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The dark side of the Right

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, June 13th, 2008 - 115 comments
Categories: abortion, articles, national, Social issues - Tags:

Trotter is on the money today:

…[A]ll of you young, confident women of the 21st century urgently need to pause and reflect upon what is happening especially all you young, confident women thinking of voting for the National Party.

Why? Because behind National, hidden by all those glossy placards depicting the handsome John Key, marches a much less appealing army of fanatical right-wing activists, all of whom are impatient to advance the conservative causes that nine years of Labour-led government have held in check..

Five months out from the election, they’re certainly not saying, “Oh bother, New Zealand is about to elect a socially conservative millionaire prime minister and a right-wing majority to the House of Representatives, there goes all hope of getting any of our cherished religious principles recognised by an MMP parliament.”

All that stands between them, and the anti-abortionists’ long- delayed revenge, are the young, confident women of 21st-century New Zealand and their brothers who still believe in a woman’s right to choose.

As you know, the main parties might be relatively close on (some) policy but they are polar opposites in underlying principle. A National government would change the direction of this country, away from social reforms to greater conservatism and even regression on social issues. National opposed civil unions, prostitution reform, paid paternal leave, s59, and every other social reform. You only need look at the massive (ongoing) thread on our abortion post to see that many National supporters would take away a woman’s right to choose given the chance.

A National government might give them that chance.

115 comments on “The dark side of the Right”

  1. Billy 1

    What a beat up.

  2. Ari 2

    . . .

    National opposing every major social reform in the last three terms is a beat-up?

    Way to show your colours, Billy.

  3. higherstandard 3

    Chris trotter about as balanced as David Farrar I would have thought.

    A National government would change the direction of this country, away from social reforms to greater conservatism and even regression on social issues.

    Eh got a link for that or is it just demonisation ?

    You only need look at the massive (ongoing) thread on our abortion post to see that many National supporters would take away a woman’s right to choose given the chance.

    Poppycock – this really is stretching things.

  4. Lew 4

    Trotter is a hack, but he’s a crafty hack. This looks like a good agenda-control ploy, the use of Justice Miller’s judgement to flush the lobby out into the open, and give journalists and commentators opportunities to ask `well, is it true, John?”

    Interesting to see whether this long-settled issue comes up for public debate again. It’s orthodoxy now. Woe betide the major party who tries to mess with it.

    BTW: Steve, bollocks, I thought that thread was finally done for.

    L

  5. Billy 5

    FFS, the present structure for approving abortions has been in place since, what, the late ’70s? I didn’t notice National aggressively pursued its regressive programme of rolling that back through the adminisations of Muldoon, Bolger and Shipley.

    National didn’t oppose Prostitution Law Reform or Civil Unions. I recall that both were conscience votes on which the party had no position.

    So, yes Ari. I have shown my true colours. This is a scare mongering beat up. But I guess now is the time to press the panic button.

  6. andy 6

    What a beat up.

    just like a herald editorial or Audry Youngs blog then eh!

    dminisations of Muldoon, Bolger and Shipley.

    Will this be the acceptable cost of a MMP victory for national?

  7. Tane 7

    Trotter is a hack

    Lew, howso? I mean he’s a left-wing commentator but he’s certainly not a shill for any party or organisation.

    National didn’t oppose Prostitution Law Reform or Civil Unions. I recall that both were conscience votes on which the party had no position.

    Billy. True, but that’s a technicality. The vast, vast majority of National MPs voted against social reform and the vast, vast majority of Labour (and Green) MPs for.

  8. On the brighter side, could the loss of votes to the right be an unintended consequence of the suit.

    As stargazer points out elsewhere, an abortion debate will give the christian right politicians some exposure. But not votes methinks. However, I’m thinking that if a large number of pro-abortion voters start to look closely at the positions of the largely male National Party candidates, then this might prove unhelpful for the Nats.

  9. higherstandard 9

    Tane

    Couldn’t you just as easily have a article by a “right winger” which commented that a vote for Labour also encourages a much less appealing army of fanatical left-wing activists, all of whom are impatient to advance their causes.

    While both parties have fringe zealots neither party is very left or right from a global perspective despite the vitriol that will be delivered from all sides prior to the election.

    Jafa might just be me but my impression is that apart from a minority of electorates most NZers don’t vote for their local candidate but vote for a party.

  10. all_your_base 10

    Steve’s spot on about National’s opposition to progressive social reform – which is why I get pissed that the conservative Nats have the gall to brand themselves as the party of “change” having opposed:

    civil unions
    prostitution law reform
    paid parental leave
    repeal of s59
    a fourth week of annual leave

    any others?

  11. HS. Yes you could have an article like that, I invite anyone to write that on their blog.

    No-one’s denyng there are extremists on both sides. Simply pointing out that the large parts of the Right want to undo some important soical reforms and voters ought to be aware of that.

  12. Tane 12

    Couldn’t you just as easily have a article by a “right winger’ which commented that a vote for Labour also encourages a much less appealing army of fanatical left-wing activists, all of whom are impatient to advance their causes.

