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Issues - gender bias - In defence of heterosexuals

Non-PC minister defends men
29 July 2004

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 all evil.
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 correct Government."
Tamihere declined to comment in advance of his speech tonight.

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