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Christopher Luxon’s many and varied abortion takes

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 am, June 27th, 2022 - 103 comments
Categories: abortion, Christopher Luxon, feminism, jacinda ardern, national, same old national, Social issues - Tags:

The overturning of Rowe v Wade has made the politics of abortion become topical throughout the world.

In New Zealand the response from Labour was pretty quick and to the point.

Jacinda Ardern was unequivocal.  From Radio New Zealand:

“Watching the removal of a woman’s fundamental right to make decisions over their own body is incredibly upsetting,” she said.

“Here in New Zealand we recently legislated to decriminalise abortion and treat it as a health rather than criminal issue.

“That change was grounded in the fundamental belief that it’s a woman’s right to choose. People are absolutely entitled to have deeply held convictions on this issue. But those personal beliefs should never rob another from making their own decisions.

“To see that principle now lost in the United States feels like a loss for women everywhere.

“When there are so many issues to tackle, so many challenges that face woman and girls, we need progress, not to fight the same fights and move backwards.”

And Chris Luxon?  Not so much.

His initial statement was that it was not an issue for New Zealand.  From One news:

In a statement on Saturday afternoon, Luxon said the US court ruling was “not a New Zealand issue”.

“Roe v Wade is an issue for the American people who have a different set of constitutional arrangements than New Zealand. It is not a New Zealand issue,” he said.

“We respect that amongst the public and within all political parties there is a range of views on this sensitive issue. That is why abortion laws have always been a conscience vote in the New Zealand Parliament.”

But he was forced to take further action after being undermined by Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor who in a deleted social media post expressed the view that it was a good day.

Then Luxon tweeted this:

He obviously saw the need to say that our abortion laws were “ultimately settled” by the last Parliament.

The language had the same level of passivity as the comments of Gorush, Kavanuagh and Barrett who in their senate confirmation hearing each used soothing passive language to create the direct impression that they would not overrule Rowe v Wade.

Luxon then chose to make a third statement in the hope that the issue would be finished.

This is an important issue for Luxon.  He has said previously that abortion is murder and his fundamentalist christian leanings are well known.

But you have to wonder about his internal sense of morality.  Should someone who thinks that something is murder dismiss doing anything about it because it may hurt his election chances?

This has come at a bad time for Luxon.  And if you think that National MPs in a future National Government will restrain themselves and not seek to change abortion laws through private members bills then I admire your optimism.

103 comments on “Christopher Luxon’s many and varied abortion takes ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Would another way to look at this without the particular "trigger" that abortion carries, be to imagine if the issue in question was capital punishment?

    That is, it's not lawful here, but Luxon may have a personal view about the electric chair, the noose and the lethal injection similar to his anti-abortion view, that he claims won't affect his party's actions, yet he holds the view personally.

    What kind of man does that make him?

    What kind of outcomes might follow, were he to become Prime Minister of our country?

  2. tsmithfield 2

    I really don't know why such a big issue is being made about this.

    Firstly, I don't see any inconsistency or inaccuracies with any of the statements above from Luxon.

    Secondly, there is really little difference between Luxon and Bill English so far as views on abortion are concerned. Just because English had personally conservative views on abortion had no effect on the party position on that so far as I know.

    That is why these sort of issues tend to be a conscience issue as Luxon points out in his first statement.

    So, taking Luxon's statements together, it appears that National will keep decisions about abortion law as a conscience issue. And furthermore, National is not going to attempt to unilaterally change those laws.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      The language shift is significant. First of all Luxon abortion votes were a conscience issue, then he said the laws were settled which is similar to what the recent Supreme Court nominees said then he used stronger language. You will have to ask him why he issued three different statements in 24 hours.

      And if it still is a conscience issue then there are a number of National MPs with strong views on abortion which could still mean that if National was elected there would be a shift to the right on abortion law.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        You are still applying the US situation to the NZ context.

        Overturning Roe v Wade has been on the agenda for the conservative wing of the GOP for decades and their goal was to always get enough conservative judges appointed to do that. This was no stealth attack in that regard. It was why many left wingers deciding to not back Clinton in 2016 was such an own goal.

        We don’t have the same conservative influence in the main right leaning political party here in NZ. The liberal and socially conservative wings of the National party are both strongly represented.

        • observer 2.1.1.1

          Can you name 10 or even 5 current "liberal" National MPs?

          Let's be very generous with our definitions, and put aside all the other issues, so Chris Bishop and Nicola Willis get a pass. Even though they voted against their so-called consciences on gay conversion therapy so their "liberal" stance is words, not action.

          Who else?

          And more to the point … who would be prepared to fight hard? Because their opponents certainly will.

        • Populuxe1 2.1.1.2

          You are still applying the US situation to the NZ context.

