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Conscience votes

Written By: - Date published: 7:06 am, August 28th, 2012 - 91 comments
Categories: alcohol, democratic participation, families, Parliament - Tags: ,

Two high-profile conscience votes are coming up in Parliament over the next two days, the marriage equality (gay marriage) bill, and a proposal to split the minimum age for buying alcohol (raise it to 20 for supermarkets and bottle stores, but leave it at 18 for pubs). It will be interesting to see the breakdown of who votes which way on the issues.

Stuff is reporting some of the responses from the public on marriage equality:

Emails already sent to MPs cite a “destructive homosexual political cult”, the “gay mafia” and even suggest the bill is “about legalised child abuse”. “You do not know that there [is a] silent majority who do not support gay marriage. Human rights do not equal marriage rights,” one email says.

Others in support of the bill cite equal opportunities regardless of sexuality. “The vast majority of Kiwis . . . know it’s time for full equality for gay and lesbian Kiwis and they want to finally see their friends enjoy the same rights as them,” a supporter says.

Green MP Kevin Hague said few of those writing to MPs against gay marriage were presenting “strong arguments or arguments that you wouldn’t expect”. Some amounted to “an expression of a view with a bit of menace attached”, he said.

The level of malice is disturbing not only in and of itself, but also as an indication of what it is that drives and motivates many of us to get involved. Not poverty. Not climate change. Not any one of the dozens of important social and political questions of our times. Rather it is the urge to interfere in other people’s bedrooms. Fear and anger. Let’s hope that our elected representatives are capable of rising above it.

91 comments on “Conscience votes”

  1. Carol 1

    The level of malice is disturbing not only in and of itself, but also as an indication of what it is that drives and motivates many of us to get involved. Not poverty. Not climate change. Not any one of the dozens of important social and political questions of our times. Rather it is the urge to interfere in other people’s bedrooms. Fear and anger.

    Actually, some people do get motivated to anger by poverty, but not in the way many of us would wish: it seems some people also get motivated by bennie-bashing.

    So the common theme is that significant numbers of people get motivated by scape-goating, and victimising the poor, the relatively powerless and the already-marginalised.

    It’s quite depressing to contemplate this level of nastiness: not wanting to hold out a hand to those in need or to be willing to empathise with our common humanity…… but kicking those that are already down or demonising those that are in some way different to themselves.

  2. Carol 2

    The youth wings of left and right wing parties are supporting the gay marriage bill. This includes Young Nats, ACT on Campus, Young Labour, Young Greens and Mana Rangatahi.

    http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/2/article_12174.php

    The five youth wings, representing youth members of parties comprising 110 of the 121 MPs in Parliament, believe their combined show of support reflects the overwhelming support for marriage equality amongst younger New Zealanders, which was 76 per cent in a Colmar Brunton May 2012 poll.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Pity the “ACT MP for Epsom” doesn’t believe in his party’s traditional standing on these sorts of issues. It’s almost like he’s not really an ACT MP at all.

    • Dr Terry 2.2

      To my bitter and embarrassed regret, it appears that many of the malicious and hateful messages are coming from people who presume to call themselves Christians. As a pastor, I do not associate myself with them in any way.

  3. BernyD 3

    It’s about time the whole “Marriage” contract was ripped up and re written.
    It’s allowed the “Legalised” Rape and Abuse of Women and Children since it started.

    NZ and many other countries have had to build Laws that allow prosecution of Men who think it gives them the right to rape their wife every night.

    If you removed the Bullshit of “Conjugal” rights from it, then there would be nothing they could deny to Gay and Lesbian celebrants and they could “Legally” marry without any legal obstruction being used to stop them.

    The Fact is men want to marry so they can force themselves on someone else regardless of the other parties wishes in the matter.

    It’s our bodies, we have the Ultimate right to say yes or no to whoever we want.

    • vto 3.1

      Was mindlessly reading through your ramble there BernyD, starting to think hmmmm this one’s on a bit of a one-eyed wagon and then this line pops up … “The Fact is men want to marry so they can force themselves on someone else regardless of the other parties wishes in the matter.” … You’re a fucking idiot.

      • BernyD 3.1.1

        It’s not marriage until it’s consumated is a Barabaric practice in 2012
        I’m a man that’s watched women tortured by this contract for 30years plus.

        • vto 3.1.1.1

          Well you need to pen your thoughts better and not say such stupid things.

          • BernyD 3.1.1.1.1

            I said it that way for a reason.

            All the Men and Women who don’t see it that way would be happy to drop “Conjugal” rights as it’s not the reason they married.

            The rest of the Vehement opposers …..

            • vto 3.1.1.1.1.1

              I think you’re living on another planet.

              And you do realise of course that women are well aware of conjugal rights, just like men as you point out, and expect to be so taken advantage of. So wtf the problem? Caveat emptor and all that. If they don’t like conjugal rights then don’t get married. Dipshits.

              • weka

                “and expect to be so taken advantage of.”
                 
                Excuse me? 
                 
                You do realise that Berny is talking about women being coerced into sex.
                 
                You do realise that there are people still living for whom getting married was an economic and/or social necessity.
                 
                Beyond that, I’m not sure how many women are aware that they need to service their husbands at his will upon marriage. I would say that most women don’t consider that an absolute duty.
                 
                 
                Berny, I think you overstated the case. Judicious use of the word ‘some’ might have allowed us to focus on the actual issue.
                 
                I agree with you that concepts of conjugal rights are bizarre, but I can’t find anything about that in the NZ Marriage Act. Can you point it out?
                 
                http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1955/0092/latest/DLM292028.html

                • Carol

                  Ah, consummation used to be a necessity, but apparently no longer is:

                  http://www.netlaw.co.nz/family.cfm?PageID=63

                  Netlaw replies: Non consummation is no longer a ground for dissolution but, under section 31 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980, a Family Court can declared void a marriage if there was an absence of true consent at the time of the marriage.

                • vto

                  weka, I am clearly trying to communicate with berny d in a form he is familiar with i.e. gross and unrealistic over-exagerration designed to raise the antagonism levels. My statement is obviously as ridiculous as his own.

                  Seriously though, if you don’t believe that it is a woman’s duty to so service or be subjucated then you should take it up with bernyd, as I did – he was the one suggesting it.

                  Anyways, this is such s stupid side thread, with an attachment to reality about the size of spiders webbing.

                  • weka

                    Ok, vto, sometimes those attempts at sarcasm/satire etc go over my head.
                     
                    I do think Berny was being unnecessarily offensive, but I don’t accept that he has no point at all. I have no trouble believing that some women in some marriages are coerced into sex. I’ve seen it to a lesser degree amongst my own friends where women have needed to have a break from sex for a while for various reasons and their husbands have not handled that at all well. Not that that is restricted to marriage.
                     
                    Despite our self image, NZ is not particularly enlightened about sex and equality.

