Medical professionals have taken offence at a graphic on the National Party website which suggests all doctors are men and all nurses, women.
The fuss was kicked off by a tweet from the Prime Minister himself, linking to the party's website boasts about how much the Government had achieved in the health sector.
“Clearly on ‘Planet Key’ only men can be doctors,” says Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei. “This is the National Party's vision for New Zealand's women and their daughters - that if you want to go into the caring profession you can only be nurses.”
The Green Party says John Key should apologise to the medical community for the tweet that trumpets 1000 new doctors and twice as many nurses under the National Government, with illustrations.
“It is a worry, I guess, to see a stereotype which I would have thought is really consigned to comic books still being trotted out from the Prime Minister,” says New Zealand Nurses’ Union chief executive Geoff Annals.
It’s comical because in New Zealand 40 percent of registered doctors are female, and about 7 percent of nurses are male.
Ian Powell, of the Salaried Medical Specialists’ Association, says illustrations aside, the National Party figures are inaccurate - and that the doctor figure should be halved.
“They've misunderstood the data and we've advised them, but they continue to repeat this misleading mantra,” he says.
The Prime Minister refused to talk to 3 News about the tweet. In fact, a spokeswoman laughed it off, saying she doubted he was even aware of it and admitting that it would be very unusual for him to know what was being tweeted by staff on his behalf.