          Well duh. National are clearly modelling their campaigning after the Republican model in the topics and language they use.

          • Gosman 2.1.1.2.1

            No they aren't. They are focusing on the weak areasof the govt which is failure to deliver and the cost of living. How is that modelling after what the GOP is doing in the US?

      • James Simpson 2.1.2

        Only if they want to commit political suicide.

        Luxon is in this game for 1 reason only. To be PM. His own personal views and principles will be sidelined in pursuit of that ambition.

      • tsmithfield 2.1.3

        That is always the possibility with any conscience issue I guess. But for that to happen it would require parliament as a whole to become much more conservative I expect.

        That is because National is a fairly broad party with a wide range of views. So, even with a dominant National presence in parliament, I doubt there would be enough support for such a move unless parliament as a whole had become a lot more conservative.

        Also, such a move that was seen to be the consequence of the dominance of any political party is likely to be electoral suicide for the next election.

        So, it is basically never going to happen.

        • mickysavage 2.1.3.1

          National is not a broad church. A significant number have very significant morally conservative views. If it was left up to their caucus then New Zealand would be in a similar state to parts of the US.

          • Anker 2.1.3.1.1

            Mickey, if what you are saying is true (which I don’t think it is) how come there wasn’t mass voting against conversion therapy or self if? There wasn’t

            You are clutching at straws trying to find an angle to convince people who have swung from Labour to National, to swing back. It looks a little desperate

          • Anker 2.1.3.1.2

            Mickey, if what you are saying is true (which I don’t think it is) how come there wasn’t mass voting against conversion therapy or self if? There wasn’t

            You are clutching at straws trying to find an angle to convince people who have swung from Labour to National, to swing back. It looks a little desperate

    • observer 2.2

      You're correct that National will not try to overturn the abortion law as a government.

      But of course that's not how it works. Changes on social issues often come about through private member's bills (Seymour, Wall, Bradford etc).

      As a "conscience issue", 35 National MPs voted against the current law. A future National caucus (much larger than now if they are in government) will contain many very conservative MPs, like Simon O'Connor or Simeon Brown, in safe seats. They will put member's bills in the ballot. Sooner or later one will be drawn, and (because they're smart enough to work the system) it will only be a "minor" change … at first.

      Marriage equality came in partly because Key was prepared to support it. Ardern put abortion on the agenda. A PM has huge influence, it's naive to think otherwise.

      Luxon won't lead publicly, but he will nod and wink.

      Again, it is NOT about official government policy. Luxon understands this, and we all should too.

      • Gosman 2.2.1

        National is a broad church (pardon the choice of words here) right of center political party. It will include many social coservatives as was well as liberals. It is unlikely to get a social conservative majority and certainly it is extremely unlikely to get one that will have the ability to pass changes to Abortion laws. Remember ACT is VERY socially liberal on this issue and there is unlikely to be much support for this policy outside some Labour MP's and NZ First (if they get back in).

        • observer 2.2.1.1

          You're out of date. National's candidate selection is more and more conservative.

          The "liberal" National MPs? Amy Adams, Nikki Kaye, Paula Bennett, Anne Tolley … all gone. All voted for the current law.

          • Belladonna 2.2.1.1.1

            Some of the conservative 'no' voters from National have also gone.

            It will be very interesting to see National's candidate selection in many of the marginal seats – which went Labour in 2020, but will almost certainly revert to National in 2023. [Yes, speculation. However, informed by the unprecedented Jacinda bounce in 2020 – which is unlikely to be ever repeated; and the current neck-and-neck polling.]

            If, National does opt for highly Conservative (socially – they'll all be conservative politically), then we'll know what to think.

            Just remember that social conservatism on this (and other issues) crosses party lines. Nania Mahuta voted 'no' for abortion in NZ in a conscience vote, but is now castigating the US for a judicial ruling she must (surely) personally agree with.

            Please, please – don't make the assumption that Luxon speaks for me on abortion (or, indeed on other topics) – he most certainly doesn't.

            But, I really don't see the undeniable outrage in NZ over the US decision, influencing domestic politics.

        • mpledger 2.2.1.2

          All these types of arguments were trotted out by Republicans implying, if not stating, that they would not challenge Roe vs Wade … and then they did. If you support a woman's right to have autonomy over her own body then you can't take the opposition's mealy mouth excuses about why something can't happen.

    • Bearded Git 2.3

      But tsmith, I wouldn't vote for a Labour or Green party where the leader called abortion murder.

      That is the massive political problem Luxon has here and it is not going to go away.

      “Events, dear boy, events.”

      • Belladonna 2.3.1

        Given that (I gather) you would never vote for a right wing party under any circumstances, you're not the target group here.

        The question is, will centrist and right wing voters change their vote, purely because of Luxon's personal views on abortion?

