23. Here’s my highly subjective interpretation of the gender breakdown totals kindly provided by Eredwen –

    It seems that males have more spare time to be reading and wrting in blogs than females do …

    … just a hunch?

    J.

  24. Eredwen – Your analysis seems related to the “convince me” requirement that we males have 🙂 ? I don’t think there’s any impediment to your knocking a few heads around here. Haven’t we made the targets big enough yet? 😉

    respectfully
    BJ

  25. Buddha – Either you are a geek and you know what happens when you feed a raster display a vector input (or vice versa), which makes you a troll, or you are a fraud of some other sort. In either case your posts fill a much needed void.

    It seems that “general public perception? is the only justification for this system of “leadership?.

    Which is to say, it has a justification. Not the one you’d like it to have, but a valid one for a political party, whether you like it or not. I think when psychology and the sciences of the mind catch up with the rest of the sciences a bit more, you will see other justifications emergent. In the meantime lets just run this “experiment” a little longer… 3 or 4 leadership pairs into the future at least, and see if it really works. We are greens after all, and coming up with new ways to do things IS part of what we are.

    splitting *zero* power between two people, one male and one female, is a novel idea

    However, splitting hairs is a very familiar idea, of which you are clearly a master. The power of the co-leadership is perceived rather than real in terms of the party. It is real however, in terms of the rest of the world. Perhaps you need more lessons in how important those perceptions become… more EB pamphlets or other lies about party policy? In politics more than anywhere else but Hollywood, perception becomes reality.

    Which is why an honest investigative news media is so important… and why I keep hammering people here about its lack of certain important policies, needed to give the PERCEPTION of completeness rather than single issue focus, to the general public…. and why you are approaching this from the wrong direction.

    BJ

  26. OK People:

    A bit of analysis of this thread …

    49 contributions by 18 different people.

    Of these THREE were female. Two wrote once( 21 and 15 lines) and one wrote three times (39 lines total) Female GRAND TOTAL: 75 LINES

    Of the 46 males:
    Seven wrote once (an average of 8 lines each … range 4 to 11 lines)
    Two wrote twice (6 and 10 lines total each)
    Two wrote thrice (10 and 47 lines total each)
    The remainder:
    james wrote four times and 97 lines total
    alistair wrote six times and 63 lines total
    bjchip wrote seven times and 177 lines total
    buddah wrote eight times and 286 lines total

    Male GRAND TOTAL: 753 LINES

    I haven’t analysed the content of the contributions listed …

    The above is a small contribution to this (fairly predictable) “debate” about human male and female differences … (attitudes towards and implications of) …

    eredwen
    (who is very experienced in “being female” in this society!)

  27. bjchip: I used the raster/vector comparison so you’d have something reasonably familiar to understand it with yourself.

    To use your analogy, it is possible to simulate vector graphics with raster graphics – this is exactly what vector graphics software does these days. It is possible for males to learn communication skills and empathy that may come more naturally to females. I expect that male MPs will have learned these skills even if typical male research subjects have not. That is, typical male research subjects are not a representative sample of the population of male MPs, so the research you cited is irrelevant.

    bjchip: The constitutional role is irrelevant to this, but you keep trying to push off this bothersome general public perception problem as though it is irrelevant instead.

    The constitution shows that the number and gender of the Co-Leaders is inconsequential to the parliamentary activities of the Green Party. Having one or two male “leaders” may make the party *appear* “male dominated”; having two “leaders”, one male and one female, may make the party *appear* “balanced”. It seems that “general public perception” is the only justification for this system of “leadership”.

    bjchip: Humans have tried a lot of schemes for controlling and wielding power. This is a new one.

    Well, yes, splitting *zero* power between two people, one male and one female, is a novel idea – perhaps you can see why…

  28. Buddha – Of course as soon as we start talking about specific people the statistical significance of something like this does fly somewhere in the general direction of the window. That is no reason to infer that the difference between men and women on this measure isn’t real. Which is what we were talking about. The differences between men and women and how they apply to the leadership question.

    In fact it’s probably not relevant directly to the leadership, only to add to the differences list. Leadership of men is related to how convincing the leader is… leadership of women is not bound to that characteristic. But it isn’t JUST the leader we are talking about, but the followers as well.

    ……

    James C. – OK.

    “The only reasons (to force a pre-determined gender as co-leader) are

    1. for equal outcomes, or
    2. for the benefit of gender ‘difference’.

    I think I’ve already shown that there is a third one having to do with our public image. Our ability to appeal broadly to everyone is enhanced by having both sexes represented in leadership, without creating the confusion of no leaders or too many leaders in that same forum. Moreover, I suspect that there is another reason basic and underlying all of our (and everyone elses historic) confusion on this issue, which we (being humans and ONLY able to understand things as male or female) have not had the wit to see. Understanding our differences is only just beginning… understanding how we work best together is a level deeper in the mind sciences. Basically I am rejecting your premise that there are only these two and no others.

    Moreover, I don’t think that one leadership “pair” and 6 years really tests the concept. I’d argue for the trial to continue for at least 3 pairings and/or 20 years or until it is an obvious bust for some reason. I note that the Maori party adopted the same sort of structure. It makes the party appear as a sort of extended family perhaps?

    respectfully
    BJ

  29. Hi bj,
    i never once stated that the policy was not working, and I am not complaining. I am interested to see if we can improve, and start debate about whether this convention is in the greens best interest for the future. If it is, then someone should be able to answer my criticism, or at least present a mandate against my view.
    Also BJ, I prefer to use the term gender, thats all.

    Hi Alistair,
    You state that the policy was instituted in order to have gender balance, yet frog talks of pragmatism and dispersing power. The practical side of having two leaders makes sense, using frogs explanation, yet in no way justifies the need for the two leaders to be different genders. In this context I commented on the my challenge being that of one against the roles being gendered, as opposed to one against the concept of co-leadership. Frog separated the two, yet you inextricably link them. Also, your sarcastic tone ‘let me help you’, has no place in reasoned discussion about ideas for genuine improvement to the green cause, I am not your enemy.

