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Homosexual law reform happened 30 years ago

Written By: - Date published: 9:16 am, February 21st, 2016 - 95 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, david cunliffe, Deep stuff, democratic participation, gay rights, grant robertson, Judith Collins, labour, national, phil goff, Politics, same old national - Tags: , , ,

Yesterday I attended the Gay Pride parade in Auckland.  Variations of the parade have occurred for a long time and the idea is that sexual diversity should be celebrated.

I was part of the Labour contingent which included Andrew Little and a number of MPs.  The reception from the crowd was great and very warm.

An effort was made to get MPs who had voted for homosexual law reform in 1986 to attend and special placards were prepared for them.  Richard Northey was there:

Labour gay pride parade richard northey

Trevor Mallard was there as well as Judith Tizard who held a specially altered sign to reflect that her father Bob Tizard had voted for reform:

Labour gay pride trevor mallard judith tizard

Phil Goff was there along with Andrew Little and much of the Auckland caucus:

Labour gay pride ardern goff cunliffe little sepuloni robertson mallard

And Fran Wilde, the instigator of the private member’s bill which created the reform was also present:

Labour gay pride fran wilde

National has two MPs at its contingent, three if you include de facto National MP David Seymour.  Last year they included homophobes Melissa Lee and Alfred Ngaro.  They must have thought better about having them attend this year.

national bishop kaye seymour

Judith Collins was also there.  Interestingly she chose to walk with the police float.  I suspect this choice was motivated by the fact that police anticipated that the group No Pride In Prisons would attempt to disrupt the march.  This did occur.  The group was protesting against police and corrections floats being allowed to take part in the march while the treatment of  transgender prisoners continues to be barbaric and brutal.  No doubt crusher Collins wanted to use any opportunity to appear tough.

Labour gay pride parade judith collins police

The march made me reflect on the events on 1986.  The battle to have law reform passed was an intense one and support and opposition were split primarily down political lines.  Only three National MP’s George Gair, Ian McLean and Katherine O’Regan voted for the bill.  On Labour’s side 46 MPs voted for and 9 MPs voted against the bill.

One who voted against law reform was Lockwood Smith and in his valedictory speech he expressed regret. he said this:

I faced the classic dilemma of voting according to my own judgement or the opinion of those I was elected to represent. As a new member, I opted for the latter and I’ve always regretted it.

And the time was somewhat tumultuous as described in this Dominion Post article:

In the 16 months it took from the time the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was introduced to Parliament until it was passed into law, the argument over decriminalising homosexual sex was rarely off the pages of newspapers.

Fran Wilde, the Labour MP who introduced the bill allowing consensual sex between males aged 16 and over, says she received death threats, pro-bill campaigners were abused, beaten up and spat on, and the presentation of an 800,000-signature petition against the bill turned the steps of Parliament into a scene from the Nuremberg Rallies.

There were slagging matches in Parliament. Staunch anti-bill campaigner and Hauraki MP Graeme Lee said the bill getting to select committee stage was “a dark day in the history of our nation”. His colleague Norman Jones, then MP for Invercargill, argued against the bill by saying “if God had wanted to propagate the human race through the rear, he’d have put the womb down here”.

Which brings me around to National’s current approach. Nikki Kaye is part of the softer more liberal face that National wishes to portray, realising that its hard core conservative stance was off putting to many New Zealanders. Her social media yesterday had the theme that “love aint political”. Well it shouldn’t be.

But the problem is that National’s innate conservatism and its insistence that it knows best and its refusal to accept alternative ideas means that it is very slow to change. On issue after issue Labour is at the forefront of issues and fresh thinking and it is National that holds things up.  And with the passage of time this becomes clearly evident.

95 comments on “Homosexual law reform happened 30 years ago ”

  1. Nic the NZer 1

    Seems Labour believes its owed support today for its actions in 1986?

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Strange comment. It was clear to me that there was a warmth for the Labour Party amongst the gay and lesbian community because it changed the law at a time when there was significant opposition to it.

      • sabine 1.1.1

        thanks for the back ground of the placards.

        And yes, the one that stands out the most in this “National, doing it now” Picture is the Hologram.

        National, using members of other parties to inflate their numbers. 🙂

    • sabine 1.2

      Well, on the other side, National could have held up placards saying we voted against it.

      See?

      Oh yeah, thats not gonna happen ey?

      • Nic the NZer 1.2.1

        Obviously National is not going to do that. You should really attribute more intelligence to political opponents than that.

      • BM 1.2.2

        Why would they?.
        There are no current National Mps who were in parliament in 1986.

        • Pascals bookie 1.2.2.1

          There are plenty of Nats in parliament now though. And nearly half of them voted for marriage equality.

        • mickysavage 1.2.2.2

          Taken from below …

          When Labour sought to pass the Civil Union legislation in 2005 there was a similar conservative opposition railed against it.

          Labour MPs voted 45-6 in support of the Bill. National MPs voted 24-3 against the bill (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_union_in_New_Zealand)

          Labour has consistently supported social change while National has consistently tried to stop it.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Nic the NZer there are just so many things for Labour to celebrate about that period 1984-1990.

      Firing a hundred thousand public sector workers and closing down scores of NZ manufacturing businesses are the things that Labour will never hold up on placards.