        I don't see any evidence (yet) that they will.

  3. Ad 3

    This weekend feels like National's cut into Labour's support has peaked.

    I may be wilfully over-reading the vibe.

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      Well, Jacinda gave us a holiday, while Luxon gave us a glimpse of his dark heart.

      🙂

    • lprent 3.2

      I suspect that the probable consequences of encouraging the conservative hypocrites saying one thing and doing another became somewhat clearer over this weekend with the news from the Barbarian States of America.

      Incidentally I find it interesting the current distribution of states in the US with laws ready to change abortion laws. They equate quite closely to old slave holder states or states that had battles over slavery, and to where money from those states went to after their civil war over slavery. Something that seems to becoming more explicit when you look at example with the crowd response to this dipshit republican with Trump looming over her shoulder. "GOP lawmaker calls Roe ruling ‘victory for white life’ as Trump rally cheers"

      Hardly surprising when you look at the historical track record of treating black women as brood cattle for breeding more slaves without their consent by forced 'marriages' and rape. I guess that attitude has followed on because this decision is overwhelmingly going to impact on women who can’t as easily can't escape over state borders for economic reasons – with a massive racial bias.

      When you look at 'pro-choice' in the US, it seems to have a major smear of racist slavers accompanying it. It wouldn't surprise me if it does here as well.

      • Matiri 3.2.1

        Opinion piece in the Guardian expanding on that Lprent, and the serious implications for the Union.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/26/second-civil-war-us-abortion

        The struggle over abortion has already revealed how the divide plays out. Anti-abortion factions control the pseudo-legitimate court system and the poorer states in the Union. Pro-choice factions have responded, first of all, with their superior financial resources. Oregon started the Oregon Reproductive Equity Fund with $15m. New York is establishing a fund to make the state a “safe haven”. California governor Gavin Newsom plans to add $57m to the state budget to deal with out-of-state patients.

      • Bearded Git 3.2.2

        Doubtless the Supreme Court will strike out all legislation preventing slavery soon. And Trump will come out in support.

        • Obtrectator 3.2.2.1

          Can just see Clarence Thomas supporting that one.

        • Gosman 3.2.2.2

          There is a specific Amendment to the US Constitution which makes Slavery unconstitutional. The SCOTUS would have to ignore that if they were going to do what you suggest.

      • mickysavage 3.2.3

        Who would have guessed that misogynists and racist slavers would have so much in common.

    • Patricia Bremner 3.3

      Ad. This is a huge issue for many women, left and right, and he does not convince .

      • Belladonna 3.3.1

        I agree that it is a huge issue for NZ women across the political spectrum.

        However, I would be more interested in right-wing or centrist women saying that Luxon doesn't convince on this issue. TBH, for some left-wing voters, Luxon could say that NZ is in the Southern Hemisphere, and it wouldn't convince….

        • Incognito 3.3.1.1

          Luxon doesn’t have to convince anybody of the geographical location of NZ, that’s a strawman. He was also not convincing anybody about paying healthcare workers at least enough to keep up with CoL increases. The Leader of the National Party and the Party itself have many credibility issues and you can isolate and marginalize each of them all you like, but the overall pattern is clear and remains firmly a thorn in its political ‘liberal’ thigh.

          • Belladonna 3.3.1.1.1

            This is the relevant point

            However, I would be more interested in right-wing or centrist women saying that Luxon doesn't convince on this issue.

            Until we see some evidence that Luxon's personal stance on abortion is not only an issue for the Left (who hate him anyway) – it's all a storm in a teacup.

            Elections are won and lost on the economy (and I certainly believe that this will be an even greater factor in 2023) – attacking National (and Luxon) on economic credibility and social impact grounds will win a lot more support.

            • Incognito 3.3.1.1.1.1

              You may be correct that extrapolating the latest US disaster to NZ and the present LOTO may be overegging it but the LOTO’s acrobatics & gymnastics have put a greater show than The Great Houdini. He seems to ignore that’s a relative newbie and here’s his chance to establish a firm record with the NZ public (and voters) and he’s failing miserably and his PR on this topic is a shambles and makes him look weak, unsure, and shifty.

              Your second point may also be correct to a degree but reeks of the misleading claims that National are ‘the better manager of the economy’. Instead of using the false dichotomy of ‘it’s the economy, stupid’, something that was also tried as an argument against the Public Health measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, you could consider wellbeing as the most important and relevant holistic (a term that makes many cringe) metric. In any case, trying to separate abortion from other broader social issues is exactly what I argued against before: isolating and marginalizing, often followed by ridiculing.

            • Muttonbird 3.3.1.1.1.2

              As if concerns about Luxton are only legitimate if they come from a right wing or centrist view point. Left wing view points are to be dismissed.