    There is nothing wrong with have two leaders, nor is there anything wrong with male/female leaders. What there is something wrong with is being forced to vote a particular gender to the role for “balance”, in the absence of real justification.

    thanks bj, and thanks also alistair.

  30. hmmm…is it using the names that gets my comments blocked..?

    how about knicknames for the candidates under discussion..?

    um..how about ‘hairy one’..and ‘ginge’..?

    lets try that..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  31. test..early yesterday morning i sent a long (imho) reasoned take on the leadership question..(as i see others have)..

    it has not appeared here…why i cannot think (as far as content is concerned…

    am i the only one having comments blocked..?,,and can i ask why..?

    btw frog….if you won’t put it up would you please return it to me…i put a fair amount of blood/sweat/tears/thought into that piece..and it disturbs me that you are binning it…(i’ll tweak it and use it elsewhere..)

    btw…if you continue to block all my comments…i’ll just wander off….maybe the outcome others desire..?(although i know you have stated the opposite..)(is it a nine-to-five issue..?..frog can’t moderate on weekends/outside office hours..?..could we have some guidelines here please..?

    i do know that if attempting to take part in a conversation here..to have your comments delayed/put out of context…. makes the whole xercise rather frustrating and pointless..eh..?….

    and raises the question ‘are you trying to turn frogblog into a green version of rightwing blog sir humphrey.?.an’echo chamber’..where all agree and dance merrily across the meadow..hand in hand..?..and dissent will not be tolerated..?
    (and if so..what will happen is what i suspect is happening wih them….a drop-off in interest/activity/relevance will be the fate of frogblog..)

    (btw..imho you are the most relevant/happening political blog in nz..at the moment…activity has slowed markedly at national mouthpiece/booster davidfarrar..and he has stopped publishing his visitor numbers..which after proudly trumpeting them for some months…says what..?..

    sir humphrey is a mix of the usual rightwing grumps/obsessions..with their small group of commenters all sitting around nodding in agreement ..leavened with doctoral theses length opuses on obscure aspects of scandanavian politics…(good grief..!).

    (i don’t know about anyone else….but i find sitting around in a circle all nodding together and congratulating each other on how clever we all are and how we all agree on everything..to be boredom wrought to an exquisite finesse…)

    if that is your desire i..and i suspect a few others…most probably won’t bother…

    but of course..that brings us to frogblog..and the future of frogblog….

    how much longer will the greens be able to justify paying you(s) to maintain what was originally set up as a campaign tool..?.(i would suspect there would already be calls from the non-froggers to just close it down..
    not to let it continue…(‘too much time/bother’..and all that..)

    if that is the thinking…i would argue it is flawed/shortsighted..frogblog is a valuable tool for the advancment/airing of green ideas..and a good forum for debate..esp if non-greens/opponents are made welcome to contribute/debate…

    but if this debate is stifled/slowed/censored you will kill the goose..it’s as simple as that…

    and why the fear of vigorous debate..?..esp concerning the up-coming co-leadership role(s)…..?..(but on nearly anything really..!)

    these are crucial positions..the future possible successes/failures of the party rest in part on their shoulders…and those standing must be able to withstand rigorous scrutiny…..are ‘fair game’…surely..?

    that also goes for other elected office-holders….(auckland leadership also comes to mind..:)….they must be able/available to answer questions/engage in debate…(we are the greens..remember…we do politics differently..a culture that encourages the open exchange of ideas must be part of this green culture..)

    (and can i suggest that those whose eyes/sensibilities are offended by vigorous debate..that they retire to the ‘echo chambers’ of the various password guarded internal green forums..there is where they will either find peace in mutual agreement/congratulation..or various entities arguing ‘how many angels can fit on the head of a pin..?’….(an example of the previously referred to ‘finely wrought boredom’..for some..:)

    and of course..i expect to be able to ask ongoing questions of people such as the yet-to-be-appointed ‘party development’ person…:)..party growth/development is an area long overlooked/ignored in the greens..(save for lip-service)..and it is gratifying to see a new urgency/focus in this area…

    could i finish by para-phrasing the words of nigel cox at the recent ‘going west’ writers festival..
    in his keynote address (required reading..can be found at whoar)..cox..as a n expat for the last five years giving his views on us..asked..

    “why are we so afraid of dissent/debate within our ranks/culture…?..are we so insecure..?..do we think the whole (green) edifice is so shakey/shonky it will just fall over at the sound of these words..?”

    (as my missive on leadership sent yesterday has vanished..and fearing the same for this..i will also post it at whoar..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  32. alistair: I don’t think we should have to pay income tax either, or obey the road code.

    This is a straw man. I did not say Greens were above the law; I said that pop-psychology results may not be relevant to MPs, let alone the most principled MPs in the House. To accept the relevance of these results uncritically is to commit the fallacy of accident (http://fallacyfiles.org/accident.html).

    alistair: You implicitly concede that there is a general problem of domination of the political cadre by men.

    This is another straw man; I implicitly conceded nothing of the sort. If this is what you believe then I suggest you share your belief with Helen Clark, Silvia Cartwright and Sian Elias. [In addition, frog wrote, “Jeanette stood unopposed and would probably have been chosen as a sole leader if such a position had existed” and I’ll also bet that Katherine Rich will be Leader of the Opposition before long…]

    alistair: You point out that this general problem does not CURRENTLY manifest itself in the NZ Green Party, and you therefore conclude that any institutional constraints of this nature are superfluous?

    I do not believe that there should be institutional suspicion of male Green MPs on the basis of pop-psychology results. What do you think?

  33. Does the research give the same result for Green men who earn “leadership? positions in a group of mixed Green MPs, or for Green women who do the same? The relevance of this research is questionable.

    Well la-de-da. We Greens are just so special. I don’t think we should have to pay income tax either, or obey the road code. Because we are already very generous with our money, and because we’re so sensible and careful that we can safely shoot red lights. Unlike the common herd.

    This, I think, is your point Buddh? You implicitly concede that there is a general problem of domination of the political cadre by men. You point out that this general problem does not CURRENTLY manifest itself in the NZ Green Party, and you therefore conclude that any institutional constraints of this nature are superfluous?