      And IMO there are still MPs in the Labour Caucus who believe that those things were absolutely the right thing to do.

      • sabine 1.3.1

        oh seriously man get a fucking grip.

        this one Labour did right, so they have a right to celebrate.

        fuck sake, when have you become such a mean spirited person.

        And the change in ‘homosexual laws’ in the eighties, world wide btw, made sure that several of my family members could live with their partners without being beaten to pulp, were not arrested for breaking out dated laws, and were other wise less harassed by the public and the police.

        so why don’t you go back to the Poll Thread and leave your litany of things Labour did wrong according to CV there, better even do a Blip type of list and post it here.

        .

        • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1

          Just shows that social liberalism can go hand in hand with economic neoliberalism.

          • sabine 1.3.1.1.1

            oh for fucksake,

            do you actually read the shit you post?

            No one but old people give a flying fuck about what happened in the 80’s. the stuff you post about people that are mostly dead or retired means nothing to about 75 – 80 percent of the populace.
            it means nothing to them because they were kids, or not even born, or have yet to migrate here, and they don’t care about what happened thirty or forty years ago.
            They actually don’t know about it. And for what it is worth, the Labour Party that you despise so much by now has died to old age or has retired.

            Are you that thick, or that self centred and vain, or that bored with your life that all you can do is come here in shit on the Labour party of 2016?

            You have no alternatives to offer, You have no other party to promote, you have no options to offer, you only have your verbal diarrhoea that you leave on any and every thread here on the TS.

            You have become an obsessed stalker, and your object of your stalking and your harassing is the Labour Party and its members, fuck how pathetic.

            • Reality 1.3.1.1.1.1

              Sabine – good on you for telling CV some home truths. What a sad bitter person he is, forever living in the past.

              The 1980s are well gone and it is time people stuck inside a time warp realised it is now 2016. Times change. Society changes. There are new challenges to focus on. No political party can be everything to all its supporters and sometimes compromise is the only way, much as most would perhaps rather not go that way. Better to get some of what one hopes for, than nothing at all.

              CV go for a walk, smell the roses, find some pleasure in life and sometimes have a laugh. It The sun does shine you know.

              • Draco T Bastard

                There are new challenges to focus on.

                No, it’s still the same challenges brought about because we’re still using the same failed system – capitalism.

              • North

                Yeah CV. No disrespect but man I saw someone the other day calling you a troll.

                Well……I can’t leap to your defence. And I’m talking about the time since someone accurately pointed out that the advantage of foreign money from a particular area was contributing to the cutting out of many people without those advantages. New Zealand not any longer ‘their’ New Zealand. A major (if not the only) contributor to that ‘forever’ result.

                You’ve never been the same since that time CV. Echoing someone else……Get a fucking grip !

            • weka 1.3.1.1.1.2

              I agree with your general summation there sabine, except for the bit about old Labour being dead or retired. Still too many of the old crowd in positions of power.

              However, shall we list all the good things we wouldn’t have if Labour had done what CV wanted in the past 32 years and waited until after the revolution before attending to identity politics?

              Feel free to play along folks (and in case it’s not clear, this is a comment on CV’s politics, not on Labour’s, because CV appears to believe that if a govt does x good thing it has to be done alongside y bad thing, or x good thing makes the govt do y bad thing too or something).

              It would still be illegal for men to have sex with men.

              Women would not have the choice of independent midwifery care. No continuity of care (they would get the duty midwife on at the time they went to hospital and whoever was there for subsequent shifts).

              Men would still be legally allowed to rape their wives.

              People wouldn’t be able to marry their own gender.

              Umarried couples would have no legal matrimonial property rights when divorcing.

              There would be no Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and hence a wide range of community groups based around the concerns of women wouldn’t have been funded.

              Māori TV wouldn’t exist, and probably not as much Māori programming on other stations. This would also affect the state of Te Reo learning.

              People on low incomes would still be being charged interest on student loans that they had no hope of ever repaying.

              People with special learning needs would still have no rights to enroll in education institutes.

              There would be no Department of Conservation.

              The Treaty of Waitangi would only be able to consider claims related to breaches that occured after 1975.

              There would be no Resource Management Act.

              It would still be illegal for people to get paid to do sex work.

              • RedLogix

                Yup … this is is a fine heritage of achievements that Labour and the activist left in general can be proud of.

                Yet each one of those victories is best described as a social changes and for the very large part confirms CV’s assertion, that it is possible to be socially liberal and economically neo-liberal at the same time.

                For the people who fought for them, the many who’ve benefited, and the wider NZ population who’ve for the most part accepted them with good grace … all these social victories are important, and have taken root in our sensibilities as a society in 2016. In that sense the nation is indeed a different and better place than in 1986.

                At the same time, all us old people that Sabine so offensively dismisses as irrelevant – can also remember a time before the great neo-liberal betrayal of Douglas the Failed Pig Farmer. We remember a NZ where ordinary working class jobs were not hard to find, and one of them paid well enough to buy a home in central Auckland and send your kids to a decent public school. And with a bit of talent and luck on to a university degree.

                And while snobbery will always be with us, the gap between the cleaner’s pay and the CEO’s was likely to be a factor of 3 -5, not the orders of magnitude it is today.