    HS, you could, but in my experience the fanatical left-wing activists are usually in the Greens, RAM, Workers’ Party or not involved in party politics at all. They certainly don’t see Labour as a vehicle for extreme politics in the way the far right (SST, Family First, Right to Life etc) do with National.

    Labour activists, though I’ve found many of the younger ones to be distasteful careerists, tend to be more pragmatic and firmly social democratic in their politics.

  13. Billy 13

    a_y_b,

    As anyone here will point out when it suits them, National supported the repeal of S59.

  14. a_y_b

    I think at their heart a lot of economic reforms are really social reforms too, and National has opposed –

    end of youth rates
    meal breaks, breastfeeding
    minimum wage increases
    WfF
    Kiwisaver
    Cullen Fund
    20Free
    .. the list goes on…

    as far as I can see they’ve opposed just about every change this government has made, only to flip-flop on nearly all of them later when they proved overwhelmingly popular.

    You’re right, hardly a party of change.

  15. Lew 15

    Tane: I don’t think `hack’ necessarily implies that he’s a shill or is in someone’s pocket. Strictly speaking it’s someone whose work is unoriginal or predictable. As far as I’m concerned Trotter’s mostly is, but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad, or worthless.

    L

  16. burt 16

    Steve P.

    There is a name for the MP’s that are not part of the govt, I think it’s called “the opposition”. The idea here is that the “opposition” oppose the govt to create balance.

    Now under our FPP style parliament the major parties pretty much just oppose each other because that’s what they do. It’s highly ineffective as far as providing representation for the people, which is why we put MMP into place. Sadly though the lemming mentality of major parties “Two ticks [Labour/National]” make a mockery of proportional representation so the major muppets just squabble to justify their existence. Perhaps if Labour party MP’s were allowed to vote based on their own views rather than being required to vote according to dear leaders instructions then the opposition wouldn’t just vote against them on everything. Just a though.

  17. Scribe 17

    John Key believes the current abortion law is “appropriate”. He was quoting as saying so in a Catholic newspaper last year, so this is scaremongering, plain and simple. National won’t change abortion law.

    [read the post. SP]

  18. Billy 18

    You guys aren’t seriously suggesting National has a secret agenda to criminalise abortion?

    You are looking a bit desperate.

    [no, I’m not. I’m saying that a National government will mean the end of positive social reforms and perhaps regression on some. It’s about the direction things will start to head in when you have conservatives in power, not some conspriacy. SP]

  19. Lew 19

    burt: `Two ticks’ campaigning doesn’t really change a thing, since the number of MPs representing each party is fixed by the party vote. What you describe is actually what happens: the parties which make up government (and, as in the minority government case we have now, some who don’t) vote for or against legislation based on their own policy in negotiation with others. No `Dear Leader’ (ignoring the blatant stupidity of calling a democratically elected world leader by the epithet chosen by a hereditary tyrant) is forcing the Greens, UF, NZ First or the maori party to vote alongside the government – but they tend to do so anyway.

    But wouldn’t you just love a Labour party without whips, opposed by a whipped National party?

    L

  20. Lew 20

    Billy: No. They’re suggesting that National’s ideological backers, mostly in the religious right, have such an agenda.

    L

  21. James Kearney 21

    John Key believes the current abortion law is “appropriate”. He was quoting as saying so in a Catholic newspaper last year, so this is scaremongering, plain and simple. National won’t change abortion law.

    I don’t think John Key wants to change abortion law. I do wonder what will happen if the current law is enforced to the letter and access to abortion is severely curtailed. Will Key support a liberalisation of abortion law to reflect the current situation?

  22. burt 22

    Lew

    I’d like a parliament where the MP’s that are elected by the people vote based on their own views, the same views that people elected them on. Not some half-baked dictatorship where the party position overtakes the position of the people chosen to represent us.

    Too much to ask I know, it’s in the interests of democracy more than it is in the interests of the ruling party so it will never catch on.

  23. FLV 23

    [Tane: FLV, as constructive as your comments on this thread have been, you remain banned for your previous behaviour.]

  24. higherstandard 24

    More young males discussing abortion law – ye Gods

    SP What additional positive social reforms are on the cards under Labour then – I’d be fascinated to know.

  25. burt 25

    What FLV said.

  26. Billy 26

    Really, Steve. I must be thick. What did this mean, then?:

    All that stands between them, and the anti-abortionists’ long- delayed revenge, are the young, confident women of 21st-century New Zealand and their brothers who still believe in a woman’s right to choose.

  27. Scribe 27

    James,

    I don’t think John Key wants to change abortion law. I do wonder what will happen if the current law is enforced to the letter and access to abortion is severely curtailed. Will Key support a liberalisation of abortion law to reflect the current situation?

    I would want any politician to see the law enforced as it’s written, not how it’s being flouted. Isn’t that what laws are for, rather than being interpreted on the run?

  28. burt 28

    For people who missed it….

    I agree with FLV when he/she said;

    Yes but Helen Clark supported a flat tax of 20%. In fact she supported every economic measure of the fourth labour government, and closed more hospitals than any other health minister.

