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Posts Tagged ‘marriage equality’

And this is why we call them Right Wing Nut Jobs…

7 March 2014 3 comments

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ACT

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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From the Xtremely Looney Files

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Right wing nuttiness knows no bounds.  Public utterance by Garth McVicar, Colin Craig,  and recently from ACT’s new leader, Jamie Whyte, are just too good for any self-respecting (or otherwise) blogger to pass up.

From the laughable, on the chemtrail conspiracy theory,

Our party has no formal position on chemtrails. I am aware of the theory that chemicals are being released at high altitude for some nefarious purpose, but don’t know whether there is any truth in this or not.” – Colin Craig, December 2012

… and more snorts of  laughter on the conspiracy theory that the moonlandings were a hoax,

I don’t have a belief or a non-belief in these things. I just don’t know. I have no idea, mate. That’s what we’re told. I’m sort of inclined to believe it. But at the end of the day I haven’t looked into it. There are very serious people that question these things. I don’t have to have an opinion on these things, I don’t have time to look into it.” – Colin Craig, 4 December 2013

… to the offensive,

Why should, say, a 70-year-old who’s had one partner all their life be paying for a young woman to sleep around? We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world. This does nothing to help us at all.”- Colin Craig, 9 May 2012

… to nasty, ignorant, religion-inspired judgementalism,

The marriage institution being a relationship between a man and a woman predates government. It is not the job of government to start re-defining marriage… New Zealand has had enough social engineering; it’s time to bring government back to core services”  – Colin Craig, 11 May 2012

I think most people recognise that there are other influences such as upbringing, such as events in life. For homosexuals, they are statistically far more likely to have suffered child abuses as a child… It certainly can make a difference in someone’s choices in life, there’s no question about that in my mind.” – Colin Craig,  4 August 2012

Yes, we are discriminating between relationships. We are saying that marriage between a man and a woman is recognised. We are saying that a relationship between a man and a man, for example, goes down the path of a civil union.” – Colin Craig, 23 January 2013

… to this very strange exchange on TV3,

He was so sure that homosexuality was a choice, he bet his own sexuality on it.

“Do you think you could choose to be gay if that is the case?,” he was asked.

“Sure. Sure I could,” he responded.

“You could choose to be gay?,” he was asked again.

“Yea, if I wanted to,’ he replied. – Colin Craig, 27 July 2012

Something you want to tell us, Colin?!

Meanwhile, new ACT leader, Jamie Whyte took a walk on the Very Wild Side on incestuous relationships,

I don’t think the state should intervene in consensual adult sex or marriage, but there are two very important elements here – consensual and adult.  I wonder who does believe the state should intervene in consensual adult acts?  I find it very distasteful I don’t know why anybody would do it but it’s a question of principle about whether or not people ought to interfere with actions that do no harm to third parties just because they personally wouldn’t do it.

The probability of having some problem with the children is greater when the mother is over the age of 35 but I’ve never heard anyone suggest that anyone over the age of 35 shouldn’t be allowed to have sex.” – Jamie Whyte, 26 February 2014

Mind you, this is the character who referred to the minimum wage as “cruel”,

“ …those businesses which don’t directly lay off workers will be discouraged from employing more, or replacing those who leave voluntarily in future. The best thing that low skilled workers can do is get work experience. It’s hard to think of a crueller policy than passing a law that bans the people most in need of work experience from getting any.” – Jamie Whyte, 25 February 2014

–  because as we all know, paying someone $1 an hour is not *cruel*.

… and has no problem in abolishing health and safety regulations to protect workers,

I do believe that the regulatory framework around labour and health and safety in New Zealand should be liberalised, and I think there’ll be many advantages to workers in liberalising them.  I’m not sure that we’re going to campaign hard on that, but I certainly believe that.” – Jamie Whyte, 3 February 2014

– because 29 men killed at Pike River Mine, and dozens killed in the foresty industry,  is not a sufficient sacrifice on the alter of Libertarianist ideology.

… and plucking bizarre beliefs out of thin air (on the marriage equality Bill),

The marriage amendment bill will not benefit society at all and will ultimately have detremetal [sic] effect on crime at all levels .” – Garth McVicar, 20 January 2012

If you look at the court stats, most of the crime that has been committed has been committed by fatherless kids .” – Garth McVicar, 21 January 2012

Although that  rationale  seems more than a bit odd. If “most of the crime that has been committed has been committed by fatherless kids” – having two  fathers  should all but eliminate crime!?!

That would be a Good Thing, right?

But that’s prejudice for you. It collapses very quickly under a groaning weight of  blind prejudice and weak foundations based on irrational ‘logic’.

On a positive note, even society’s fringe elements can count  on Parliamentary representation.

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References

Fairfax: Craig focusing on ‘upside’ of media

NBR:  Colin Craig not sure man walked on moon

Otago Daily Times: NZ women ‘most promiscuous in the world’

NZ Herald:  Homosexuality a personal choice, says Conservative Party leader

Dominion Post: Colin Craig: Gay marriage is ‘social engineering’

NZ Herald:  Act Leader Jamie Whyte stands by incest comments

Scoop Media: National bows to minimum wage myths

NZ Herald: Society right to discriminate – Craig

The Ruminator: Mr Ryght: An interview with ACT leader: Jamie Whyte

Newstalk ZB: Don Brash surprised by ACT’s new direction

Fairfax: Lobbyist links gay marriage to crime rise in NZ

NZ Herald: McVicar stands by claim over gay bill

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Colin Craig Conservative Party

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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That was Then, This is Now #20 – Marriage Equality & Adoption

5 January 2014 2 comments

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TWT TIN 20

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Key “led the charge” on marriage equality?

It’s surprising he remembered where he stood on the issue.

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Previous related blogpost

That was Then, This is Now #19

References

NZ Herald: Gay adoptions not a priority – PM

TV1 News: Key defends ‘gay’ red jumper comment

 

 

 

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The Right has a new media voice

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Fairfax Media has a  ” new columnist for the Waikato Times” (see:  Bill denies kids what they need). Narelle Hensen’s first piece appeared in the Waikato Times on 18 March, followed five days later by another piece, Dole queues long but bosses can’t get workers.  (Note: Ms Hensen has previously written and worked  under her maiden name; Narelle Suisted, for the Auckland publication, “Auckland Now“, and TV3′s “The Nation“.)

Her first column-piece was a thinly-disguised, homophobic lecturing against gays, lesbians, marriage equality, and their fitness (or lack thereof) as parents.

The second was a nasty little smear against the unemployed.

(This blogger is waiting for her next target. Solo-mums? Maori? There are plenty of minorities available.)

What Fairfax hasn’t disclosed is that Ms Hensen also worked as a Communications Officer for the right-wing think-tank, Maxim Institute (see: Wikipedia Maxim Institute). The Maxim Institute is virulently opposed to marriage equality, as outlined in their submission to Parliament  on the Marriage Amendment Bill (see:  Submission to the MarriageMaxim Institute).

It appears that the right-wing in this country have a new voice in the msm (mainstream media).

In her first article,  Bill denies kids what they need, Ms Hensen railed against marriage equality.  She used children as her weapon-of-choice, and started of with this bizarre statement,

“Most of us, no doubt, would agree, and would find it difficult to decide which of our parents to give up for another mum or dad. But that is what the Marriage Amendment Bill will require of some kids in generations to come. That is why I don’t support the bill.”

Did I read that right? She condemns the Marriage Amendment Bill because  a child “would find it difficult to decide which of our parents to give up for another mum or dad” ?!

Why would marriage equality demand that of children now? And in what way would that be different to divorce as it is presently?

As most of us are perfectly aware, it is the Family Courts that determine access to children – not the concept of marriage equality.  I doubt if Ms Hensen could point to any aspect of the Marriage Amendment Bill that would demand that a child has to “decide which of our parents to give up for another mum or dad”.

She offers another justification to oppose marriage equality,

“That means some kids will be denied the right to either a mother or a father, while their peers, by luck of birth, will be allowed both.”

Really? And what about the thousands of children who already have only one parent? What about the thousands of heterosexual couples who have separated and their children are “denied the right to either a mother or a father”? Or one has died through illness or accident – that’s real bad luck!

And just why is it “luck” to have heterosexual parents as opposed to gay or lesbian parents? The implication being that having gay/lesbian parents is “bad luck”. Perhaps being born to a mixed-race couple is also “bad luck” for a child? Or born to parents, one of whom might have a disability?

