Key to the party’s push for gender equality is the idea of women-only shortlists, a move that has angered some Labour members.

Former Labour parliamentary candidate Josie Pagani told Fairfax: “I can’t understand why the Labour Party would be emphasising something like this when they’re trying to get the focus on jobs and power prices and the need to get wages up, so strategically it doesn’t make sense to be talking about this right now.”

“Certainly I wouldn’t stand in a seat where I felt like the implication was I couldn’t win it on my own accord without some ‘special help’,” she said.

She went on to describe quotes as short terms measures needed to kickstart change, however did concede that there needed to be more women in parliament.

Labour’s proposed new rules would also aim to ensure greater representation for ethnic and disabled candidates.

Labour Party secretary Tim Barnett said the proposed rules changes were circulated to party members yesterday.

Many on the Right of Kiwi politics have described the move as ‘sexist,’ while the reaction on social media has been mixed.

Olivia Franceska tweeted: “Thank goodness I’m not in the Labour Party. Quota systems are offensive.”

While another commenter said: “It’s not ‘sexist’ to think that our government should more accurately reflect the make-up of our society.”

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