Thursday, September 30, 2021

Lexie leaps in

From the vault:

Reasonable questions

Reasonable answers:

'One thing I’d change to make life better - recognition of all the unpaid work women do (financial recognition would be awesome but even just respect and acknowledgement would be a bonus).'

'An advancement I’m grateful for - increasing numbers of women in politics.'

'(a) Free sanitary products for all school age girls, (b) women as leaders of their countries.'

'Living Wage for contracted workers like cleaners. Some have to work 60+ hours a week to make ends meet. The work is hard and sometimes hideous. Ethical procurement practices in govt and business would improve the working lives of many women.'

'I want to see equal recognition (financial) for the professional roles which are held by mostly women, such as certain health, teaching and caring roles. I’m really thankful for the MeToo movement, and that we are beginning to see more of a focus on consent in ed and media!'

'More women to put their hand up to be leaders ...with more voices at the table more positive change will happen.'

'In answer to question one, I'd like to see an end to gaslighting and victim-blaming. As for the second question, I think I'm most thankful for the increasing representation of women in government.'

'And I'm very grateful for access to contraception and reproductive freedom, even though I know these are undermined in various ways'

'No violence against women would be great.. also as a female musician it would be great to see more representation in the music industry'

But duty calls:

The Monochrome Set:

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Editing for pleasure and profit

Alongside parts that have been completely finished are others that are merely sketched out, the whole being a draft with the exception of perhaps two chapters. Quotations from sources in no kind of order, piles of them jumbled together, collected simply with a view to future selection. Besides that there is the handwriting which certainly cannot be deciphered by anyone except me, and then only with difficulty. You ask why I of all people should not have known how far the thing had got. It is quite simple: had I known, I should have pestered him night and day until it was all finished and printed. And Marx knew that better than anyone else.

Friedrich Engels to August Bebel, 1883
Francis Wheen. Marx’s Das Kaptal: A Biography
London: Allen and Unwin, 2006, 38.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

A little learning

Mature students at the University of Auckland; a set of photos found on the University's website some years ago.

From top to bottom:

Awkward introductions with fellow students
Uncomfortable training module with the IT man
Meeting the trouble-maker.
Realising how much all this will cost.

At Clifton College, Sons of Raphael:

Friday, September 24, 2021

Two kinds of modern

Left, spear-fishers at the Wallace-Mitchell House; published in Australian Home Beautiful in 1953 and shown in Desire and Identity, an exhibition at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery of Chancellor and Patrick's work.
Below, a dead fish at Le Corbusier's Villa Stein.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Megapope question

What did Megapope do? Why has he been forgiven for what he did? Or has everyone forgotten that he did it? And who for that matter is Megapope?

Answers on a postcard to the usual address. This contest relates to an argument in January 2018 among a small group of opinionated and unpleasant Wellingtonians. Terms and conditions apply.

Dry Cleaning:

A lovely couple


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Friday, September 17, 2021

More T, Vicar?

In which the word 'cis' is discussed by  a trendy vicar and a beard. In another place, Norm Macdonald educates Stephen Merchant on the matter.


Thursday, September 16, 2021


My submission to the inquiry by the Governance and Administration Committee into Supplementary Order Paper 59 on the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill

I am asking the Select Committee to reject the Supplementary Order Paper in its entirety, for the reasons given below. I have used the Regulatory  Impact Statement prepared by Treasury as the basis of my objection, since it is the only comprehensive examination of the proposals in public circulation and is the basis of the revised Bill. Otherwise, I would have been obliged to rely on the glib public relations efforts of the Department of Internal Affairs, since the proposals have hardly been considered by the print and broadcast media.

The Select Committee should note that on page 3 of the RIS, Treasury records that the Minister of Internal Affairs directed the Bill should “progress this year with a self-identification process to recognise gender on birth certificates.” Treasury observes, “This timeframe has meant the Department’s ability to undertake consultation on introducing a self-identification process or how this may best be given effect has been limited.” The Minister’s mind was made up, despite the lack of any research into the proposals made by the Governance and Administration Committee, which were based on the twenty-nine submissions in favour of self-identification that it had received. The Minister gave Treasury insufficient time to make a proper study of these radical proposals, since they suddenly became a matter of urgency, after languishing in legislative limbo for two years. I suspect the haste is a deliberate ploy by the Minister to stop Treasury doing its job properly and so prevent the Select Committee having sufficient information to give the proposals the informed scrutiny they require. Treasury’s limited ability to undertake consultation should be a particular concern, given the absence of any evidence that the people of New Zealand desire the proposed changes: it is worth remembering that only fifty-four people signed Petition 2014/86, which prompted the Governance and Administration Committee to consider self-identification be included in the Bill.

Treasury’s description of its preferred option in the RIS reveals its weaknesses, which are reflected in the Bill.  Paragraph 72  notes:

Under this option a person can amend their registered sex multiple times. However, where a person applies more than once they will have to meet additional requirements to ensure the application is genuine. These additional requirements will be prescribed in regulations. Under this option a person would be able to select markers outside the binary options of male and female. A range of non-binary markers will be prescribed in regulations. A regulation making power to enable these regulations will be included in the Bill. “

I suspect most members of the public will be unaware of this provision. We have been told often enough that the purpose of the Bill is to allow those wishing to amend the sex recorded on their birth certificates to do so without a court process or having to provide evidence of medical treatment. Most of us probably will be unaware that the Bill proposes an entirely new class of “non-binary markers” that will exist in regulations devised outside Parliament, rather in the legislation.  Not only that, but persons can change their registered sex many times if they meet additional requirements. How many times persons can change and the nature of the additional requirements they must meet are unknown to Parliament or the people, since these details are wrapped up in regulations as yet unknown. What is in the bag will only be revealed at the end of the show. This is not open government.

