Here’s hoping Jackie doesn’t get into a silly fuss about the dearth of sheilas on the rugby board

Gotta say it’s damned disappointing to see Jackie Blue – splendid lady – taking up what looks like a hand-wringingly dreary job as Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.

Justice Minister Judith Collins announced the appointment (here) today.

Trouble is, Jackie’s appointment requires her resignation as an MP. She will take up her new job on 4 June.

This opens absolutely new opportunity for Alf’s promotion, as the appointment of Tim Groser to head the World Trade Organisation would do.

Second, if we had no Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, we could save a bundle of money without in any way harming our society.

On this point Alf finds himself at odds with Crusher, who said:

“I congratulate Dr Blue on her appointment as EEO Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission,” Ms Collins says.

“The EEO Commissioner has an important role to play in championing EEO principles, issues and practices in New Zealand as well as appreciating their relationship to social, economic and labour market trends.

As was said earlier in this post, if the post was abolished, the country would hardly notice.

But at least Jackie is of the right stripe, politically. This is important, if we are to avoid being subjected to an outpouring of namby-pamby advice and admonishments.

She has a good CV, too.

She holds a BSc from the University of Auckland and gained her MB ChB from Auckland Medical School in 1983.

She came to prominence in the medical sector as a pioneering breast physician and, in 1992, was a founding member of the St Marks Women’s Health Centre.

She entered Parliament as a list MP in 2005 and has held a number of posts, including membership of the Health Committee (2005 to 2008).

Crusher noted she is currently the Chair of three cross-party groups in Parliament – New Zealand Parliamentarian’s Group on Population and Development, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians and Parliamentarians for Global Action.

No mention seems to have been made of the good news that the appointment of Jackie must mean there was a vacancy, and a vacancy must mean Judy McGregor – hurrah – has found something else to do.

Betcha it’s not a position on the Rugby Union board.

McGregor ill-distinguished herself not so long ago (here) by banging on about an absence of birds in the rugger caper.

New Zealand’s national sport has been lambasted as a sexist institution and the “last bastion of chauvinism” after a report found women were excluded from decision-making at all levels of the game.

The NZRU has never had a female voice at the boardroom table, while of 194 board positions at provincial level, just five (two of which are on the Auckland Rugby Board) are taken by women.

The glaring imbalance prompted Dr Judy McGregor, in her former role at the Human Rights Commission, to launch a campaign late last year pushing for the inclusion of a female representative on the NZRU board.

Asked if rugby was an inherently sexist establishment, Dr McGregor replied: “Absolutely. The figures show it.

“When you have absolutely no women involved in the decision-making … despite the fact women hold many rugby clubs together, it shows there is a big problem. I honestly can’t believe it – the numbers are deplorable.”

Rugby was described as one of three “recalcitrant sports” without females on their national boards. The other two were shooting and curling.

McGregor said she felt compelled to single out the NZRU because of the profile rugby enjoys in this country.

She did not say – as far as Alf can recall – how the All Blacks’ performance would in any way be enhanced by having sheilas on the board.

For the record, she has taken up a job as Head of the School of Social Sciences and Public Policy back at the AUT.

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