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racism cartoon

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Not to mention the bad luck of being born to right wing parents…

If a child is ‘lucky’, it is that they have a stable family, with love, attention, set boundaries, support, respect, nutritious food, warmth, good housing, access to education; healthcare,  etc.  The gender/orientation of parents and caregivers doesn’t really seem to factor as a life-giving necessity.

Indeed, Ms Hensen seemed eager to dismiss love as a trivial matter not worthy of consideration,

Of course, a lot of people argue the Marriage Amendment Bill is about love, and equality. But love or equality for who? These terms sound great, and they capture our emotions, but taking a moment to think about them makes us realise that in practice, they demand compromise from someone – either gay couples who must compromise the right to raise children, or children, who must compromise the right to have both a mum and a dad.”

It is unclear why gay (or straight) couples need to “compromise” – except in Ms Hensen’s mind where, for some reason, having gay or lesbian parents is a lesser option than heterosexual parents. Is  love a transaction that “demands a compromise”? She doesn’t explain what she basis that idea on.

What a strange world that Ms Hensen inhabits.

Except…

Ms Hensen referred to a particular group to justify her prejudices,

That is why the group Homovox started in France. It consists of homosexual couples who disagree with same-sex marriage, and same-sex adoption. As one contributor says: “The law should seek what is best for a child, and that is to have a mother and a father“.”

It took only a few clicks and poking around on a Search Engine to find out a little more about “Homovox“.

For one thing, it is not a LGBT organisation at all. It’s a front group set up by the Catholic Church, as GAYNZ reported on their website,

When is an LGBT organisation not an LGBT organisation? When it has been established by an antigay French conservative Catholic to make it seem as if there is “French LGBT” opposition to marriage equality. Thus it is with France’s  “Homovox”, allegedly a “French” gay organisation of  “LGBT” marriage equality opponents. However, on his website, Joe. My. God’s commenters uncovered who was actually behind the website, which turned out to be someone from the French Catholic Right. To  be more precise:

[redacted information]

A google search of Maillard Jean-Baptiste turned up this:

http://www.jesusprems.com/

He appears to be an anti-gay French Catholic.

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Doing some more research on these guys–they are all Catholics, some are ex-gay, most are right-wingers, and some can’t be found online.

None of these men–an no women–give their full names, where they work, and the man who claims to be the mayor of a “village” doesn’t actually name his village. 

Source: “Homovox” Exposed

It seems that the Catholic Church in France has copied the tactics of the Unification Church and Scientologists, who also  employ front-organisations as  smoke-screens to the parent-church.

Did Ms Hensen know this? If  she didn’t, she’s not much of a journalist.

If she was aware of the true nature of “Homovox” – and chose not to disclose it – then she has an agenda of her own. And the presentation (or lack) of facts is not part of it.

Ms Hensen is not above claiming  statistics to back up her prejudices,

“Of course, there are those who argue it is better to bring up a child in a loving homosexual relationship than it is for them to be raised in an antagonistic heterosexual relationship. But if we are going to make comparisons, they must be fair. And when you compare a loving, heterosexual marriage with a loving homosexual union, the statistics paint a very clear picture.”

– but tellingly, she refuses to disclose any such statistics for the reader. So much for her comment that “if we are going to make comparisons, they must be fair”.

We are, I guess, expected to take her word that such statistics exist? Perhaps they are held by her former employers at Maxim Institute – an organisation known for it’s  hostility toward gays and lesbians having full equal rights.

The point of that last paragraph, I suggest to the reader, is to undermine any notion that having loving parents who care for children should not  be judged on the basis of  sexual orientation. Note her reference,

“And when you compare a loving, heterosexual marriage with a loving homosexual union…”

What about comparing a dysfunctional heterosexual household with a loving gay/lesbian household? God knows there are plenty of the former. Our newspapers are full of stories where children, infants, babies were mercilessly ill-treated until their fragile bodies could no longer cope with dad’s punches whilst mum looked on, or vice versa.

The parents of Delcelia Witika were good, solid, heterosexuals who engaged in  Maxim Institute-approved,  heterosexual, sex. Then they killed their little girl.

I submit to Ms Hensen, that at such a point in a brutalised child’s life, they are not really  going to give a damn if the wearer of  steel-capped boots kicking their heads to pieces,  is heterosexual or not.

Ms Hensen’s says,

It is often very difficult to decide whose rights win, which is why there are so many court cases, and indeed courts, all about human rights. But when it comes to adults’ rights conflicting with the rights of children, most of us would agree that children should come first.”

Except when good parents are gay or lesbian, right, Ms Hensen?

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Ms Hensens next article on  job seekers, was nothing less than a hate-fest on one of society’s minorities; the unemployed. (See: Dole queues long but bosses can’t get workers)

Her entire article was dedicated to a simple premise; that  job seekers in this country are unemployable, with anti-social personalities and severe behavioural flaws consisting of;

“Drunkenness
Absenteeism
Failing drug tests
Physicality when told to leave site
Not turning up for interview
Smoking throughout interview
Chewing gum throughout interview
No CV prepared
CVs full of basic spelling mistakes”

Her column  mercilessly depicted the unemployed as unfit for employment. One of her commentators even questioned their right to be citizens.

She quoted anecdote after anecdote of unemployed people with allegedly poor personal habits and poor work ethics – though she gave few details what the jobs were or any other specifics.

Employers and Manufacturers Association Northern chief executive, Kim Campbell, referred to New Zealand’s  unemployed as  being “the dregs” –  a theme typical  of Ms Hensen’s piece.

Dave Connell, vice-president of the New Zealand Contractors Federation and managing director of Connell Construction, was somewhat more subdued in his criticisms,

“We have dealt with absenteeism, drunkenness, drugs . . . We are persevering for three to six weeks sometimes.”

As a damning propaganda piece, with the purpose of vilifying the unemployed, it was masterfully done.

Other than that, though, one has to ask the question; what the hell was the point of it? What possible purpose did it serve? Because it sure as hell didn’t shed much light on the subject.

I have an idea.

Up till now, the unemployed have been painted as lazy, boozing,  and unwilling to go out and find work.

That myth has been well and truly dispelled with stories of thousands of unemployed queuing for a few jobs. Just recently, on 12 March, ‘Campbell Live’ did a series of stories of hundreds of workers lining up for just seven jobs at an Auckland factory (see: Sign of the times: hundreds queue for 7 jobs)

Or any of these stories of job seekers outnumbering vacancies,

10 applicants for every one shelf-stocking job

Applicants queue for 20 jobs at new KFC store

2700 applicants for 150 jobs

Demand Strong for New Jobs Up for Grabs in Glenfield

Jobseekers flood a new Hamilton call centre

1200 applicants for 200 supermarket jobs

Ms Hensen could not write a credible story desparaging the unemployed as “lazy”.  In these times of high unemployment, the public no longer accepts that generalisation. In fact, most people probably know someone who has lost their job, or, fresh our of school or University, cannot land a job, and has been turned down application after application.

So, for  Ms Hensen that avenue was closed off.

Instead, in the best tradition of right wingers who blame the victims of  this country’s on-going recessionary fall-out, she attacked and desparaged the quality of job seekers.

Repeating  anecdotal stories, without any supporting  context to offer a deeper understanding, she wrote a piece that painted job seekers as poorly educated; drug addicts; inarticulate – even chewing gum!

As a hatchet job, it  certainly perpetuated negative stereotypes about the unemployed. It also reinforced the unacknowledged class structure that has been developing in this country for the last 30 years; the unemployed are “riff raff, beneath our contempt; and not worthy of being treated as our equals”.

As a “dog whistle” it attracted 321 comments (as at the time of this blogpost being written) – many of which were little more than ill-informed, offensive, stereotyping.

Ms Hensen might care to reflect on the irrational hatred expressed by those who supported her story. Is that the readership she is pandering to?

It also showed of some of Ms Hensen’s sources as less than ideal unemployers, with barely concealed prejudices.

But even if Ms Hensen’s poisonous polemic was 100% accurate, reflecting an unvarnished reality – employers and government have only themselves to blame.

How many times have trade unionists, economists,  and leftwing commentators warned employers and government that if New Zealand continued to drive down wages – as National has been doing with it’s labour law “reforms” – what did they think would happen?

On 1 April, the minimum wage will rise by 25 cents to $13.75 per hour. In Australia the rate is NZ$19.96 an hour, though wages are usually higher than that.

On 1 May, young people 16 to 19 will also have a new youth rate, that will be 80% of the minimum wage. That’s $11 per hour. How will young New Zealanders react to what is effectively a wage-cut?

And employers are whinging their heads off that the best and brightest are buggering off to Aussie?

