Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The problem with Labour

The New Zealand Labour Party says it stands for fairness and equality for all people being entitled to dignity and respect and equal access to our society. Naturally, its activists take this seriously - which is why they've passed (or, apparently, reconfirmed) a policy of free gender reassignment surgery. Which is now being attacked by Labour's MPs:

Labour MPs polled on their way to Caucus on Tuesday weren't overly keen on the idea and didn't think Labour voters would see it as a priority.

Napier MP Stuart Nash was at a regional conference where it was raised but he said he voted against it because he didn't think it was an important issue for New Zealanders.

"To be honest, never once in Napier has anyone ever said they're not going to vote for Labour because we're not funding gender reassignment surgery."


Mt Albert MP David Shearer wasn't entirely sure what the remit was but didn't think it sounded like "hardcore Labour policy".


Shearer doubted it was something that was the "main thrust" of what the party is doing at the moment.

Like IVF, gender reassignment is a procedure with limited need which makes a huge difference to the lives and happiness of those affected. Of course we should fund it. You can quibble the prioritisation of resources within limited health budgets (which Labour supposedly wants to expand), but not the principle here. Except that that's exactly what Labour's right wing - including its own leader - are doing.

This is the problem with Labour: it treats its young activists as serfs. Their role is to wave signs, knock on doors and hand out leaflets at election time - but to STFU about Labour's ideals between election. But people don't want to be serfs. Which is why young left-wing activists are voting with their feet for the Greens...

But its also a problem for Labour - because in addition to being its electoral workforce, those young, left-wing activists are the party's future. They're its future organisers and its future candidates. And if they go elsewhere, the party doesn't have a future.

MPs like Nash, Shearer and Little might want to think about that before they open their mouths.