Here’s hoping the Minister for Seniors carries more clout than the Minister for Women

We were so busy monitoring the antics of our politicians yesterday that we failed to notice we should have been taking time out for celebration.

It was the International Day of Older Persons, see – a time to recognise the importance of older people in our society and the valuable contribution they make every day.

Your co-editors both come (ahem) into the older person category and both recognise their own importance in our society.  They recognise the valuable contribution they make every day, too.

But somehow they missed the press statement from Tracey Martin, Minister for Seniors, which said the International Day of Older Persons

“… was a chance for everyone to celebrate the amazing older people in their lives and to say thank you.”

Her statement went on:

“Throughout New Zealand there are many older people who are doing amazing things. They are contributing as leaders, volunteers, mentors, caregivers, parents, grandparents, employers, workers, friends and colleagues – the list goes on,” says Minister Martin.

“Like the 2018 New Zealander of the Year, Kristine Bartlett who changed the lives of thousands of New Zealand women and low-paid workers by successfully securing equal pay legislation for caregivers in the aged-care sector. And Kim Workman, social justice advocate and promoter of restorative justice, the 2018 Senior New Zealander of the Year.

“Older people make a hugely positive contribution to our economy. In the future we will need to increasingly rely on that contribution if New Zealand is to grow.”

Martin’s data showed there are around 725,000 people aged over 65. By 2028 there will be 1 million people, nearly a quarter of the population.

“Our ageing population is one of our greatest achievements. A growing number of older people are healthier, more educated, and more skilled and are living longer. These are all things to celebrate.”

The theme for this year’s International Day of Older Persons (for those of you who relish these things) was “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions.”   Your co-editors fill the bill nicely, thank you.

For that reason, we suggest Martin pops over for a chat with a ministerial colleague whose thinking gave rise to this headline at Newshub:

‘Old white men’ should make way for others – Julie Anne Genter

The accompanying report said:

The Minister for Women wants older white men on company boards to move on to make way for younger, more diverse talent.

About 85 percent of the country’s board members are male. Julie Anne Genter says many are “old white men in their 60s”, and that’s got to change.

“If we’re going to improve the diversity of boards, then we will need some of the current positions vacated so there can be room for new diversity and talent.”

When they heard about this, your co-editors reckoned the Human Rights Commission would step in and chide Genter for expressing these discriminatory ideas.

It did step – but not in the supportive way we expected, as elderly white blokes.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue says Ms Genter is on the right track.

“It’s only improving very, very slowly, if at all. I agree with Julie Anne Genter that we need greater diversity on our boards. It’s good for business, we know there’s evidence to support that.”

Genter defended her comments – or rather, explained herself – saying they weren’t anti-men.

“All I said was that if we are going to get diversity around the board table, some of the massively over represented group will need to vacate their chairs. It’s a mathematical reality. It’s also good leadership to mentor others then step aside for new talent.”

Newshub referenced a Westpac-commissioned report on the economic benefits of the gender balance that requires a culling of older white blokes.

The research, published in December last year, contained fascinating numbers.

For example:

“Getting more women into leadership roles could boost the economy by almost $900 million, according to new research commissioned by Westpac.

“The research, conducted for Westpac by Deloitte, shows women hold just 29% of management roles in New Zealand businesses and increasing this to 50% could grow the economy by $881 million.”

And (among the key findings):

Each 1% increase in female managers increases an organisation’s return on assets by 0.07%. For a business valued at $10m this would mean an extra $150,000 revenue a year.

The obvious reasoning is that …

1. Increasing the women to 100% of the management team would have a much more significant impact on the growth of the economy; and

2. The revenue boost for a company would be breathtaking.

If we had a revenue stream here at Point of Order, we would put the idea into effect immediately.

Correction.  We would think about it …

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