  34. Buddha –

    Try these

    http://transitiondynamics.net/home/st1/page/115/8
    http://www.narth.com/docs/uvaprof.html
    http://www.sciencefriday.com/kids/sfkc20040521-1.html
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7243350/site/newsweek/
    http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/001513.html
    http://jnnp.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/64/4/492
    http://flatrock.org.nz/topics/society_culture/office_biology.htm
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    It has NOTHING TO DO with learning. It is simply different. It has NOTHING do do with your naturalistic, scientific worldview. Of course they can “understand” it, they just understand it differently from the way YOU do. I used the raster/vector comparison so you’d have something reasonably familiar to understand it with yourself.

    Where are we getting “green” men? My Rovers didn’t find any of those 🙂 … This was a sex linked difference between men and women in a social task. I don’t doubt that it applies to green, red, black white or yellow men… but it may not apply to gay men. I really do need to find a link.

    The external face of the party IS the co-leadership. All the MPs contribute something, but the external face is the leader, or leaders. If you don’t manage this concept you will not be able to run a decent campaign in the next election. The constitutional role is irrelevant to this, but you keep trying to push off this bothersome general public perception problem as though it is irrelevant instead.

    Male dominated is having NO female leaders… two male leaders or 1, is a male dominated party. Two female leaders or 1, is a female dominated party. Labour is female dominated. Ours is a new idea in learership as far as I know… and I would like to see if it really is as good as it seems to be.

    You seem to be reasoning from some assumptions about my motivations. I don’t CARE if it is “balanced”. I don’t care if it “promotes equality”. I care that it works. Humans have tried a lot of schemes for controlling and wielding power. This is a new one.

    Exemplary, and worth extending.

    This comment will wind up being moderated… all those links… sigh…

    respectfully
    BJ

  35. bjchip: It isn’t a trivial difference.

    Uh huh. Would you care to offer some concrete examples of female thinking patterns that males cannot learn, instead of this fluffy, woolly rhetoric?

    bjchip: It gets similar results most of the time, has to because the world doesn’t care how you get answers as long as they are right, […]

    Yep.

    bjchip: I don’t think I overstated my case.

    So… do you think females cannot understand my naturalistic, scientific worldview?

    bjchip: Men who earn leadership positions in groups of men tend to be the ones who are best able to deceive others. This does not appear in the case of women.

    Does the research give the same result for Green men who earn “leadership” positions in a group of mixed Green MPs, or for Green women who do the same? The relevance of this research is questionable.

    bjchip: The co-leaders are the external face of the party. It helps the party that there is one of each sex. It helps us that there is an inclusion of BOTH ways of thinking.

    All of the Green MPs are the external face of the party. At the last election all of the Green MPs did publicity work, but only one Green MP could front up to each televised debate – having two Co-Leaders, one male and one female, didn’t help there.

    bjchip: Men who WOULD be put off by a tag team of females and women who WOULD be put off by yet another male dominated party are not put off by the pair.

    This is a straw man. As I’ve noted several times, “ensuring effective co-ordination and communication between the Executive, Policy Committee, and Caucus” is the only responsibility that falls to the Co-Leaders (qua Co-Leaders) that does not fall to the Green MPs generally. The number and gender of the Co-Leaders is inconsequential to the parliamentary activities of the Green Party. Thus on the one hand, having one or two male “leaders” does not make the party “male dominated”; but on the other hand, having two “leaders”, one male and one female, does not make the party “balanced”, either. The general public may not know this, so I’ll concede the point. This system of “pseudo-leadership” marketing tricks is not exemplary; it’s just politically expedient.

  36. James:
    The concept of co-leadership is not being challenged, the convention of gendered co-leadership is.

    Mmmm? Explain to me James, what exactly is the point of this “concept” of having two leaders?

    Let me help you. It was instituted in order to have gender balance.

    There is, as far as I know, no other principled reason for having two co-equal leaders, rather than one, as all “sensible” parties do.

    It is actually rather subversive with respect to the general paradigm of leadership, and of political leadership in particular. That’s why I talk about exemplarity.

    And. To be frank. I’m not sure I would feel all that well represented by two woman leaders. There must be something wrong with me.

  37. James C. – Since you started using the word “gender” I stopped. I hope you noticed… this isn’t about some BS PC concept. It is about how the party is constituted, and it isn’t hard to see that it IS working, despite your complaint. It isn’t hard to see reasons why it should work better… barring the aforementioned concept of lobotomies being handed out with certain chromosome combinations.

    respectfully
    BJ

  38. Let’s cut to the chase :

    Budd: Which principle is involved?

    James : I do not not accept that men and women and so drastically different that one cannot represent the other.

    Well that’s easy for a man to say.

    It’s empirically obvious that men are very, very good at representing women. After all, worldwide, surely at least 80% of the people’s representatives are men. It certainly isn’t the Greens’ role to question that state of affairs. Is it?

    Just imagine, for a second, that it were a matter of replacing a woman co-leader. Who would propose that it would be OK if the second co-leader were also a man? Hands up please.

  39. Buddha

    Do you have any idea just how differently the female of the species processes information vis-a-vis yourself? It isn’t a trivial difference. It isn’t anything more than mapped traces of brain activity now, but it is nothing like what is going on in your head right this instant. It gets similar results most of the time, has to because the world doesn’t care how you get answers as long as they are right, but the paths taken are vastly different.

    I don’t think I overstated my case. The inner workings are not just unique vis-a-vis individuals, they are unique in a sex linked non-trivial way. Vector Graphics and Raster can both be used to display an image. Superficially they appear the same if the display hardware is adequate to the task. They ARE NOT the same though, are they? The difference in the manner of processing isn’t often important to the image, but it matters a lot when you try to feed it an image to be displayed. That’s what you’re up against… but that isn’t all.

    Men who earn leadership positions in groups of men tend to be the ones who are best able to deceive others. This does not appear in the case of women. I am searching for a link… I read the article in one of my Psych. Journals at least a decade ago.

    The co-leaders are the external face of the party. It helps the party that there is one of each sex. It helps us that there is an inclusion of BOTH ways of thinking. Men who WOULD be put off by a tag team of females and women who WOULD be put off by yet another male dominated party are not put off by the pair.

