Te Mana and women.

Today a Feminist activist Boganette (link – www.twitter.com/boganettenz) posted a question on the Te Mana political party’s Facebook page asking if they had policy on sexual health and access to abortion and if they would be listing their positioning on ‘conscious’ issues.What followed can only be described as base sexism, misogyny, abuse, and trolling.

The abuse is pretty normal when discussing access to abortion or issues surrounding pro-choice, as is the hate against women who dare to ask uncomfortable questions. Being called a lesbian, a whore, (as if these are even fundamentally bad things), and being told to get fucked in various forms, is classic, if not run of the mill misogyny aimed at women who ask valid questions even without stating a position. What is important is knowing what each potential party stands for .It is surprising and extremely disappointing  that all this happened on the social networking page of a political party looking to gain votes not far out from a important election for New Zealand.

Many on the left in New Zealand feel disaffected and are looking for a place to put their vote on November 26. A party, even a young one like Te Mana, should be monitoring its social networking pages regularly and looking after its supporters, potential voters, and not letting one man loose with hate speech against women. It makes me wonder if his perspective is something the party membership are comfortable with. This may be unfair but when I asked Sue Bradford, on her facebook page, about what the party position on sexual health and abortion access was, my questions were ignored. This could be because she is busy with her campaign for the Waitakere seat. But I do wonder, in all fairness to Sue Bradford – does the party have a policy on these issues? Issues that are so important to so many voters?

I have asked the party to moderate their page, but from what I can tell the thread is still there with vitriol intact. I know abortion and sexual health can be contentious but it is also a fundamental policy platform. And potential voters should not be verbally attacked online for making a valid policy enquiry.

So I have some questions for Te Mana;

  • Who is in charge of the Women’s Affairs portfolio?
  • What is your policy on sexual health?
  • What is your policy on access to abortion?
  • Is Te Mana a pro-choice party?

Te Mana is a political party that claims to represent Maori, the poor and under -represented; many of those are women. This is a time when they need to stand up and be counted. Do they stand with women?