New Zealand had an election too!

// 10 November 2008

photo of Maori party leader Tariana TuriaLabour has been ousted in the New Zealand election, reports the Guardian:

New Zealanders have voted for their first conservative government in almost a decade, ending the tenure of one of the world’s longest-serving elected female leaders.

Conceding defeat, Prime Minister Helen Clark told her supporters: ‘Tonight is not our night.’

And also:

The indigenous Maori party, led by Tariana Turia, added another seat to the four it has held since 2005 but fell short of winning its target of all seven Maori seats. Key may invite the Maori party to join his government to strengthen its majority, something Turia has said would be considered.

rather glowing photo of former NZ prime minister Helen ClarkI don’t know nearly enough about New Zealand politics to comment on this one – but The Hand Mirror has a great analysis on the number of female MPs.

This is interesting:

The number of woman MPs increased by 1 bringing our percentage of XXers in the house to 33.6%. This result means New Zealand bounces up two places on the IPU’s league table for the percentage of women in parliament, ranking number 14

Women’s political representation is in a sorry state if adding one female MP to any parliament causes the country to jump two points in the global rankings.

Photos by Aaron_ Richard Sihamau, shared under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

katarina // Posted 10 November 2008 at 1:25 pm

Thanks for doing what the mainstream media should be doing and recognising that there’s more than country in the world holding elections.

Jo // Posted 10 November 2008 at 5:33 pm

Sandra Grey’s article ‘Does Size Matter? Critical Mass and New Zealand’s Women MPs’ published back in 2002 is a very interesting and thoughtful review of the (increasing) number of women MPs in New Zealand’s Parliament over time. She really engages with the idea that women’s representation isn’t just about the number of women you have in an institution, but whether or not the way the institution behaves can transform as as a result, and if women MPs (not all of whom are feminists, of course) are able to challenge gendered policy and have a tangible impact. I’d recommend it.

Kath // Posted 10 November 2008 at 6:14 pm

Jo, just googled that article and read through it. It’s really good and shows just how much we need more representation of women throughout the legislature. I’m involved in trying to increase women’s involvement in representative politics in Ireland and the themes addressed in the article have certainly given me lots to consider. Thanks!

Darika // Posted 14 November 2008 at 9:20 pm

Sorry, but surely such a long position in power shows that Helen’s defeat is not a gender issue at all?

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