    That’s not an effect internal to the party, it is EXTERNAL. It is working better than the alternative currently in use (singular leadership). I think that if we tried it your way and wound up with a same sex pair we’d lose a lot of our appeal.

    The marginal degree of “better” that you are talking about at the top level of this party is inconsequential compared with the external face we present to the world being heterogenous.

    I believe we should not only KEEP this, we should encourage it to be used everywhere.

    respectfully
    BJ

  40. Also, if the green membership wants male and female co-leaders, then the opportunity exists by way of vote. There is no good reason to force members to vote for a leader of one particular gender.

    The only reasons (to force a pre-determined gender as co-leader) are 1. for equal outcomes, or 2. for the benefit of gender ‘difference’.

    1. Equal outcome initiatives only make sense in the presence of prejudice, so does not apply to the greens.

    2. ‘Difference’ is also debatable, and i believe irrelevant. Gender is a social construct, and i (with many others) believe that i can be represented by either a man or woman (or both), and wish for this person to be the very best for the future of the green party.

    If male/female leaders are what the green membership want, then it will show in a vote. That is, we will elect a male even with the opportunity to vote for a female. As it currently stands we do not not have that opportunity.

    To deny members this democratic right is not ‘wrong’, but it does require justification. The only justification thus far is ‘gender difference’, which is far from satisfactory in a world of blurred gender lines.

    Lets not get tied to ideas as ideas can be challenged, one hundred years from now i hope the Maori and pacific admission scheme (for law etc), is a thing of the past as it would no longer be necessary. Likewise, i think this male/female leadership rule is no longer necessary today, evidenced by the real possibilty of two females in the role (given the chance).

    if anyone has a better reason than any above for maintaining this convention then lets here it.

    james c.

  41. the leadership formula is quite simple really…..

    nandor sheds his mono-dimensional caricature(!)…and by the agm next june is deemed ready/fit to take up the role..(that he is already ready/fit to take up the role is by-the bye really..eh..?)..

    and of course…when the time is deemed right…jeanette will move off the stage…and sue bradford steps up for that role…

    (putting to one side platitudes about ‘due processes/democratic practices’ etc..i can’t think of any two more qualified for the job..really…can you..?)

    the russel norman balloon that has being thrown about is just that..a ballooon..

    and as has been noted elsewhere by others…if in doubt..use the youth magnet test..

    stand russel norman and nandor at opposite sides of say..a square in christchurch…and see who the young (voters) flock around…

    what this will mean..(of course)..is that come the next election…with nandor as co-leader speaking directly to them…the greens will just mop up/motivate that youth/younger vote…(we’ll crack 15%..at least..)

    (of course the charitable view would/could be that norman may be playing no part in the regular flying of his name…he may even be embarrased by it all….of course one way to clear that up once and for all for him would be to issue a statment denying any ambitions/intentions to stand for the co-leadership role..that would stop that one once and for all..really..eh..?..
    if he dosen’t clarify that issue…we can but assume..and anti-campaign accordingly…eh..:)

    metiria has been mentioned in dispatchs as a serious contendor for the other role…i would concur..but further down the road..(and i’m sure she would agree with that call..)

    and given the heartfelt standing ovation sue bradford received after her speech to the trades council when she and rod visited a little while back….
    i would hazard that having sue bradford in that role would only be good news as far as that voter catchment is concerned..

    so..with nandor and sue b as co-leaders/public faces of the greens..the party will be going into the future strong and in good heart…

    (so we won’t get/appeal to, the tories..?..ah well..we can’t be everything for everyone..eh..?..but we will eventually get the greenie tories…they will come to us..:)

    (btw metiria..did you know the relevant minister in britain has over-ruled his department and told doctors the british govt will import the cannabis -based spray sativex…developed in canada..and legally sold there since june..? this edict totally bye-passes the complicated/longwinded govt regulatory process/hoops/approval system the sativex manufacturers were expected to have to jump to….

    those who the doctors may prescribe for are sufferers of multiple scelerosis..this follows new/recent concrete evidence of the benefits from using cannabis for those stricken with that crippling debilitating degenerative disease..(links are at whoar.)

    that those of us new zealanders, (and family/friends of those), who are suffering from ms are being denied such proven palliative relief for them and their loved ones would be a good tack/attack to take with this govt..eh..?…lets see if we can bye-pass the hysterical prohibitionist stance of dunne on purely humanitarian grounds…whaddayareckon..?)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  42. The concept of co-leadership is not being challenged, the convention of gendered co-leadership is.

    The leaders at the next election (and over the next three years) will be the primary focus of media attention, thus it is crucial we put our best in this role.

    If our best two happen to be both female, then so be it. By best i mean best at convincing the public on green policy, best at in regards to voter appeal, and televised debate.

    I do not not accept that men and women and so drastically different that one cannot represent the other.

    Erewden states that we cannot be accused of being ‘sexist…etc..’, if this is any motivation for maintaining the policy then we should depart from it as it is no good reason to do things for others, we should just do what we believe is right.

    In the absence of prejudice, this policy is only for others looking in, it will not serve us in the future.

    respectfully,
    james c.

  43. alastair: question everything, fine. But if it turns out that there are questions of principle involved, don’t compromise them to suit the conjunctural circumstances.

    Which principle is involved? The only justification offered so far is expediency – that males and females may have different ways of processing information and that a male/female team might solve some problems more readily than a male/male team or a female/female team. So expediency is the end, and complementarity is the means. It is proposed that a male/female team provides complementarity – but this is no certainty, as frog wrote, “[Rod] narrowly won in part because his skill set was viewed as complementary to Jeanette”, whereas the other two candidates did not have complementary skill sets. As I noted earlier, there are greater differences within each gender than between them, and there are other classifications of people (superstitious/nonsuperstitious, for instance) that are also complementary in some sense – and again, there are greater differences within these classes than between them. If expediency through complementarity is the real objective then why not have that written into the constitution instead of some misguided constraint that may – or may not – yield complementarity, anyhow.