                And underneath all the cafes, festivals, outdoor markets and diverse cultural colour we see in the public domain today … scratch a bit and NZ in 2016 is rotten with anxiety, depression, suicide, domestic violence, covert sexism, racism and for a whole swath of kiwis an inter-generational poverty of health, welfare and spirit.

                Fundamentally I agree with CV. We’ve been played for a Faustian bargain … yes NZ looks good superficially. Yes that list of social changes weka has above are indeed fine things. I really don’t want to disrespect them. But at the same time, over the past 30 years a cancerous economic inequality has extracted a very high price from us as a community.

                And to my sensibilities this soul-less, materialistic neo-liberal mentality, that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, is the root of what ails us now.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  +1

                • Macro

                  Very true Red.
                  There have been some very significant and humane changes to legislation over the past 30 years and thank you weka for highlighting many of them. But the one factor that was allowed to develop and is still unchecked is the neoliberal economy based solely on unlimited consumption where wealth floods upwards from the poor to the rich. That is the obscenity of today’s world.
                  We have to deal with it – and soon.

                • weka

                  “Yes that list of social changes weka has above are indeed fine things. I really don’t want to disrespect them.”

                  You might not want to disrespect them but CV certainly does, which was my point. I didn’t put the list up to go yay Labour or yay aren’t we lucky.

                  The argument here isn’t whether Labour did seriously bad things (that’s a given isn’t it?). It’s whether all those gains listed above should have been put on hold until after the neoliberal economic revolution was reversed or overthrown because those things prevented neoliberalism from being reversed. Identity politics is to blame.

                  I don’t believe that, and further, I believe that trying to make out that identity politics caused more problems than gains, or somehow meant that we didn’t step up and vote in a true left wing government, or that Labour members didn’t put a stop to what was happening within the party, stops us from holding accountable who is really responsible and what was really going. And is still going on. It’s a blindness and takes us down a useless cul de sac politically.

                  • RedLogix

                    I don’t believe that, and further, I believe that trying to make out that identity politics caused more problems than gains.

                    Of course not. They were gains that needed to happen. I’m happy to celebrate them for what they are. I sincerely mean that.

                    But at the same time there are many ordinary kiwis for whom these gains represented little or no direct personal benefit; while conditions for them and their families went backwards.

                    And here’s the thing. Ordinary working people expect National to be a pack of duplicitous tory bastards who’ll screw the scrum in favour of the bosses. But when the “People’s Party” betrays them, and 30 years later has still to actually come out and apologise for it, and still to firmly commit to policies that will reverse that betrayal, but instead blither on about ‘indentity’ issues that feel peripheral to the real problem …. then meh.

                    There’s your million or so who can’t be arsed voting.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    However, shall we list all the good things we wouldn’t have if Labour had done what CV wanted in the past 32 years and waited until after the revolution before attending to identity politics?

                    I think it was quite possible for Labour to pursue social reforms without sprinting down the neoliberal road.

                • reason

                  I’m not sure what mythical world of milk and honey your remembering Pre-Douglas RedLogix but I can tell you it was more intolerant, more conformist, more racist and I would estimate the rates of domestic violence and street violence were higher on a per capita basis …………. in those days the police asked if you could beat your wife more quietly when they turned up to ‘domestics’………. bringing her into line was fine … but don’t upset the neighbors with all the yelling and breaking things.

                  There were kids going to school hungry and kids with no shoes.

                  Sex abuse ?? ……… ever heard of the Rotorua police station or the New Zealand police force in general back then ……Red squad, Clint Rickards etc etc.

                  While I can agree that Douglas was a wrecking ball ……. and those nats that followed like Richardson and the destructive Shipley govt were even worse.

                  But for those who remember Muldoon and the Nats long run in power had left New Zealand pretty fucked and going backwards……. there was high unemployment and high emigration of kiwis to Aussie.

                  I recall a mocking song from the time …… ” there is no depression in New Zealand” http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/there-is-no-depression-in-new-zealand-1981

                  It was Muldoon National style miss-management which opened the way for the Douglas/Brash/treasury right wing doctrine to be forced down our throats ……… the TPPa is end game globalization of this.

                  But regarding the topic of this thread ………………..

                  Labour do deserve credit for doing things such as removing the then criminal status of homosexual men ………….

                  And for removing a husbands right to rape his wife ………

                  These to my mind are things about Power and the abuse of it …..

                  It always seems to be a Labour Government which stops various types of abuse and it will probably be a Labour in coalition who finally get around to ending the abusive of Cannabis laws we have……

                  p.s There should have been a trigger warning with that Judith Collins picture 🙂 ……… but a very informative post that I enjoyed reading …. thanks MickyS

                  • Macro

                    No one here is denying that the NZ has not made significant social reform with respect to sexual intolerance and violence towards others.
                    However there are other forms of violence that have increased in the past 30 years as a result of increasingly unequal freedoms as a result of the “neo-liberal reforms” also introduced by Labour.
                    Increased work stress, increased abuse of workers, increasing poverty, increasing domestic violence (yes the statistics show it has increased) as a result. and while there were kids who were hungry and had few shoes there are far more kids in that state now and there were none living in cars. I worked for a time in the late 60’s early 70’s as a social worker in Porirua, so I have some idea of what life was like for those at the bottom – I visited them daily.

                    • Brutus Iscariot

                      On a per capita basis, no way has DV increased.