    Most of the issues steve lists are conscience votes, not whipped party votes. Steve doesn’t understand what a conscience vote is, because Labour never allows them.

  29. James Kearney 29

    I would want any politician to see the law enforced as it’s written, not how it’s being flouted. Isn’t that what laws are for, rather than being interpreted on the run?

    My question was whether if the law was found to limit women’s access to abortion from what they have now whether John Key would support liberalising the law.

  30. Lew 30

    burt: “I’d like a parliament where the MP’s that are elected by the people vote based on their own views, the same views that people elected them on.”

    You want a polity where political collusion is illegal? Because the natural tendency of political animals is to form power blocs based on more or less shared needs or goals. You can’t fight it. Learn to use it. This is what MMP relies upon. In case you weren’t clear: there is no `ruling party’ under a minority MMP government. Labour certainly isn’t such a party now. One of the major objections I have to National’s campaign is that they want to be that ruling party, but even there, it becomes clear that they’re an agglomeration of power blocs like any other party.

    HS: I’m not the one arguing it. The groups in question are covered in the article and preceding comments.

    L

  31. James Kearney 31

    Steve doesn’t understand what a conscience vote is, because Labour never allows them.

    Labour does allow conscience votes.
    http://commonz.wotfun.com/

  32. Felix 32

    I would want any politician to see the law enforced as it’s written, not how it’s being flouted.

    In this light, Mr Key’s professed belief in the appropriateness of the current law requires much closer examination.

  33. Disengaged 33

    I agree with Billy. Why would National wait until 2008/9 to repeal the act? In the intervening 30 years or so since it was passed the New Zealand populace has generally become more accepting of women’s rights and are more pragmatic when it comes to things like abortion. Along with this the National party itself is far more centrist and is arguably further away from fundimental christian influences than ever before.

    Pro-life extremists have been lobbying and pressuring governments for decades I don’t see any evidence in what Trotter has said that would indicate that National are wanting to turn back the clock.

    To me this article is almost as paranoid as Ian Wishart’s rantings about Labour’s secret lesbian agenda.

  34. Billy: What a beat up.

    Really? In 2004, 23 of National’s then-27 MPs voted to require teenagers to notify their parents before being allowed to have an abortion, and 6 out of 27 voted to require parental permission. I think that’s serious cause for concern. While National’s 2005 intake is more liberal than its 2002 rump, they still have an awful lot of Taleban for a supposedly “modern, centrist” party.

    James: I don’t think John Key wants to change abortion law

    He did in 2004 – and not for the better.

    In short, Trotter is right: National is no friend of abortion rights for women.

  35. Joker 35

    As a gay prostitute I really worry that the focus of social policy may be taken from people like me and given to mainstream New Zealand if National were to get in.

  36. Scribe 36

    Felix,

    In this light, Mr Key’s professed belief in the appropriateness of the current law requires much closer examination.

    Agreed. It’s something that the Catholic newspaper I mentioned above did last year. Shame others aren’t as interested. Maybe the current interest in the abortion will prompt them to ask those questions.

    James,

    I’m not good at hypotheticals, so I can’t say whether Key would support a law change or not.

  37. Vanilla Eis 37

    James Kearney: Thank you, that is a brilliant site.

    For example, a quick search shows that, on the civil unions bill, 45 Labour members voted for, yet somehow 6 voted against. No conscience votes huh?

    However, on the National side of things, a grand total of THREE members voted in favour – Clem Simich, Pansy Wong and the exiting Katherine Rich. I always knew I liked that woman.

    And again, with prostitution reform: Labour had 40 for and 10 against, National 6 for, 21 against.

    Bill Englishes voting record makes for interesting (if short) reading. In fact, at a glance it looks identical to Gerry Brownlees. Coincidence?

  38. Scribe 38

    Idiot/Savant,

    In 2004, 23 of National’s then-27 MPs voted to require teenagers to notify their parents before being allowed to have an abortion, and 6 out of 27 voted to require parental permission.

    Good on them. Kids can’t take a Panadol at school without getting permission, yet you think they should be allowed to have invasive surgical procedures without parental permission. Talk about ideology gone mad.

    Disengaged.

    Along with this the National party itself is far more centrist and is arguably further away from fundimental christian influences than ever before.

    They’re certainly arguably further away from fundamental Christian principles as well. Probably go hand in hand, though.

  39. Lew 39

    Joker: Gay prostitutes don’t typically need abortions, even a bonehead like you should be able to see that.

    Oh, I see – you’re arguing they’re not legitimate New Zealanders because you disagree with some of their choices. That’s just the attitude SP is calling attention to.

    L

  40. Lew 40

    VI: Clem Simich is also retiring.

    L

  41. MikeE 41

    I’m on the right, and in full support of a Woman’s right to choose, I’ve got two very close friends who chose to have abortions when they were younger (in their late teens) and I think it was a very hard thing for them to choose , but ultimately in their circumstances it was the right one.

    Just because one is to the right of centre politically does not mean they are some christian fundamentalist, women hating anti abortion nutcase. Trotter is NOT on the money, there are plenty of left wing, christian fundamentalist anti abortion nutters out there as well.