                • BernyD

                  Fair enough, I was refering to these terms as our politicians were going on about a “Marriage” being between a man and a woman.

                  After a quick scan through the Marriage act(s) (Thanks for the link by the way), I can’t see any reference to “Between a Man and a Woman.”

                  So I wonder why they are saying it’s illegal for Man/Man or Woman/Woman.

                  And I recall some 20 years ago when women were powerless to prosecute their Husbands for rape, and new laws being instigated which allowed them to say “No” in no uncertian terms.

                  I guess the reall problem is peoples perceptions of what Marriage is, and they undertake a marriage with certian expectations which are based more on culture than truth, and the reality only becomes apparent after the fact.

                  • McFlock

                    The bill explains the problem. Although the Marriage Act does mention gender, practise has been to refuse marriage licences to same-sex couples. When it was initially tried, the courts found marriage was customarily defined as man+woman. So parliament need to provide a bit more guidance on the issue.

                    • BernyD

                      So “Marriage” was defined by common conception.
                      Which leads to all sorts of problems, the courts can only do so much.
                      If someone thinks they are acting within the Law it validates behaviour.

                    • McFlock

                      The courts thought that was the common definition at the time. But the precedent stands to this day. Hence the explicit change. Like when parliament explicitly went from saying a husband could legally rape his wife to explicitly stating that rape, even of a spouse, is illegal. Quite some time ago.
                           
                      How does marriage need changing again, in your opinion? 

                    • BernyD

                      It needs to be defined in such a way that people understand where they stand.
                      From young children through to adults.

                      I’m not saying remove peoples rights or choices, just make sure people understand what it does not grant them.

                      A lot of Domestic violence occurs because of these misunderstandings.

                      Many of them are created by Churches, and they are not legal.

                      But prosecuting someone who doesn’t believe they are in the wrong, is not as easy as people seem to think.
                      Let alone expressing remorse or trying to find a fitting punishment.

                      It sounds silly in this day and age, but if someone truly believes they are acting within the Law then they will act on it, what is a valid punishment for that someone ?, they were acting in good faith on an implied contract that had no real qualification.

                      The Equal rights for Gay and Lesbians were already allowed for in the Marriage Act, yet Church based interpretation made it impossible for them to actually marry.

                      The act should define what marriage actually is in a Civilised sense, all the personal choices and options are the participants to decide.

                      A Churchs’ ideology has no place in our Law system, until this is fixed there will always be people trying to abuse the whole concept of “Marriage” for their own advantage.

                    • McFlock

                      Church definitions of marriage have nothing to do with the current definition, other than that a lot of people were religious at the time the definition was fixed in the courts.
                           
                      We are talking about the secular registrar granting a marriage licence – what churches do in the privacy of their own congregation is nothing to do with me. The marriage act, in 1955, was framed around man+woman, e.g. the list of people a man is forbidden to marry involves close female relatives, and the list of people a woman is not permitted to marry involves close male relatives, but not vice versa.
                             
                      As for domestic abuse being the result of a misunderstanding of marriage entitlements, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Their behaviour is not “validated”.
                         
                      But then I notice you didn’t actually supply an alternative definition of your own.  

                    • BernyD

                      Like I said it’s hard to tell them what it is, we should be telling them what it isn’t

                      Without an actual definition (Which I’m not qualified to make), people have no ground to stand on, they just have to accept the common perceptions.

                      The Law enforcers are faced with the same delema.

                      And whilst their actions may be illegal and end up in court, it is after the fact, which doesn’t help women or partners in an abusive relationship.

                      If everyone knew where they stood from day one, they would have a lot more personal power to apply to themselves and their current situation.

                    • McFlock

                      I’m not sure whether an information pamphlet that says “you’re not allowed to beat or rape your wife” will have too much of an effect on someone who believes it’s okay to beat or rape their spouse.
                                 
                      This reminds me of the old employment law “but what does ‘good faith’ actually mean?” argument. Anyone who really needs to work off a definition is a dick, and (being a dick) will work to find loopholes in the definition and still not really get that they’re doing something wrong.
                               
                      And getting spouses to realise that they can get out of the situation could always do with more resources, but again often takes more than a definition. 

                    • BernyD

                      True, but these things are not Legislated in NZ, it’s currently a case of “Go and ask the Church”.

                      Which means the actual Law or Contract is based on Hearsay.

                      This isn’t “Ground to stand on” in a civilised world.

                      For evryones sake “Marriage” needs to be defined.

                      If we want our Kids to have a “Future” they need ground like this.

                      It’s a fundamental for everyone.

                      If we leave it up to the individual, then some fundamentalist could “Write” their own law, and enforce it within the family unit. Not legal, but still happening everyday.

                    • McFlock

                      No.

                      The trouble is that the marriage act was obviously designed around man+woman, even if not explicitly defined as such.      
                      Definitions are reached based on what is commonly understood at the time and what, as much as the courts can divine, parliament intended.  
                               
                      This is not the result of consulting churches.
                      This is not “hearsay”.
                      It is judicial interpretation.
                               
                      I don’t see what the problem is. If a religious couple wants to apply their own religious interpretation of “marriage” to the secular paperwork of the same name, then as long as they act within the law (assault, rape, drugs, etc all off the table), that’s none of my business. 

            • Carol 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Are conjugal elements not required to ensure the birth of children and a lineage to pass on property inheritance? And traditionally it has been tied to a patriarchal lineage.

              • weka

                Also traditionally the taking of the woman’s virginity, which establishes her as the property of her husband and no other man, and makes sure any children are his. That’s why the marriage has to be consummated soon after it takes place – proof of virginity ensuring the first born is the husband’s.

    • Carol 3.2

      I’m no fan of the traditional institution of marriage, but the reality is that it’s not going to die any time soon. It’s too embedded in our wider institutions and laws.

      As well as incorporating some dubious patriarchal values, I think traditionally marriage has a lot to do with socio-economic arrangements – ownership of property, role of children in inheritance etc.

      • vto 3.2.1

        You’re right Carol, it has a huge amount to do with the structure of society. It is clearly one of the base foundation blocks. This should be no surprise.

        So here’s a question – if you think society has done pretty well over the last few hundred periods of time then how much of that success can be put down to the particular base foundation stone of marriage?

        • weka 3.2.1.1

          Marriage as we know it now is not universal and not that common in the history of humans. I wouldn’t call it successful. Like Carol said, formalised marriage, sanctioned by the state, is about control of property and progeny.

        • Tracey 3.2.1.2

          vto – or in spite of it in the case of some women and children. Im not dissing “marriage” for those who want it but nor am I prepared to consider it is somehow a beacon for society “success”.

          • vto 3.2.1.2.1

            I don’t disagree that for some the institution has been less than favourable. The long term average is the consideration though, rather than the extremities at each end. But whatever the case there is no doubt that marriage is a beacon for society and its outcomes. Marriage has shaped our society as much as any other structure or institution, if not more. As such it has been one of the main influences on the shape and success of our society, or one of the base foundation stones. Whether it is considered a success or not is immaterial to the influence marriage has had.

