Saturday, April 23, 2005

Third response

Another response to the candidate survey, from Michael Morris, who is the yet-to-be-officially-selected Green candidate for Rimutaka. He is ranked at "30+" on the Greens' list:

If you could ensure the passage of one act on one issue in the next Parliament, what would it be?

Sue Kedgley's Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, banning battery hen cages and sow crates.

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

Sue Kedgley
Claire Bleakley
Amanda Reid

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?

Marc Alexander (UF)

Do you support or oppose:

...raising the drinking age?

Support. I did oppose it, but I can see that lowering it to 18 has meant a lot more drunkenness among teenagers.

...legalising marijuana (or pharmaceuticals based on it) for medical use?

Support, with a doctors' prescription and adequate controls to ensure that the patient does not on-sell it.

...decriminalising or legalising marijuana for recreational use?

Support decriminalising, oppose legalising. Would support making it an infringement like parking.

...allowing same-sex couples to adopt children?

I believe that the ideal for children is for them to have a male and female sex parent. I would support same-sex couples adopting, and adoption by a man or woman without a partner, but they would need to work harder to prove they are suitable.

...amending the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry?

Oppose. Marriage is a spiritual ceremony in most (if not all) cultures, and is supposed to be between a man and a woman. I would support same sex civil unions but not marriages.

...allowing voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?

I would support in principle, but it would require VERY RIGOROUS conditions to avoid pressuring unwanted relatives or "burdens on society" to kill themselves. I would support only if the patient is in intolerable pain, the pain cannot be mitigated with pain-killers and the condition is unlikely to improve.

...state funding of integrated schools?

Support. For a healthy democracy to flourish a diversity of views is necessary. The state should therefore fund all sorts of education (including home schooling).

...the retention of sedition as a crime in the Crimes Act?

That's a tricky one. I support free speech, even of those whose views I find objectionable such as the NF, holocaust deniers or vivisectionists. However I acknowledge that it has limits. I will have to reserve judgement until I get a better understanding of exactly what "sedition" means.

...the retention of blasphemous libel as a crime in the Crimes Act?

See above.

...further restrictions on hate speech?

Oppose. Free speech is essential in a democracy.

...the use of indefinite detention without trial for those subject to a security risk certificate?

Oppose. Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental human right. If anyone is considered such a risk to security that the state considers detaining them, then it should not be difficult to obtain sufficient evidence for a trial without undue delay

...restoring the death penalty for serious crime?

Oppose. Two reasons; the death penalty brutalises a society that practices, and experience has shown inconsistency in sentencing. Eg. Pinochet got off his murder charge, Bush and Thatcher were never even indicted, but poor blacks are often executed.

...Georgina Beyer's Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill?

I know nothing about it.

...Gordon Copeland's New Zealand Bill of Rights (Private Property Rights) Amendment Bill?


...entrenching the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as supreme law?

Support. It contains all the basic rights that people have fought and died for since Magna Carta.

...New Zealand's participation in the International Criminal Court?

Know nothing about it.

...lowering MMP's threshold from the present 5%?

Would support if it is practicable. Minor parties have a right to be heard, in proportion to their franchise.


With the benefit of hindsight, how should the government have handled the Ahmed Zaoui case?

The SIS should have been forced to either present its evidence or shut up. If they did not choose to present their evidence then the crown has no case and Zoui should have been released.

Some interesting answers there, and like Hamish McCracken's, show that views don't necessarily fall into nice neat boxes.


Quite possibly because he is deeply concerned about the environment. Unfortunately, I didn't ask any questions about that, so its impossible to tell.

It does provide an interesting question for anyone who wants to do a follow-up survey, though: "Why did you choose the party you are standing for?"

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/23/2005 03:54:00 PM

Perhaps Gregs question could be reworded; why is MArc Alexander in UF, maybe he should change party to the Greens!