                      Plus you are overlooking the massive fact that back in those days domestic violence was far less likely to be reported due to societal mores. The true rates were far higher back then.

                    • Macro

                      @Brutus Iscariot
                      The statistics I linked to show that domestic violence is increasing.
                      Its now up to you to provide statistics to show that what you assert is the case. Otherwise you are just an empty gong making a lot of noise signifying nothing.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    While I can agree that Douglas was a wrecking ball ……. and those nats that followed like Richardson and the destructive Shipley govt were even worse.

                    Who cares if Labour was bad and National was worse. National was doing what their supporters expected them to do.

                    That’s why I rate National ahead of Labour. National actually consistently serves the interests of their core constituents. You can never say the same for Labour.

                    As to the Rogernomics to Ruthanasia transition.

                    Labour opened the door to neoliberalism and free markets, National stepped through it.

                    All this shows is that it takes two to tango.

                  • millsy

                    “There were kids going to school hungry and kids with no shoes.”

                    I would say that there would be a lot less than today.

                • The Chairman

                  Well said, Red (12:59pm).

              • millsy

                “Women would not have the choice of independent midwifery care. No continuity of care (they would get the duty midwife on at the time they went to hospital and whoever was there for subsequent shifts).”

                But we would have less babies and mothers dying or having permanent ill effects from the actions of incompetent midwives who would rather play whale sounds and burn incense during a birth than actually ensure that a baby is born safely and the mother actually survives the birth.

                A friend of mine, almost died while giving birth a few years ago, and pretty much wrecked her back, and lost a lot of blood. Her mother (who has been at the birth of each of her other 6 grandchildren, and has had 4 kids herself, the 4th one resulting in a broken hip) said that the birth was pretty much akin to some of the scenes in the ‘Saw’ movies.

                That pregnancy and birth had a midwife as the LMC.

                • RedLogix

                  Yeah and by complete contrast both my children were home births that were perfectly safe for both mother and child. Absent any whale sounds or incense. The stats have long shown that midwives have a very similar or better outcomes than your standard hospital birth. eg:

                  Planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and other adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician.

                  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2742137/

                  I’m well aware this has been a fraught area of controversy for decades. The stats get sliced and diced every which way, because it is so hard to control for all the external variables that are in play as well.

                  Ultimately common sense has mostly prevailed. I would suggest that an ideal system might encourage the vast majority of normal births to happen naturally in what ever setting best suited the mother, and diverted the higher risk and difficult cases into the hospital/medical system … without all the tension and politics. And over time the system has been evolving in this direction. The biggest problem is still the miserably low levels of funding.

                  The fact that over time CS’s have become a cultural norm in hospital settings is something I’m not so keen on, but overall my impression is that independent midwives in both home and hospital settings work reasonably closely with the obgyns where ever necessary.

                  And of course birth will never be a totally safe and risk free business, and people will always make mistakes regardless of whether they are midwives or medicals. The important thing is that the everyone in system learns from them in a collegial and cooperative fashion, rather than playing stupid blame games.

                  As for your insinuation that incompetent midwives who would rather play whale sounds and burn incense during a birth than actually ensure that a baby is born safely and the mother actually survives the birth … with my experience of midwives over the years I call total bullshit.

                  The one thing that keeps them awake at night it the safety and well-being of their clients.

                  • weka

                    +1

                    “incompetent midwives who would rather play whale sounds and burn incense during a birth than actually ensure that a baby is born safely and the mother actually survives the birth”

                    It would be like saying that obstetricians would rather be playing golf than making sure the baby was born safely and the mother survives the birth.

                • weka

                  “But we would have less babies and mothers dying or having permanent ill effects from the actions of incompetent midwives”

                  [citation needed]. What I am asking for specifically is that the rate of neonatal infant and maternal mortality and morbidity in NZ has increased since midwives gained autonomy. If you are right, it shouldn’t be hard to find the figures. The law change was in 1990.

                  Otherwise, what Red said.

            • Bill 1.3.1.1.1.3

              No one but old people give a flying fuck about what happened in the 80’s.

              That’s simply not true Sabine. Take Mhairi Black as a prominent but by no means isolated example…same time, different place, same shit, wasn’t born until 1994, and yet…

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mhairi_Black

              edit – just thought that if what you say is true, then why the fuck would Labour Party folks be out there celebrating something from 30 years ago? And why would any people pay any attention to their celebrations?

              • weka

                I’m 50 and I give a fuck about what happened in the 80s, but now I’m wondering if being 50 is being an old person 😉

                • Tiger Mountain

                  be assured that 50 is on the slippery slope!

                  but really if people don’t give “a flying fuck” about previous struggles then their youth is indeed wasted on them

                • mickysavage

                  Me too …

                  But the events of the 1980s should not be taken in isolation. When Labour sought to pass the Civil Union legislation in 2005 there was a similar conservative opposition railed against it.

                  Labour MPs voted 45-6 in support of the Bill. National MPs voted 24-3 against the bill (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_union_in_New_Zealand)

                  Labour has consistently supported social change while National has consistently tried to stop it.

                  • Macro

                    I’m 70 and I was involved in writing the submission to Parliament for the Methodist and Presbyterian Church Public Questions Committee in support of the legislation.
                    I regret that subsequently some of the more fundamentalist elements in churches have gained sway. It needs to be said that those elements do not represent the thinking of many in the church they are just the ones at the moment who hold the loudest voice.