            I am not saying it is good or bad, I saying it is one of the main influences. If you consider society relatively successful then marriage has contributed substantially to that, and if you consider society relatively unsuccessfully then marriage has contributed substantially to that.

            • weka 3.2.1.2.1.1

              Here’s another way to think about it. What happens to marriage when you give women economic emancipation?

              • vto

                Well that is quite unrelated to the point I was making.

                But nonetheless I imagine if that happenned then there would be far fewer marriages. Perhaps. I think that society would look rather different. Neither of the sexes would need each other except for procreation. Perhaps procreation emancipation would be an even greater change. But I don’t know – that would appear to be so far from the eons of history that our genes would react against it.

                You don’t seem to have much time for marriage as an institution that contributes to society, which would probably be contrary to the majority view.

                • McFlock

                  Um – surely it would be a marriage between economic equals (well, roughly). Like if same-gender people were to get married.
                         
                   

                • Colonial Viper

                  “economic emancipation”

                  Looking at it in a different way, the large scale entry of women into the workforce was largely forced by wage declines which meant that households needed a second income. Perversely, the entry of a large amount of new labour into the work force depressed wages even further making it worse (overall) for all, both men and women alike. And once you netted out the costs of being in a job eg childcare, transport, clothing, takeaways on the run, the boost to the household from a second income became minimal while life became more stressful.

                  Latest US research suggests that 2 income households are now worse off than 1 income households were 30 years ago.

                  And with both people in a household working, both family life and spousal relationships came under tremendous additional strain.

                  What we need is for households to be economically sustainable on one decent income, whether that is earned by a man or woman.

                  • vto

                    Oh but for that.

                    Perhaps a big brain from the right or from business could explain why that previous position has been lost and how it could be recovered?

                    Problem seems to be that there are no big brains from the right or from business who front on these questions. Perhaps it is worth re-visiting my suggestion of a blog bout with two or three combatants from each side arguing out these propositions. They could each tag-team it. No intruders allowed – only the combatants. There could be Hooton and Farrar from the right, and r0b and McCarten from the left (or some such).

                    There is no decent forum where these important matters can be genuinely and credibly exchanged.

                • weka

                  vto, it already happened, in the 70s with the introduction of the DPB. Once women had access to an income of their own, it was far easier to leave a marriage. And they have. I would guess that many men feel easier about leaving a marriage now too with the knowledge that they’re not leaving someone completely destitute (that’s me being generous, mostly women still end up significantly poorer when a marriage fails).

                  My point being that state sanctioned marriage has been about control of women, children and property rights, and when you take that control away there is less incentive to stay in that particular arrangement. Humans by and large seem much better off in extended family systems with more fluid concepts of partnership. Placing the responsibility for raising children with a wider net of family than with two people who often outgrow their initial attraction and desire to be with each other seems sensible.

                  So really, what is marriage for now? If we now give state sanction, protection and benefits to all couples who stay together a certain amount of time, what is the point of the state being involved in ‘marriage’ at all?

                  And why do those protections and benefits apply only to heteronormative relationships? Doesn’t this actively discourage other forms of family and thus make children more vulnerable?

    • Jaybob 3.3

      “The Fact is men want to marry so they can force themselves on someone else regardless of the other parties wishes in the matter.”

      That is definitely NOT a fact.

      ps Do the capitalised words indicate flecks of spittle?

    • Jackal 3.4

      Most men don’t marry so they can “legally rape their partners”. That’s clearly a statement only a misandrist could make.

      • BernyD 3.4.1

        So why not drop conjugal rights altogether then ?

        • McFlock 3.4.1.1

          sorry? What “conjugal rights”, just to be absolutely clear?

          • BernyD 3.4.1.1.1

            Consumation, ie not valid until sex

            • McFlock 3.4.1.1.1.1

              Can’t find it in the Marriage Act.
              Got a source for your claim that a marriage isn’t “valid” until the spouses have sex? 

              • Carol

                As I understand it, an un-consumated marriage can be reasons for voiding a marriage.

                • McFlock

                  I think the Catholic Church requires the marriage to be unconsummated to get an annulment, but civil law is simply “irreconcilable differences“.
                     
                  Basically, I think BernyD is quite anxious for a change that actually happened quite some time ago. 

            • Carol 3.4.1.1.1.2

              Consummation is required for birthing children and ensuring someone to bequeath property to.

              But the links between these have changed quite a bit in recent years with artificial insemination etc.

              • weka

                I would have thought they changed many decades ago. Many people get married with no intention of having children.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.5

      The Fact is men want to marry so they can force themselves on someone else regardless of the other parties wishes in the matter.

      Spousal Rape has been illegal in NZ for quite some time – I believe from the mid 1970s in fact.

  4. MJC 4

    These issues are distractions from the real issues facing working class new Zealanders.
    I suggest reading “Deer Hunting with Jesus” by Joe Bagent. This book explains why working class voters in the US have been voting for right wing parties– because the left wing parties have been hijacked by middleclass liberal social issues like gay marriage. This is happening in NZ too.

    http://www.amazon.com/Deer-Hunting-Jesus-Dispatches-Americas/dp/030733936X

    • Carol 4.1

      MJC, we can focus on more than one issue at once. And the US situation is not always immediately transferable to NZ. It looks like the marriage equality bill will pass with most young people well behind it…. and the left can continue to focus on crucial issues asset sales, poverty etc.

      It’s not an either/or situation.

    • weka 4.2

      So the left should be made of parties that support prejudiced working class white men?
       
      The US and NZ are such different sets of cultures that I don’t think a useful comparison can be made. 
       
      “This is happening in NZ too.”
       
      How come everyone round here is complaining about Labour moving to the right then?
       

      • Tracey 4.2.1

        weka, no the left should be made up of “right”-thinking people, like ACT and National. ;)

    • Tracey 4.3

      the sky didnt fall when civil unions were permitted (despite such dire predictions from many, including the faith-based) and it won’t when marriage is introduced to all. It’s not gay folks making this a bigger deal than it need be it’s faith-based folk and bigots.

    • gobsmacked 4.4

      Using the “distraction” argument is now itself a distraction.

      The bill was put in the ballot. Can’t be undone. The bill was drawn from the ballot. Can’t be undone.

      Unless you have a time machine, what exactly are you suggesting should be done to prevent the “distraction”? Do you want to make it go away? OK – how about … pass it quickly, with broad support? One injustice addressed, time for the next one.

      So this “distraction” argument clearly fails. Unless “distraction” is code for something else.

    • fatty 4.5

      “These issues are distractions from the real issues facing working class new Zealanders.”