              This cry further embeds you as a right wing commenter. You can only be viewed as such on this forum.

              • Belladonna

                I think that you're entirely (perhaps wilfully) missing the point.

                The left can be as agitated as they please over Luxon’s personal views on abortion – but it's not converting anyone else (centrists or swinging voters) to vote for left parties/candidates.

                Preaching to the choir.

                • Muttonbird

                  Jacinda Ardern swung a record majority in 2020. Labour knows how to win the indecisive, hand wringing centre.

                  It's fine to think the way you do but please don't pretend to be neutral because it's just not true.

                  • Belladonna

                    Do you think it is possible for you to address the points I make, rather than attacking me as a Right wing bogeyman you’re imagining under the bed.

                    It's getting boring……

        • Anker 3.3.1.2

          Thanks for all your comments on this Belladonna.

          The most sensible ones on this thread

        • Anker 3.3.1.3

          Thanks for all your comments on this Belladonna.

          The most sensible ones on this thread

    • Alan 3.4

      Yes, you are.

      Three waters, inflation, etc. etc. have not miraculously gone away.

  4. Gosman 4

    Abortion law reform in NZ has long been a conscience decision not party political. You are seemingly trying to apply the US situation to the NZ context when it does not fit. Whatever Christopher Luxon thinks about this issue personally or even what he decides to vote for when this comes up does not impact his ability to lead the National Party or even the country.

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      That the National Party won't or can't change the abortion laws here is one thing.

      Having the leader of the National Party hold such a fundamentalist view that conflicts with the position taken by our Governments and our populace, is another.

      It's all a bit yucky for most New Zealanders.

      • Belladonna 4.1.1

        How is it different from Bill English's views?

        Should politicians be allowed to hold no personal views – unless they are endorsed by the 'majority'

        I'm sure you can see what a slippery slope that is – many social issue positions taken by Green MPs and more 'radical' (I know TS doesn't like the word) MPs – are anything but widely accepted.

        At what level of Ministerial responsibility should this prohibition kick in? (Mahuta and Rurawhe, for example, both voted 'no' to the NZ abortion legislation)

        • Bearded Git 4.1.1.1

          Bella-it was "yucky" when Bill English held those views too.

          That really is the worst, most illogical and least credible possible defence of Luxon on this issue from both you and tsmithfield (above).

        • Robert Guyton 4.1.1.2

          English-sminglish – Bill had been establishing credibility to some degree for years and his Catholic Church views on morality were not hidden. Luxon hasn't established anything of anything and his church is way further out the Bill's and needs looking into. This is the acid test for Luxton. Of course all politicians (bar Peter Dunne who candy-flossed every possible sharp-edge of his personality) has beliefs and those that are topical or of substance (as this one is) should be prepared to be judged for them. Luxon's smooching-up the people of New Zealand in the hope of becoming our Leader (Mahuta and Rurawhe are not) and must expect to be asked the hard questions. This is a hard question. He's been slippery in his answers, imo.

          • Belladonna 4.1.1.2.1

            Several commentators here have openly said, that it doesn't matter what Luxon says, they won't believe him.

            Sorry, I find that Mahuta (in representing us on the foreign stage) and Rurawhe (as Speaker ultimately responsible for parliamentary democracy in NZ) – are just as significant in the way they represent us. If it's vitally important to ask this question of Luxon, then it's just as important to ask it of them.

            You may believe that this is a significant stick with which to beat Luxon — but I don't think that right and centrist voters agree with you.

            Really, save your powder for something that will make a difference.

            • Robert Guyton 4.1.1.2.1.1

              I have powder to spare, Belladonna 🙂

              Commenters may have said they don't believe Luxon on any issue but I can't see how that's relevant to this discussion, unless you are trying to hold the focus on the possibility of National reversing the abortion laws here and I think that's been put to bed already. The significant stick with which to beat Luxon is his extreme views that seem to be linked with his involvement with a radical church. New Zealanders, as a whole, won't like that in a Leader, I reckon, so for those who seek to prevent Luxon becoming PM, this "flaw" in his political face is ripe for exposing/exploiting/exploring, imo.

          • gsays 4.1.1.2.2

            I know Mickey wrote "fundamentalist christian leanings" with a link to an article. Reading that article, the closest to fundamentalism was this "..Some on the left have talked about his evangelical Christianity for nearly as long.."

            Now you are saying "and his church is way further out the Bill's and needs looking into. " You say this based on what?

            • Robert Guyton 4.1.1.2.2.1

              Are you aware of the name of Luxon's church, gsays?
              Clue: The “Upper Room Church”
              Does that sound … okey-dokey to you?
              Just asking’…

              • gsays

                The name does sound familiar, I don't really have a strong opinion as to it's okey dokeyness.