                  • weka

                    “Labour has consistently supported social change while National has consistently tried to stop it.”

                    It was interesting writing the list above of some of the things Labour did in the past 32 years re social change. I pulled most of them off two wiki pages about the fourth and fifth Labour govts, and it looked like the fourth did quite a bit more than the fifth.

                    I also wondered how many of those things would have happened anyway (along the lines of Red’s social change was happening). I don’t know enough about the Muldoon govt to know how much they were actively opposed those changes. The homosexuality law reform one is obvious because so many men of that time were still personally uncomfortable with the idea of men having sex with men. I’m not sure about the others. Anyone?

                    • Macro

                      I was serving on the Naval Staff in Def HQ Wgtn at the time, and we had just had a case where a Warrant Officer had been predating n young sailors. Churchill used to say that the Navy ran on “Rum, Bum, and Baccy” at that time an all male environment, and there were times when predatory behaviour by seniors could easily take place al la our current prison environment. I was in support of the proposed law reform and actively submitted to the select committee (see above).
                      Defence however based on the details of the above case, sought and got an amendment that the 1986 Act did not apply to them. That has since been overturned with the passing of the Human Rights Act in 1993. and in 2011 The Chief of Defence established a Lesbian, Gay. Bisexual, and Transgender support group.

                  • Karen

                    Yep, and amongst the 24 Nats who voted against it were John Key (booed off the stage last week) and Judith Collins who had the gall to take part in the parade yesterday.

              • Same – was just thinking “Hey, I give a flying fuck about what happened in the ’80s,” closely followed by “Oh, right – I’m old people now.”

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1.1.4

              the stuff you post about people that are mostly dead or retired means nothing to about 75 – 80 percent of the populace.

              There’s this thing called a demographic bulge. In NZ it’s identified by the term Baby Boomer. Basically, there’s more old people than young people (which is why Labour and Act are saying that we need to up the retirement age).
              Secondly, everyone needs to understand what happened in the 1980s and before so that we can understand ways to fix the system. We can’t just say but that happened in the past and so we can ignore it. That leaves us in a weak state unable to affect changes and thus continually repeating the same mistakes of the past.

              And for what it is worth, the Labour Party that you despise so much by now has died to old age or has retired.

              And that is also wrong. Many of the Labour Party stalwarts of the 1980s are still there.

          • mickysavage 1.3.1.1.2

            CV let us celebrate the things Labour did right and remember the things that Labour did wrong.

            • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1.2.1

              I do wonder what thousands of freshly redundant or about to be made redundant homosexual public sector rail forestry post office workers thought when this legislation was pushed through by the same government which then wrecked their lives and plans.

              • Macro

                No one realised what was happening CV
                A few years later some woke up and thought hmmmmmm we have been well and truely shafted.
                My dad saw it for what it was – he was in his 80’s then, and had fought all his life for social justice as a member of what was the then “labour movement”. He died knowing that many of the things that had been achieved for workers over the past 50 years had been trashed.

                • RedLogix

                  Macro … that resonates.

                  You are dead right. Muldoon had so dominated the political discourse for so long, the manner of his downfall and the suddenness of the snap election … only a tiny few understood the true nature of the Cabinet who slunk in Lange’s ample shadow.

                  And even for some years after it all seemed so shiny, new and exciting. Hell I even voted ACT at one point. We were for the most part well and truly duped.

                  Your father was one of the very few who understood. That must have hurt.

                  • Macro

                    Yep! He was very grumpy with labour – He died aged 95 in 1994. He was wondering if he should vote Labour in his latter years. I being “young” (early 40’s) was well pleased with the “open all hours”. New shirts from where ever!
                    The thing that made me change my mind was the introduction of the new education act in the late 80’s. I was back in the teaching game after 15 years in the Navy and I suddenly realized Lange was about to toss out the baby with the bathwater. Cullen came to our school and tried to persuade us that this was the way to go, but it did not wash. Fortunately we managed to keep bulk funding out of schools, at the expense of salary improvements. But it required the full army of the then PPTA to do so.
                    In the what goes round comes around file:
                    Teaching has been the poorer for the loss of the Inspectorate ever since the Lange “reforms”. They weren’t just inspectors but subject advisors as well. Now National are introducing the “super teacher” concept. Old idea new name.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes. My mum taught for many years as well. I vividly remember her apprehension and appreciation around those annual “Inspector” visits.

                    • millsy

                      According to the original Picot report, the advisers were supposed to have been employed by the schools themselves, but that didn’t happen. In fact, a lot of stuff proposed in that report never happened. I have read the entire report (slow Sunday in the library), and the system proposed in it, is very different to what is in place today. It also recommended a massive increase in funding to ensure that this all worked properly.

                  • Anne

                    So correct Macro and RedLogix. Most of that Labour caucus and half the cabinet had no idea what was being cooked up behind their backs. It was all done under the guise of the constitutional and financial crisis following Muldoon’s reign.

                    It’s all very well for some to try and re-write history 30 years down the track, but I was still a Labour activist when it started and I know that many in the party and caucus were appalled at what was happening but all the power was in the hands of the Rogernomes and they could do nothing about it. A former senior cabinet minister of the day told me years later that the Douglas faction did all of their decision-making behind closed doors and by the time they brought them to the cabinet table it was ‘fait accompli’. All they could do was grind their teeth and mutter under their collective breath. That is why that cabinet eventually fell apart and Lange resigned.