The reality, though, is more prosaic. People want work. The unemployment benefiit ($204.96/wk/net) is not sufficient to live on. Many looking for work will be University graduates. Others will be poorly educated. But they all want a job.

Perhaps the real purpose of Ms Hensen’s  article – dressed up as a “news story” –  was designed to serve as propaganda in a  prelude to relaxing immigration laws and allow immigrant workers to flood the country? By creating a new urban myth that unemployed New Zealanders are “dregs”, it gives National the excuse to bring in labour from overseas. Cheap labour. Workers who will not kick up a fuss about exploitation; lax safety practices; and abuse.

The abuse of workers on Foreign Charter Vessels fishing within our EEZ waters gives an idea what might be  our future (see previous related blogpost:  A Slave By Any Other Name).

I suspect Ms Hensen is not finished with excoriating minorities in this country. Her poison pen is poised. It’s only a matter of who is next in her sights. And what her agenda is.

What a waste of intellect.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 25 March 2013.

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References

Linked In: Maxim Institute Media and Communications Officer at Maxim Institute/Narelle Hensen

Bill denies kids what they need (18 March 2013)

Dole queues long but bosses can’t get workers (23 March 2013)

“Homovox” Exposed.

Other blogs

The Jackal: National’s Campaign of Disinformation

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Marriage Equality Bill passes! First weddings due soon!

17 April 2013 1 comment

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rainbow rings

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History was made today when Parliament voted over-whelmingly to legalise same-sex marriage, 77 votes to 44.

Extending full marriage equality to consenting adults regardless of gender and sexual orientation was something that had to pass. No society can call itself civilised when it deprives some people a right enjoyed by others. Injustice cannot be allowed to prevail if we are all to live freely.

For those who opposed marriage equality, I say this; nothing has been taken from you, today. Your lives will go on as before. But the lives of gays and lesbians will have improved immeasurably.

For those people who opposed marriage equality on religious grounds, then understand this; your god is not everyone elses’ god. You may think so – but it isn’t true.

On a vastly more positive note, St Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland this evening announced,

“To those in the lGBTi community who wish a religious ceremony, St Matthew’s will begin taking bookings for your wedding tomorrow.”

This is the warm, inclusive, non-judgemental side of humanity’s religious faith. Imagine what kind of world we might live in if all regions expressed such tolerant, loving belief.

To all those seventyseven Members of Parliament – regardless of Party affiliation and political beliefs – who voted for marriage equality; it was a fine thing you did tonight.  This is what New Zealanders can achieve when we work together to make something good.

To all those seventyseven Member of Parliament – today you have made history.

And to all you seventyseven men and women – thank you.

Sleep well tonight.

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Priorities – according to the ‘gospel’ of Colin Craig (part rua)

19 February 2013 24 comments

Four days after I blogged this –  Priorities – according to the ‘gospel’ of Colin Craig – the NZ Herald followed up with it’s own story,

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Party leader funds attack on MPs

Source

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The NZ Herald story reports Colins as stating,

“It does cost money to be in politics, and it’s helpful that I’ve got an income. But having said that, it wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have such a base of volunteers.”

This is absolute rubbish.

The lealet’s were not delivered by “volunteers”. The leafet in question,

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four pages of leaflet

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– appeared  with two or three other other bits of commercial junk-mail (despite a “No Junk Mail” sign clearly visible) in our letterbox.

So unless Conservative Party “volunteers” are also delivering promo-leaflets for a pizza company, Mr Craig is fibbing.

The Conservative Party leaflet was obviously delivered by a commercial company specialising in mail-dropping advertising material.

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Priorities – according to the ‘gospel’ of Colin Craig

15 February 2013 27 comments

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conservative party logo

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This came through our letter box today,

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Frankly Speaking - Colin Craig - conservative party - 15 february 2013 - do you agree - marriage equality

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It came with other advertising junk-mail (despite the “No Junk Mail” clearly visible on our letterbox), so it was obviously delivered by a commercial leafletting company and not by Party volunteers.

The front page instantly commanded attention with the wording, “Do you agree?”  followed by “Find out what 34% of people surveyed didn’t know!”.

Stirring stuff!

What was taxing the mind of Conservative Party leader, Colin Craig?

What pressing issues were dominating his thoughts?

Was it the loss of 40,000 jobs in the last four years as the manufacturing and export sector are hit by a higher and higher New Zealand Dollar?

Was it 85,000+ young people not in employment, education of training?

Was it the 175,000 unemployed?

Was it 250,000 children living in poverty?

Was it National’s intention to partially flog of  five state assets, worth billions to taxpayers in this country?

Time to open the pamplet and find out…

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Frankly Speaking - Colin Craig - conservative party - 15 february 2013 - do you agree - marriage equality

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Marriage equality?!

Craig has spent tens of thousands of dollars on a piece of colour-printed, glossy paper to complain about gays and lesbians being given marriage equality???

Where is this man’s head at?

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Frankly Speaking - Colin Craig - conservative party - 15 february 2013 - do you agree - marriage equality

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Craig’s comments are not even logical.

For one thing, he states that “this is not about equality”.

Rubbish.

It is all about equality.

He even admits it,

The Civil Union Act in fact copied the operating provisions of the Marriage Act so both have the same legal equality (except deliberately in the case of adoption and parentingof children.)”

Oh… so there’s ‘equality’ – except in cases of blah, blah, blah.

Um… *scratches head*… then it’s not equality, is it, Mr Craig?

Saying that “…both have the same legal equality except deliberately in the case of adoption and parentingof children” is like saying that Blacks in the Southern States of America were equal to Whites in the 1950s… except for blah, blah, blah…

Or Blacks in South Africa were equal to Whites in South Africa during the Apartheid Era. Oh, except that Blacks couldn’t vote. And weren’t allowed on certain beaches. Or blah, blah, blah…

Message to Mr Craig’s remaining functioning brain cells: you can’t have equality where exceptions undermine that equality. Because then it’s not equality. It’s something else.

Which, by the way, is one of the strange points that Craig attempts to make in his weirdly surreal propaganda.

On the page below, Craig states,

This country has become a dangerous place to be a child. If nothing else we must fight and speak for the children. We must seek their absolute best [?] and give of ourselves to protect them, blah, blah, blah…”

So what is it that Colin Craig is trying to say? That two people in love and wanting to marry is going to make “this country …  a dangerous place to be a child “?! How the f**k does that work?

Poverty is dangerous for children.

Lack of nutritious food is dangerous for children.

Damp houses are dangerous for children.

Drugs and alcohol dangerous for children.

Abusive households are dangerous for children.

Government policies to do with low wages; poor housing; and lack of opportunities is dangerous for children.

But two people in love wanting to get married?

The workings of Colin Craig’s mind is even more unfathomable than I had previously believed possible. No wonder John Key rolled his eyes and muttered “it’s going to be a long two and a half years” when presented with the possibility of the bizarre Conservative Party as a potential coalition partner (see:  John Key’s midterm blues?).

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Frankly Speaking - Colin Craig - conservative party - 15 february 2013 - do you agree - marriage equality

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Reading this trash, I laughed even harder when I spotted another incongruency at Craig’s disjointed thinking.

On page 2,

… Mr Key is now ignoring his electorate and says he will support same-sex marriage and adoption. He will not be voting as directed by his electorate. This is simply wrong. If Mr Key will not vote on behalf of his electorate, then who will? He is their paid representative; he is the one person sent to Parliament on their behalf.

On page 3,

Good leadership requires listening to both sides of the debate  and then deciding  what is best for our country.”

So on the one hand… Craig sez that it “is simply wrong” for Key not to vote according to his electorate (not that we actually know what his electorate “thinks”.

But on the other hand, “good leadership ” is about “ listening to both sides of the debate  and then deciding  what is best for our country“.

Hmmm, a bit contradictory there, Colin. You should proof-read your writing a bit more closely.

Last bit,

I believe the evidence shows that it is ideal  that an adopted child grow up with a great Mum and Dad…”

Two things bother me about that blanket statement.

1. If “evidence” exists to support Mr Craig’s prehistoric views, then it’s not a matter of  “belief”. Evidence either exists to support his views. Or it does not.

Belief does not enter into it.

2. Unfortunately, the evidence that does exist points to one inescapable fact; many homes in our country are dangerous places for young children.

Too many have been neglected, severely injured, beaten, sexually abused, traumatised, and killed – at the hands of their “Dads” and too often, their “Mums”.

Heterosexual, ‘nuclear’-style families.

They are killing the children of our nation.

And not a gay parent to be seen anywhere.