      Typical statement from someone who is not being subjugated….as others have said, there can be more than one issue to focus on. There are many kinds of oppression/exclusion. To focus on one does not mean the others are forgotten, or less worthy. We have gender, ethnic, economic, generational, and sexuality inequality (plus many more). These should all be focused on, not just one.

  5. Tom Gould 5

    “But the level of malice expressed by some of those opposed to marriage equality is disturbing.”

    Compared to what, the level of malice of some of those supporting the Bill?

  6. ak 6

    It’s all over bar the warm glow of satisfaction at Progression’s inexorable march. The Greasy Geek wouldn’t have come out in favour without cast-iron polling confirmation of public opinion.

    The last vestiges of Victoriana and the victims of Catholic barbarism will squeal a bit, but most kiwis are no longer fixated on sex. Life beyond the groin is poised to blossom in all but the fatally afflicted.

    And coming soon, the final stake in ACT and racist hatemongering as Craig scoops up the dregs.

    Happy days.

  7. If we can tear ourselves away from the polarity of gay marriage for a second, is there a discussion here about the value of consciences votes? I’m not sure where I stand on the issue, but they do strike me as very undemocratic. I only ask, because I’m interested in the way politics and morality intersect. Take the US for example (a preoccupation of mine), there they are inextricably intertwined. We separate them with a democratic deficit. Is there a middle ground?

    As I say, I’m not taking a side on this, just interested in people’s views.

    • McFlock 7.1

      Personally, I think every vote should be along the lines of a conscience vote – each mp has to state their position. 
      Maybe the list MPs can to the party-based block/proxy voting, but electorates should be able to see exactly where and why their mp voted X.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      I’m not sure where I stand on the issue, but they do strike me as very undemocratic.

      Translation: I’m not taking sides but this is the side I’m on.
      Almost sounds like Pete G.

      Initially, when representative democracy was first formulated, each MP was envisioned as an independent representative of their electorate and thus only required to vote in accordance with their conscience. With the advent of parties this changed and MPs started voting in line with their party rather than in accordance with their conscience because they were assumed to have been voted for on the parties policies. So this brings us to a members bill where the party doesn’t have a specific political position for a policy. In such a case the vote is left to the MPs conscience as a representative of their electorate.

      For The Greens this isn’t a conscience vote as the party does have a position in favour of marriage equality.

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    Adolf Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all had a conscience. Big deal!

    Why should any of us give a damn about the consciences of Paula Bennett, Judith Collins, Key, Brownlee, Shearer, Cunliffe, or anyone in Parliament?

    Let the people decide in referendums. If I feel strongly on an issue, I can try to convince my neighbors of my view. If I fail, so be it. Maybe in time the majority will agree with me. Or maybe in time I will come to share their views.

    Do politicians have a conscience? Yes, but they aren’t worth shit because they also think they are entitled to dictate to us. Autocracy is immoral. We should decide. NOT them.

    • fatty 8.1

      I don’t like referendums.
      Sadly, I think the bigots would win a referendum on this issue, despite the majority being in favour of marriage equality.

      • AmaKiwi 8.1.1

        You have more confidence in politicians than you do in your fellow citizens?

        Referendums are not about YOU winning. They are about WHO decides.

        In politics we win some and we lose some.

        I would like to know the decision was NOT made by graft, corruption, and bullies.

        I would like to know when John Key, Bill English, Gerry Brownlee, Paula Bennett, and Judith Collins attempt to impose an unpopular law on us, the PEOPLE can veto it in a citizens initiated referendum.

        • fatty 8.1.1.1

          “You have more confidence in politicians than you do in your fellow citizens?”

          Generally yes, for example the anti-smacking legislation. The referendum was against the change, but the politicians were for it. I think the politicians made the correct call because they had better information and were not swayed by misinformation.
          Don’t get me wrong, politicians are dick-heads, and most of them are selfish idiots that should not be trusted, but I hate on the stupid citizens that vote them in. So, I kinda do have more confidence in politicians than I do in our fellow citizens.

          “Referendums are not about YOU winning. They are about WHO decides.”

          Of course its not about me ‘winning’, that’s illogical. How would I lose on every referendum?
          My issue is with how referendums are done, the wording can change the whole process, and those who vote on them are limited. If it was compulsory for everyone to vote, and everyone had access to a balanced argument from both sides, then a referendum would be better.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        I don’t like referendums.

        And I’m in favour of them. We decide what to do, the politicians and the ministries enact it as our administrators. I think we’d get better policies than we do now because the politicians cater to the capitalists rather than the people.

        Sadly, I think the bigots would win a referendum on this issue, despite the majority being in favour of marriage equality.

        Nope, if this issue was left to a referendum the bigots would lose.

        • TheContrarian 8.1.2.1

          Yah, but the risk you take with a referendum is having to accept you might lose. And that case you just have to suck it up.

        • AmaKiwi 8.1.2.2

          We have been taught to distrust ordinary people. Every day I trust my fellow citizens to not kill me on the road, to not adulterate my food, to care for me when I am ill, etc., etc. I trust them to keep my confidential information private, and they do. But Paula Bennett won’t!

          Why are so many of us afraid to trust our neighbors to make an intelligent political decision when we place our lives in their hands every day and they do not fail us?

          Referendums mean we won’t get extreme legislation.

          It takes a lot of work to write and pass a bill. No MP is going to write a bill they think might be overturned in a referendum.

          • vto 8.1.2.2.1

            Exatly right annakiwi.

            I often hear the smug call, when discussing referendums, “oooooh no, I don’t think those yucky people down the mall could be trusted to make such an important decision” while at the exact same moment, in reverse, be confident as all hell that their own decision in such important matters is one to be trusted.

            It is ignorant arrogance and I see it in the posts up and down around here.

            The exact parallel is the one whereby everyone considers themselves to be an above average driver. ha ha – fools.

            • fatty 8.1.2.2.1.1

              “The exact parallel is the one whereby everyone considers themselves to be an above average driver. ha ha – fools.”

              Not really, voting and political opinions are often shaped by the media, misinformation and a lack of understanding as to how policies will play out. In contrast, the ability to drive is dependant on a number of issues, none of which relate to political opinion.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Not really, voting and political opinions are often shaped by the media, misinformation and a lack of understanding as to how policies will play out.

                Well, the MSM and the misinformation that they publish can be addressed with suitable laws and regulations. Lack of understanding can be partially addressed by making the correct information available.

              • vto

                silly fatty. these decisions concern things that happen every day in every life. nothing more nothing less. it sounds like you consider your driving to be above average but i bet it isn’t.

                • fatty

                  “it sounds like you consider your driving to be above average but i bet it isn’t.”

                  Sorry, I’m a cyclist, don’t drive much these days, but I do have an opinion on drivers. Almost every time my life is endangered by motor-monkeys it is usually an old/middle aged white male who doesn’t have the courtesy to use an indicator, or turn his lazy fat head 90 degrees. I have never had an issue with boyracers, even though I live in Chch and often cycle late at night on weekends…so I get your point about shitty drivers are usually the most vocal about other people being bad drivers.

