The Dim-Post

July 6, 2013

Man Ban Thank you Ma’am

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:49 pm

Okay. Via the Herald:

Labour yesterday released proposed changes to its selection processes, including allowing local electorate committees to apply to the party’s ruling council to block men from running for some seats.

It is part of a bid to lift the proportion of women in caucus to 45 per cent by next year and 50 per cent by 2017.

The proposal is backed by Labour’s NZ Council and will go up for the vote at the party’s annual conference in November. However, it is already causing division.

There are two proposed changes here. Quotas so that the list is representative and the ‘man ban’ process to ensure that there’s greater diversity among electorate MPs.

I totally get the argument here. Women are just over 50% of the population, so they should be represented to that extent in Parliament. If they ain’t then its safe to assume there are barriers – economic, cultural, institutional, historic, etc preventing proper representation and preventing female candidates being chosen on merit. So you have something like a quota, a form of positive discrimination to ensure that female candidates of merit aren’t excluded on the basis of gender.

But you can’t have a quota system in an electorate seat, and right now the electorate seats aren’t selecting many female candidates. Thus the man ban, in which electorate committees get to block men from running in seats if the council approves.

The backlash against this idea has been overwhelming. The problem, I think, is that the man man isn’t positive discrimination – it’s just discrimination. The justification for that is that it counter-balances discrimination against women, and that people who don’t accept that argument don’t believe in gender equality and the Labour Party shouldn’t rely on their votes if political success means accepting misogyny. Sometimes principles and progress count for more than realpolitik. 

My problem with the man ban is this: I can’t imagine a scenario in which its ever used. If electorates aren’t selecting many female candidates, why would they decide to totally preclude male candidates from the selection process? And, even if they did, almost the entire Labour caucus vehemently opposes this idea on the grounds that it is political suicide – something they realise now even if it eluded them a week ago – which could make it tricky getting approval from council. AND, even if you did get an electorate who requested it and a council granting permission, how many female politicians want to go into a general election campaign after being nominated by a process from which men were excluded only to have that thrown in their face at every candidates meeting by the National MP?

So the ‘man ban’ seems like a disaster. Something that makes the party look absurd to a huge number of voters but with no gain. No progress towards greater gender equality – on the contrary, I predict it will sink the proposal to adopt a quota system for the list which would have led to greater female representation in Parliament.

Book launched!

Filed under: books — danylmc @ 8:10 am

That was probably the best debut novel launch party I will ever have! Thanks to everyone for coming: almost everyone who went wandering around the crumbling old mansion is accounted for this morning, and apologies to all those people who got signed copies of the book in which I spelled my own name wrong.


(The Grand Hall of Philosophy House. Image from Sean Gillespie’s twitter feed @SeanDG)

Normal blogging (GCSB! Man ban!) will resume shortly.


July 5, 2013

Girl I can thrill you more than any ghost would ever dare try

Filed under: books — danylmc @ 8:38 am

The book launch is tonight. Details here. I’ll be on Kim Hill tomorrow morning at about 9:40. And no one’s solved the riddle yet. You’d think Dim-Post readers have better things to do than wander around Wellington in the dead of winter looking for clues, but we all know that’s not the case.

July 2, 2013

A series of riddles, each more fiendish and difficult than the last, except for the very last which is easy

Filed under: books — danylmc @ 9:19 am

The official publication date for my book is Friday (launch party details here). But I’ve hidden a copy of the book somewhere in central Wellington and all you need to do to find it is solve a mind-numbing riddle incorporating several well-known Wellington landmarks.

The day is the number of Entrees, Salads, Fish and Oysters fair

That you can buy at Winston’s lair.

The month is the number of cups red, on the fountain of Elijah’s relief.

Next seek ye the temple of Helena’s belief

And unravel the strings from beginning to middle

discussion one three discussion ten one

Now go down one line to honor the gentile author who wrote this riddle

discussion nine two discussion twelve one discussion sixteen one

Look for me where you’d find me but higher and deeper

Solve the final riddle and you’ll have my book and keep her.

July 1, 2013

My favorite thing on the internet this weekend

Filed under: religion — danylmc @ 10:43 am

JP took his comparative religion class of secondary school girls to a Catholic Church, a Greek Orthodox Church, a mosque and a Hindu temple:

Mohammed took us into the men’s prayer hall.  It was almost completely bare, but the patterned carpet and the ceiling tiles had all been put in diagonally so that the faithful knew which way to pray to Mecca and this created enough interest for the students who had shushed each other violently before they went in.  Pacific Island girls in any kind of religious setting brook no whispered chat.

June 27, 2013


Filed under: crime,Politics — danylmc @ 8:39 am

I don’t follow Australian politics too closely, and I didn’t have a dog in the Rudd-Gillard fight (Rudd won). I think the object lesson here is that rolling a sitting Prime Minister is an absolute last resort, a nuclear option that you exercise when their political career is over, not something you do opportunistically when their polling dips after they try and implement core party policy, which is what happened when Gillard rolled Rudd. It left her with a wounded but very-much-alive mortal enemy – who possessed the cunning, vicious egotism you generally find in Prime Ministers – inside her own party, and it doomed her government from the beginning.