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Christians – can we vote on YOUR marriage now?

22 January 2013 13 comments

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Lobby group presents petition against same sex marriage

Source

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72,000 signatories to Family First’s petition want the right to vote on other people’s right to be married?

That would be fair – if the rest of us had a chance to vote on whether or not those 72,000 Christians (?) should be married or not.

We could make it totally democratic and run on-going Referenda on  couples, through Facebook. Each couple could state their case to voters and the public could vote “Yay” or  “Nay”.

Is it too late to have a belated vote on whether Mr MCoskrie (and Garth McVicar!?) should be allowed to be married? (Not to each other, I mean. Although… )

This is how ridiculous it gets, that so-called “Christians”  think it appropriate to vote on other peoples’ private lives.

Little wonder that so many view religious fundamentalism as intrusive in our lives.

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Facebook-Like-or-Dislike

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(Note: with apologies to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pantheists, etc, who are more tolerant. )

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Ideologically Impure: Marriage equality and polygamy

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Has Garth McVicar finally lost the plot?!

20 January 2013 15 comments

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As reported in Fairfax, on 20 January – Garth McVicar, of the so-called “Sensible Sentencing Trust”, seems finally to have  “lost the plot” with this gobsmacking rant at a Parliament Select Committee hearing on marriage equality,

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Lobbyist links gay marriage to crime rise in NZ

Full story

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McVicar went on to state, in quite unequivocal terms,

Furthermore, the bill represents a further decay and erosion of the traditional family that society has been founded on.”

See: IBID

So if we understand McVicar correctly, there will be a  “decline” in  ” the traditional family ” if marriage equality is allowed to go ahead?

Aside from the sheer nonsensical and unproven nature of such a bizarre belief, it occurs to this blogger that ” the traditional family ” has been under stress for a long time – before marriage equality became an issue these last couple of years.

Take for example the story of 19 year old Robert Moulden.

Reported in the same issue of Fairfax media as the story above, Mr Moulden recently pleaded guilty in  Auckland’s District Court last year, to desecrating and vandalising Jewish graves,

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desecrated graves

See: Merciful Jews forgive Nazi grave vandal

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Mr Moulden, to his credit, took responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty. In an act of human compassion and forgiveness, the Auckland Jewish community has rallied to support the young man to undertake further, higher education to turn his life around.

Mr Moulden’s background is all too common from young men and women who have become socially alienated,

His parents split up at an early age, he then goes from pillar to post . . . he goes to different schools, he’s shifted around, he has no stability, no base to call his own.”

See: IBID

Which indicates to me the depth of  Garth McVicar’s ignorance and bigotry.

Dysfunctional families have been with us for decades (centuries, even).  A cursory study of the backgrounds of those dysfunctional families of beaten, sexually abused, and  murdered children will reveal one salient fact; they all had heterosexual parents/guardians/partners.

If  Garth McVicar wants to be critical of the circumstances surrounding declining  ” traditional families “, he’s looking in the wrong place. Perhaps he should first look at three decades of neo-liberal reforms which has resulted in increased poverty; fewer jobs; a widening gap in incomes; and small towns losing their economic base as industries have closed down,

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Raetihi

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And if he’s got this so horribly wrong – what else is he stuffing up? Could it be that his “Sensible Sentencing Trust” is also built on a swampy mire of mis-information and ignorance?

McVicar has done the cause for marriage equality a great service. He’s demonstrated how shonkey and intellectually corrupt opposition to equality actually is.

Has it ever been different when a group in society struggles for justice? Emancipation for women? The universal right to vote? The Black civil rights movement in the United States? The struggle to end apartheid in South Africa?

So it goes on, to this very day. New struggles for equality – facing the same old bigotted arguments why some should not have equal rights.

Get back to your cave, Garth.

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= fs =

Missionary, doggie, cowgirl, or -?

23 November 2012 11 comments

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National MP, Kanwaljit Bakshi Singh, asked this extraordinary question in Parliament,

If you get married, who will be identified as husband, and who will be identified as wife?

See: Interesting questions at gay marriage bill hearing

This, I submit to the reader, is a pretty good indication how ridiculous and pathetic the whole issue becomes when Parliament intrudes into the private lives of consenting adults (aided and abetted by some extremist religious groups who feel they have a monopoly of certain institutions).

We now have the bizarre spectacle of a Member of Parliament asking some fairly personal questions that – if I went up to some strangers in a bar – would probably earn me a smack in the head.

But let’s take this situation to it’s natural conclusion. If Mr Singh feels it appropriate to ask personal questions about peoples’ personal lives, my questions to him are;

  1. Does he prefer missionary, doggie, cowgirl, or perhaps something a little more exotic from the Kama Sutra?
  2. Does he and Mrs Singh ever do the Wild Thing somewhere other than the marital bedroom? Kitchen? Attic? Laundry?
  3. Spit or swallow?

As a taxpayer who pays for Mr Singh’s Parliamentary career, and now his opportunity to delve into people’s private lives, I feel I have a new-found right to make these enquiries of Mr Singh.

Actually, I think all Parliamentarians should answer these questions! (Except John Banks. I really don’t want to know. )

This is how utterly stupid the debate on marriage equality can get, when those in “authority” believe they have a moral right to sit in judgement of others, and ask loathsome questions of their private lives.

And if our society applied the same standard of bigotry against Mr Singh that he levelled at the two gay men who appeared at the Select Committee hearing today (22 Nov) – a Whites Only racist society might not have been so welcoming toward him when he applied to  immigrate to this country.

Thankfully, he doesn’t have to face a system of apartheid here…

One wonders about his own bigotry.

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= fs =

Colin Craig – What a silly man you are

6 August 2012 5 comments

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Full story

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Conservative Party leader, Colin Craig, reckons that sexual gender is a “choice”?

Damn. I must be having a ‘John Banks’ moment –  ‘cos I sure as heck can’t recall ever making any decision to be straight.

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= fs =

Investing in someone elses’ future

5 August 2012 54 comments

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Mandates

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Firstly, let’s cut to the chase and address John Key’s assumption that he has a ‘mandate’ from the country to pursue many of his Party’s unpopular policies, including state asset sales.

No, he does not.

As Bryce Edwards said on Radio NZ last year,

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Full Story

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As reported in the NZ Herald,

Moreover, only an estimated 93.2 per cent of the 3,276,000 people who were eligible to vote were enrolled, so the 2,254,581 people who did cast their votes (including special votes) leaves just over 1 million who stayed at home. “

See: 1 million didn’t bother to vote

So doing a bit of simple arithmetic,

  1. 2,254,581 people voted
  2. 1,058,636 voted National
  3. The population of New Zealand is approximated 4,430,000
  4. 1,058,636 is about 24.5% of the entire population.
  5. John Key’s “mandate” is roughly one quarter of  the country’s population.

The Nats can dress that  up any which way they like, but that’s not a mandate. That is  a minority in drag, masquerading as a “majority”.

But still a minority.

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National Conference

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Let’s cut to the next ‘chase’.

The recent National Party Conference in Skycity had nothing to do with conferencing or  the Party’s internal workings. It was purely and simply a public relations exercise  to raise “troop” morale and present National in a positive light to the public.

It was about appearing decisive and on-message. It was about strong leadership and confidence, reminiscent of Rob Muldoon, and Dear Leader played his part perfectly as he gave the rallying cry to his fellow MPs and Ministers.

Key thundered,

Our policy of partial share sales is a win-win and I stand totally behind it.”

See: Labour, Greens hit out at asset share plans

After months of various scandals, resignations, disastrous flip-flops, and gaffes, the Party pulled out it’s “ace-in-the-hole” – John Key. “The Boss” laid down the law, and as Tracey Watkins from Fairfax said,

No more tip-toeing around. That is the clear message from National’s annual conference, where the Government’s economic programme has been invested with a new sense of urgency.”

See: Damp protest shows heat gone from asset sales fire

Ms Watkins tends to present political issues  from a position favourable to National  and her piece on 23 July was no exception. But she also had a valid point – National was fighting back. They were on a counter-offensive on several fronts.

But as the dust settled, and the “whizz-bang-gosh!” factor faded, the public’s  momentary distraction returned to the issues and problems currently confronting us as a nation.

As much as Dear Leader might wish it, those issues and problems will not go away.

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State Asset Sales

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National is desperate to sell this lemon to the public as a going concern. Indeed, the issue was presented as one of several issues on a leaflet/questionnaire that the Parliamentary wing of the Party mailed out,

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The Nats are sensitive to recent public protests and an ‘insider’ advises this blogger that Ministers are tracking correspondence; internal polling; and letters-to-editors on the subject.