    Fundamentally it comes down to property rights, and the most important right of all – self ownership.

    A woman owns her body – she and she alone should be able to decide what she does with it. The state, nor any relgious fundamentalist has no right to dictate what she does with her body.

    Yes there is an argument as to which stage a foetus is “human” etc.. and the period at which it is safe etc…

    The only thing that needs reforming with regards to abortion is the silly rule requiring the need for it to be for mental well being, rape or whatever… this is silly.. Again it implys that the state owns her body, and not the woman, and she should get permission before she can do something to it.

    Then again I also support:
    – Prostitution Reform bill (again its a property rights issue, you own your body)
    – Civil Unions (as its a freedom of contract issue)
    – Death with Dignity bill (property rights issue)
    – Legalising Cannabis (again a property rights issue)

    The point being… that just because one supports Low taxes and less governmnet intevention economically doesn’t mean they want to see the government controlling what we do to our own bodies as a trade off.

  42. Matthew Pilott 42

    Burt, under our system the electorate votes are secondary to party votes. Ask anyone which vote is more important. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out why.

    And in case you missed it, we vote for Parties.

    Now I know you have an irrational hatred of a Party acting as…a Party, but most people vote for a Party because they expect that Party to vote based upon the Party’s principles. You don’t vote for a Party in the hope that their members will have consciences similar to yours…do you?

    What you seem to want is an election where Parties are illegal, and we all vote for an independant, who we hope will vote as we wish based upon their conscience. Odd.

    As for “two ticks…”, why would the National Party advocate people vote for another Party? I genuinely can’t see any reason for this, nor how it can affect MMP. There is a discinction between the campaign and the formation of a government, you know…

  43. andy 43

    Disengaged

    it all comes back to that old chestnut, Nationals no policy policy.

    Until we know, its all speculation.

  44. Billy 44

    I/S,

    If National harboured a desperate desire to change the abortion regime, they should have marks deducted for inefficiency. Would not any of the years between 1978 and 1984 or 1990 and 1999 have been a good time to put that change into place?

    It just does not seem likely to me.

  45. Joker 45

    You’re presuming I’m a man Lew. Woman can be gay as well you know.

    I find it weird that the “big win” social reforms that Labour are trumpeting are poofs marrying and the legalisation of hookers. Whilst no less legitimate than any other New Zealander these groups don’t represent a large part of the populace. There are some big (and in my opinion more important) social issues that effect a larger number of the NZ’ers and I would like to see the same time and energy spent on these as was spent championing the above.

    [don’t used derogatory names for homosexuals or other such groups again or you’ll be banned. The idea that Labour hasn’t done anything the bulk of the population as well as spending a small amount of time providing rights to smaller groups is asburd. SP]

  46. Tane 46

    Joker, I think that’s what things like higher wages, record low unemployment, improvements to employment protections, Working for Families and Kiwisaver were about.

    Yes, the social reforms you speak of were opposed violently, even obsessively, by right-wing bigots, but they’ve hardly been the government’s focus over the last nine years.

  47. Lew 47

    I think what we have is the confluence of a few events giving rise to a new social conservatism in NZ, mostly as a backlash to legislation passed on this government’s watch. Prostitution reform, civil unions and the repeal of s59 have all generated grumblings from certain segments of society, and the general trend of this is one plank in the whole `lesbian agenda to destroy the family’ schtick which some people take all too seriously. We have at least two parties founded on the basis of `Christian family values’ on the back of this grumbling, and a strengthening dog-whistle lobby which connects this policy agenda with rising crime and the overall decline of NZ. If I were a Christian conservative, I’d think the time was ripe to throw my support and that of my flock in behind a party who’d get some of this fixed, especially when it’s a fairly blank policy slate at present. The Miller decision, though it seems fairly moderate to my non-lawyer reading, could well be the rallying point for this all.

    Especially considering that many ultra-conservative Christians don’t vote – the ability to harness a non-voting bloc to vote for you is what gives you a non-zero-sum electoral advantage over opponents who can’t do the same. It’s not a conspiracy’ it’s the ebb and flow of minority politics.

    L

  48. Matthew Pilott 48

    Woman can be gay as well you know.

    Joker, if you were a female gay prostitute, you’d be sleeping with women and probably unlikely to need an abortion. If you’d said you were a bisexual prostitute you might have a leg to stand on.

    There are some big…social issues….“. Name five, Joker. Ones that no time and energy has been spent on.

  49. Lew 49

    Joker: “You’re presuming I’m a man Lew. Woman can be gay as well you know.”

    Wow, you mean gay women need abortions?

    See folks, this is why we need mandatory sex education in conservative Christian schools.

    L

  50. James Kearney 50

    Hey Joker, what can I get for fifty bucks?

  51. Scribe 51

    Tane,

    the social reforms you speak of were opposed violently, even obsessively, by right-wing bigots (emphasis mine)

    You’re better than that. Don’t stoop to Steve’s level in name-calling.

    Opposing the legalisation of the sex industry certainly isn’t bigoted. Opinions on whether opposing civil unions is bigotry would vary, I concede.