                Observer's link basically refers to the pastor's deleted material. No insight into Luxon.

                The Catholic church has a long history of physical, emotional and spiritual abuse but you are ok with that.

                What you appear to be advocating for is no less than a witch hunt, a witch hunt that have plenty of folk round these parts polishing their pitchforks for.

            • observer 4.1.1.2.2.2

              "You say this based on what?"

              Plenty of background info in these links:

              https://thestandard.org.nz/nationals-fundamentals/

              • gsays

                Plenty of speculation about the pastor not really anything about Luxon.

                Certainly not enough that warrants "looking into".

                • Robert Guyton

                  Worth looking into some of the baggage carried by would-be Prime Ministers, wouldn't you think?

                  If Luxon attends a wacky church, he might hold wacky views.

                  We should check that out, I reckon!

    • Peter 4.2

      Is it still a conscience issue? I mean is Simon O'connor allowed to have a conscience but not allowed to tell anyone what it is?

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    The issue is promising for the left, as Luxon is visibly trying to straddle the incompossible preferences of conservative possible donors and a relatively modern electorate. A strong leader or a good communicator would settle the matter with an unequivocal declaration – but Luxon is neither of those things, and equivocates his way into more and more trouble. Crosby Textor once told another execrable Gnat leader that explaining is losing – Luxon is an object lesson in why.

  6. AB 6

    Good – Luxon's social extremism exposed. Will it prompt anyone with a media platform to look harder at his economic extremism: tax cuts favouring the wealthy, austerity for everyone else, public sector retrenchment, infrastructure neglect and likely state asset sales – all during a probable recession, i.e. the same ragbag of Tory reflexes that are always the right thing to do under any imaginable economic conditions.

    • Belladonna 6.1

      In a word, No.

      Left leaning politicians, commentators etc. need to explicitly hammer home issues of economic extremism in policy, with examples.

      In most elections, the economy trumps (sorry for the word), any social issues.

      • weka 6.1.1

        and if someone, say for instance a woman, is a swing voter and is undecided, it's useful to have the issues with National's position on abortion very clear.

        People vote for varying reasons, sometimes more than one reason at once.

        • Belladonna 6.1.1.1

          But, it's not likely to be a deciding point.

          Labour, equally, have MPs who voted against abortion (and no doubt, would again). It's not a clear-cut vote Left for this, vote Right for that.

          Social issues go in a spectrum across most parties. In this case, I would hazard a guess that ACT and the Greens would have most MPs who were pro Women's choice on abortion law – whereas they would have little in common over an economic agenda (for example).

          I just think that there are better issues to campaign on.

          • weka 6.1.1.1.1

            Politics isn't just about campaigning. It's about social change and who controls the Overton Window.

  7. observer 7

    It's worth recalling the exact moment that abortion law reform was given the green light.

    Politics is about how you set the agenda, not just how you respond on somebody else's agenda. That's the difference between the so-called "liberal" Nats, who never once took the lead on abortion, and Ardern, who did.

    Leaders' debate, September 2017:

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/election/2017/09/ardern-abortion-shouldn-t-be-in-the-crimes-act.html

  8. The issue may just be wider than just whether the now current law is reversed or not.

    In The Daily Blog, Martyn Bradbury helpfully lists the amendments The National Party proposed during the consideration of the bill. Without changing the underlying part of the Act, who's to say that these amendments or one's similar to these won't surface.

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2022/06/27/list-of-amendments-national-tried-to-stop-abortion-laws-you-judge-if-they-wont-try-it-on/

    • Bearded Git 8.1

      Great link Bruce….Bomber nails it.

      • In Vino 8.1.1

        Agree. Good to see that some people here have grasped Martyn's point. It seemed to me that most commenters over at TDB had not actually done so..

        Passing these amendments that had already been proposed to the current legislation will make abortions very difficult to get, but Luxon will be able to claim that he has not relitigated or revisited – that he has only passed a few harmless amendments that had already been brought up when passing the current laws … blah blah.

        None of our slick politicians would ever do anything like that, would they?

        • JO 8.1.1.1

          Indeed. Considering how many amendments the US Constitution has accumulated since it was ratified about 230 years ago in 1788, it's amazing to learn that most of the current cabal of SCOTUS 'judges' have relatively recently discovered a need to take the document literally. Such bold forward thinkers are now called Originalists, which pairs them rather neatly with Creationists… How very convenient.

          Do these courageous souls still see women as virgin, martyr, mystic and/or witch? Is this vicious campaign their idea of punishing Eve for existing? And how many of them are linked with The Family (see Jeff Sharlet's nightmare of a book) – there's plenty about that online, its depredations are all under the surface and behind the big doors of power. Dr Strangelove was Paddington Bear compared with these people.