In an effort to “sweeten” the deal and to assuage public opposition, National is offering,

  • preference to “mum and dad” investors
  • a three year loyalty share-bonus scheme
  • a minimum of $1,000 dollar share parcels
  • a guarantee of shares to New Zealand investors wanting parcels of up to $2,000
  • Treasury setting up a retail syndicate of share brokers and banks to help first time share investors potential investors.

See: Kiwis encouraged to take up SOE shares

National’s “carrot” is matched by it’s “stick”.  As Bill English threatened in June last year,

We are saying that New Zealanders are at the front of the queue, but if not enough of them show up, it won’t be 49 per cent. I wouldn’t want to exactly guarantee every share but we have got to look at how to make that happen.”

See: ‘Buy state-asset shares or foreigners will’

So the message is crystal-clear; ‘If  we don’t buy these assets (which we already  own),  John Key and Bill English will sell our companies to overseas interests’. It’s like watching a rather bad, cheaply-made, B-grade gangster movie from the 1940s.

But the ‘rort’ doesn’t end there.  Treasury estimates that any loyalty scheme will end up costing taxpayers up to half a billion dollars. That’s because giving away free shares as a “loyalty bonus” still incurs a cost – nothing is for free,

A “loyalty” scheme to sweeten state assets sales for investors could cost the taxpayer $500 million – more than $100 for every man, woman and child in New Zealand – according to Treasury numbers.

[abridged]

In a report to the Cabinet last year, the Treasury said incentives to encourage local investors to buy shares “typically range from 5 to 10 per cent of total value ($250 million to $500 million based on a $5 billion programme)”.

The Government says it expects to raise $5 billion to $7 billion via the sales programme.

Based on the Treasury’s $500 million upper estimate of the cost of a loyalty scheme, the forgone revenue works out to just under $113 for every man, woman and child here.

See: $112 a head for asset loyalty

Labour Leader, David Shearer summed it up thusly,

Effectively, the taxpayer will be paying for a loyalty scheme that a small number of New Zealanders who can afford to buy shares will be able to enjoy. It’s clear there’s some real winners here, and the losers are most New Zealanders. “

Based on the Queensland experience where Queensland Rail was privatised in 2010;  where  a share-bonus loyalty scheme of 1:15 shares was used; the cost to Queensland taxpayers would be $360 million, according to our  Parliamentary Finance & Expenditure committee. To which Key was reported as saying, that the figure was,

“… a possible number. I haven’t seen their workings so I wouldn’t want to agree with that at this point.”

Key’s comments were reported on the NZ Herald website at 5:30am, Tuesday 24 July, 2012.

By mid-day, on the 24th, he had changed his views from ” a possible number  “, to,

These numbers that the Labour Party are coming up with and the Greens are farcical.”

See: PM: Asset loyalty won’t cost hundreds of millions

First point: that report on the Herald’s website was posted at 12:18pm on the same day;  Tuesday 24 July, 2012.  Not quite seven hours had passed before National’s spin-doctors had noticed Key’s blunder, and Dear Leader changed his stance.

Second point: the figures were not from the Labour Party, nor The Greens. They were Treasury’s figures.

Was this a deliberate attempt to undermine the credibility of those figures by shifting it’s provenance from Treasury to opposition parties?

Key then made this extraordinary comment,

If you think about the entire float that could be in the order of $5 billion to $7 billion. Let’s argue that it’s $5 billion for a moment if you then turned around and said about 20 per cent of that could be for mum and dad, it could be more it could be less – but just for the purposes of maths that’s a billion. If you apply the Australian Queensland model that’s one in fifteen shares – that’s 6 per cent. Six per cent of a billion is $60 million for the entire programme.”

20 per cent “?!?!

What happened to the 49% that Key and English have allocated to “mum and dad” investors,

Counting the Government’s controlling shareholding, we’re confident 85-90 per cent of these companies will be owned by New Zealanders, who will be at the front of the queue for shares.”

See: Running up $5-$7b more debt not the answer

Was this an unintended slip from Key that National is counting on only 20% of shares going to New Zealanders?

And did he think that no one would notice?

Acknowledgement:  Cheer up Mr Key – Fairfax still love you

This is disengenuous of Dear Leader. On the one hand, National is claiming that 49% of shares will be allocated to local “mum and dad” investors – and on the other, they are calculating a bonus-share loyalty scheme on a figure of 20%. Key is shuffling figures around and quoting them to suit daily events.

This is not the first time Key and English have done this.

In January last year, when John Key announced National’s policy to part-privatise five state assets, he stated,

If we could do that with those five entities … if we can make some savings in terms of what were looking at in the budget and maybe a little on the upside you’re talking about somewhere in the order of $7 to $10 billion less borrowing that the Government could undertake.”

See: John Key reveals plan for asset sales

The figure of $7 billion to $10 billion proceeds from a partial asset-sale then shrank,

First, the Government gets to free up $5 billion to $7 billion – less than 3 per cent of its total assets – to invest in other public assets like modern schools and hospitals, without having to borrow in volatile overseas markets.”

See: Running up $5-$7b more debt not the answer

And finally, English confessed all,

If we did get $6 billion, that would be a gain of sale [of $800 million] which is just a product of the accounting. I just want to emphasise that it is not our best guess; it’s just a guess. It’s just to put some numbers in that look like they might be roughly right for forecasting purposes...”

See: English admits his SOE figures just a guess

Key did precisely the same thing over the Skycity-convention centre-pokie machine contra-deal.

He advised the country that building a new convention centre (in return for changing the law to allow up to 500 additional pokie machines for Skycity), would result in up to 1,900 new jobs in Auckland,

It produces 1000 jobs to build a convention centre, about 900 jobs to run it, and overall the number of pokie machines will be falling although at a slightly lower rate.

See: Key defends casino pokie machine deal

Key’s figures turned out to be rubbish.  The true numbers were disclosed last month by Horwath Ltd director,  Stephen Hamilton,

Horwath director Stephen Hamilton said he was concerned over reports the convention centre would employ 800 staff – a fulltime-equivalent total of 500.

He said the feasibility study put the number of people who would be hired at between 318 and 479. “

See: Puzzle of Key’s extra casino jobs

Key  had either made them them up out of thin air, or else he has some very poor advisors.

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Frustrated – Where to from here?

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And lastly, the sheer economics of the partial asset-sales cannot be  commercially sustained, as  BERL reported in May of this year,

The interim loss of earnings resulting from reduced dividends and the period of time before the new assets reap benefits is never recouped.

”Subsequently, the option of asset sales can only significantly improve the Government’s accounts if a set of assumptions are adopted that are at the extreme ends of plausibility.”

‘While the initial offering may be directed towards domestic purchasers, future private share transactions could increase the portion of shares [and earnings] in overseas investors hands.

”Such an outcome would lead to a further deterioration in the external deficit and external debt position.”

See: Asset sales will leave Govt worse off

Unbelievable.

Unbelievable that a number of New Zealanders still believe that National is a sound manager of the economy. These muppets couldn’t run a corner Dairy – they simply wouldn’t have a clue how much to charge for a packet of chippies.

No wonder Labour Leader David Shearer expressed his frustration at Dodgy John’s slippery numbers, when he said,

We absolutely have no idea how much this loyalty scheme is going to cost New Zealanders. He was happy to go out and announce the loyalty scheme at the National Party conference but he’s not prepared to come out with the numbers now.”

See: PM: Asset loyalty won’t cost hundreds of millions

Either way, National is keeping information on asset sales secret – or they have no idea what’s going on. Conspiracy or cock-up – neither option is particularly reassuring.

The ground keeps shifting, and this blogger believes it is a deliberate ploy to deny information to sales-critics and the public. Without solid information, it becomes harder to mount a sound critique of National’s plans – though BERL has done a fairly reasonable job of it.

Accordingly,  this blogger invites “mum and dad” investors to exercise caution as shares are made available to the public,

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Full story

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A Possible Solution?

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As BERL stated in their report, selling state assets will eventually impact on the government’s balance sheet. Quite simply, any short-term gain through sales proceeds will  eventually be whittled away by reduced dividends from half of these state assets sold into private ownership,

The interim loss of earnings resulting from reduced dividends and the period of time before the new assets reap benefits is never recouped. “

Plain english: we will  lose money on the deal.

Selling any of these State assets defies understanding.

As Treasury stated last year, the revenue stream is quite significant according to their own SOE Economic Analysis  that, “…on average, the SOEs have performed favourably when compared to the averages for the quartiles computed for the benchmark companies“.