                    • RedLogix

                      I had the interesting opportunity to have lunch with Lange, Anne Fraser, a few police and a couple of friends just months before his resignation.

                      I must confess it was a moment largely wasted on me, as it was well before I had any sense of political awareness. That came much later.

                      But my overwhelming instinct that I took away from that day, was how very much David Lange was completely over being Prime Minister. It was crystal clear to me that the constraints and realities which prevented him from saying what he really wanted to, were no longer acceptable to him.

                      He had most definitely reached the end of what he could tolerate.

              • weka

                They probably thought what the rest of us thought CV. Labour did something good amongst all the bad shit they did (although from what I remember of the 80s it took people a long time to realise how bad things were. They did after all get 3 terms).

                Do you have an actual point, or do you just want to make this thread all about you again?

                • alwyn

                  They did not get 3 terms in the 80s.
                  They were elected in 84 and re-elected in 87. Then, after having got rid of Douglas in the interim they were slaughtered in 1990.
                  Your memory is deceiving you.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Hi Weka, I have political points to make, mainly that Labour cannot hide from it’s history, and that their support of the TPP and of MPs like Shearer and Goff has form we which goes back years.

      • Skinny 1.3.2

        CV, last paragraph…yes though only one or two would publicly admit this.

        Your talented skills would go down well within NZF and be much appreciated. Give it some thought, haha though on the unity front you would have to stop kicking the pigs for punishment half of (ok 3/4) of Labour. Although if it is only on here I doubt it really matters, though it is preaching to the mostly converted.

        I have learnt to take a depth breath and count to 10 when I see or hear a bad move by the former Workers Party, and like many who understand change can only happen from within. Our circumstances differ we have muscle and the numbers to combat the twisted minds of rightwingers.

      • TopHat 1.3.3

        People that live in the past will never be able to see the future.

        • Macro 1.3.3.1

          “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
          George Santayana

          • TopHat 1.3.3.1.1

            To ‘Live,’ in an era is markedly different from remembering one.

          • mac1 1.3.3.1.2

            As well, I’d say that those who have not learned from the past are condemned to repeat it. Obviously, Santayana is right but there are those who know well enough the progress of history but have not learn its lessons, or how to apply them to their own times.

            One of them is that a house divided will not endure. The Left could learn this.

            Another is that the progress of humanity is in incremental steps, and no party or ruler could ever be said to have got it all right, even with the best will in the world.

            So, I celebrate 1986. It enabled me to make my teaching practice about Relationships in Health Education much more inclusive. It allowed some of my friends more happiness in their lives, and therefore in mine. It also showed that some issues rise above party politics, and while Labour led the way, other social libertarians could follow. It also showed that within my Labour party there were social conservatives with whom I had to wrestle from the early Seventies.

            History also teaches me that some things in politics are cyclic. The Left’s turn will come again so long as we know that, don’t despair but plan, prepare and be ready.

            • Macro 1.3.3.1.2.1

              That is all well and good. But 1986 was also a time when the people of NZ were being well and truely shafted in a far more vicious way than those of us who rejoiced in the new social freedoms understood or fully appreciated. NZ is the poorer for many of the reforms brought in under the umbrella of “freedoms”. (I’m not talking about the social freedoms here.) Longer shopping hours – Bar hours, move money where and when you wanted it….. They were unequal freedoms – only the well off could enjoy.
              Those on the “left” who still want to hold onto the neoliberal freedoms do so at the expense of the poor. They have done so for 30 years now and it has to stop.

              • mac1

                I’d agree, Macro. But my remembering of history tells me that the Labour Party of the Eighties was a different beast from today, even if some dinosaurs such as myself even predate that time. I remember being in the same party as Douglas, and Prebble, and Shirley.

                As MMP did its work , these Labour right wingers sloughed off into ACT as did others into other parties such as Dunn. I remember with some amazement, as I’m reasonably mild in my manner, telling Shirley what I thought of him and his views in 1999, recalling that I had actually helped in his campaign in Tasman and pointing out where he had gone in his politics.

                National have no MP in the House from 1986, I understand. Some of their 90’s neo-liberals still remain in the House though. I agree, the neo-liberalism of the Labour Eighties and developed by the Bolger and Shipley governments has to be opposed and stopped.

                So, we plan, we prepare, we learn anew our lessons of history. We learn to be less selfish, be more socially minded, concerned for our poor, ill and disadvantaged, more giving and more connected. It’s almost as if a social revolution akin to the old revivalist religious meetings is needed, this time preaching the good message of social responsibility, and giving hope and direction again.

                • Macro

                  Regretfully mac1 I feel that there are still vestiges of the 80’s Labour still hanging on in Labour today.
                  The fixation on FTAs – despite the fact that they are a direct attack on workers.
                  The fixation on economic growth when the need for the future is sustainability
                  They had the opportunity to address the inequalities of the Labour laws introduced by them in the 80’s and made harsher by Nats in the 90’s but instead did a whitewash over the whole can of worms and thought that was enough!
                  They never fully addressed the inequalities of the iniquitous ’91 Ruthenasia budget – the WFF was simply an neoliberal handout to inefficient employers who were not paying their employees a living wage. Similarly the 20 hours early child hood scheme. A direct subsidy for poor paying employers.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    …WFF was simply an neoliberal handout to inefficient employers who were not paying their employees a living wage.

