Human Rights are Universal. That means they apply to all humans. It means we don’t choose who those rights apply to and who they don’t apply to. If we did, then we’d all eventually wind up on the ‘wrong’ side of the line.
So when John Key stands up in Parliament and screams how Labour and others are supporting rapists, child molesterers (as he phrased it) and murderers, it’s incumbent upon the Opposition not to shy away, and not to distance themselves from supporting human rights.
New Zealanders are on Christmas Island. Some have been to jail. It does not matter what their crime was. It does not matter whether they are pleasant people or unpleasant people. They have human rights. It would have been nice if Labour and the Greens had broadened the debate to include the refugees on Christmas Island as well as Australia’s other prison Islands, but no.
The members from the left of the house who were so keen to distance themselves from any suggestion of being rape apologists or whatever, that they walked out of the debating chamber – might as well keep on walking. They are of no use.
John Key cynically or cunningly turned question time into a piece of ‘gotcha’ theater. He knew what he was doing. He was banking on ‘the princesses’ from the opposition getting all het up and making a show and dance about the pea he’d placed under their seats. And they did. Like I say, they need to keep walking.
Today, instead of a focus being on why New Zealand’s government will not defend human rights, we have a quiet rumbling on the relative worth of the people whose rights are being violated. That ball; the ball that some in the opposition stand culpable of giving momentum to, is a very dangerous thing to have on the move. I’ll say again to those members who walked. Keep going.