    Secondly, even supposing that there is some justification for gender quotas in decision-making positions, I believe that the Green Party incorrectly applies this “principle” to the Co-Leader positions, as these are not decision-making positions – “ensuring effective co-ordination and communication between the Executive, Policy Committee, and Caucus” is the only responsibility that falls to the Co-Leaders (qua Co-Leaders) that does not fall to the Green MPs generally. Whereas the people holding the Co-Leader positions (the “Co-Leaders”) may have other parliamentary responsibilities these are not linked to those positions, and other Green MPs may take those responsibilities. For example, previously Rod was the musterer, now Metiria is the musterer – and, further, there is only one musterer, not two musterers, one male and one female. So why require two people, one male and one female, “ensuring effective co-ordination and communication between the Executive, Policy Committee, and Caucus”?

    eredwen: The advantage of co-leadership is that tasks can be shared out.

    Tasks can be shared out among all the Green MPs, regardless of whether one or two people are “ensuring effective co-ordination and communication between the Executive, Policy Committee, and Caucus”.

    alastair: I often think like a non-geek.

    How do you know this? 😛

    alastair: Perhaps the most important aspect of the Green leadership structure is its exemplarity. Those who claim that the Greens shouldn’t handicap themselves with a quota system it doesn’t need, are missing this point…

    Without any actual justification for the “leadership” structure this is a circular argument: it’s commendable because it’s exemplary because it’s commendable…

  44. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Green leadership structure is its exemplarity. Those who claim that the Greens shouldn’t handicap themselves with a quota system it doesn’t need, are missing this point…

    Clearly, the next male co-leader will be Jeanette’s junior, at least initially. I wonder if, subliminally, this isn’t one of the factors leading so many people to question the model… a situation with two women leaders being preferable to one where the man isn’t the one wearing the pants?

    On the other hand : if Sue B were to come out of the closet as a transsexual who identifies as male, I guess we’d be obliged to take her candidature at face value … political correctnis oblige 🙂

  45. Oh sorry : that last post is rather culturally insensitive. I have nothing against geeks. Some of my best friends are geeks. Sing if you’re glad to be geek.

    Not sure about my daughter marrying one though.

  46. Without wishing to go all theological, I will assert that the fitness of the male/female leadership split ought to be obvious for anyone who groks the green paradigm 🙂

    But seriously : question everything, fine. But if it turns out that there are questions of principle involved, don’t compromise them to suit the conjunctural circumstances.

    Richard : Changing your decision-making structures to fit the strengths of the individuals who are available is exceedingly un-Green. The reasons ought to be obvious (no player is bigger than the team, etc) I participated somewhat in an audit of French Green Party organisation which pointed this out as one of our key weaknesses.

    Buddh:

    I do not understand females, nongeeks, superstitious and maori, and I cannot choose to be nongeek or to be superstitious any more than I can choose to be female and maori.

    Do not despair, mate. I don’t see a problem with your becoming maori, if you want to. It’s not about “blood” or genetic heritage these days.

    I chose to become French. And I’ve largely cured myself of geekishness : I often think like a non-geek.

  47. Everyone:
    All this concern about Green leadership decisions is flattering (I think?)

    Buddah:
    You are correct in thinking that Helen did met with Jeanette (alone) during the last Parliamentary term … because Jeanette took on that role.

    Everyone:
    The advantage of co-leadership is that tasks can be shared out.
    On some tasks, both work together, some they take separate responsibility for. They work cooperatively. “Two heads are better than
    one.” (Sadly: surely it has been noticed that if one of them dies, we still have a leader!)

    We cannot be accused of being a particularly heirarchical Party, nor can we be accused of being sexist, racist, ageist or anthing-much-else-ist.

    I find it difficult to understand what all this discusion is about !
    This is the system the Greens use. We like it. It works. We will keep it I think. We will also keep the idea of one male and one female in our co-leadership. (The reason for this does not escape the average Green Party member, although some on this blog seem to have a problem with it!)

    The Maori Party has adopted a co-leadership system too …

    eredwen

  48. bjchip: There is NO WAY that a man understands a woman’s point of view and NO WAY that a woman understands a man’s.

    I think you overstate your case. Previously you said that males cannot *experience* what females experience, and vice versa. Okay, fair enough – everybody has their own brain and their own experiences. Now you’re saying that males cannot understand the *point of view* of females, and conversely. Well, my point of view (or worldview) is naturalistic and scientific. Do you suggest that no females could understand my point of view?

    bjchip: Mostly however, the Green Party decided to do it this way and it WORKS.

    As I’ve learned, it works because “ensuring effective co-ordination and communication between the Executive, Policy Committee, and Caucus” is the only responsibility that falls to the Co-Leaders, Party Co-Convenors, and Policy Co-Convenors that does not also fall to the other members of their respective branches of the Green Party. That is, the power-sharing between one male and one female in each branch works because they aren’t sharing any power.

    bjchip: I fail to understand why you have such a problem with us having a system that works… unless of course you are just Nats trying to white-ant us?

    You know that it works so long as the Greens are in Opposition. I think it helps to understand *why* a system works when it does so you can know how to change it when the circumstances change. If the Greens become part of the government, I’d say Helen Clark would rather deal with one person representing the parliamentary Green Party than with two (or more) people – and if I remember correctly that’s exactly what happened after the last election when Jeanette met Helen for negotiations.

    For what it’s worth, I voted Green at the last election and maybe I’ll vote Green at the next one as well.

  49. Richard – I was stirring a bit of course 🙂

    However, my point is that NO man, no matter how perceptive, should ever believe he understands any woman and NO woman, no matter how brilliant, should pretend that she understands a man.

    There is a problem of completeness here and we don’t know what we don’t know. I can understand a neocon. I can understand a Libertarian. I can understand an Italian. I have learned that I cannot ever claim to understand a woman. I have also learned that there are no women who really understand me. Nobody has to apologize, the wiring is simply different.

    That being the case, the co-leader principle seems to have some merit. Unless there are really NO qualified males in the caucus? Huh? We have some damned good people. I have been favorably impressed since I arrived here, by the sense exhibited (mostly) by the people here.

    I hadn’t even considered it before I joined the party and I never gave it a second thought until this thread, but I definitely LIKE the way this is working. This isn’t “ideological”. It appears to be something more in the nature of a new idea that SOMEONE had and everyone signed up to trial. It appears to have nothing to do with “gender equality” or PC or the other silly notions that normally get associated with it… and while that is the first impression it is quickly defused by the way it “just works”.