  52. Joker 52

    “Wow, you mean gay women need abortions?”

    So you are saying you cant get pregnant on the isle of Lesbos.

    Dude, two words for you “turkey baster”

  53. Tane 53

    Scribe, my comment was referring specifically to the bigots who opposed equality for gays and legal protections for prostitutes. I’m sure that, for whatever reason, there were some non-bigots opposing these measures too, but they weren’t the ones leading the debate.

  54. Joker 54

    James,

    For you on a today only special I will give you an “angry pirate”

    Angry Pirate

  55. Lew 55

    Joker: Since your approach to these `perversions’ isn’t to actually think rationally about them, despite your apparent obsession with them, I have four more words: `whatever turns you on’.

    L

  56. Matthew Pilott 56

    Joker, if a woman was to artificially inseminate herself, why would she then go for an abortion?

    Are you really as dumb as you’re coming across?

    P.s I’m not clicking that link, because I’m at work, but I’ll give that a ‘good call’ call.

  57. MikeE 57

    “Opposing the legalisation of the sex industry certainly isn’t bigoted.”

    Yes, it is.

    Wanting to throw young women into jail for engaging in consensual acts is Bigoted to the extreme.

  58. Disengaged 58

    Andy: “it all comes back to that old chestnut, Nationals no policy policy.

    Until we know, its all speculation.”

    Or in Trotter’s case baseless scaremongoring

    [not baseless though, eh? We know that many Nat supporters oppose the social reforms of recent decades, we know that National is close to the Exclusive Brethren, who expect a National government to reverse those reforms. So, in the absence of any actual policy, Trotter has reached a reasonable conclusion – the social reforms are in danger if National is elected. SP]

  59. randal 59

    who knows what dirty little policies national have made deals on with their right wing nutbar supporters. they have’t made known any of their policy planks yet but the creepy religio/psychodominators are starting to get emboldened in the right wing press. they make ya skin crawl.

  60. Joker 60

    Matthew

    “Joker, if a woman was to artificially inseminate herself, why would she then go for an abortion?”

    It’s a womans perogative to change her mind.

    “Are you really as dumb as you’re coming across?”

    Fraid so. Tried to do something about it once but realised I was wasting my time.

  61. Lew 61

    Mr Pilott, we have been trolled.

    L

  62. Mikey 62

    Saying that all or even most of national is against abortion is like saying all or even most of Labour is against Marijuana prohibition. Trotter got it wrong.

  63. Scribe 63

    MikeE,

    Wanting to throw young women into jail for engaging in consensual acts is Bigoted to the extreme.

    The opponents of prostitution “reform” didn’t want women thrown in jail for engaging in consensual acts. What they wanted to avoid was seeing an incredibly dangerous “industry” given the governmental stamp of approval.

  64. burt 64

    Matthew Pilott

    Your response to my suggestion that MP’s should vote based on their own views rather then the views of the party completely validate my position that bloc voting is in the best interest of the party rather than the best interest of democracy.

    You quite rightly point out that the party vote is the most important vote and in real terms the electorate vote is a generic vote for a party as well. After all we can’t expect that because (x) MP has strong views on (x) subject that they will vote according to those views can we oh no that’s not presenting an external view of unity which any good apologist will tell you is more important than representation of the people.

    The way you have justified bloc voting makes a complete mockery of the electorate vote, it’s clearly irrelevant what (x) MP’s views are and therefore we should only have the party vote either that or just accept that the party is bigger than the people and accept bloc voting as a way of trampling over the views of the individual elected representatives status quo.

  65. MikeE 65

    “The opponents of prostitution “reform’ didn’t want women thrown in jail for engaging in consensual acts. What they wanted to avoid was seeing an incredibly dangerous “industry’ given the governmental stamp of approval.”

    The opponents of reform are obviously so thick then that they cannot understand the direct link between criminalising an action, and jail time for those who carry out said action.

    Either you support a womans right to control her body or you don’t. If you want to ban her from engaging in consensual acts, then you obviously believe you have some ownership right over her body – which is dispicable.

  66. Lew 66

    burt: This is only true if you believe that all MPs do is vote. In fact voting is the very tip of a huge iceberg. Most of what MPs do is discuss, negotiate, debate and represent various policy positions and interest groups – in public, in caucus, in select committees, in cabinet. The bulk of the work MPs do – in and out of government – is shape the matters on which to vote.

    Electorate MPs explicitly do so on behalf of their constituents, and neglecting these duties results in losing one’s electorate; viz. Winston Peters.

    L

  67. andy 67

    Or in Trotter’s case baseless scaremongoring

    unless you know Nats policy, that is speculation too!

    Like I said upthread:

    Will this be the acceptable cost of a MMP victory for national?

  68. burt 68

    Lew

    Quite correct, they talk it up then vote according to instructions. So what you are saying is they spend our time and money pretending to be representing us then they do what’s in the best interests of the party (IE: Themselves).