                  But I just don’t get how this is like political opinions…I also cannot understand why you would go on a political blog and accuse people of being arrogant because they believe they have superior political knowledge (why else would we be here?). Everyone on TS that posts their opinion has a superior knowledge of politics compared with the average person. And almost all are “confident as all hell that their own decision in such important matters is one to be trusted”…there is nothing wrong with that.

                  If I went on a computer blog and announced that everyone on here possesses an “ignorant arrogance” because they talk about their interests and opinions as if they know more than the average person…what would happen? They would tell me the average person doesn’t know shit about computers, they would tell me that they know a lot because computers are their interest, and then they would tell me I was a pompous dick…and they’d be right.

        • fatty 8.1.2.3

          “Nope, if this issue was left to a referendum the bigots would lose”

          I’m not so sure, I think almost all of those that are against marriage equality will vote against it in a referendum, whereas only some of those for marriage equality will vote for it. That’s why I don’t like referendums.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2.3.1

            So, no actual reason then, just a feeling.

            I’m reasonably certain that the bigots would vote against marriage equality and that everyone else, which makes up about 80% of the population, would vote for it. My reasoning for this is that a) research shows that most people aren’t bigots and b) the polls give such indication.

            • fatty 8.1.2.3.1.1

              No, its a feeling, based on reasons…

              I’ve never knew it was 80/20?…All I’ve heard is 63% in favour: http://www.researchnz.com/pdf/Media%20Releases/RNZ%20Media%20Release%20-%202011-07-12%20Same%20sex%20marriages.pdf

              “My reasoning for this is that a) research shows that most people aren’t bigots and b) the polls give such indication.”

              I agree with both those points, but questions remain regarding who will turn up to vote in the referendum. ResearchNZ shows that much of the support comes from 18-34 age group…we only need to go back a few months to note how politically apathetic this group is.
              If we look at what happened in Slovenia, more people wanted equal gay rights, but a referendum was forced by the bigot minority, who all turned up for the vote. Many of those (mostly younger) people who were for equality, were not ‘for it enough’ to get out and vote. So in Slovenia, they had opinion polls supporting equality, but when it came time to tick a box, many couldn’t be bothered. And from what I’ve seen, their younger people are far more politically engaged than ours. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovenian_same-sex_union_referendum,_2012#Opinion_polls

              So I agree that your A & B points are true, I just don’t believe it will carry on over into a referendum, With Family First, the conservatives and many churches bringing massive amounts of funding, it would be a close. Its hard to motivate people to vote on an issue which generally doesn’t affect them – it affects the bigots

              • Draco T Bastard

                I just don’t believe it will carry on over into a referendum,

                Well then, we have to work on getting our people engaged rather than just saying that it’s too hard.

    • QoT 8.2

      Switzerland. Women’s right to vote. 1971.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1

        Nobody said it was perfect. Personally, I suspect that they went about it the wrong way but that does seem to be how affirming basic human rights have gone in pretty much every country. Meanwhile:

        In a nationwide referendum on June 5, 2005, the Swiss people approved by 58% a registered partnership law, granting same-sex couples the same rights and protections as opposite-sex couples, except:

        It does seem that they weren’t that far behind us in same sex unions. Considering the numbers I’d say that was a result of that Universal Suffrage that you mentioned.

        • QoT 8.2.1.1

          Nobody said it was perfect.

          Well, no, Draco, but AmaKiwi did say Let the people decide in referendums. This is obviously not actually a guarantee of just or equitable outcomes when the people whose rights are being decided on are either a minority or, in the case of 1971, don’t get to vote at all.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.1.1

            No, there’s no guarantees but, as I said, on human rights I believe it’s a question of how you ask. If you ask a dominant group if others should have the same rights as them then they will say no (especially if that dominant group is a minority) but if you format and phrase the question correctly then they will have no option but to say yes because saying no would remove their own legitimacy. i.e:

            Looking for universal human rights we would like you to answer these questions:
            Should you be able to vote?
            Should you be able to marry?
            .
            .
            .

            Throw in some counter balancing questions and I’m pretty sure that you’d find out basic human rights quick smart.

            • QoT 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Sure. If we remove all the problems with holding referenda on basic human rights, then they’re totally unproblematic!

              All I’m responding to is the notion that sitting back and saying ~let the people decide~ is an unproblematic statement that we can all aspire to.

  9. Richard Down South 9

    More proof the act of Marriage should have nothing to do with any religion, when it comes to the State. The Catholic church doesnt get upset if someone is married in a Hindu wedding, or a non church wedding (at the beach/in a park), so they and other churches should keep their noses out of this.

    “Thou shalt not judge” & the concept of free will, etc, surely

  10. AmaKiwi 10

    “churches should keep their noses out of this”

    But it’s OK for corporations to meddle in every parliamentary decision?

    • Richard Down South 10.1

      They should keep their noses out too…

      • AmaKiwi 10.1.1

        +1

        We will not get control of our country until we can limit election bribes (a.k.a. campaign donations) and Beehive bribes (a.k.a. lobbyists).