    The idea that it is a forced quota is I think in error. It is technically that… but it is also a very pointed recognition of a socio-dynamic reality that is ignored in every other party and government I know of. I am all in favor of extending it to the Prime Ministers office…

    Which leads to an interesting question… what would happen if we WERE to form government? Could we stick to our model? Sorry to go off topic but it would be a question no?

    I don’t know if you ever experience this, but when I am trying to solve a problem or examining someone elses solution, and I do that a lot, there are any number of plausible answers that present themselves or are presented. Any number of algorithms and techniques can be applied and work, and sometimes it is hard to pick. However, there is a sensation when I find the right one… a very palpable resonance that tells me that it IS the right one. The answer becomes “beautiful”. In my life this has never failed to occur for a right answer, and has never occurred for a wrong one. I get that feeling when I consider the co-leadership solution to problem of leadership of this party.

    That’s as close to mysticism as I ever come. Now you can dismiss it and go back to thinking about it as a forced quota, but unless everyone in the party with a Y chromosome was given a prefrontal lobotomy with it (and I do know some women who think that this is the normal state of affairs 🙂 ) there are males with the requisite talents available to serve us well, and no need to worry about “quotas”.

    respectfully
    BJ

  50. BJ, skim the politics category of my blog — I’m as Green as Kermit on the issues that matter. 😉

    That a system “works” is no reason not to make it work better. I want the Greens to have the best leaders they possibly can. If the best replacement for Rod happens to be female, I don’t want the party to be hampered by a foolish ideological prejudice that would exclude her out of hand. (This is a purely theoretical concern. I don’t know enough to say who would be best in practice. Russel sounds quite promising, actually, so perhaps it doesn’t matter.)

    As I explained in the linked post, the only way that forced quotas could be good for the party would be if the members were too bigoted to choose the two best people for the job. Green members are not that bigoted. Hence, the quotas are bad for the party.

    It’s simple logic.

  51. buddha

    Glad to see you followed up the link – however the relevant part was section 14.
    And having observed it in action first hand from electorate through to national level I’m pleased to report it works.

    Now reread your original quote about consensus decision making and admit you had no idea how it worked until you followed my link.

  52. Buddha, Richard – I reiterate – There is NO WAY that a man understands a woman’s point of view and NO WAY that a woman understands a man’s. There is a fundamental biological reason for this. It is expressed in many ways, and even rudimentary analysis of brain scans shows major sexual differences in the way we process information.

    Nothing wrong with either.

    Mostly however, the Green Party decided to do it this way and it WORKS. I fail to understand why you have such a problem with us having a system that works… unless of course you are just Nats trying to white-ant us?

    respectfully
    BJ

  53. My comment got caught in the spam filter (I said a naughty word), so I’ve published it here instead.

    There’s very little been said here that would justify requiring that the two co-leaders be of different genders. (The “dispersal of power”, “two leaders or NO leaders”, etc., is completely irrelevant. The alternative under discussion is not one leader, but 2 co-leaders of ANY gender.)

    Frog’s argument on this topic amounted to two sentences, which I expose in the above link as completely misguided, illogical, and flat out false. I also explain (in the comments section) how it is that the only possible justification for such quotas would be if you didn’t trust the Green membership to pick leaders on their merits.

    In other words, the party is treating its members as a bunch of bigots. Either that, or they’ve adopted an utterly irrational and unjustified policy. Take your pick, folks.

  54. um buddah..there is the slight issue of the relationship with the media..which no matter how people may have a negative knee-jerk reaction against them..are an essential part of the formula..eh..?..

    a leader outside of parliament would just be ignored..much like mike williams in the labour party..:)

    stuey said..”..Nandor’s got several skirts by the way..”

    what..?.. are they little frou-frou fifties numbers..?…or slinky black cocktail outfits..?..(i can see him in the latter..:)

    we need more information…(and no…a kilt or a sarong don’t count..

    there must be a swish and a swerl factor…)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  55. fastbike: You show no understanding of the consensus decision making process.

    Okay… without taking the flamebait, I’ll quote the relevant bits of the constitution:


    7. PROVINCES
    7.1 A Province is a collection of groups which has sufficient sense of identity to be able to work together to achieve the aims of the Charter. Where possible, these Provinces shall be defined by local members depending on local interests and natural geographical boundaries.
    […]
    7.7 Provinces containing a population equivalent to less than twelve electorates shall be entitled to appoint one member to the Executive and two members to the Policy Committee. Provinces containing a population equivalent to twelve or more electorates shall be entitled to appoint two members to the Executive and four members to the Policy Committee. Where Provinces appoint two or four members, it will be expected that there will be 50% male and 50% female members who are appointed to the relevant committee.

    9. EXECUTIVE
    9.1 The Executive shall be considered the Party’s administrative body, responsible for the day to day overall administration of the Party, instructed by and answerable to the membership, Provinces and Conference. Executive will act in a manner consistent with these rules and with the will of the Party as expressed through Conference and Special General Meetings and any agreement between Caucus and Executive.
    9.2 The Executive shall consist of:
    9.2.1 Two Party Convenors (one male, one female); two Policy Co-Convenors (one male, one female); and two Leaders (one male, one female) elected by General Meeting;
    […]
    9.2.3 Executive Networkers elected by Provinces in accordance with 7.7, who shall be the only voting members of Executive;
    […]
    9.10 No member shall occupy simultaneously more than one of the following positions: Co-Leader, Party Co-Convenor, Executive Networker, General Secretary, or Policy Co-Convenor on the Executive.