  69. higherstandard 69

    Come on Lew

    “neglecting these duties results in losing one’s electorate”

    Some electorate in this country could run a chicken as candidate and as long as they were a member of the right political party we would undoubtedly need to install a suitable nest in parliament.

  70. Disengaged 70

    SP: “not baseless though, eh? We know that many Nat supporters oppose the social reforms of recent decades”

    Do we? Can you provide numbers to back this up (as you are so fond of demanding imperical evidence). I would suspect that many National supporters are far more liberal than you give them credit for and support many of the social reforms of the recent decade. If you were talking about Destiny/Kiwi party supporters your assumption is probably more acurate.

    SP: “we know that National is close to the Exclusive Brethren, who expect a National government to reverse those reforms.”

    Really? Last time I checked the EB don’t vote and National seems to have distanced itself markedly from their (misguided)support.

    SP: “So, in the absence of any actual policy, Trotter has reached a reasonable conclusion – the social reforms are in danger if National is elected.”

    Your definition of “reasonable” is quite different from mine. Personally, if for some reason I found myself before a jury that you were a member of, I wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of your “reasonable doubt”.

    I think that Trotter has let his personal bias and paranoia colour his view of the world.

  71. Lew 71

    burt: No – the parties represent the interests of those who vote for them, unless you vote for a party which doesn’t represent your interests, in which case you forfeit the right to complain. Come on, don’t let your jaded view of politics let you forget the basics.

    HS: Sure, some seats are safer than others. But generally what I said holds true.

    L

  72. exexpat 72

    What trotter wrote was incredibly stupid. Yes there are a lot of National Party MPs that support restrictions to abortion, but there is also a minority there that don’t and this isn’t exactly a way to win over their support (not to mention piss off the anti-abortion left wing vote).

  73. burt 73

    Lew

    If we accept bloc voting then we don’t actually need the MP’s at all. Each party could be given a share of the overall vote based on the party vote (EG: Labour get 35 votes, National get 52 etc) and one person from each party (elected by party members of course) casts all of the ‘proxy’ votes when a vote is required. Parliament could be disbanded and each party representative could simply text the choice they are voting for to the speaker.

    Lets be honest, the outcome from doing this would be no different to the current outcome from bloc voting, but the costs would be significantly less and people would know with surety that when they vote for a party they give complete control to the whim of the party rather than being fooled into thinking that “Joe/Jane Doe MP’ actually makes a difference and therefore is worthy of their vote.

  74. Scribe 74

    MikeE,

    Either you support a womans right to control her body or you don’t. If you want to ban her from engaging in consensual acts, then you obviously believe you have some ownership right over her body – which is dispicable.

    It’s not about controlling a woman’s body. It’s about looking at what’s good for society. Prostitution is not good for society, so why validate or endorse it?

  75. burt 75

    Scribe

    “Prostitution is not good for society”

    Is that your opinion or is that a fact?

  76. Lew 76

    burt: If you genuinely believe text-voting is the same as representative democracy, there’s simply no point in discussing this any further.

    L

  77. gobsmacked 77

    Quiz time:

    Who described the National Party as “Sexist and Neanderthal”?

    a) Chris Trotter
    b) The Standard
    c) Phil Heatley, National MP

  78. Scribe 78

    burt,

    If I look at prostitution objectively, I can’t see how it could possibly be good for society. Maybe you can enlighten me.

  79. burt 79

    Lew

    If you genuinely believe that bloc voting is the same as representative democracy, there’s simply no point in discussing this any further.

  80. Lew 80

    burt: Of course it is. It rests on the presence of the word `representative’, rather than the word `direct’.

    L

  81. Anita 81

    Scribe,

    John Key believes the current abortion law is “appropriate’. He was quoting as saying so in a Catholic newspaper last year, so this is scaremongering, plain and simple. National won’t change abortion law.

    There is ample evidence in parliamentary debate and voting records that a National government will make abortion significantly harder to obtain without changing our abortion law.

    The current law is very open to interpretation, and the make up of the abortion supervisory committee is key. National would shift the interpretation a very long way. See this for a start if you want the voting records on an attempt to put an antiabortion doctor onto the ASC.

    Anita

  82. andy 82

    If I look at prostitution objectively, I can’t see how it could possibly be good for society.

    ha ha ha, that was a friday funny, wasn’t it?

    captcha: fifteen each?

  83. burt 83

    Scribe

    You said it wasn’t good for society, so perhaps you could describe why it isn’t I asked you was that a fact or your opinion and now you expect me to answer the question of fact vs opinion.

    All I can assume from that is that your opinion is that it’s bad and that you think you can speak for society are you a Labour MP?

  84. Scribe

    Good on them. Kids can’t take a Panadol at school without getting permission, yet you think they should be allowed to have invasive surgical procedures without parental permission. Talk about ideology gone mad.

    Didn’t you learn anything last time?

    1, Panadol is a distraction, does not require parental permission, the school just keeps a list of every one who wants panadol from the sick bay. I woudl hope that schools kept a record of whats what in the sick bay anyway. AND thats just for school supplied panadol, any student is welcome to bring thier own panadol from home.

    2, Abortions arent just orginised through schools, girls are able to orginise them on thier own, how ever through the guidance counciller has all the information in one place.