In Paragraph75, Treasury writes:

The process is inclusive of all people, including those who cannot or do not wish to receive medical treatment, whose gender may change over time and who identify as non-binary genders. This supports a person’s wider social inclusion and reduces transgender and intersex people’s experiences of stress, or discrimination, when accessing services. The inclusion of a range of non-binary markers is a critical component of introducing self-identification and would bring the process in line with the human rights discourse that recommends a multiplicity of gender markers.


This process is inclusive of sex predators, voyeurs and exhibitionists, since all men will have the right to declare themselves to be women and thus be legally entitled to occupy spaces reserved for women. Teenage boys will also be allowed to self-identify as some other gender, so long as they can find support for their applications. They won’t even have to change their clothes.

At Paragraph 76, Treasury writes:

Prescribing a range of non-binary markers in regulations will also be inclusive as it allows for consultation to be undertaken on the number and terminology of markers. This will enable the Department to gauge transgender and intersex perspectives and the perspectives of specific population groups, such as young people and Mori, Pacific and ethnic communities. Setting the markers in regulation also allows for more flexibility and will future-proof the legislation. Gender theory and terminology evolves rapidly, and regulations can be more easily reviewed and updated than primary legislation to ensure they meet the needs of transgender and intersex people.

I think most people in New Zealand would think gender theory is a load of tosh; but that does not matter to the Government, since the people will not have any say about the regulations. What this approach risks is the Government and its regulations falling into ridicule, both here and overseas. The last time I checked, over a hundred non-binary genders appeared to be in existence, some of which could not be uttered in mixed company: gender encompasses any identity that adolescent minds can conceive.

At Paragraph 77, Treasury  attempts to assure us that, “Criminal offences for false declarations can help to deter applications by people who are not genuine or wish to change their gender for unlawful reasons.”  Sex predators, voyeurs and exhibitionists will not be deterred by the criminal offence of making a false declaration. They are known to go to extraordinary lengths to get what they want.

At Paragraph 79, Treasury admits,  with unexpected candour, that the risk of identity fraud might be, “exacerbated if people can amend their registered sex multiple times.” This is no small matter:

People could abuse the process to obtain birth certificates to create new identities to avoid detection or access services they are not entitled to. Worst case scenarios of fraudulent behaviour include a person receiving multiple benefits or circumventing safeguards preventing money laundering and terrorism financing.

This is the most extraordinary  admission: in order to make it less burdensome for people to change their birth certificates, and to keep up with rapidly evolving gender theory, this government will make benefit fraud, money laundering and the financing of terrorism easier. How our international friends and allies will react to this deliberate weakness does not appear to have been considered. However, Paragraph 80 seeks to reassure us:

This risk will be mitigated through the proposed additional requirements. The Bill will make it clear that any additional requirements will be to ensure an application is genuine to mitigate the risk of identity fraud. Additional requirements would not include providing evidence of medical treatment and should be designed to not be overly burdensome or reinstate the barriers that the self-identification process aims to remove. Potential additional requirements could include requiring applicants to return any previous birth certificates, provision of an identity referee or a letter of support from an adult who has known the applicant for over a year.

Treasury has no more idea of what the proposed additional requirements will be than the rest of us, but is confident that obligations such as a letter of support would deter some of the world’s worst criminals from using our system to their advantage.

The absence of consultation is particularly marked at Paragraph 96 of the RIS:

Conversely, groups opposed to self-identification will not be supportive of the change and may reiterate concerns about its impact on protections for women and women’s rights. These concerns are low risk if they exist at all. As stated above, a birth certificate is not considered conclusive evidence of someone’s sex or gender and is not required to access women-only spaces, such as changing rooms or refuges. Gender is already represented on passports via a self-identification process without evidence of this being abused.

If Treasury had spoken to feminist groups, here and overseas, about self-identification, or done some basic research on Internet, it might have learned that the concerns of opponents are certainly not low risk. Mediocre sportsmen can self-identify as women and become champions; those who want to enjoy physically hurting women in contact and combat sports can do so with the blessing of sports bodies run by men. Men can self-identify as women and take positions reserved for women, as has happened in the British Labour Party and, of all places, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. 

Worst of all, in Canada and California, women prisoners have been raped by men who have self-identified as women in order to obtain transfers to women’s prisons. It is starkly noticeable that the advice given by Corrections on its response to self-identification has been blacked out of the RIS. What might happen in our prisons is not low risk or non-existent. This Bill will affect women’s safety, even their lives.

Supplementary Order Paper 59 is an appalling trick being played by the Government on the people of New Zealand. It hides radical change in regulations. It is designed to replace our natural classification of people into male and female sexes with an indefinite number of gender markers – pandering to a tiny minority of activists and narcissists, while duping the vast majority of the population. It will allow, by accident or design, men to assume roles that are reserved for women.

The Select Committee should reject the Supplementary Order Paper 59.  The present system is sensible, rational and popular. It does not need to be replaced with this nonsense.

Paul Litterick, PhD.

Tuesday 14th September 2021.