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  • New parents deserve support – Labour will deliver
    ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    National has refused a briefing from a group of Maui's dolphins experts, whose research shows 80 per cent of New Zealanders want greater protection for the critically endangered dolphin, the Green Party said today.Dolphin campaigner Gemma McGrath and marine scientist...
    Greens | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    “Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for Palestine...
    Mana | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no need for further research, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Labour backs the public call...
    Labour | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Valley School in Pukekohe was advised in an email from the...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning, says Maryan Street, Labour’s State Services spokesperson.  ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has already lost hundreds of jobs, Labour says. Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Hamilton-based list MP Sue...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must not be used as an excuse to take resources away from the capital, Wellington Labour MPs...
    Labour | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “While the regions are crying out for sustainable growth and job opportunities,...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way for other alternatives to be given a fair hearing, Wellington Labour MPs Grant Robertson and...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Reo Māori Policy Launch
    MANA will be launching its Reo Māori policy at 10am Thursday 24 July, at Matangireia (the old Māori Affairs Select Committee room at Parliament). We will also be addressing our concerns regarding the Minister of Māori Affairs Māori Language Strategy...
    Mana | 22-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    The Green Party welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority's draft decision announced today not to allow the $90 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington to proceed."Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have...
    Greens | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable quota market, said Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor. “Our reputation as a Lamb producer...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Ae Marika! 22 July 2014
    The big storm has gone, but the damage that it did and the saturation levels that it reached meant that smaller storms quickly overwhelmed roading, and water-flow systems again in the north. And although certain individuals are talking up the...
    Mana | 21-07
  • 2014 Roger Award nominations now open
    The Roger Award is for The Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2014 Nominations are now open please visit the website to nominate the worst TNC in Aotearoa. You will need to include reasons why you think your...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a fund to create breakthrough opportunities for jobs and sustainable growth, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 21-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Read our full regional development policy Download Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept Kare Kare beach with Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey. We talked...
    Labour | 21-07
  • Something Fishy About Nick Smith’s Game.
    NICK SMITH’S crude intimidation of the Fish and Game Council points to the bleakest of environmental futures should National be re-elected on 20 September. It is now considerably clearer than 60 percent of New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and streams that...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Key’s odd personal hypocrisy in Epsom, his kiss of death to the Maori Par...
    Aside from tricking Colin Craig into running in an electorate National can crush him in, John Key has announced three things in his election deals that are ill thought out. The first is his deal with the Maori Party. At a time...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Why it’s all over for the Conservative Party
    Whatever flirtations were made months ago to Colin Craig by National strategists, the polling must have come back showing them too much of their soft urban vote would walk if Key was in Government with Colin Craig.  The necessary inside muscle to...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Balance in the NZ Herald and has something gone terribly wrong at the Heral...
    So the ‘balance’ in the NZ Herald this year for the election will be… Guest columnists will include the acerbic Cactus Kate from the radical right, former Labour candidate Josie Pagani and broadcaster Mark Sainsbury. Right, so that would be...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Phew – National Party hubris seals strategy
    The National Party are bot listening to Matthew Hooton. Phew. Hooton has crunched the numbers and based on past polling National always drops 6 points come election day. National aren’t listening. Barging through the need to cut deals with all...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Noam Chomsky on the TPPA
    Noam Chomsky on the TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Unacceptable secrecy around labelling people terrorists
    It’s good to see the Sunday Star-Times attempting to get more information from government agencies about Daryl Jones, the Kiwi killed in a US drone strike in Yemen.  The paper is right to complain about the government’s refusal to provide...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • A critical deconstruction of John Key – what’s behind the facade?
    Aspiring national leaders need a popular narrative of their rise to power.  Once in office, the narrative can be refined to fit the requirements of leadership and re-election.  Such is the purpose of John Roughan’s John Key: Portrait of  a...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Radio Live – off Mark
    The Top Marks lasted five weeks on Mediaworks radio station The Sound. This may have something to do with last being relevant in the mid-1980s when there were only two commercial FM licences in Auckland and they were on one...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Wellingtonians say ‘No!’ to Israeli aggression
    .   . Wellington, NZ, 26 July – About 600 Wellingtonians, and from further afield, met at the Cuba Mall Bucket fountain under a wintery sunny sky, to protest Israel’s continuing aggression in the Gaza strip, which – at the...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Shasha Ali – I am an indigenous person but I will never call ...
    Yesterday was indeed a politically hectic day in Aoteaora New Zealand, especially if you are an activist that cares about both human and non-human animal rights. Protest actions were organised to demand an end to factory farming from about noon, and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine or ‘Pro-Peace’?
    Latest protest for people of Gaza in Auckland In the past couple of weeks I have heard a lot of people say that they are neither Pro-Israel nor Pro-Palestine; they are pro-peace. This is a stand that I respect. Everyone...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • So we can’t feed the kids, the poor OR the sick now?
    Let me get this straight. We can borrow $10 billion in tax cuts over the last 6 years for the richest NZers, but we can not feed the kids, the poor or even the sick now? Revealed: Warning over hospital food...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Kim Dotcom has said it, Laila Harre has said it and now David fisher says i...
    Fascinating piece by David Fisher in the NZ Herald breaking down how many opportunities the Government had to listen to officials and stop KDC entering the country and concludes KDC should never have been allowed in… It prepared papers for the...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • You, Me and the GCSB Public Meetings
      The GCSB and TICS legislation rushed through Parliament by John Key represent the largest erosion of civil liberties this country has seen since the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. In the post Snowden world we now know a mass surveillance state operating...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • A feminist takedown of Whale Oil
    Whale Oil does it again. How many more times is he going to attack and discredit Tania Billingsley publicly? In a short blog published on Wednesday ‘Nothing to be sorry for‘ Whale Oil also known as Cameron Slater, is defending John Key...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Ares Rolinson – New Zealand First – We’ll Be Back
    Earlier this week, Bomber penned a missive which set out in some detail why he thought my people, New Zealand First, wouldn’t be making it back into Parliament later this year. Being a pugnacious, vindictive sort who’d never let such an...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • The changes teachers DO want
    “Oh you teachers, you just want everything to stay the same – what’s wrong with choice?  Bloody teachers.  Typical that you don’t want testing – trying to hide that you’re all useless. What about our poor kids?  Gnash gnash rant rant...” That’s...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • A feminist take down of Whale Oil
    Whale Oil does it again. How many more times is he going to attack and discredit Tania Billingsley publicly? In a short blog published on Wednesday Nothing to be sorry for Whale Oil also known as Cameron Slater, is defending John Key...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • On so called Labour Party ‘distractions’
    The right wing of the Labour Party are constructing a narrative that Labour need to stop chasing distractions and focus on the real issues that matter and not these silly GCSB, inequality, domestic violence, media bias, TPPA issues. It is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • Selfies: Labour’s Electorate MPs are at it again
    IT’S A LITTLE TRIANGLE of grass at the corner of Rewa Street and Mt Eden Road, ideal for election hoardings. Wandering along Mt Eden Road last Saturday morning to our weekly appointment with the brunch menu at Orvieto, my family and...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • Well, well, well – Jonathan Coleman did know about FBI interest into Kim ...
    Last years GCSB Town Hall meeting in Auckland Oh dear, the cover up and lies are starting to fall over now aren’t they… Coleman knew of FBI interest in Dotcom pre-residency decisionGovernment minister Jonathan Coleman knew the FBI was interested...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Why You Must March Against Factory Farming This Saturday, 12pm
