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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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