From Kelly Buchanan, Alliance candidate for Mana. Kelly is the Alliance's spokesperson for human rights, queer rights, and electoral reform, and is ranked 14th on the party list.
If you could ensure the passage of one act on one issue in the next Parliament, what would it be?
A Privatisation Reversal Act, to restore full ownership of all former state assets to the people of New Zealand, and to operate all state assets as democratic, open, and accountable public services rather than as profit-making businesses. This would include electricity generation and supply, telecommunications, rail, etc. Compensation to the current owners would be at the discretion of the government, and take in to account the degree to which a private owner has run down the asset in question.
Or if I had to settle for something less radical (though merely undoing the stupidity of previous governments should hardly be considered radical), a Minimum Wage Adjustment Act to set the minimum wage to $15 with regular automatic inflation adjustment and no age limit.
What three other electoral candidates or sitting MPs do you think are most similar to you in their political views?
Jill Ovens, Manukau East
Kane O'Connell, Wellington Central
Victor Billot, Dunedin North
MMP is about coalitions: What sitting MP who is NOT in your party do you think is most similar to you in their political views?
Keith Locke, Greens.
Do you support or oppose:
...raising the drinking age?
Oppose. Excessive drinking is certainly a problem, but not just for 18 and 19 year olds, and an arbitrary age limit is not the solution. A big part of the problem is that bars and nightclubs depend upon alcohol sales for their income, which is a very strong disincentive for refusing to serve the already intoxicated.
...legalising marijuana (or pharmaceuticals based on it) for medical use?
Definitely support. In some cases it's the most effective option.
...decriminalising or legalising marijuana for recreational use?
Support. I'm not fond of the stuff myself, but it's no more harmful than other legal drugs, and arresting people for taking a small risk with their health is both an unwarranted interference in people's lives and a waste of police resources. Legalising marijuana would also improve relations between the police and the public, and eliminate a source of funding for criminal gangs.
...allowing same-sex couples to adopt children?
Strongly support. Same-sex couples already raise children together; it's foolish and unfair to deny legal recognition to both parents. Same-sex couples are just as capable as heterosexuals of providing a loving environment for children.
...amending the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry?
I'd prefer to repeal the Marriage Act to make marriage a purely social/religious institution, and convert existing marriages to civil unions. There's no practical need to have both civil unions and legal marriages, and putting marriage outside the jurisdiction of the law gives churches the freedom to decide for themselves which relationships they will recognise as marriage without imposing their views on the rest of the country.
Failing that, yes, I support allowing same-sex couples to marry.
...allowing voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?
Support, though there must be very strict procedures and monitoring to ensure that the patient truly does want euthanasia.
...state funding of integrated schools?
I support public funding of "special character" schools that meet certain criteria. These would include: That the school does not charge fees; the state should not be subsidising higher-quality schools for the wealthy. That national educational and curriculum standards are met. That religious beliefs are not presented as fact in the classroom, and that scientific theories that conflict with religious beliefs get a fair hearing (if necessary by independent teachers).
...the retention of sedition as a crime in the Crimes Act?
Oppose. It's archaic, unnecessary, and open to abuse.
...the retention of blasphemous libel as a crime in the Crimes Act?
Oppose. It's archaic, unnecessary, discriminatory on basis of religion, and open to abuse.
...further restrictions on hate speech?
Probably oppose, depending on the nature of the restrictions. Hate speech is a problem, but additional restrictions on free speech would be too open to abuse. Hate speech should be countered with rational arguments, and deliberate use of factually incorrect information to incite hate should be clamped down on.
...the use of indefinite detention without trial for those subject to a security risk certificate?
Absolutely oppose. I have no confidence whatsoever in the identification of security risks, and nobody should ever be detained without trial for any longer than absolutely necessary.
...restoring the death penalty for serious crime?
Oppose. Mistakes will always be made, and death is rather difficult to undo or make up for.
...Georgina Beyer's Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill?
Support. There is no justification for, for example, refusing to rent a flat to someone based on their gender identity.
...Gordon Copeland's New Zealand Bill of Rights (Private Property Rights) Amendment Bill?
Oppose. I have no particular respect for the "right" of private individuals to own property beyond that which they use personally (such as the house they live in), and it is entirely reasonable for the state to impose certain limits on how property can be "used and enjoyed" on the grounds of effects on neighbours, the environment, etc.
...entrenching the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as supreme law?
Probably support, but I'm not entirely sure what the ramifications of this would be.
...New Zealand's participation in the International Criminal Court?
Support - and NZ should be pushing strongly for the ICC to put the Bush administration on trial for war crimes, in absentia if necessary.
...lowering MMP's threshold from the present 5%?
Support - 4% was originally recommended as appropriate, and the increase to 5% was entirely arbitrary. However, a much more important change would be to add STV-style voting to MMP. Voters should be able to rank their preferences for both the list vote and the electorate vote. That way, if a party failed to reach the threshold, its votes would be transferred to the voters' second choices. This would eliminate the problem of wasted votes, and distortion of voter preferences through fear of wasting votes. The advantages of STV for the electorate vote should be obvious.
With the benefit of hindsight, how should the government have handled the Ahmed Zaoui case?
There is no case against Zaoui. He should have been accepted as a refugee, and if there really are genuine security concerns (as opposed to a desire to suck up to the US by appearing "tough on terror") he should have been monitored.
As a bonus, here's my Political Compass score.
Economic Left/Right: -10.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.23
As usual, Kelly's views are her own, and do not necessarily represent those of the Alliance.