See: Treasury SOE Economic Profit Analysis 25 November 2011

On average, Treasury show a 14.5% average shareholder (Government) return. Compare that to other investments, and it’s a fairly remarkable achievement for state enterprises which – according to free marketeers – are not supposed to operate more effectively than private enterprise.

See: Assets returning record dividends – Greens

In a further,  surprising turn of events, in February 2001, Finance Minister Bill English agreed, stating,

Generally the SOE model has been quite successful in that respect.”

And even  went so far as to complain that they were making excessive profits! (There’s no satisfying the National Party!? They sell under-performing state assets, explaining that the “market will improve their performance” – and then complain when state assets are making too much money! Then the Nats will flog them off to reduce returns and make them more “competitive”.)

See: State-owned power returns excessive, says English

By contrast, Contact Energy – an electricity corporation privatised in 1999, and now mostly Australian-owned – retails it’s electricity at a higher price than it’s competing, state-owned rivals.

See: 226,000 shop for power savings

National has stated several reason for wanting to sell 49% of Meridian, Genesis, Might River Power, Solid Energy, and further down-sell Air New Zealand – but their   main, carefully-worded, rationale has been to “reduce debt/invest in new assets/infrastructure”,  according to Bill English,

We are firmly focused on keeping the Government’s overall debt as low as possible and that is the most important consideration over the next few years.”

See: Govt says asset sales will cut debt

If  National is planning on extracting $6 to $7 billion from most New Zealanders’ pockets, then they are dreaming. A small minority (the 1%, as usual) might have the resources – but even they, I suspect would have to off-load their own assets to buy into the five offered SOEs.

It is more than likely that, like Contact Energy, the majority of new shareholders will be corporate and/or offshore  investors.  New Zealanders simply don’t have the savings to buy their own energy comnpanies and airline.

If National wants to realise $6 to $7 billion  from partial-privatisation and is serious in not wanting major foreign ownership, then it has only one other option: the NZ Superannuation Fund.

Selling half of five state assets to the NZ Super Fund would achieve several desired goals,

  1. Keep state assets in New Zealand ownership
  2. Prevent an outflow of profits to offshore investors, which would worsen our current account deficit
  3. Satisfy Maori that water resources were not about to be privatised, and therefore any claims before the Waitangi Tribunal could be set aside
  4. Fulfill a government-ordered directive that the NZ Super Fund invest more heavily in New Zealand

In May 2009, Finance Minister Bill English wrote to the NZ Super Fund, instructing that,

The Government believes that is is in the national interest for the Fund to have significant interests in New Zealand. Consequently, persuant to section 64 of the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2004 (the Act), I direct the Guardians to note that it is  the Government’s expectation, in relation to the Fund’s performance, that opportunities  that would enable the Guardians to increase  the allocation of New Zealand assets in the Fund should be appropriately identified and considered by the Guardians. “

See: Letter from Minister of Finance Regarding NZ Directive and Funding May 14 2009

How much does the NZ Super Fund have invested in overseas businesses?

Answer: NZ$6,459,938,145 – Nearly $6.5 billion. Possibly more  by now.

See: NZ Superannuation Fund: Full Final Equity List – 30 June 2011

How much was National expecting to gain from it’s privatisation programme? Between $6 and $7 billion dollars.

$6.5 billion happens to lie smack in-between $6 and $7 billion!

Considering that the NZ Super Fund is actually a state owned entity, selling five SOEs, whether partially or the whole damned lot, would not matter one iota. They would still be state-owned.

National has an opportunity here; they literally can have their SOE Cake, and eat it.

  • The state assets would remain state assets.
  • National would gain a guaranteed NZ$6.5 billion – no mucking around with messy share floats.
  • The revenue from the state assets would remain in New Zealand.
  • The Super Fund would have even more profitable investments in their portfolio.
  • The Super Fund will be investing in our future – not someone elses’, in another country.
  • Maori may well be satisfied that their taonga, water, was not being privatised.
  • Our current account would not be blown further into the red.
  • New Zealanders would be happy chappies, as the great majority oppose losing ownership of state assets.
  • Opposition from the Left would most likely evaporate – heck, we might even vote for you in 2014, Mr Key!!

Where is the down-side in this compromise?! Damned if I can see any.

And the strangest part in all this proposal? I may just  have saved John Key’s arse from being thrown out at the next election.

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= fs =

Citizen A – 2 August 2012 – Online now!

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Citizen A

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– 2 August 2012 –

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– Keith Locke & Phoebe Fletcher –

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Issue 1: Has the Waitangi Tribunal forced the National Party to slow down?

Issue 2: Isn’t it time to allow Gay adoption and Gay marriage?

Issue 3: Epsom MP John Banks is off the hook for any charges on donations, but does the law need an over haul?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV – This blogger recommends ‘Citizen A’ as intelligent analysis of current affairs.

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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= fs =

Marriage equality? Have YOUR say – courtesy of Family First!

1 August 2012 4 comments

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Conservative, quasi-religious, anti-gay/lesbian organisation, “Family First”, has created a website to oppose marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

For some odd, indefinable reason, these “Family First”  blokes (and blokettes), seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that allowing marriage equality to all consenting adults, regardless of sexual-orientation, somehow impinges on their lives and  human rights.

Buggered if  I know why.

To me, it’s fairly plain and simple; if you’re a bloke of the straight-bloke persuasion, and you don’t fancy marrying another bloke – it’s simple. Don’t marry him.

Genius!

Ditto if you’re a blokette of the straight-blokette persuasion. Don’t fancy your hairdresser, ‘Trixie’? Cool. Don’t marry her.

Sorted!

In opposing marriage equality for gays and lesbians, “Family First” sez,

If it weren’t for the fact that sexual intercourse between a man and a woman leads to children and brings with it a further obligation to care for those children, the notion of marriage would probably never have existed…”

Ancient “notions of marriage  ” also included people in power (usually males), having 50+ wives.

Also, referring to  the ” fact that sexual intercourse between a man and a woman leads to children ” is a bit mis-leading. Not all marriages lead to children. Especially for those who are sterile; too old; carry a contagious organism (eg; HIV); or simply choose not to have children – does that mean their marriages are invalid?

What says “Family First’s” director, Bob  McCoskrie on those points?

Next, “Family First” states,

The state – which did not invent marriage – has no authority to re-invent it.

Fine. In which case we should get rid of all laws enacted by the State, relating to marriage and just have a free-for-all?! Hmmm, “Family First” is more radical than I believed.

Anyway, I’d like to thank “Family First” for assisting the cause for marriage equality.

“Family First”, under their front-organisation, “Protect Marriage”, has set up a website whereby folks can email all 121 MPs, to support equal rights for gays and lesbians to marry (if they so wish),

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Click here

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Simply go to the page above; lick on “All MP’s”; and fill in the email form. Easy peasy.

What a nice bunch these “Family First” folk are, helping us to support marriage equality by providing a platform by which to contact members of parliament.

Enjoy!

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And by the way… the term “Family First” in marriage is a bit of a mis-nomer. Christians prefer that you get Married First; then have a Family Second. Or is Bob  McCoskrie advocating sex before marriage?!

Naughty boy!

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= fs =

Ministers, Mad Moralists, and Minor Parties

29 July 2012 4 comments

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A previous moral hysteria surrounding welfare beneficiaries and especially solo mums (but never solo dads) took place back in August 2009, when Paula Bennett released the files of two solo-mothers who had dared to criticise the Minister for closing down the Training Incentive Allowance.

Despite having no  authorisation or right to do so, Bennett  released details of the  women’s  WINZ files to the media and three years later there is still an outstanding complaint against her. It was a nasty, vindictive abuse of Ministerial power not seen since the autocratic rule of  Robert Muldoon.

Attacks on solo mums reached a hysterical crescendo that could only be described as naked misogyny – especially from a sector of the male population that has never had much success in relating to women. There were vile comments on many internet fora that cannot be repeated in polite company.

