i put up a post at the hand mirror over the weekend about how sick i am of the phrase "pandering to minorities". still feeling very much annoyed about that.
tonight i went to the much-publicised meeting in hamilton, where messrs cunliffe & shearer spoke. the two candidates for deputy leader also spoke - nanaia mahuta and grant robertson. it was a meeting for financial members of the labour party only, so i'm not about to disclose what went down. let me just say that labour is lucky to have such talented people to choose from.
i can say that i'm a lot clearer now about who i support and i think party members will certainly have that same level of certainty as this roadshow goes around the country. grant roberston has now put his name forward for the deputy and that makes things difficult. because i like him just as much as nanaia and he's equally capable and principled. i'm just glad i'm not the one having to vote, though i'm very clear who i'd choose. i just hope when all the dust settles that they will both have senior roles in the party.
the process is a really healthy one. it's a competition of ideas, which is clearly important. but it's also forcing the candidates to up their game, to show some mettle and to clearly articulate what they stand for. having to answer questions on the spot is good as well. it gives the candidates an idea of the issues that are most important to the people in the room, and i think there were a good range of questions asked. a pity there wasn't more time. i think these meetings need a good two hours really.
the best thing though was to see so many people engaged and interested in the process. the crowd looked like they really appreciated the opportunity of being there, getting a chance to hear from the candidates and to question them. in terms of process, this has been a really good one. it just needs to be a good one in terms of outcome as well. here's hoping.
going back to the post i linked to above, there's one point i didn't make and it's this. by the time you add up the various "minority" groups in society that have their own specific issues, needs and policy requirements, you'll end up with a majority. and the so-called "mainstream" is actually a minority. think about it. the women's vote, the maori sector, the pasifica, sector, nz'ers with disabilities and so on: if you added them all up, they'd be more than 50% of the population.
of course there would be a lot of overlap, but even so i think it would be over 50%. and even those who see themselves as completely "mainstream" will have some particular issues that don't apply to a whole lot of other people ie a minority issue.
so, if the minority is actually the majority, then doesn't it make total sense to "pander" to these minorities? or to be more specific, to tailor policies that address the needs of specific groups, because all these groups end up making the whole. of course it does. it's more effective, and the overall result for everyone will be a better one because each group will be better able to contribute and will feel more a part of the whole when barriers are removed.