From Katherine Ransom, Tauranga candidate for Democrats for Social Credit. Katherine is ranked 6th on the Democrat party list.
If you could ensure the passage of one act on one issue in the next Parliament, what would it be?
I would like to see an act passed that prohibits commercial banks from creating money, as they do now through loans, mortgages and overdrafts, and charging interest for them. As part of the act, the Reserve Bank would have full power to create and manage the money supply for New Zealand at 1% or less, on-lending to commercial banks and funding essential services such as health and education. This Act would make a reduction of our national debt possible, instead of helplessly watching it grow every year. Instead of having billions of dollars in bank profit sucked away overseas as happens now, there would be more money retained in New Zealand for infrastructure and capital works, for a health system that starts with the planet, for an education system that, rather than treating schooling as a commodity to buy and sell, regards it as an investment in our future. There would be no worries about keeping ourselves in our old age, more than enough for a comfortable digified retirement. We would have our country back.
What three other electoral candidates or sitting MPs do you think are most similar to you in their political views?
Malcolm Murchie, Democrats for social credit candidate for Wanganui; John Steemson, Democrats for social credit candidate for East Coast Bays; Richard Prosser, Democrats for social credit candidate for Otago.
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?
No sitting MPs have the economic policies I see as essential to solving the problems of debt facing New Zealand and the world. The Greens have similar strong views on the environment, but no plan of economically achieving them.
The Democrats would not go into coalition with any other party, but work with all parties that recognise our core economic policies as being the first move toward eradicating poverty, war and injustice and saving the environment for our grandchildren.
Do you support or oppose:
...raising the drinking age?
I oppose this. While my party does not have a policy formulated on this issue, I personally feel that using our young adults as a consumer group for banks to feed off (student loans) and a political football to kick around (the drinking age), then expecting them to stick around and keep us in our old age is an absurdity that beggars belief. People who can vote, who can be conscripted and killed for their country, who can sign contracts and be sued, should also be allowed to drink. If there is a problem, it is one we all share as a culture, and the problem as a whole should be addressed. When the National Government lowered the drinking age, other parties voted for it on the understanding that health and education programs would accompany the measure to deal with any additional problems. Not only were the programs never put in place, but existing programs have been starved out of existence, Hanmer Springs for one.
...legalising marijuana (or pharmaceuticals based on it) for medical use?
I support this. Again, the Democrats do not have a specific policy on this issue. We are a party working for economic justice, and we allow our candidates and MPs a conscience vote on what we view as moral issues. I think the wide variety of products that can come from cannibis should be allowed, not just medicines.
...decriminalising or legalising marijuana for recreational use?
I support this, for lots of good reasons. (See the last answer for the party policy.) Legalising marijuana would take the handling and profits out of the hands of dealers in more dangerous drugs, people often associated with gangs. Users who are otherwise law abiding would no longer be automatically criminals, or forced to associate with criminals to purchase what is a realitively mild recreational drug. Thousands of perfectly ordinary Kiwis could admit to using marijuana, giving health professionals and insurance companies a clearer picture of a patient's well being. The Government could have another source of revenue, and the product could be regulated, graded for strength, package for consumption, and still be cheaper than the current street price.
...allowing same-sex couples to adopt children?
I support this. There is no evidence to suggest that children raised by same sex couples are any more likely to be abused or neglected than those from more traditional families. Less, probably. Children just need unconditional love, from anyone prepared to give it.
...amending the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry?
I support this, although I wouldn't break my neck to fight for it. Not being a church-goer, I don't see any advantage marriage has over a civil union. It is just the name that carries the historical weight, and it's fading already. But in fairness to gay church-goers, I would support an amendment.
...allowing voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?
I am not sure about this. Although I know there are good arguments for allowing euthanasia, and many people who work for it have been through harrowing experiences seeing loved ones die in prolonged and unnecessary agony, I am wary of a change that will possibly allow unscrupulous people to rid themselves of elderly or infirm relatives. I would rather first see a fully funded hospice system throughout the country. My own father died in a wonderful hospice, and I can't say enough in praise of them. Allowing euthanasia under rigorously strict conditions could conceivably restrict the work that hospices do.
...state funding of integrated schools?
With conditions. I would like to see lower decile schools in areas crippled by poverty more fully funded before richly endowed private schools get a bite of the pie. Parents should be able to send their children to a church school if they wish, and home-schooled children should also be supported. I would like to see the correspondence School saved from 'market forces' too. Every child, urban or rural, religious or secular, rich or poor, should have access to a high quality, free education right through tertiary level. Under a Democrat Government, there will be no need to rob Peter to fund Paul; the education system will get adequate funding across the board.
...the retention of sedition as a crime in the Crimes Act?
Any violent attack on anyone should continue to be a crime. I am not aware of the wording of the particular section that deals with 'sedition'. I would vigorously oppose a law that limits free speech and the right to gather and protest.
...the retention of blasphemous libel as a crime in the Crimes Act?
No. The dieties themselves can look out for any blasphemy going on.
...further restrictions on hate speech?
No, or we will have to charge Winston Peters. Wait, maybe that's not such a bad idea...
...the use of indefinite detention without trial for those subject to a security risk certificate?
No. Bring charges if a law has been broken, or deport the suspect to a country that does not endanger him/her. Indefinite detention is a blatant violation of human rights.
...restoring the death penalty for serious crime?
No. The definition of 'serious crime' is the operative phrase here. None of us are gods, to sit in ultimate judgement on others. Murder is murder, whether by a government or by an individual.
...Georgina Beyer's Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill?
I support human rights of all forms. Yay, Georgina! You go, girl.
...Gordon Copeland's New Zealand Bill of Rights (Private Property Rights) Amendment Bill?
No. I support property rights only as they conform to human rights.
...entrenching the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as supreme law?
Not without a great deal of public debate and discussion. The Bill of Rights in the US seems to have entrenched some really dodgy 'rights' such as gun-toting for every paranoid with a grudge. Entrenching anything is a serious business.
...New Zealand's participation in the International Criminal Court?
I don't know much about this issue. Certainly any institution that brings international criminals to account is desirable, and our participation in that process is a good thing. But if the International Criminal Court is a political tool to get rid of unwanted dictators previously set up by the powers now trying to get rid of them, then we might be better out of it.
...lowering MMP's threshold from the present 5%?
I support this, but not too much lower, say 4%, or the voter confusion would be terrible. It's bad enough now with 25 parties contesting the general election.
With the benefit of hindsight, how should the government have handled the Ahmed Zaoui case?
It should not have needed the public outcry to accord Zaoui his basic rights. The world is in a dark place since 9/11, and it seems secret services the world over are a law unto themselves. If they are, then they should keep quiet about it, and allow the justice system of a soveriegn nation to manage any suspected criminal.
As usual, Katherine's views are her own, and do not necessarily represent those of the Democrats.