Posted by Anonymous : 4/23/2005 08:29:00 PM

Ditto. I'm actually quite disappointed by the level of responses so far - but the MPs are all on holiday ATM. Maybe I'l get more in a week when they're back in session.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/23/2005 09:47:00 PM

I wouldn't say that. He shows some signs of having considered his opinions, and in areas where he knows nothing he is brave enough to admit it. Disagreeable, maybe, but not an idiot.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/23/2005 11:51:00 PM

That someone standing for election to Parliament is ignorant of the two pieces of legislation mentioned in the survey is a bit of a worry.

Posted by David Cauchi : 4/25/2005 12:34:00 AM

Not really - they're both private member's bills and have received little press coverage.

I'd be more worried if they were ignorant of the prisoner compensation legislation - but I didn't ask about that, because I expect it to be resolved before the election.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/25/2005 11:52:00 AM

It is quite amusing reading all the speculations about my views. I wonder why nobody actually thought of asking me.

For the record; I am not in favour of tough sentencing. I would reserve prison for hardened criminals who are a genuine danger to society. As a some-time Christian (though not a very orthodox one) I am opposed to the punishment paradigm inherent in our justice system.

I chose Marc Alexander, firstly to be provocative and demonstrate that it is not easy to fit everyone into nice little boxes (and judging by the comments I have received I have largely suceeded in this), but also because he is supportive of abolishing sow crates and battery hens, something I have been campaigning on.

Marc is also less in favour of tough penalties than you might think, considering his party. If you read his book, he actually has a lot to say about restorative justice, which fits in well with the Green policy.

Anyone who hides behind anonymity to make disparaging and unsubstantiated comments about my intelligence is in my opinion a coward. As for whether people find me disagreeable, that depends on who you talk to. Vivisectionists certainly find me so.

"idiot/savant" speculates about why I chose the Green Party. Firstly as he/she guessed, I am concerned about the environment. Secondly, at the time I joined the Greens were the only party with an animal welfare policy. Thirdly, while I don't agree with absolutely every policy they stand for (and no thinking person can uncritically take a package deal of policies and remain intellectually honest), I do agree with their core principles and the way they go about doing politics. I have also been impressed with the high level of intelligence of their MPs, particularly Jeanette and Nandor - not that this means I necessarily agree with them on everything either.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/25/2005 02:22:00 PM

Michael: thanks for your further comments; it's good to see you clarifying your views. The more information voters have on what candidates think, the better. And maybe it'll even cause some of those who reacted harshly above to reassess their views...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/26/2005 01:55:00 AM

Michael –

If you’re monitoring this, I’d like you to clarify exactly what you mean when you said, “I would support same-sex couples adopting […] but they would need to work harder to prove they are suitable.

Are you saying that you believe that there is something wrong about same-sex partnerships that mean people like my partner and I — who are both working, financially-stable and have been in a monogamous partnership for a decade — must meet a different, or even higher, qualification than a heterosexual couple in the same circumstances?

Surely, Michael, the real issue is that all adoptive/foster parents should meet the highest possible standards, and have the best support systems in place to provide a stable, loving household for children who desperately need it. Full stop, and regardless of sexuality.

Or am I just reading too much into a run-on sentence?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/26/2005 01:54:00 PM

Yes I think you are reading to much into a run-on sentence, but I also should have made my meaning clearer and spent more time on clarifying my replies. As I said, the ideal is for children to have 2 parents one of each sex. I have not changed my mind on this.

That said, there is no reason why same sex couples cannot raise children in a loving supportive home. Also, there is no reasons why single parents cannot do the same, so I would also support allowing a single person adopting. But what I am saying is that in both these cases it is not the ideal situation. When making decisions on whether to allow a same sex couple/single to adopt, this needs to be taken into account by whoever makes the decision.

If you want to discuss this further, then perhaps you could email me personally (follow the link from my website).

I should also add my disclaimer which was not put into my original reply, and let you know that the views expressed are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Green Party.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/26/2005 10:20:00 PM

I have somewhat changed my mind about Marc Alexander after his totally unacceptable haranguing of the Greens for having the temerity to disagree with him. I still hope however that I can continue to work with Marc on animal welfare issues.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/18/2005 12:57:00 PM