                    +1

                    One of the reasons I’m in favour of a UBI is that poor managers/bosses would no longer have the protection of our present punitive welfare system. Workers could, and would, leave workplaces with bad bosses.

                • “So, we plan, we prepare, we learn anew our lessons of history. We learn to be less selfish, be more socially minded, concerned for our poor, ill and disadvantaged, more giving and more connected.”

                  + 1 Good comment mac1

  2. weka 2

    Good post micky, thanks. I knew people who collected pro-reform signatures in Norman Jones’ hometown. It was radical. As well as helping the law change it helped change people’s attitudes. Definitely something to celebrate.

    • Anne 2.1

      Good post micky, thanks.

      Plus me. It’s produced some great comments and stories that are worthy of wider discussion.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    On issue after issue Labour is at the forefront of issues and fresh thinking and it is National that holds things up. And with the passage of time this becomes clearly evident.

    Although true Labour has it’s own form of conservatism running through its veins. It still protects the failed system that we have rather than trying to change it. Even its radical lurch in the 1980s was to protect that system rather than replace it.

  4. alwyn 4

    It is quite amazing how fast things can change, and how some very brave people can be forgotten.
    The first serious attempt to legalise homosexual acts in New Zealand was a private member’s bill introduced by National MP Venn young in 1974. Labour’s H G Mason had tried introduce changes in 1959 but they never came to anything being introduced. Young’s bill lost in the end but at least he tried. At the time it was a very unpopular cause and Young was really sticking his head above the parapet..
    One of the strongest opponents of the change was an extremely homophobic, and anti-abortionist Prime Minister, Labour’s Norman Kirk. Kirk claimed that homosexuality was “unnatural”. Voting for the bill was Rob Muldoon.
    Kirk was dead by the time the bill finally reached a vote but his memory still held sway and the bill failed.
    Another Labour MP, Gerald Wall even moved an amendment to make it an offence punishable by 2 years imprisonment to tell anyone under the age of 20 that homosexuality was normal.
    Can anyone imagine that the 1986 bill could have passed if Kirk had still been alive and in Parliament? He would, after all, only have been 63.

    • Skinny 4.1

      Nice education thanks alwyn. For people like me that is quite insightful. I wonder how the last real Left Labour party leader Bill Rowling voted?

      • alwyn 4.1.1

        I really brought this up because I think Venn young deserves to be remembered. He took on the bill because he considered he was probably best placed to withstand any whispering campaign that he was a closet homosexual which would have been a political death sentence in those days. As a Catholic with a large family (9 kids) he thought he would be safer than some other MPs.
        It is rather ironic that his son Jonathon voted against the marriage bill of 2012 or 2013.

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.1

          Then of course there was the appalling episode with Muldoon destroying Colin Moyle. In that context Venn Young was indeed a brave man.

        • Karen 4.1.1.2

          Political journalist Audrey Young is one of his daughters.

          Venn Young was quite happy to be in Muldoon’s cabinet and as far as I am aware did nothing to stop Muldoon hounding Colin Moyle out of parliament for homosexual activity and trying the same with Gerald O’Brien.

          I have wondered whether Venn Young’s private members bill was more of an attempt to divide the Labour caucus than a genuine desire to get reform but I don’t know enough about the man to say.

          The bill was voted on it 1976 and lost 34 to 29, with 23 MPs staying away for the vote. My understanding is that the majority of the 29 were Labour MPs but I have been unable to check that.

          • alwyn 4.1.1.2.1

            4 July 1975 actually. Not 1976. Independence denied day.
            I tried to find who was for and against too but didn’t find anything on-line.
            Anyone have a Hansard of that date?
            “Muldoon hounding Colin Moyle out of parliament for homosexual activity and trying the same with Gerald O’Brien”
            Muldoon would use any weapon available on his opponents. He had enough slanderous comments made about himself to not do so. He was at least as rough as Helen Clark in this regard.
            Muldoon claimed that Moyle was the MP who accused Muldoon’s accountancy firm of breaking the law, and he lashed out. It may have been true.
            He knew that Moyle’s statement to the house differed to what he had told the police.
            There is no evidence though that Muldoon was homophobic. He really did vote for Young’s bill, in spite of his mail being overwhelmingly against it and supporting Kirk’s statements.

            • mac1 4.1.1.2.1.1

              No evidence about Muldoon? Here’s one instance from my life.

              Muldoon addressed a meeting in my town in a Seventies election. A questioner from the floor went to the front of the hall to ask his question to allow himself to be heard by Muldoon. His question was asked, not favourable to Muldoon, and he proceeded to return to the back of the hall as it would have been rude to have stayed standing at the front while Muldoon answered.

              On the long way back down the aisle, a man sitting on the edge of the aisle stuck his knee out into the passage, and motioned to the questioner to perch himself upon his knee, which he did. All in good manners.

              Muldoon’s response was to make a vile joke about the questioner’s sexuality. That has always stuck with me; even as a young man of 23 I knew that was very wrong.

              Some of the audience laughed at Muldoon’s sally. I was angered; and I find, still am.

