Saturday, October 16, 2004

Another reason not to vote Labour

I've previously argued that the government's approach to prisoner compensation means that those who support human rights should not support Labour. Their approach to the Zaoui case is also a strong argument against them. But now we have another reason to give our suport to parties which actually support human rights rather than sneering at them: David Benson-Pope. Scoop reports that during Question Time on thursday, they noticed several interjections urging Zaoui to "get on a plane". The source of these comments was Mr Benson-Pope. Scoop talked to Benson-Pope's spinner, and had this fascinating conversation:

Pete Coleman: I had a chat to David and he thought the comments he made were 'tell him [Zaoui] to get on the plane' but you may have heard it differently in the bluster of the House. Those comments are sincere and he [Mr Benson-Pope] was trying to emphasise the same point that Margaret Wilson was in fact making that he [A genuine refugee adjudged to be at risk of torture and death] is free to leave anytime.

Scoop: So he was actually saying to 'get out of the country' then - that was pretty much it wasn't it?

Pete Coleman: Yep

This is the sort of attitude I'd expect from NZFirst, not from a progressive party like Labour.

Unfortunately, Benson-Pope has a majority of more than 14000, so there's little hope of using electoral pressure to change his mind. But if you'd like to let him know how disgusting you think his comments are, you can email him here.