    The rally this Saturday is critical because this is the FIRST TIME IN NEW ZEALAND HISTORY that a major party has agreed to ban all intensive factory farming practices. The Labour party, the Greens, Internet-Mana, the SPCA, SAFE and other...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Astronaut tweets photo of explosions over Israel and Gaza from space
      This is what a war zone looks like from space: From aboard the International Space Station, German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted this image as the station passed over Israel and Gaza in what he called ‘his saddest photo yet’....
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • When Firstline are focusing on flag burning rather than dead Palestinian ch...
    The IDF are butchering children in UN schools this morning and what’s the big issue on TV3s Firstline? Flag burning. How pathetic, and what a slap in the face to Mike McRoberts who is currently risking his life in Gaza...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • ‘Victim’ vs ‘Terrorist’
    ‘Victim’ vs ‘Terrorist’...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Petition asking TVNZ to stand Hosking down as election moderator jumps to o...
    In just a day the petition calling on TVNZ to replace Hosking as the election moderator has jumped to over 2500, you can sign it here. The defence that the Right are trying to run here is that John Campbell...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • When the mainstream media go feral: the descent into sheer farce, according...
    . . It had to happen, I guess… The media pack-campaign against Labour Leader David Cunliffe has managed to  plumb new depths of absurdity. On TV3, on 24 July,  TV3/Tova O’Brien ran this report on their 6PM News bulletin, about...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting: MIKE HOSKING FOR PM?
    Yes indeed. Mike Hosking is for the PM. And now he’s able to do even more as moderator (or should that be immoderator) of TVNZ’s election debates. Here at the Coalition for Better Broadcasting we feel it’s pretty safe to say that...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • The lie that “There is no alternative” to neo-liberal economic policies
    Supporters of President Maduro in Venezuela rally   Since the 1980s we have had drubbed into our heads that there was no alternative to the economic and social policies unleashed at that time. It even had it’s own acronym – TINA. The...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • A Kanaky tale of mining skulduggery and environmental courage
    Florent Eurisouké … still campaigning against mining. Photo: Del Abcede/PMC David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific AN EXTRAORDINARY story of mining skulduggery and a courageous struggle by indigenous Kanak environmental campaigners has been captured in a poignant new documentary,...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • UNBREAKING: The list of questions Mike Hosking will use in first TVNZ leade...
    “Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the first TVNZ leaders debate being held live in the gloriously beautiful Sky City ball room. It’s such a beautiful building boys and girls, we are so blessed to have Sky City...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Internet Party Party review
      I have been to A LOT of political party functions in my time, and they tend to be dull affairs at the best of times but what is happening with Internet MANA is something quite exciting. I went to...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – after learning Hosking will be the leaders debate ...
    I have to be honest, I had made the decision last night  to accept Seven Sharp’s hastily offered opportunity to appear on their show after I savagely criticised the bullshit whitewash story they did on John Key’s favourite far right hate speech...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 | Press Release This is another reminder that the National Government does not care about the survival of the Maui’s dolphin National...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Message from CTU President Helen Kelly
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Message from CTU President Helen Kelly Dear MikeThere’s only 43 days until September 3, when voting in the General Election starts. The last day to vote is September 20.Thanks heaps for signing...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour Posted on July 23, 2014 by admin in Joe Carolan, Press Releases“Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: We must act to save our dolphins A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: School told to manipulate national standards data Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Regional economies must have tailored plans News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Auditor General slams Shared Services project The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said....
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation While activists gather in London to discuss strategies to tackle female genital mutilation, communities across Sierra Leone have been taking...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression The Gambian government must abolish the laws and iron fisted practices that have resulted in two decades of widespread human rights violations,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • A blog from the front lines of Palestine: It’s time for a new narrative
    I don’t know if I follow trouble or if trouble follows me, but somehow I seem to have found myself near one of the world’s hotspots again. The difference this time is that instead of sitting in some obscure location,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood – The Path Ahead
    It’s well established that Labour has had a difficult couple of weeks. Getting back on to a successful path requires our focus to shift from looking inwards to outwards, heightened discipline, and inner conviction. While my assessment of New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Employers liquidating companies to avoid paying minimum entitlements
    Across the union movement we have seen a number of documented cases now where companies are liquidating their business in order to avoid their legal obligations, in terms of paying the minimum entitlements to their workers. The most recent example...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Carolan : Positively Controversial
    The protest in Auckland last weekend that the NZ Herald claimed was attend by only a hundred people. Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week. A good start would be for all their...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Forest & Bird supports Fish and Game’s freshwater advocacy
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is concerned over allegations the Fish & Game Council has been threatened over its advocacy for freshwater quality....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Time for Epsom to say “no deal”
    “Epsom voters will be disgusted by the deal announced today to try and once again gift their electorate to the ACT Party”, says Labour candidate for Epsom Michael Wood....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Petition for release the of seven Bah
    At the invitation of the Honourable Annette King the New Zealand Bahá'í community is presenting a petition to the House of Representatives asking the NZ government to demand the release of the seven former leaders of the Baha’i community in...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Capital gains in the capital city
    Victoria University will today be hosting a public debate on the merits of more comprehensive capital gains tax—a step which taxation expert Associate Professor Dr David White considers would be beneficial for New Zealand. Organised by student group Beta Alpha...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Te Kupenga supports efforts of anti-violence campaigner
    Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga – National Network of Stopping Violence Services (Te Kupenga) wholeheartedly endorses statements made by DJ, Kickboxer and Anti-Violence Campaigner Richie Hardcore this morning on TV3’s Firstline about the role of men...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • iPredict Ltd2014 Election Update #28
    The chances of a fiscal surplus in 2014/15 continue to plunge and are down to 50%, according to the combined wisdom of the 7000 registered traders on New Zealand’s online predictions market, iPredict. The forecast surplus is now just 0.22%...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • TPPA is a bad idea
    “Currently New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, the USA, Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Mexico are still negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Officially talks finished last August, but the reality is that they keep...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Getting privacy right in our data future
    Privacy Commissioner John Edwards welcomes the release of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum’s report....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good
    Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good A conference is to be held in Wellington on 1 and 2 August with the aim of starting a NZ-wide discussion about the quality of our democracy. The conference is hosted jointly...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Paddock to plate, and smart roads possible
    New Zealand’s international brand and exports could grow significantly with the creation of a data sharing ‘eco-system’ according to a paper released by the NZ Data Futures Forum today....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Ngapuhi wants to overthrow Maori King
    Ngapuhi is planning a hui for the end of the year – organised by iwi leader David Rankin – in which the future of the King Movement will be discussed....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Housing warrant of fitness little help for sick children
    A housing warrant of fitness has been promoted as a way of preventing sickness among children in poverty. The attached report shows that such a regime would have little impact on health outcomes but would come at a considerable cost,...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Upcoming Fabian Events in Auckland
    Sue Bradford ’s PhD thesis, 'A major left wing think tank in Aotearoa—an impossible dream or a call to action?' looked at why no major left wing think tank has developed in Aotearoa and whether the left in 2010-2013 was...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Senior Citizens, Not Senile Citizens
    The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the merits and costs of the “ No car? No problem! Getting around your community without a car” brochure, released by the Office for Senior Citizens. The brochure’s purpose is to explain to senior citizens...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • NZ Troops Hone Their Skills in Queensland