    3, “Ideology gone mad” does this mean anything? debate the topic please.

  85. Scribe 85

    Anita,

    So it’s better that there’s an abortionist on the ASC (as is the case now)?

    As someone has already said, National has had chances to tighten up the law in the past and hasn’t done so. And National is undoubtedly less “Christian” than it was during the 90s.

  86. burt 86

    Lew

    If the muppets we elect represent the party via the bloc vote before they represent their voters via their own views the views they campaign on and the views they were elected on – then we don’t have a representative democracy.

    We have a democracy where the individuals are irrelevant. I was never saying that the proportion of the public that vote for a particular party is not represented, I was saying that the individuals are irrelevant, so why have them? Window dressing? Jobs for the boy/girls perhaps?

  87. Scribe.

    “If I look at prostitution objectively, I can’t see how it could possibly be good for society. Maybe you can enlighten me.”

    it’s not a matter of whether prostitution is ‘good’ or not. The fact is it exists whether or not it is legal and, given that reality, the question then arises ‘how to you minimise harm arising from it?’ and decriminalisation is clearly a step in the right direction there.

  88. Scribe 88

    burt,

    Prostitution is bad for society because it turns women (mostly) into commodities to be bought or sold, or at the very least hired out for an hour or an evening.

    Here’s a brief look at prostitution from a US university. It’s illegal in that area, but the issues are the same: http://www.wmich.edu/destinys-end/Costs.htm

  89. Tane 89

    Scribe, I don’t think anyone on the left-liberal side of the argument argues that prostitution is a good thing. We simply recognise it is a reality and seek to make it safer for the (mostly) women involved in it. From the reports I’ve seen the law seems to be working.

  90. Scribe 90

    kitno,

    I know of schools where staff DO have to call a parent before medication is administered. You obviously know of schools where that doesn’t happen.

    My “ideology gone mad” comment, which I concede I could have explained better, relates to the fact that children are given rights and access to certain things that their parents ought to be aware of.

    What about field trips? Parental permission required (fair enough), but it’s not required for an abortion.

    You’re right that girls don’t only get abortions through their schools, but some do. What other surgical procedure can girls under 16 have without parental permission, let alone notification? It’s devaluing the role of parents.

  91. burt 91

    Scribe

    Oral sex is illegal in a few states in the US as well, so is oral sex also bad for society?

  92. MikeE 92

    “It’s not about controlling a woman’s body. It’s about looking at what’s good for society. Prostitution is not good for society, so why validate or endorse it?”

    Why send poor women to jail for it?

    Who is the victim of their so called crime?

    What is this “society” you speak of? who defines what is good for it? how do you (as you attempt to put it “objectively” define it)… considering you are using sujective arugments rather than objective aguments to push your views.

  93. Scribe 93

    burt,

    Not everything that is legal is good for society. Not everything that is illegal is bad for society.

    MikeE,

    Tane and Steve have conceded prostitution is not good for society. You’ll keep saying that there’s nothing wrong with it, will you?

    [Just to clarify, I said it had some negative outcomes. That not that same as saying it’s not good for society, which I offer no opinion on. And that’s irrelevant either way because it exists and will exist whether legal or not. SP]

  94. Aurora 94

    You know what else isn’t objectively good for all of society? Money Trading…and come to think of it capitalism. I like where you are going here scribe. Why should women and men sell themselves as labour at all! Scribe is a socialsit at heart. awwww sweet.

    ahaha captcha $50,000 charms

    Godness that is an expensive charmer

  95. Emma 95

    I would like to raise two points:

    a) Assuming the sexual orientation of sex workers because of the sexual orientation of their clients only makes sense if you consider sex for money to be the same as sex for connection, love and fun (or any of the other reasons people have sex) instead of a job. Presumably lesbians, trans or queer women are just as able to deal with a transaction involving their genitals as much as any other woman.

    b) I really object to Chris Trotter talking specifically to women. It would be nice if men were considered a vital part of changing the way abortion is legalised in New Zealand in any other way than seemingly only raising the discussion. Talking down to young women who are possibly voting National is a great way of winning their vote. Thankfully he did include a brief “and their brothers” but still. It really does need to be all hands on deck.

  96. Tane 96

    Tane and Steve have conceded prostitution is not good for society. You’ll keep saying that there’s nothing wrong with it, will you?

    Mike’s a libertarian. Libertarians don’t believe in society.

    One other thing, I find right-wingers who object to prostitution but not the social conditions that promote it hysterical. You do realise it’s not a case of women being naughty, and that there are social and economic forces at play here, don’t you?

  97. Aurora 97

    Haven’t you seen the confessions of a call girl on prime?

    Women engage in prostitution Tane, because it is glamorous and exciting! That and you can earn oodles of money and the worst thing that will happen is you will have to lie a bit to your buddies about your job.

  98. Anita 98

    Scribe,

    So it’s better that there’s an abortionist on the ASC (as is the case now)?

    I believe it is better to have someone on the ASC who believes that abortion is acceptable under a relatively broad set of circumstances than one who believes it is acceptable under with none or next-to-none.