    11. POLICY
    11.1 The Policy Committee shall be the Party’s policy making body, responsible for the development and ratification of Party policy and policy processes.
    11.2 The Policy Committee shall consist of:
    11.2.1 The Policy Convenors and Co-Leaders as elected by General Meeting;
    […]
    11.2.3 A maximum of two Policy Networkers as appointed by each Province except where a province is made up of twelve or more electorates in which case four may be appointed (see 7.7);
    […]
    11.3 Policy Networkers shall be the voting members of the Policy Committee.
    […]

    12. CAUCUS
    12.1 The role of Caucus is to organise and co-ordinate the Green Party’s parliamentary activities. The Caucus shall exist for the period that the Green Party has members of New Zealand’s Parliament.
    12.2 The Caucus shall comprise:
    12.2.1 The Co-Leaders;
    12.2.2 All persons elected as Green Members of Parliament;
    […]
    12.4 Co-Leaders and MPs shall be the voting members of Caucus.
    […]

    14. CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING
    14.1 All decisions by: any Group, Electorate, or Province; General Meeting; Executive; Caucus; Executive Working Group or any other body overseen by the Green Party shall be made by consensus. This means by the agreement of most participants, with dissenters and abstainers agreeing to recognise the majority opinion as being the decision.
    14.2 If consensus on a motion is not achieved after reasonable attempts, a vote can be taken. A motion shall be carried with a 75% majority of the votes cast. Those who do not agree with the decision may have their objections included in any minutes recorded.

    15. CO-ORDINATION
    15.1 The Leaders, Party Co-Convenors, and Policy Co-Convenors are jointly responsible for ensuring effective co-ordination and communication between the Executive, Policy Committee, and Caucus.
    15.2 Within three months of each General Meeting, the Co-Leaders, Party Co-Convenors and Policy Co-Convenors shall report to the membership on the steps they have taken to fulfill their responsibilities under clause 15.1

    Aside from the possibility that a Co-Leader may also be a Policy Networker, Co-Leaders are voting members of the caucus only, together with the (other) Green MPs. The Co-Leaders are also responsible (together with several others) for ensuring effective co-ordination and communication between the Executive, Policy Committee, and Caucus.

    Now which distinctively male or female insights ensure effective co-ordination and communication between the branches of the Green Party? Why is having only one “leader” not “even remotely Green”, if the “leader” does nothing more than coordinate with the other branches of the Green Party?

    And, yes, according to the constitution, five out of six is good enough for consensus if unanimity cannot be achieved.

  56. bjchip, the same argument can be made for geeks and nongeeks, superstitious and nonsuperstitious, maori and nonmaori. I am male, geek, nonsuperstitious and nonmaori. I do not understand females, nongeeks, superstitious and maori, and I cannot choose to be nongeek or to be superstitious any more than I can choose to be female and maori.

    Some people believe one of these differences is more important than the others. That’s fine; people can believe whatever they like. Maybe the members of the Green party tend to hold this opinion and they would like to see it reflected in the party structure – and that’s fine too. But I do not see any compelling reason to believe that this is how everyone should see the matter.

    Besides, what does a parliamentary party leader – green or otherwise – do? Set the agenda for caucus meetings? Bring the tea and coffee? Allocate portfolios? Perhaps the Green party power-sharing works because there isn’t a lot of power to share.

    Pip: Cast a deciding vote at caucus? You’re not a Green, are ya Buddha?

    Surely decisions are made at caucus meetings, yes? How do they break a tie? Flip a coin? Status quo? A parliamentary party leader elected by the entire party, representing the entire party, casting a deciding vote in these cases? Keep trying for consensus… and keep trying, and trying…? Is five out of six good enough for consensus?

    So I ask, what does a parliamentary party leader actually do? If the answer is “not a whole lot”, then why have two of them? Why is having one “leader” not “even remotely Green”, if the “leader” does nothing more than negotiate with other parties. Why not just call that one person the “negotiator” and be done with it?

  57. sockie,

    Uh, no. Sex is biological, and genetic. Gender isn’t genetic, it’s cultural.

    That’s why the feminist movement pushed the word “gender”, a word which used to refer to grammar (the word ‘table’ has a female gender in latin, so does ‘sailor’) into places where 100 years ago people would have said “sex”.

    Then there is the debate as to how much sexual differences create or contribute to gender differences. No matter what you think about that (and your comment suggest that you’re down the ‘biological determinism’ end of the spectrum) , the gender/sex distinction is still important because it is what permits you to frame the debate.

  58. Gender is a fundamenatal genetic difference which is expressed in how the mind works – men and women do, to a degree, think and feel differently. It’s an important fact that should be given importance in many public policy issues.

    But I agree with Trouble, these differences occur on a population wide basis and picking two indivduals will not necessarily represent the gender differences that do exsist. Maybe aspirants should be set an excercise in map reading.

    But as a means of organising the Green Party Leadership I can’t see to much wrong with it.

  59. I think everyone really needs to get over this. It is just a way of sharing power that is particular to the Greens, and as long as the Green membership are happy with it then so be it. There is no exclusion, it is mostly a symbolic gesture, no one is discriminated against (repeating it over and over doesn’t make it true).

  60. Ok, I’ve kept out of this debate for a couple of days, but really, guys!

    Has any one of you noticed that gender refers to more than just male and female?
    Gender as a term encompasses heterosexual male and female, homosexual male and female and transsexual/transgender, as well as bissexual if you want to go there….

    Co-leadership is not about sexual preference or biological differences, it’s about complementarity – as Frog has pointed out, Rod was the best candidate at the time to complement Jeanette as leader.

    This time, another complementary candidate is sought. Of a range of people able and willing to stand for the position, someone will be chosen in June next year. Journalists and others outside the party process will just have to lengthen their attention span, hold that thought for 6 – 7 months (ok, you can stop thinking over the festive season…) and cogitate on the outcome, once the action has occurrred.

    Or, join the party membership, develop and understanding of consensus decision making, and be part of the solution, not the criticism.

    It’s philosophy, not rocket science! (no slur intended to rocket scientists or pliosophers…) 😉

  61. “But the actual answer is that gender is the most fundamental *difference* between people…”

    That argument has historically been used to justify excluding women from political life. It’s used in modern time (on this board) to justify the difference between men’s and women’s incomes. Given that provenance, it’s not a very sound argument for equality.

    Gender is a big physiological difference between people, but civilised life is about far more than your physiological experiences. Because the categories are so big, there are more differences among men and women than between them.

  62. Cast a deciding vote at caucus? You’re not a Green, are ya Buddha?

    Anyway, we’re not talking necessarily about a Parliamentary party leader – the Green Party needs to find a new co-leader – who may or may not be an MP. What Caucus does is up to them.