          It's not only women who need to fight back.

  9. Leighton 9

    I agree with Luxon that New Zealand's constitutional arrangements as they pertain to abortion are different to America's. Until the weekend, New Zealand's were considerably worse as the US had an enshrined constitutional right which no state legislature could overrule with a majority vote. New Zealand has never had any such protection and its abortion laws have always been able to be changed by any parliament at any time through a bare majority.

    I do not think it is likely and I do believe Luxon when he says abortion reform is not top of his agenda as PM. But the US Supreme Court has undoubtedly emboldened moral conservatives across the western world, which includes a reasonable proportion of National's sitting MP's. Under a National-led government, all it would take is the wrong member's bill (the Simon O’Connor’s Revenge Bill 2024, perhaps) to be drawn at the wrong time and there could be trouble. Abortion has historically been a conscience issue, and even if that was to change is Luxon really going to whip his MP’s to vote their consciences in favour of a practice which he believes is murder?

    • Belladonna 9.1

      Possible, but I'd say not probable.

      National traditionally don't reverse social change legislation (which doesn't affect the bottom line – so excepting issues of social welfare payments, etc.).

      Given that there is absolutely not a 'moral majority' (or even a significant bloc) in NZ which are baying for abortion laws to be changed – they'd have to be insane to poke a stick into the beehive, with little or no chance of any reward at the end.

      National are traditionally very coldly calculating over legislation – and weigh up the costs and benefits (to themselves, of course) very carefully.

      • observer 9.1.1

        The list of Nat MPs' amendments linked above is worth reading. (Disclaimer: Bradbury and his blog are often eye-rolling nonsense IMO, but here let's focus on message not messenger).

        As already stated, it is about one MP putting in one private member's bill on one seemingly plausible change. Who wouldn't (on the surface) want to consider religious or language issues, or under 16s, or propose a 'review' or some other innocuous step? They're not going to scream "Satan", they're going to fly a very small and plausible kite.

        If Luxon is PM he will have 50-ish MPs in his caucus, and it is absolutely predictable that one will take this course.

        So the obvious question is: will (PM) Luxon prohibit his backbenchers from putting in a bill, or will he allow it, and say "it's a conscience vote"?

        I'd certainly like to hear his answer.

        • Belladonna 9.1.1.1

          I don't think there is any mechanism for a party leader to blackball private members bills (though am perfectly prepared to retract this statement if given evidence otherwise!)

          Abortion has always, until now, been a conscience vote. I'd say that there would be some very unhappy MPs (in both National and Labour) if that changed.

          Even assuming that there is a right government in 2023 (which is by no means assured – polls pretty much neck-and-neck) – National could only govern with ACT support – and their MPs are pretty strongly pro individual rights (i.e. pro abortion).

          I don't think National would have the numbers to force it through (nor the desire, frankly) and would be happy to see it defeated at the first reading – the fate of most private members bills.

          • Incognito 9.1.1.1.1

            You seem to think that everything is decided simply by having a majority, which it is, and it isn’t. Coalition partners make deals and negotiate agreements (aka horse trading) that can lead to a minority/minor party getting its way in Parliament. This balancing of agendas can also occur within parties. So, I think it is naïve to suggest that a change abortion rules, for all intents and purposes, is not gonna happen any time soon in NZ. On the contrary, with relatively low numbers of abortions in NZ and a complacent populace it will be an easy score for conservatives.

            • Belladonna 9.1.1.1.1.1

              The obvious minor party to go into coalition with National is ACT.

              Their mantra is personal freedom/responsibility. Seymour (love him or hate him) was the public face of parliament politicking over the Right to Die legislation. They are probably to the left of even the Greens (OK hyberbole, but certainly well to the left of Labour) on this issue.

              They would have zero interest in leveraging their coalition agreement with National to revisit abortion legislation.

              The only other (very remote) possibilities would be NZF (highly, highly unlikely to even get a seat) – and Peters would be leveraging any coalition for his personal benefit.

              And even more remote possibility TPM (not over a seat – but the unlikelihood of them going into coalition with ACT, at all). There's no way that abortion legislation would be in even the top 100 issues that they'd want to be negotiating over.

              Apart from that, you're looking at some form of Christian party – which has never managed to get across the electoral threshold in NZ so far. I really don't see it happening in 2023 – or within the next decade.

              And, if it does – and it looks a real chance of hitting over 5% or gaining an electoral seat, then is the time to be agitating over this issue.

              Horse trading within the National party is moot. Luxon has said that Abortion is always a conscience vote issue. He’d absolutely face rebellion within his ranks, if he tried to whip MPs in line over this.

              And, there is nothing in it for National. There’s not a strong group agitating for change (i.e. votes to gain) They’d be poking a stick into a beehive for no reward.