    Whether or not I’m right or not, changing the make-up of the ASC would change the availability of abortion, and National has tried to do that in the very recent past.

    As someone has already said, National has had chances to tighten up the law in the past and hasn’t done so. And National is undoubtedly less “Christian’ than it was during the 90s.

    But is had tried. Look at, for example, Judith Collins’ attempts to get parental notification (saying at the time it was intended to reduce the number of teenage abortions).

    Anyhow, the point is not whether or not they will try to change the law, it’s whether or not they will try to reduce access to abortion. They have tried in the distant past, they have tried in the recent past, and they have said they will try again.

  99. Matthew Pilott 99

    Burt – the electorate vote is indeed a mockery.

    Go forth, good people, and enjoy your weekend.

    Please.

    Pilott out.

  100. What about field trips? Parental permission required (fair enough), but it’s not required for an abortion.

    But missing a field trip is hardly a big deal. If parents have to be informed there is a risk that they could force the girl to have or not have an abortion. It is not thier body or foetus to make that decision.

    Ideally it woudl be good for parents to know, but there needs to be some controls over what the parents can force. Thats what gets me about the whole parental informing thing, I see it as another tool that social conservatives use to prevent abortions, Couldn’t we just have the parents told after the abortion has been performed (or in other cases, when the girl decides to have the baby, parents only informed after it is too late to abort).

    I just see no benifit in informing parents when the girl doesnt think its right too.

  101. Quoth the Raven 101

    Tane – What about libertarian socialists?

  102. andy 102

    What about field trips? Parental permission required (fair enough), but it’s not required for an abortion.

    One must also ask if the young lady sought permission to have intercourse in the first place? If so, then is permission needed post fact?

    What if said young lady is of the age of consent but not a legal adult (18y)? When is the point of parental permission removed, say I left home at 15 and had no contact with parents, was a guardians of the state, parent unable to give consent?

    Should consent be sought from the potential father also?

    The law needs less grey areas not more!

  103. Tane 103

    Tane – What about libertarian socialists?

    A different breed altogether. To be socialists they have to believe in society, they just believe in society organising on a community level rather than through a centralised state.

    Your right-wing libertarians, on the other hand, don’t believe in society, and don’t really believe in liberty either. They believe in property, and the right to the accumulation and absolute control over as much property as they like, regardless of the social consequences. They also believe in a centralised state to defend their property from the poor. That’s not liberty in any form I recognise.

    But that’s getting a little off-topic…

  104. bill brown 104

    KINTO

    “…Ideally it would be good for parents to know”

    That depends on the parents. I suspect some teens would be safer if they didn’t.

  105. burt 105

    While we are talking about prostitution…

    Should Lisa Lewis pay $9,000 of her $10,000 earned in a weekend as tax because a less attractive (or not as well marketed) woman who also needs the income makes $1,000 after tax per weekend? We are all inherently equal aren’t we? Don’t highly progressive taxes create equity in situations like this?

  106. burt: No one in NZ is suggesting a tax level like that. Can we keep this real?

  107. burt 107

    Steve Withers

    That’s a fair call, 90% is ridiculous. I apologise.


  108. bill brown

    KINTO

    ” Ideally it would be good for parents to know’

    That depends on the parents. I suspect some teens would be safer if they didn’t.

    Yeah sorry yes that’s more what I meant, more along the lines of ‘ideally it would be good if all girls seeking abortions were able to tell their parents’, but yes I see your point exactly.

    I tend to wonder whether perhaps if more families where teenage girls were able to freely discuss this kind of thing that there would be a whole lot fewer teenage girls getting pregnant in the first place.

  109. ak 109

    Good lord burt – have you been drinking again?
    (just filling in for ‘sod – nice to see the abortion debate err.. terminated though, now we can relax and get out the err… knitting needles again – which reminds me of the scrawl on a toilet wall: “My mother made me a homosexual” Underneath: “If I gave her the wool would she make me one too?”)

  110. Yikes what happened to ‘sod?

  111. ak 111

    (Got banned for a bit for overt kiwiblogesqueism – hopefully he’ll spend his sodattical wisely and come up with another classic sodpiece de resistance)

  112. QoT 112

    As someone who might actually be potentially affected by a tightening of the implementation of our present law? Damn straight I’m concerned about having a party in power who have previously dealt with Crazy Fundies (TM) and have hardly been the most awesomely-progressive-on-social-issues in their stint as the Opposition.

  113. Draco TB 113

    Prostitution is bad for society because it turns women (mostly) into commodities to be bought or sold, or at the very least hired out for an hour or an evening.

    hahahahaha

    Oh god, that’s funny. What do you think people working for wages are doing?

    Conservatism
    US centric and so some of what he says doesn’t translate well but still a good read.

  114. jh 114

    I like Trotters Taleban metaphor for the Right to Life lobby (etc).

  115. Lew 115

    jh: Interesting, I agree it’s good symbolic stuff, but I reckon it’s unnecessary hackery in this case, even though I generally agree with the meat of what he’s saying.

    L

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