    Around 260 New Zealand troops are on a 25-day Australian-led warfighting exercise in Townsville, Northern Queensland....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Maritime Union backs Green Party call for shipping lanes
    The Maritime Union is backing the Green Party’s policy to implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping, announced today....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Auckland Council Bypasses Public, Ditches Rodeo Ban
    Auckland Council Bypasses Public, Ditches Rodeo Ban The Auckland Council has announced that they are abandoning the rodeo ban on council land, put into place in 2008. This was done with virtually no consultation, says SAFE, the animal advocacy organisation....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor
    Ministers Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor Police Minister Anne Tolley and Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman have a rare opportunity this week to gain first-hand knowledge about Indonesian police and military activities in West...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Minister Right to Give Fish & Game a Serve
    Reacting to Radio New Zealand’s report concerning allegations that Conservation Minister Nick Smith warned the Fish and Game Council that it acts like a 'rabid NGO', Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now
    The Maritime Union is urging the Government to push through a Bill reforming the fishing industry....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Ivory trade laws look set to tighten following petition
    A petition mounted by an Auckland schoolteacher has won the support of a powerful Select Committee and has moved the New Zealand closer towards a fully enforceable ivory trading ban....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Bilingual guide a demonstration of leadership
    “Waikato River Restoration: A Bilingual Guide” to the Waikato River that saw Tainui Waikato, Landcare Trust and the Waikato River Authority working together is a demonstration of rangatiratanga or leadership says Race Relations Commissioner...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    "It's great to have Georgie on board" said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP. "She's strong-minded, stands up to be counted, and has fought for the rights of those who haven't had any - and won. That...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Sir Bob Harvey
    SUSAN Sir Bob Harvey was behind the transformation of Norm Kirk, and one of New Zealand's most popular Prime Ministers. He also advised Bill Rowling, David Lange and Helen Clark, the latter as Labour Party President. Wild Westie a new...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Rod Drury
    Xero boss Rod Drury told TVNZ’s Q+A programme what the political parties are offering at this election is ‘all too small.’ “There's no policy, all it is a bunch of incremental stuff. “All too small. What we want to do...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Gerry Brownlee
    Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee Rules Out Fastracking Auckland’s City Rail Loop Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee told TV1’s Q+A programme this morning that he won’t be bringing forward an Auckland City Rail loop based on new figures showing...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Owen interviews Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey
    Lisa Owen interviews Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey Headlines: Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey suggests “we can move on some” changes to welfare for New Zealanders in Australia New Zealanders “brothers and sisters” who make “a massive contribution”,...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Flavell and Harawira on The Nation
    Lisa Owen interviews Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Mana leader Hone Harawira Headlines: Hone Harawira says realistically his Mana Party can take three Maori seats, Te Ururoa Flavell sticks to prediction that Maori Party will win all seven....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • The Nation 26,27 July: Flavell & Harawira, Joe Hockey
    On The Nation this weekend…. With the Maori seats primed to play a pivotal role this election, Torben Akel reports from the key battlegrounds and meets the top contenders. Then the Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Mana Party...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Announcement of New Zealand First Candidate for Rangitīkei
    New Zealand First has endorsed Dr Romuald (‘Rom’) Rudzki as the candidate for the Rangitīkei Electorate in the 2014 General Election....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Labour Offer Len Brown a Hotel Tax
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Labour Party's plan to allow councils to levy new 'pillow taxes' and regional petrol taxes. Reacting to this afternoon’s NZ Herald report Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union ,...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Cell phone evidence a first
    Cell phone evidence a first Evidence gathered solely from a cell phone has been used for the first time to convict a Hastings man for possessing child sexual abuse pictures. Michael Lawrence Worsnop, a 29-year-old orchard worker pleaded guilty to...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • New Zealand Aid Worker Helping in Gaza
    A New Zealand Red Cross nurse working in Gaza says she has never experienced anything like the current conflict in her long aid work career....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Parking officers deserve safety at work
    The union representing the Auckland Transport parking officer severely beaten on July 17 says everyone has a right to go about their job without fear for their safety....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Caritas Aotearoa NZ to provide Gaza humanitarian aid
    Caritas Jerusalem is providing medical assistance, food and other necessities to the thousands of vulnerable people affected by the escalating conflict in Gaza, and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is contributing an initial $20,000 to support the humanitarian...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • ALCP challenges parties to support Charlotte’s Web
    The leader of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party Julian Crawford is calling on all other political parties to state their position on using cannabis oil to treat pediatric epilepsy....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Oxfam accepts cheque from Pacific Corporation Foundation
    Oxfam New Zealand has accepted a cheque for almost $1000 today from the Pacific Corporation Foundation toward recovery efforts in the Solomon Islands, following April’s flash flooding that left thousands homeless....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Draft report and decision – Pūhoi to Warkworth proposal
    The Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance: Pūhoi to Warkworth section Board of Inquiry has released its draft report and decision....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • New Zealanders willing to pay tax to protect dolphins
    A report released this week shows a large majority of New Zealanders want Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins protected and they are prepared to pay for it....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Stop Smart Meters
    “The Democrats for Social Credit Party (DSC) wholeheartedly endorses the Stop Smart Meters campaign for a moratorium on installations of smart meters until the technology is proven not be a risk to health, and until home owners are given a...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Maori Roll Electors Urged to Vote Strategically
    Voters enrolled in the seven Maori electorates must learn to maximize their influence by voting strategically, according to the Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau, Rev Te Hira Paenga....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Politicians Ignore Families’ Concerns on Street Prostitution
    Family First NZ says that politicians are ignoring the concerns of families, lack the will to take appropriate action, and are happy to drag the ongoing problem of street prostitution into the next parliamentary term....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Plunket celebrates Te Wiki o te Reo Māori
    Plunket is proud to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (21-27 July), with Plunket people across the country among several thousand New Zealanders taking part and increasing their kete of knowledge in te reo....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Coleman must quit or be sacked over Dotcom case
    Immigration New Zealand has done the right thing in distancing itself from Jonathan Coleman’s claims that ministers were not aware of FBI involvement in Kim Dotcom’s residency application, says the Internet Party. Internet Party leader Laila Harré...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Auckland Councillors, Not Emperors
    25 JULY 2014 Responding to the NZ Herald report that Auckland Councillors have voted to keep their ratepayer-funded business class travel perks, and considered new rules that would have exempted councillors from Auckland City's parking charges, Taxpayers’...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Cunliffe Looks Dodgy Lunching with Sex Offender
    Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig says that David Cunliffe's social meeting with a known sex offender while on holiday "looks pretty dodgy."...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Taxpayers’ Union Back LGNZ Calls For Greater Transparency
    The Taxpayers’ Union is backing Local Government New Zealand’s calls for the Official Information Act to be extended to cover the Local Government Commission. Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Lecture series to provide insight into 2014 election
    Could National’s refusal to reform MMP lead to the defeat of the government? Is the media providing voters with the information they require to make an informed electoral decision? What directions might John Key’s leadership take if he secures...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • National Rally Against Factory Farming
    Animal advocates and members of the public all over New Zealand will unite for a ‘National Day of Action Against Factory Farming’ Saturday, tomorrow 26 July in response to two recent exposés that showed horrific conditions on pig factory farms....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Women in Politics Finds Support at Conference
    Women in Politics, a brand-new organisation for New Zealand women in political office, was met with overwhelming support at the 2014 Local Government New Zealand Conference held this weekend in Nelson....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
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