Sunday, April 10, 2005

Candidate survey

I've finally got my act together and produced the candidate survey promised here. I'm currently building a candidate database before sending it out. In the meantime, are there any comments or suggestions, or obvious questions I've left off?

No Right Turn 2005 election candidate survey

Please provide a short summary of your views on the following issues. Note that we are not just seeking a yes/no answer, but an idea of the reasons you have for your position. If you'd rather not answer, just put "refuse to state".

Again, your answers (or refusal to answer) may be published.

Do you support or oppose:

  • ...legalising marijuana (or pharmaceuticals based on it) for medical use?
  • ...decriminalising marijuana for recreational use?
  • ...raising the drinking age?
  • ...allowing same-sex couples to adopt children?
  • ...amending the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry?
  • ...voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?
  • ...the retention of sedition as a crime in the Crimes Act?
  • ...the retention of blasphemous libel as a crime in the Crimes Act?
  • ...further restrictions on hate speech?
  • ...the use of indefinite detention without trial for those subject to a security risk certificate?
  • ...Georgina Beyer's Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill?
  • ...Gordon Copeland's New Zealand Bill of Rights (Private Property Rights) Amendment Bill?
  • ...entrenching the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as supreme law?
  • ...New Zealand's participation in the International Criminal Court?


  • How do you think the government should have handled the Ahmed Zaoui case?

The survey will be accompanied by a cover letter explaining why I am seeking answers to these questions and how the list was compiled. I intend to publish the responses, either in bulk, or as an electorate-by electorate voting guide.

Update: Corrected stupid drinking age error.


The civil liberties component of these questions is of major appeal to me.

I notice one potential incongruity, that of hate speech.
How can this restriction on freedom of expression be consistent with what appears to be your libertarian views?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/10/2005 10:28:00 PM

Well, it's certainly not incongrous with the rest of the list - and I think that people might quite like to know how candidates feel on the matter.

As for myself, there's no inconsistency; as my post on David Irving shows, I don't support restrictions on hate speech.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/10/2005 10:44:00 PM

Good questions.

Maybe change the marijuana question. The decriminalisation idea is a Green party creation that sounds good but is actually silly. In order to deprive the gangs of drug revenue, you have to let people buy dope at the supermarket, just like cigarettes and alcohol. Decriminalisation will increase use and do nothing to solve the gang problem. It's the worst of both worlds. I would support full legalisation but not decriminalisation so I think your question is too narrow.

You might also want to ask about the anti-discrimination provisions of the Human Rights Act, either adding new categories or removing existing ones.

The death penalty for serious crimes is still a live issue. The media never mention it but it's out there.

The Electoral Act restrictions on political speech on TV and radio are a big deal to me, but maybe not to others.

Separation of church and state. The NZ approach to this has been quite unprincipled and I have no idea what politicians really think about it.

If you really want to get into property rights, there are lots more of course.

Posted by Nigel Kearney : 4/11/2005 08:25:00 AM

As far as I know there is no death penalty for any civil or military crime in NZ.

Posted by David Farrar : 4/11/2005 10:14:00 AM

I'm happy to make sure all Libertarianz candidates fill it out as I tell them to.
(This BTW is irony, for those who didn't get that.)

Posted by Peter Cresswell : 4/11/2005 02:28:00 PM

I like it, as much because it will provoke candidates to think about the issues as because it will get you answers.

But I think your problem may be getting a large response from candidates. To increase the number of responses I suggest you give them a soft question to let them strut their stuff like "If you could ensure the passage of one act on one issue in the next parliament, what would it be?" The answer might even be interesting.

Move the two marijuana questions down into the middle. That'll put the drinking age one first: everybody has an opinion on that and you don't look like you have an agenda just asking it.

Also, make very clear that "I'm still deciding my views on this one" is a valid answer and isn't the same as "I refuse to state". It is reasonable for them to have some issues they haven't yet decided their views on - that is why parliament meets and talks before voting. And you don't want them to not get around to answering the survey because they want to make up their mind on question 7 first.

You'll get more responses from members of the current govt if you soften the Zaoui question. Something like this grants them a little more grace if they wish to speak critically of what their party (or they themselves) have done so far:

"With the benefit of hindsight, how should the govt have handled the Ahmed Zaoui case"

I would also be interested in another two questions which, while not strictly on the issues you describe, are designed to bring out something more about where candidates sit on the 'political spectrum'.

"What three other electoral candidates or sitting MPs do you think are most similar to you in their political views?"

"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?"


Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2005 03:11:00 PM


Surely you won't need to tell the Libertarianz candidates what to say about civil liberties, because they all think the same thing about individualism.

(I see your irony and raise you one)

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2005 03:20:00 PM

I like icehawks last two questions they could be very revealing. Unless all the labour party selects jim anderton for example.

Posted by Genius : 4/11/2005 03:39:00 PM

Nigel, the offical Green Party policy not is decriminalisation of cannabis. It is "no penalty" for adult possession, use and cultivation (exact quantities are unspecified). The overarching principle is harm minimisation.

It does, however, continue the prohibition on commercial sale. What do you think would happen if our legal drug dealing multinationals (i.e. tobacco and liquor companies) were able to push cannabis ? Certainly an outcome other than harm minimisation.

Idiot, how about a question on whether they think the threshold for list-based election be lowered from 5% to 0.833% ? Depending on the candidate's party it would provide a n insight into the candidate's attitude to risk.

Mikaere Curtis

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2005 05:36:00 PM

Some excellent suggestions here, and I'll probably steal most of them. I was initially dubious about the death penalty because it's only being pushed by a tiny but vocal group of vicious wingnuts - but OTOH, I think that finding out whether a candidate is one of those wingnuts is certainly worth knowing. The decriminalisation question may morph into "liberalisation"; I'll think about it a bit more. I'll also add a question on state funding of integrated schools (paying for religious instruction), and Icehawk's questions on pet issues (an excellent one, and one I can publish), and preferred allies.

I have also decided, on reflection, to add one about the threshold. It's not a liberal issue, but it is a democratic one, and its one I've been pushing. Being the blob sending things out has its privileges.

Finally, it has been suggested that I throw in a few additional questions for key local races. I don't think I'll do this at the moment, as I a) want to get the thing sent, and b) don't have the local knowledge, but I'll be happy to send out additional questionaires if people suggest them. And I'll make my candidate database available once I've compiled it, so everyone can join the fun.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/11/2005 05:59:00 PM

Can I be sent a copy pse to

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2005 06:20:00 PM

> I was initially dubious about the death penalty because it's only being pushed by a tiny but vocal group of vicious wingnuts

Tiny being about a million and somthing people in NZ and probably a bit more than 4 billion in the world.

The opposition is quite vocal too.

Posted by Genius : 4/15/2005 11:14:00 PM