Issues - gender bias - In defence of heterosexuals
Cabinet Minister John Tamihere is planning an attack on "politically
correct" critics of "red-blooded heterosexual men",
who he says are sick of being told they are the source of
In a speech Tamihere will give at St Peter's College in Epsom
tonight, the Youth Affairs Minister will criticise society's
attitudes towards straight men and claim it is time for men
to reclaim their rightful place in families.
Tamihere plans to speak up for "Kiwi heterosexual men"
and say that he believes that the "pendulum of political
correctness has swung too far".
"I am sick and tired of hearing about the deficit model,
where as red-blooded heterosexual men we are supposedly the
creators of all that is bad and evil in this world,"
Tamihere will say.
He will also argue that it is time men took responsibility
for their own conduct and to be role models for their children.
Tamihere's speech is being interpreted around Parliament as
a bid by Labour to reclaim its male, blue-collar vote after
damaging inroads were made by the Opposition. Labour strategists
are concerned some male voters in particular are unimpressed
by so-called "politically correct" Government policies
and recent legislation such as the Civil Union Bill, seen
by some as undermining marriage.
There is also an internal argument over whether Labour is
perceived as being dominated by women and is overly protective
of gay and minority rights at the expense of its broader constituency.
Prime Minister Helen Clark's office confirmed last night that
she had been shown a copy of Tamihere's speech, which has
been penned well in advance of its delivery. Clark did not
offer an opinion on the contents.
Clark has vetted Tamihere's speeches since February last year,
when he received a roasting after accusing his colleague,
Social Services Minister Steve Maharey, of "bulls...
ting" in a speech to the Knowledge Wave conference.
Clark was also consulted over a reference in the manuscript
for Tamihere's upcoming book, in which he referred to Clark
as looking "geeky".
National's deputy leader, Gerry Brownlee, said it was clear
Tamihere's speech was part of a plan by Labour to try to shake
off its "politically correct" moniker.
"The mere fact that Tamihere, as a supposedly red-blooded
heterosexual male, had to ask the Prime Minister's permission
to give this speech shows just what a controlling outfit Labour
are," Brownlee said.
"John's saying 'I'll stand up for the rights of hot-blooded
males, but only if Helen says it's OK'," Brownlee said.
"The fact is that this will remain a very politically
Tamihere declined to comment in advance of his speech tonight.