    It’s possible the Greens could end up with a male co-leader outside of Caucus, with Caucus choosing to stay with a single Parliamentary leader, or a male or female co-leader (I think this is very unlikely, as having 2 lot’s of co-leaders, with crossover, would be confusing as hell – but it is possible).

  63. Buddha – Sorry… Most of those other world views ARE a choice and all of them are accessible to others in some environment. However the differences between men and women are not a choice and the experience of being female is not accessible to men and the experience of being male is not accessible to women. Ever. Under ANY conditions. Whites can be discriminated against in many countries in Africa and some in Asia… Christians in Iran… but noplace can a Man experience what a Woman experiences from birth and vice-versa.

    Any man who says he understands women is a liar or a fool or both. I believe that a woman who says she understands men is in the exact same difficulties.

    The most telling argument for doing what we have been doing however is the operational one. It has been working and working well. NO leader? Well that would be the Green “All is Chaos” motif all right, but it wouldn’t work very well. ONE leader? That isn’t even remotely Green… two is working nicely.

    respectfully
    BJ

  64. frog: “It’s not about ‘helping women’, it’s about recognising that each gender brings a particular world view and life experience to the role.”

    Really? I’d think there are greater world view differences within each gender than between them. Besides, what does a parliamentary party leader do? Negotiate with other parties? Cast a deciding vote at caucus? What else? These sorts of things are better handled by one person (or by one person for each function, perhaps) than by two people.

  65. The critics of this policy are missing out on one critical point…all the OTHER parties have only ONE leader….and can thus only ever have either a male OR a female in the role.

    By contrast the Greens have two (and might indeed devolve to more if were possible)…and thus always enjoy AT LEAST one male and one female in the role.

    It’s almost so obvious as to be redundant to have stated the above point, but it seems to have gotten lost in the noise somewhere.

  66. James C: argues … “that for a group of people so accepting of any kind of difference, a policy that seeks to remedy inequality in the complete absence of prejudice has no place. In fact, such policy can cause injustice in the form of highly capable and deserving people unable to apply for the post.”

    I reply … There are several (or more!) in the Green Party who would make capable leaders at this time. Thus when we chose one person there will remain others, both male and female, who could do the job well. These people may get a chance to be co-leader later if they choose to wait, or they may well find other satisfying roles within the Party (if they don’t have them already.) That is the way things work in society!

    We Greens like the advantages/effects of having male and female co-leaders, co-convenors, etc. As it is a model that works well, we choose to keep it.

    eredwen

  67. I am a Green Party member and to date I have been exceedingly comfortable with the dual parliamentary party leadership. I believe it has worked very well indeed, using the various individual and combined strengths of Jeanette and Rod.

    I applaud the party for keeping to their current procedures by allowing the election of a co-leader to follow in due course. If the Green Party members throughout the country wish to change this structure then I am quite calm in my belief that such a matter would be carefully discussed at all levels and brought forward to the appropriate gathering.

    I think that to have no leader at all, in an active parliamentary party, could be clumsy and perhaps of little benefit to the wider Green message.

    I like the way things have evolved. I grieve for the loss of Rod. I wish all strength, courage and wisdom to our team. Joy.

  68. hi frog,

    I have never agreed with david farrar before, but regarding this i feel he may have a point. Although he is wrong to assume ‘outcomes’ are the motives behind the policy, he does highlight a situation which is, in my opinion, unsatisfactory.

    In general I believe attempts to force equal outcomes should be encouraged, for the reason that prejudice exists, and while it exists (in the absence of manipulation)- outcomes will always favour the dominant grouping.

    However, in the case of the Green party, i cannot think of a group of people anywhere in the world so devoid of prejudices. So what is the purpose of the male/female leadership arrangement?

    You state that gender is the most clear ‘difference’ between people, and thus a reason for the policy, yet this makes the assumption that gender (whether a social construct or not) is actually ‘important’. I believe it is not important, and world views do not differ significantly between the sexes anyhow, and even if they did, the lines between gender are murky at best, and completed blurred otherwise.

    I argue that for a group of people so accepting of any kind of difference, a policy that seeks to remedy inequality in the complete absence of prejudice has no place. In fact, such policy can cause injustice in the form of highly capable and deserving people unable to apply for the post.

    Now, these occurrences can be defended in the context of a dominant social grouping containing elements of biggotry, but they serve no good purpose in terms of the Green party.

    I feel the policy is intended as a message to other political parties, and I see no point in this. In an ideal world we would not need to correct biases, so if we ever attained this ideal we could safely depart from policy designed to correct bias. A safe measure of when actual equality is being neared is when elected posts can very realistically go to people from traditionally excluded groups, such as the green party today.

    I in no way advocate this position for society as a whole (although I hope to in the future), but at this stage i advocate it for the green party.

    I would like to see a new co-leader who can succesfully deliver the green message to more than just the green core support, and this person could be any gender, it is irrelevant. The most important thing is growing support over the next three years.

    I say change the convention, let the chips fall where they may, as any appearance of one particular group ‘dominating’ will be just that, an appearance.

    thanks, james c.

  69. Frog,

    So why not choose the two best people for the job? Your only relevant comments are that “each gender brings a particular world view and life experience to the role”, and “gender is the most fundamental *difference* between people and a key physical identifier that everybody shares.”

    But that’s silly.

    Gender is not the most fundamental difference between people. I share a lot more in common with a well-educated female philosophy student than I do a senile fundimentalist male.

    Physical differences don’t matter. Character matters. Ideas matter. But chromosomes and genitalia? Not so much.

    Any two individuals will bring “a particular world view and life experience to the role.” If you want diversity of worldviews and experience, why not select for that directly, rather than falling back on a sexist and unreliable proxy? It would make far more sense to encourage complementary idealist/pragmatist co-leaders, like – I take it – Jeanette and Rod were.

    With the loss of Rod, you need another pragmatist, not another penis.

  70. the Alliance has taken a similar approach in recent years, after being burnt by various leaders. it was recognised that the position of “leader” or “co-leader” is only necessary in a Parliamentary environment, and so we only have co-leaders in election year.

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