              You seem to believe that the leader of the National Party has some magic wand which automatically makes all of the other party members agree with him. A very recent review of NP history will show the error of that perception!

              Luxon knows his personal views are not reflective of the NP as a whole, let alone of NZ as a whole. Which is why he’s trying to make very firm and clear statements that there will be no change.

              • Incognito

                Good reply, thanks, but I’d like to push back on some of your notions, whilst I agree that on current polling it seems unlikely that there will be coalition partner for National that is anti-abortion.

                And, there is nothing in it for National. There’s not a strong group agitating for change (i.e. votes to gain) They’d be poking a stick into a beehive for no reward.

                People go into politics to affect change. Abortion is a deeply personal issue and one that divided the USA for decades. Such division, although maybe not neatly through the middle, is entirely possible within the National Party and also in NZ. There are plenty of signs of this within the Party and in wider NZ society and ignoring such distinct possibility (reality) is foolhardy. Complacency always gets them.

                Horse trading within the National party is moot. Luxon has said that Abortion is always a conscience vote issue. He’d absolutely face rebellion within his ranks, if he tried to whip MPs in line over this.

                You seem to believe that the leader of the National Party has some magic wand which automatically makes all of the other party members agree with him. A very recent review of NP history will show the error of that perception!

                Luxon knows his personal views are not reflective of the NP as a whole, let alone of NZ as a whole. Which is why he’s trying to make very firm and clear statements that there will be no change.

                You seem to ignore the fact that Luxon is not the only one in National who has a strong anti-abortion stance (“murder”), in fact there may be a whole faction and who knows what will change after the Election. And because he may not have the power to whip the other MPs back behind the line, even he really wanted to, it is feasible that there may come a strong anti-abortion push from within the National Party in future. This is the issue, especially when the Leader’s personal beliefs and integrity are at stake. It is not always a neat number’s game – power is not always almost never distributed symmetrically, as we know all too well!

      • Incognito 9.1.2

        National are traditionally very coldly calculating over legislation – and weigh up the costs and benefits (to themselves, of course) very carefully.

        Indeed, it’s called pragmatism or opportunism and trumps ideology and thus (moral) values. You put the finger on the pain point.

  10. Ross 10

    Should someone who thinks that something is murder dismiss doing anything about it because it may hurt his election chances?

    You might wish to ask the PM, not the Opposition leader, that question. The PM was for a long time (and maybe still is) keen on a capital gains tax, so why hasn’t it happened?

    After pushing for the tax for three election campaigns, Ms Ardern told Morning Report she still believed in a capital gains tax but that it was now time to look at other options.

    Why other options? Labour has a majority and could implement such a tax. You must be devastated, Micky, that the PM has apparently put winning votes ahead of her conscience. One is reminded of Groucho Marx: “I have principles and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.” 🙂

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/388067/pm-jacinda-ardern-on-capital-gains-tax-i-could-not-get-the-support-of-nz-first

    • Patricia Bremner 10.1

      It is called "Listening to the Electorate". Unlike Key…..

      • Anker 10.1.1

        Patricia I am no fan at all of John Key, but I have to point out we got a referendum on the flag (which was stupid, but at least we were asked). Co governance…. No attempt to explain it at all. They didn’t campaign on it. Jacinda says it’s not policy, but they are introducing three waters. I did my own research and read He Puapua. In it it states it will involve constitutional transformation. I suspect most kiwis don’t support this (they don’t three waters. Jacinda appears to not be listening

      • Anker 10.1.2

        Patricia I am no fan at all of John Key, but I have to point out we got a referendum on the flag (which was stupid, but at least we were asked). Co governance…. No attempt to explain it at all. They didn’t campaign on it. Jacinda says it’s not policy, but they are introducing three waters. I did my own research and read He Puapua. In it it states it will involve constitutional transformation. I suspect most kiwis don’t support this (they don’t three waters. Jacinda appears to not be listening

        • lprent 10.1.2.1

          I haven’t seen any viable alternatives to 3 waters. It will go theough by default because of that.

          There is absolutely no way that I could support giving tax money to the total incompetents in local government to get them up to standard. You can’t raise their debt ceilings or to allow them to issue bonds. Most of the local councils barely manage their existing debt which they mostly raise by hocking their infrastructure assets like water systems to pay for luxuries.

          The alternative would be to simply start bankrupting councils with fines for water pollution. That would provide some incentives to upgrade their piss-poor badly maintained century old water systems.

        • Frank Macskasy 10.1.2.2

          Anker, yes, we got a $26 million referendum on the flag.

          Not that anyone wanted a referendum. It was Mr Key's vanity project.

          Did we get a referendum on state asset partial-sales? No.

          Did we get a referendum on raising GST and raising presciption charges? No.

