Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > National: Demand the Debate. Also National: No, not like that!

National: Demand the Debate. Also National: No, not like that!


demand the debate. not like that. young nats silenced


Up until recently, National’s Caretaker Leader, Judith Collins, has pushed her party’s #DemandTheDebate rhetoric – implying that the current government has somehow, mysteriously, successfully stopped the entire country from debating “important issues”.

The party’s billboards screamed “Demand the Debate”, with Ms Collins’ glaring at us with her forced, Bond-villain-style smile:


demand the dumb debate by national desperate to be relevant


he puap[ua demand the debate


Social media wits were quick to take the p*ss. National’s efforts were mercilessly lampooned:


National's billboard


The entire exercise was more a desperate attempt to remain relevant in New Zealander’s lives and control the narrative rather than any real call for debating issues.

It was telling that the real issues – covid/border controls, housing, health, climate change, poverty – were all missing from the billboards. These are issues National wanted buried. Their history of inaction on these points left them vulnerable to public questions demanding:

“Wait, what? Just what the hell were you doing during your nine years in government?”

But nowhere is National’s lukewarm commitment to debating issues more apparent than their recent appalling mistreatment of their own youth wing, the Young Nationals.

As Henry Cooke reported for Stuff media:



The Young Nats had the temerity to question their Elders, calling for National MPs to vote to send the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill to Select Committee for public consultation and – debate.

Instead, not only did National MPs vote against debating the Bill at Select Committee – but their Justice Spokesperson, Simon Bridges, railed against transgender and non-binary people:

It is important that we consider sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately. Sexual orientation requires no medical intervention, whereas when it comes to gender identity/expression, parents are naturally concerned about being able to make decisions about their children being given puberty blockers and hormones .”

Just another normal day for cis heterosexual men (and a few women, sad to say) determining the sexuality of other people when really, it’s none of their damned business. Are we re-litigating the 1986 Homosexual Law Reform and Marriage Equality debates all over again?

Mr Bridges, et al, we do not get to “consider [other peoples’] sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately“. We can consider our own sexuality – that’s it.

The Young Nats – though hardly expressing unqualified, fulsome support for the Bill – made it crystal-clear:



One has to wonder – where are the Free Speech warriors leaping the the defence of the Young Nats? (Indeed, at least one supposedly staunch proponent of free speech has roundly condemned the Young Nats for their simple request for an open debate at Select Committee.)

Not only did the National Party conference condemn their own youth wing (not a very smart move, as they are potentially the future of the National Party), but they called for at least one head to roll:


Young Nats president Stephanie-Anne Ross​


Meanwhile, incumbent Peter Goodfellow, was re-appointed President of the National Party – despite his considerable over-weight baggage notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, the ACT Party – whilst expressing reservations about some aspects of the Bill – still did the right thing and voted to send it to the Select Committee. As Party Leader David Seymour explained:

“We’re gonna vote for it at the first reading because we believe that people deserve to have a say at select committee.”

ACT has also been recently criticised for allowing a Parliamentary venue to be used by a transphobic group. At the time, Mr Seymour also supported their right to debate:

“Speak Up For Women has a right to conduct what is a legitimate debate without being subject to intimidation.”

Regardless of what one may think of ACT’s policies or the so-called “Speak Up for Women” (and this blogger has no time for either) – David Seymour has proven his principled stand on free speech.

Whereas National has demonstrated a clear lack of integrity; shifting principles, and willingness to engage in double standards dependent on which way the political winds are blowing. (This criticism does not extend to Young Nationals who have shown themselves the real adults in the room.)

A simple message to National: “demanding the debate” has zero credibility when an opportunity arises to debate – and they dodge it.

The clock is ticking on Judith Collins’ erratic leadership.




(But give the #YoungNats a crack at it, eh?)





Stuff media: National Party members vote to rein in board and seat-hopping MPs

Parliament: Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill

RNZ: ACT, National warn of conversion therapy bill ‘risk’

Twitter: Young Nats – Conversion “Therapy” – 10.29am Aug 5 2021

TVNZ: Goodfellow remains National Party president, Carter resigns

Newshub: National creates two versions of election review, one with ‘gory details taken out’

The Spinoff: David Seymour to host controversial Feminism 2020 event in parliament


Newshub: National MPs defend vote against conversion therapy Bill, despite saying they support a ban

Forbes: This Is Where LGBTQ ‘Conversion Therapy’ Is Illegal

Other Blogs

The Jackal: Calling all transphobes

Previous related blogposts

First they came…

Apartheid in Aotearoa New Zealand – yes, it does exist

Fairfax media and Kiwiblog revise incorrect story denigrating trans-people

Anti-trans activists fudge OIA statement – Report

The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response

Judith Collins and National: It’s a trust thing

The Shifting Faces of Simon Bridges


Thanks to Alice for proofreading. Much appreciated!




National always on the wrong side of history



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= fs =

  1. Sally's Husband
    19 August 2021 at 9:52 am

    Have National taken responsibility yet for pressuring government to open the TT bubble yet??

    If I recall, it was Nat’s Chris Bishop that was pushing for the bubble. Then they had that damned petition.

    And now, here we are.

  1. 21 August 2021 at 9:01 pm

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