            • Karen 4.1.1.2.1.2

              I would need to see the 1975 Hansard before I was convinced about Muldoon’s vote. I haven’t been able to find out the who voted what way online except for the MPs included in these summaries of a couple of debates.

              http://www.laganz.org.nz/cgibin/_lrView.cgi?UID=1124421831-79

              http://www.laganz.org.nz/cgibin/_lrView.cgi?UID=1124421831-79

              I was surprised to see that Holyoake voted in support but not so surprised to see Marshall, Bolger and Birch opposed.

              From what I have read Venn Young was an Anglican not a Catholic, though he did have 9 children.

            • Skinny 4.1.1.2.1.3

              I have a soft spot for old Robbie despite his many flaws here is a tale why.

              My dear late parents happen to be on a flight to Fiiji, at the time my sister was a trolley dolly for AirNZ and the then terms of employees thanks to their Union meant they got 90% discounts for 2 family members. So my sister shouted my working class folks to Fiji. While they were sitting there waiting for take off there was a slight delay for 2 passengers. Anyway down the isle comes piggy Muldoon and his wife, when he got to viewing distance of my mother his face lit up seeing a pretty Maori face he stopped leaned over and said kia ora! apologised for delaying the flight. According to the old man mum had a ukulele, the flight took off and once in the air Muldoon came back with a hosstess and a trolley full of booze. Apparently Piggy and my mum took turns playing the ukulele, everyone onboard was singing along drinking free piss and partying the rest of the flight. Even the old man a staunce Scottish leftie gave Piggy his dues for being a peoples person.

      • North 4.1.2

        I’m going entirely from ‘mists of time’ recall here Skinny but something’s telling me that Rowling was quietly onside. I may be wrong. Wikipedia says he dealt rather brutally with Colin Moyle after The Pig’s filth. Which brought David Lange to Parliament. Whose arrival in time took out Rowling. Is that right ? Certainly it took out The Pig.

        More vivid is my memory of being invited and going to Venn Young’s office in the National Party Opposition Wing (not my natural habitat – bloody surreal experience eckshully) after the vote was lost. Young was sincere but My God……any uncertainties he entertained were well answered by his wife. A firebrand for the cause !

        Tell me I’m wrong…….as far back as Patricia Bartlett the dark forces, the dirty minds, have always projected Armageddon-like consequences of treating diverse human beings with the humanity we accord our own. This and that horror will follow. AND IT NEVER FUCKING DOES. And they NEVER apologise for being so mouthily and cruelly wrong. They just lurch on to their next buzzy buzzy, feel a murmur, salacious fascination. Perverts !

        Some proper stuff you’re writing there Alwyn. Those were the days when the National Party did offer some essentially good people. I remember Peter Gordon Minister of Transport as one such (genuine respect from and for Bob Tizard). Unlike the current mob – “Spot Of Fellatio Mr Key…… While You’re ‘Chatting’ With Richie ?”

        • Anne 4.1.2.1

          Ralph Hanan was another one but that is going further back into the mists of time even for me. Brian Talboys who only died recently was a man to be respected too. In fact there were quite a few of them. I think they would be spinning in their graves if they knew what had happened to their National Party.

          Btw, Bob Tizard was Labour.

          Edit: and after reading Magisterium below I accept there is an element of shameful behaviour on the part of some dfromer Labour luminaries too – borne out of ignorance.

    • Magisterium 4.2

      It is quite amazing how fast things can change, and how some very brave people can be forgotten.
      The first serious attempt to legalise homosexual acts in New Zealand was a private member’s bill introduced by National MP Venn young in 1974. Labour’s H G Mason had tried introduce changes in 1959 but they never came to anything being introduced. Young’s bill lost in the end but at least he tried. At the time it was a very unpopular cause and Young was really sticking his head above the parapet..
      One of the strongest opponents of the change was an extremely homophobic, and anti-abortionist Prime Minister, Labour’s Norman Kirk. Kirk claimed that homosexuality was “unnatural”. Voting for the bill was Rob Muldoon.
      Kirk was dead by the time the bill finally reached a vote but his memory still held sway and the bill failed.
      Another Labour MP, Gerald Wall even moved an amendment to make it an offence punishable by 2 years imprisonment to tell anyone under the age of 20 that homosexuality was normal.
      Can anyone imagine that the 1986 bill could have passed if Kirk had still been alive and in Parliament? He would, after all, only have been 63.

      Fantastic post. Thanks alwyn.

    • Atiawa 4.3

      Not sure if Venn’s bravery had much to do with any deeply held views on the issue. His Egmont seat (or was it by then renamed Waitotara) was a very safe National seat.

  5. I can appreciate the milestone this was and is and the courage it took to get this through and still be pissed off with Labour for rogernomics and the foreshore and seabed and the twyford namelist in auckland. It seems a natural part of the world to me. And I can say the same about the party i support – Mana – good, bad, ugly – all within the same group. It seems to me to be political naivety to expect the opposite – that a political party will always meet my expectations or that a political party can do only the good and not the bad and ugly.

    plus I’m over 50 and the 80’s protests activated me and many others and we have not been deactivated to date…

  6. Tanz 6

    So anti God and the Bible…

  7. Tanz 7

    The opinion of a leftie Bishop The Word of God is unchangeable, always.

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