In New Zealand terms it’s depressingly easy to imagine a similar outcome if David Cunliffe managed to somehow become Labour leader and then Prime Minister. He’d introduce, say, Capital Gains Tax there’d be a huge backlash from organised capital, and he’d get rolled with the first low poll. Maybe the Rudd-Gillard disaster would be a disincentive, but I doubt it.

Also, 3rd Degree had that Bain story! Via David Fisher at the Herald:

David Giles peered closely at the photograph on the screen of his computer.

On the thumb of Robin Bain, dead 19 years, were parallel marks of a kind he recognised instantly.

As a boy in the Waikato he would shoot rabbits and possums with a .22 rifle, the same calibre of rifle used to murder the Bain family.

After firing a magazine full of bullets, he would disengage the clip which fed more rounds into the rifle. Taking a bullet, he would push it into the top of the magazine using his thumb and then use the digit to fix the bullet in place. Doing so dragged the thumb across the top of the magazine – parallel metal sides which carried a light coating of burned gunpowder residue from the back-blast of the shots just fired. As the thumb came away, it carried twin lines from the gunpowder and grime on the top of the magazine.

Mr Giles told TV3’s 3rdDegree show he knew instantly what he was seeing on his computer. Robin Bain carried the same marks on his thumb any shooter would have after reloading the magazine on a recently fired rifle.

I’ve always thought that David Bain was guilty – mostly because the defense counter-factual in which Robin Bain killed his family, took off all his blood-stained clothes, put them in the wash, put on some different clothes then committed suicide – didn’t really make any sense. But now, after a privy court declaration of a mistrial, a re-trial with a not guilty verdict, the Binnie finding in favor of Bain and now forensic evidence suggesting Robin Bain fired a rifle, I have no idea what happened, and my inclination is that the taxpayer owes David Bain an enormous sum of money.

Update: Debate about the Bain case always reminds me of the Errol Morris short film about Umbrella Man.

June 26, 2013

Confidence men

Filed under: polls — danylmc @ 9:05 am

The Herald are freaking out because they have a new poll showing Labour down six points! Our Wise and Very Serious political commentators are all over this issue:


Or, looking at the last Herald poll which had Labour up, it could be that infrequent polls with small sample sizes and long polling durations are kind of unreliable and noisy. Who knows?! The aggregated polls indicate that there hasn’t been much – if any – meaningful movement at all this year, with the arguable exception of New Zealand First trending up over the last month.

Also from the Herald poll:

A majority of voters want an inquiry into the GCSB spy agency and the SIS, the latest Herald DigiPoll survey shows.

Just over 50 per cent of voters polled this month support the inquiry which is being demanded by Labour and the Greens, while 36.9 per cent did not think it was necessary.

Let’s assume this is correct. Does it matter? Voters were also against the Mighty River sale and the Sky City deal. The majority of the population is opposed to most of National’s policies, but still supports the party. I don’t know why this is, but there are some obvious theories:

1. National has the fundamentals right. The economy really is improving, and most voters place more importance on that than they do on policy issues

2. Voters don’t find Labour a palatable alternative (presumably because it is poorly led and under-performing on various fronts.)

3. Swing voters are comfortable with Labour and its leadership but aren’t confident that the proposed Labour-Greens-New Zealand First coalition will lead to stable government.

Today publishing, tomorrow the Ukraine

Filed under: books — danylmc @ 7:04 am

DPF kindly linked to my post about my book launch, so his commentators engaged in a little literary analysis:

Danyl McLauchlan is a vocal supporter of the far-Left, anti-Kiwi hate party Labour, with their political aspiration to impose a Stalinist police state upon New Zealand. By extension, that makes him a Stalinist.

More like this at the link.

June 24, 2013

Right. Time for you lot to start pulling your weight redux

Filed under: books,personal — danylmc @ 10:13 am


My book goes on sale next Friday. You can preorder it directly from the VUP online bookshop. Preorders will be (a) signed and (b) signed by me, because apparently it’s ‘unethical’ to get the intern to copy my signature. Ebook format will be available here. (It takes a while for the ebook format to go live at major providers like Apple and Amazon. I’ll keep you updated.)

The launch party is next Friday at Philosophy House, which is the large, crumbling mansion on Aro Street which – if you live in Wellington – you’ve probably thought about climbing over the high brick wall around it to get a glimpse into the incandescently lit basement of, but never quite had the nerve. Details: 

Friday 5 July, 6pm
Philosophy House
33 Aro St, Aro Valley

The launch party will be in the Grand Hall (seriously) and you’re all invited. If you do plan to attend please let me know in the comments so I can give the publicist a rough idea of how many shovels and bags of quicklime much alcohol to provide.

June 21, 2013

Let’s cut to the chase

Filed under: polls — danylmc @ 1:08 pm

Here’s an updated poll chart (adjusting for poll bias.) Here’s what the chart looks like if you don’t adjust for poll bias (notice how the curve misses the actual election results?) Here’s Vincent Price on the Muppet Show singing ‘You Got a Friend.’

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