Fast forward to April 2012, and National is facing so much bad news that the media and bloggers are finding it difficult to choose what to hone in on.  Just to remind us about some of the problems confronting National,

  • Youth unemployment up from 58,000 last year  to 87,000 this year
  • Total unemployment up to 160,000 – 6.7% of the workforce
  • The government tax-take is down by $1.57 billion  in the first nine months of the fiscal year
  • Government deficit increases to $6.13 billion, or $800 million more than forecast
  • Migration to Australia is increasing, with a net loss of 39,100 to the year ending February 2012
  • Wages continue to lag behind Australia
  • New Zealand’s sovereign debt is at a massive  $13.5 billion dollars
  • Student debt is at a record $13 billion – and rising
  • Widening wealth/income gap
  • Increasing child poverty and poverty-related disease on a massive scale
  • Increased repayments demanded from tertiary students – effectively a tax increase
  • Ongoing public resistance to state asset sales
  • Ongoing public resistance to selling productive farmland to overseas investors
  • Ongoing public resistance to mining in conservation lands
  • A growing public disquiet over a hydrocarbon-extraction process known as “fracking”
  • Selling legislation for a convention centre and 500 extra pokies
  • Ministers involved in scandal after scandal
  • Key’s ‘teflon coating’ now practically non-existent, and developing a reputation for not being upfront with the public
  • A coalition partner whose brand is now so toxic  that even right wingers are singing it’s funeral dirges
  • and numerous other negative indicators

Time for the government  Spin Doctors to swing into action, and deflect attention from National’s apalling track record thus far.

Time to dust of the Manual for Deflection, and flick through to the chapter on blaming solo mums (but never solo dads) for the ills of the country; the Black Plague in the Middle Ages; both World Wars; and most likely the sinking of the Titanic.

Time for John Key to point at some young woman pushing a pram,  and shout – “Hey! Look over there!”

It worked in 2009.

See: Benefits of 50 to be scrutinised

Why not try it again, wonder National’s faceless, taxpayer-funded spin-doctors and strategists,  to deflect  public attention from  scandals and poor management of the economy?

See: Bennett increases pursuit of welfare ‘rorts’

See: Drug tests for more beneficiaries mooted

See: New welfare law a ‘war on poor’

See: Big families mean big welfare dollars

New Zealanders (in general) are suckers for this kind of Deflect & Demonise Strategy.

It’s what National  does, when their economic policies fail; they blame it on the poor; the unemployed; widows; solo-mums (but never solo-dads), etc. It’s what the right wing do, blaming their failed policies on others. Because as we all know, right wingers are Big on Personal Responsibility… (Except for themselves.)

It happened in the 1990s. It’s repeating again.

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It’s pretty much a given that the ACT is now living on borrowed time, and will end up in the political  rubbish bin of history. It was never popular with mainstream New Zealand in the first place – New Zealanders having had a bitter  taste of it’s ideology in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.

Events over the last couple of years; last twelve months; and last few weeks, a cascade of scandals and dirty dealings have left the public wondering if lunatics had, indeed, taken over the asylum called ACT. For a Party that advocated the purity of market-driven efficiency, it was prone to one bizarre gaffe after another. They couldn’t even update their own website several months after last year’s elections.

So ACT will be gone after the next election.

The result has been media, pundit, and public  speculation of  a new potential Coalition partner for National. There has been recent speculation in the last week or so that Colin Craig’s Conservative Party might make a suitable candidate to shore up National’s numbers in the House.

I doubt that.

For one thing, does National really want a new coalition partner that appears to be every bit as flaky as ACT?

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Full Story

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We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world. This does nothing to help us at all.”

Riiiiight.

Obviously Mr Craig has, um, “researched” this issue in some depth?! Did he go “undercover“, I wonder? And did he go “one-on-one”  with his “subjects“?

On this rare occassion, I find myself in sympathy with the Smiling One,

“… Colin Craig, had suggested New Zealand women were the most promiscuous in the world and therefore should not get taxpayer funded contraception.

Key resisted taking the Lord’s name in van and rolling his eyes.

But he did say “it’s going to be a long two and a half years.”

See:  John Key’s problem with partners

Indeed.  If   the government lasts full term. Which I doubt.

National has a problem in this area. It has no viable coalition partner, and is unlikely to find one in the foreseeable future.

Part of that reality is based on MMP and how it has affected Labour and National.

After MMP was introduced in 1996, Labour splintered into it’s constituent factions; the centrist ‘rump’ Labour Party; the environmentalist/social justice Green Party;  the overtly left-wing, worker’s,  Newlabour Party ; and the nationalist Maori party, Mana Motuhake. (The Greens, Mana Motuhake,  and NLP briefly coalesced into the Alliance Party, along with the Social Credit/Democrat Party and short-lived Liberal Party.)

The Greens, Mana Motuhake,  and NLP, had been part of the factional make-up of Labour. MMP simply separated out  it’s componants like a laboratory centrifuge. So when coalition talks took place, to form a Labour-led  Coalition Government, those same factions simply re-morphed.

Before anyone complains that MMP has created a “mess” – not true. These factions had always existed in Labour, and had constantly ‘jockeyed’ for influence within the greater ‘umbrella’ Labour banner.

Under MMP, these factions and negotiations were simply forced out into the open, for everyone to see. The same had been   happening under First Past the Post, but behind closed doors. This was internal party politics exposed to the glare of sunlight and public scrutiny.

National, on the other hand, did not fractionate  in such a similar, dramatic, manner. It lost two MPs to the New Zealand Liberal Party (in 1992), Conservative Party (formerly Right-Of-Centre Party), and one to the Christian Democrats. None of those fledgling parties  survived the grueling electoral process and quickly vanished into political history.

A third party, New Zealand First, had splintered from National earlier, and like Mana Motuhake became a nationalist party, but mainly from a pakeha perspective.

ACT was another party on the right, and appeared to draw support from both National and, to a lesser degree, Labour. It remained a small grouping, peaking in 1999 with nine MPs – largely at the expense of it’s larger right wing cousin, National.

It’s not that National doesn’t have potential coalition partners.  On the whole, National remains intact; a solid bloc of the centre-right. It’s potential coalition partners are already a part of National.

National’s only hope of picking up an extra seat or two is to rort the MMP one-seat threshold system, as it did by supporting John Banks in Epsom (with  success now mixed with regret, no doubt).  It could give a ‘nod and wink‘ to Colin Craig in the Rodney seat, and if he won that electorate, and if Craig’s Conservative Party polled the same as it did last year (2.65%), then it would gain four seats in total.

That might give National a chance at winning the next election.

But at what cost?

  • It would be seen to be once again manipulating the electoral system. The Epsom deal did not end well for National – do they really want to go down that road again?
  • The Conservatives are opposed to asset sales – so that policy would be off the agenda.
  • How would urban liberal voters view a coalition with a party such as the Conservatives? New Zealanders have always been averse to electing  overtly religious parties to Parliament (eg; Christian Heritage, Christian Coalition, Destiny New Zealand) and when some of United Future’s MPs were revealed as having a strong religious bent, they were pretty smartly voted out.
  • And would National want a flaky coalition partner with quasi-‘Christian’ overtones, and who seemed to view New Zealand women  in a casual Talibanesque-sort of way? How would National’s women MPs feel sitting alongside Colin Craig, knowing that he viewed them as the ” most promiscuous…  women in the world  “?

Craig’s Conservative Party may have a better chance to win seats in Parliament if the Electoral Commission’s review on MMP decides to recommend to Parliament that the Party Vote threshold be reduced from %5 to 4%.  Of course, the Commission can only recommend to Parliament, and any decision to reduce the Party Vote threshold will ultimately be up to the National-ACT-Dunne Coalition.

I suspect the Nats will adopt the 4% recommendation. Not because it’s fair (get a grip!), but because anything that assists ACT or the Conservative Party gain seats in Parliament will be welcomed with open arms by the Nats. Self interest rules.

The Greens’ submission to the Electoral Commission supported abolishing the Electoral Seat threshold as inherently unfair, and promote  reducing the Party Vote threshold from 5% to 4% to compensate for smaller Parties  such as NZ First, ACT, etc.

See: Green Party submission on the MMP Review

Likewise, this blogger suspects that National will probably reject any recommendation to abandon the Electoral-Seat threshold.  (The Electoral Seat threshold is where Party X does not cross the current 5% Party Vote threshold, but if one of their candidates wins an electoral seat, they get an exemption from the 5% threshold, and gain as many MPs as their Party Vote allows.)

This may be National’s one and only  “electoral lifeline”, as ACT heads for the political guillotine – especially after John Banks’ incredible performance over his fraudulent 2010 Electoral Donations fiasco.

See: John Banks – escaping justice

However, since Craig’s comment nearly three months ago, he has moved on from denigrating women, to gays and lesbians. His latest comment is indicative of a man who has little tolerance for matters outside his narrow worldview, when on 27 July he ‘tweeted’,

It’s just not intelligent to pretend that homosexual relationships are normal.”

See: Conservative leader says gay marriage ‘not right’

It take a spectacular degree of arrogance to decide that another consenting adult’s relationship is “not normal”.