          Did we get a referendum on selling of over 6,000 state houses? No.

          But we got one on… a flag.

          Yay.

          As for Three Waters? Might I remind you that the Auckland Councils were amalgamated in 2010 – by National. Did we get a referendum on that? No.

          But the flag referendum, yeah, we got that.

          Double yay.

          You'll excuse my cynicism. But when it comes to Tories, I trust the buggers as far as I can throw them. (I should start using catapults, I guess.)

          Finally, this: https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/129087398/wellington-water-dealing-with-another-collapsed-sewer-down-one-in-three-frontline-staff

          • Anker 10.1.2.2.1
            • Yes I said in my comment the flag referendum was stupid, but we did get asked.

            I am well aware of the pipe’s situation in Wellington and the utter neglect by council, who managed to find for a new convention centre and various projects to Make the city “vibrant”.

            I trust neithe labour nor National

    • Incognito 10.2

      What’s the difference between ‘being keen on’ and ‘having fundamental Christian beliefs’?

      Discuss.

      BTW, have you completed your previous assignment yet on the difference between authenticity and principled, and the difference with integrity (https://thestandard.org.nz/matariki-and-prime-minister-ardern/#comment-1896797)?

      PS nice diversion attempt again!

      • Ross 10.2.1

        nice diversion attempt again!

        No diversion at all. Micky claimed that Luxon’s position is motivated by winning votes. But that seems to be the rationale for the PM’s decision to avoid implementing a capital gains tax. You can’t have your cake and eat it. Well, maybe you can but it’s fattening lol

        • Incognito 10.2.1.1

          Nope, the question was why Luxon would tolerate murder.

          Anyway, this is not even close to equivalent to ruling out CGT when there are other alternatives.

          You were definitely diverting but maybe it is the Ross-Kruger effect at play here.

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    Baldrick needs to be pummelled relentlessly on issues like this.

    He is another natzo blue suited fake, essentially a representative of international finance capital as per Sirkey and quite unashamed about it!

  12. Matiri 12

    Streisand effect coming into play here for Luxon – NZ Herald lays it all out in a non pay walled piece, with explanation number 4.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/roe-v-wade-abortion-decision-former-national-mp-alfred-ngaro-criticises-christopher-luxons-gagging-order/HB6B5FOKD22K67EIF53QNOMEZM/

    • observer 12.1

      That's laughable from Luxon …

      "Simon [O'Connor] is entitled to his view …"

      Well, yes – as long as he doesn't actually express it.

  13. felix 13

    Each statement adds a little more detail to the previous one, but they all point in the same direction. There is no contradiction between any of them and frankly it seems a little desperate to be looking so hard for one.

    • Robert Guyton 13.1

      The all say, "I'm not gunna, ever, honest guv!"

      Who could resist those puppy-eyes!

    • Incognito 13.2

      The philharmonic orchestra started playing, one instrument at a time, and in the end, we were listening to an a cappella solo by the maestro himself. Such was our musical journey that when we arrived, we had forgotten from where we came, let alone what we were doing, as it no longer mattered, and we were mesmerised by the soothing sotto voce.

    • swordfish 13.3

      Well I for one refuse to sit here and endure this kind of non-partisan objectivity. You sick, evil bastard ! Keep your reasonable, fair-minded thoughts to yourself.

  14. SPC 14

    It only takes one MP to draft a private members bill, it takes a bit of chance for it to be selected.

    For those who see a risk of a larger National caucus (given 35 no votes to decriminalising out of little more than 50) and a smaller Labour one, the answer is to question National's electorate MP's (and then candidates in seats they might win in 2023) and do the same for those on their 2023 list.

    This is the only way to identify the risk – and remember someone saying the law is the law and they respect the law of the land does not preclude a certain type from then changing the law.

  15. In Vino 15

    Luxon's promises are meaningless while he says only 'no relitigating' and 'no revisiting'.

    He has to also say explicitly, 'no amendments.' Or through that crack he is sure to slide.

    After that we have to worry about private members' bills.

  16. Robert Guyton 16

    The “Upper Room”.

    Relax!

    Nothing to see … here…

  17. This is not just about attacks on reproductive rights. The conservative onslaught began in earnest with transphobic repression, agitating to separate the "T" from the LGBTQI+ community; isolating trans people; co-opting reactionary "feminism"; and creating a fertile ground to move on to other issues of concern for neo-cons.

    Bigotry doesn't exist in isolation. Where it flourishes against one minority, others will soon be swept up in a tsunami of oppression; reactionism; and hatred. Pastor Niemöller's poem was never more appropriate.

    Expect the US Supreme Court to move on marriage equality and gay rights next. Expect more religion in schools. Expect gun control laws to be struck down.

    It doesn't stop with just one.

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