This blogger feels it only appropriate that Mr Craig’s marriage to his wife should be put under the microscope.

It has been said often enough that those who vociferously oppose homosexuality (especially in males) often have a measure of sexual insecurity themselves. For many men, condemning and reviling  homosexuality has been an attempt to reaffirm their own heterosexuality by “proving their straightness” to themselves.

Perhaps, in this instance, Mr Craig may have something he wishes to get of his manly chest,

He was so sure that homosexuality was a choice, he bet his own sexuality on it.

“Do you think you could choose to be gay if that is the case?,” he was asked.

“Sure. Sure I could,” he responded.

“You could choose to be gay?,” he was asked again.

“Yea, if I wanted to,’ he replied.

See:  Colin Craig: ‘Gay parents not good role models’

Anything you want to share with us, Mr Craig? Don’t worry, we’re all consenting adults here…

Why are all small right wing parties loony-tunes?

Is this the sort of political party that National wants to cosy up to?

And more important – would a possible coalition with a bunch of religious homophobes and misogynists really endear  National’s voting-base to keep supporting the Nats?

Happy times for Dear Leader, John Key.

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National does have another potential coalition partner – the New Zealand First Party. Though their first attempt at coalition (in 1996) ended very badly for Winston Peters, that could be explained as “growing pains” after our very first MMP election. I doubt if any small Party would ever repeat such horrendous mistakes again.

But in coalescing with NZ First, National would have to abandon much of it’s right wing, neo-liberal agenda.  State asset sales would be gone by lunchtime. The sale of farmland to overseas investors would be restricted (if Peters is to be taken at his word). And the edge might be taken of other policies favoured by National.

On the other hand, NZ First had been punished previously for coalescing with National. As well, NZ First  has an active youth-wing that might not appreciate ‘sleeping with the enemy’.

Working with Winston Peters would be one very big rat for John Key to swallow. Considering how adamant he was back in 2008,

Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by me unless he can provide a credible explanation.

See: Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

And just last year,

I don’t see a place for a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First in a government that I lead.”

See:  PM rules out any NZ First deal

If Winston Peters holds the balance of power, it will be a Phil Goff-led government.”

See:  Key names election date, rules out Winston Peters

Sealing a coalition deal with someone he has categorically ruled out in the past would damage Key’s credibility even further. Our Dear Leader is already developing something of a reputation for being “untrustworthy, dishonest, arrogant, smarmy and out of touch”.

See: ‘Polarising’ PM losing gloss

Does he want to compound that perception by backtracking on his declaration that he cannot/will not work with the NZ First leader?

So Colin Craig it is.

And yes,

“It’s going to be a long two and a half years.”

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Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Majority

10 June 2012 9 comments

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Frank Macskasy  Blog  Frankly Speaking

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Colin Craig, leader of the Conservative Party, appeared on TVNZ’s Q+A on 10 June, and was interviewed on the issue of  gay marriage (henceforth referred to as Marriage Equality). His reticence on the issue was fairly evident, and he had some trouble  explaining his rationale denying the right for gays and lesbians to marry,

SHANE Thank you both for joining us this morning. Colin Craig, more than two-thirds of Kiwis support it. Why don’t you?

COLIN CRAIG – Conservative Party leader

Well, look, a poll says that, and if we look at the States, most of the polling over there says, you know, 60% to 70%. But 32 out of 32 states when it when to a referenda-

SHANE Let’s talk about New Zealand.

MR CRAIG …decided it was-

SHANE The New Zealand poll, though – nearly two-thirds support it. Why don’t you?

MR CRAIG Why don’t I is I think that marriage is not purely something that belongs to the state, and I think what we’re talking about here is an intersection of many different interests. So, marriage is cultural, it’s traditional, it’s an institution in our society-

Q+A  interviewer, Shane Taurima, finally got this response from Colin Craig,

SHANE So tell us why you don’t support it.

MR CRAIG Why I don’t support a change to that is that I think that marriage is a word that’s historically, traditionally defined, and I think that all New Zealanders have an interest in it. Now, if all New Zealanders did decide, and I would support a referenda on this, if all New Zealanders decided, “Hey, yeah, look, we’re ready for a change,” fair enough, but I don’t think that’s where New Zealanders are at.

SHANE So you’d back a referendum?

MR CRAIG Absolutely, I would, yeah.

See: TVNZ Q + A: Transcript interview with Colin Craig and Louisa Wall

Unfortunately, Colin Craig’s position on Marriage Equality conflicts with his own Party’s stated position on the rights of New Zealand citizens.  On their website, under the heading of Principles, the Conservative Party proudly proclaims,

Founding Principles of The Conservative Party of New Zealand (Long Form)

  1. A belief in loyalty to a sovereign and united New Zealand, the supremacy of democratic parliamentary
    institutions and the rule of law;
  2. A belief in the institutions of Parliament, the right of citizens to direct government by the democratic process
    including citizens initiated refenda;
  3. A belief in the division of government responsibilities between central and local government.
  4. A belief in the equality of all New Zealanders and that all citizens, regardless of race, have equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and Government of New Zealand

The document further states,

Founding Principles of The Conservative Party of New Zealand (Short Form)

  • The rule of law and government by democratic process including citizens initiated referenda
  • Responsible, accountable, and limited government
  • Careful stewardship of natural and financial resources
  • That government must protect life, freedom, and property
  • Equal rights and privilege

See: Conservative Party Principles

Fine words. Good words. Words that few of us would disagree with.

And nowhere amongst those lofty sentiments do we find a caveat stating that Gays and Lesbians are expressly prevented from enjoying equal rights and privilege and a belief in the equality of all New Zealanders.

Mr Craig appears to be in conflict with his own Party if he is willing to deny a group of New Zealanders the same rights which other New Zealanders take for granted.

Would Mr Craig deny Maori and Pakeha to marry each other? Inter-racial marriage was once taboo.

As for referring the issue to a citizens initiated referenda – this blogger can think of few things more vile and offensive than  determining a group’s rights and status under the law  by the will of a majority of voters. Such an outcome would not even by dependependent on a majority of all voters – but only  a 50%-plus-1 of those bothering to vote.

Mr Craig seems to believe that the Majority should decide on the rights and privileges of a minority? We sell out rights cheaply if we permit such a travesty of  “democracy” to determine who can and can’t enjoy equal rights and privileges“.

Such as happened in the United States, in California, in 2008, where Californians were asked to vote on Proposition 8. This referenda called for a response to the question,

Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.” The ballot summary read that the measure “changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.”

See: LIMIT ON MARRIAGE. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Essentially,  voters were asked to vote on other peoples’ marriage and right to marry.

Can the reader think of a greater perversion of the democratic process? That the “Majority” can take away the rights of a Minority at the tick of a felt-tip pen?

The result of Proposition 8 was as follows,

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52.24 % of those who cast a valid ballot voted in favour of Proposition 8. Ie; they voted to take away the right of gays and lesbians to be married, if they wanted to exercise that right.

That was 52.24% of a 79.42% voter turn-out.

Or, put into numbers, 7,179,435 voters out of  17,304,428 voters decided who could exercise a right, and who could not.

On Friday, you could marry. By Monday morning, you could not.

Furthermore, those 7,179,435 voters determined the status of voters who were barely unable to exercise their franchise. A minority of voters had determined not just to remove the rights of a minority; but had determined an outcome for an even greater number of voters; and denied rights to those not yet able to vote.

If this sounds  fair and democratic to the reader, or to Colin Craig,  let’s try this little test,

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In  a belief in the equality of all New Zealanders, would Colin Craig be willing to put his right to marry to the test?

Can we vote on his marriage?

Of course the question is patently nonsensical. As is the proposition that a Majority can decide whether or not to deny a Minority  certain rights.

Such a proposition is not democracy – it is a distortion of democracy.  It would legitamise any unilateral decision by the majority, whether confiscating property; re-introducing slavery; enacting an unjust or irrational law;  or anything else that happens to take the fancy of a large enough number of people.

Mr Craig does not want to marry a gay man. Fair enough.

I do not want to marry Mr Craig or his wife, either.

But we don’t need to restrict legislate for that. I’m assuming that Mr Craig; his wife; and I, can sort that out between us.

So why does he feel it necessary to make that choice for other adults? And why would he want to legitamise – via an obscene exercise in mock “democracy” –  the  denying of rights and privileges to other adults in society based simply on his own preference for a partner?

Mr Craig should re-read the Founding Principles of his party. They are wise words; good words; common sense even.

But does he truly understand what they mean?

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References

Wikipedia: Proposition 8

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