Thursday, May 12, 2005

Candidate Survey: Eighth Response

Nandor Tanczos, Green list MP and candidate for Auckland Central. Nandor is ranked 7th on the party list this time round.

This is exactly the sort of response I was hoping for when I started this project - thoughtful and (more importantly) informative. Hopefully other candidates will follow Nandor's example.

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

There are many, but a realistic one is cannabis law reform. Cannabis prohibition wastes enormous amounts of police and court time giving predominantly young brown men convictions for personal use of a drug less harmful than alcohol. Changing the law would free up law enforcement resources, allow more effective drug education, remove at least some of the profits from the illegal market and therefore organised crime, restore a little respect for the law, remove one of the major tools for random police harassment and ensure that one more piece of legislation is based on evidence rather than cheap politics.

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

Metiria Turei
Tim Barnett
Sue Bradford

Do you support or oppose:

...raising the drinking age?

Oppose, because it's a way for older people to ignore the real issue (a culture of alcohol abuse) by scapegoating young people. Better to tackle alcohol advertising (not with time restrictions - that just reinforces that it is an age related issue), warning labels on alcohol vessels (esp. about FAS) and actually enforce the current age restriction.

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

Yes, because it is the most effective medicine for a number of people with certain conditions, including MS and chronic pain and for countering the side effects of chemo-therapy and HIV medication. It is criminal to arrest and sometimes jail people simply for using the best medicine available to them and it puts doctors in an intolerable position where they must break the law to offer the best medical advice.

..decriminalising or legalising marijuana for recreational use?

Support, as above

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

Yes. The question should be 'are these the best people to care for this child?' rather than 'do they conform to my opinions about suitable sexuality?'

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

Support, because a genuine commitment to equal rights is the best protection for all of us.

...allowing voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?

Yes, with proper safeguards in place. The final say on my life should be mine. Plus we place medical staff and friends / relations in a terrible position where their humanity demands assisting a loved one or patient to end their life peacefully but they may be prosecuted for murder for doing so.

...state funding of integrated schools?

The government should support schools that cater for special interest groups within society, as long as they do not require payment of fees, maintain high teaching standards and deliver the core curriculum. The reality is that the mainstream system fails huge number of young people - not just those that leave with inadequate qualifications but those who never reach their potential because they don't thrive in a sausage factory. We need to support alternatives of various kinds to allow people to study within institutions and organisations that meet their needs.

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

Excite disaffection against Her Majesty? I suspect I may have been a little seditious myself on occasion.

Some of the things defined in the Act as seditious probably should be illegal but the definition should be restricted.

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

I don't know when it was last used and it would probably be easier to get a conviction under a different Act for the things likely to be covered. I guess it means the kinds of things US soldiers have been doing in Guantanamo Bay, like putting copies of the Koran into the toilets of Muslim prisoners of war and illegally detailed civilians. I'd need to get a better idea of what it might cover before I could say, because the Act is pretty much silent on what it means.

...further restrictions on hate speech?

No. I don't think that Hate Speech legislation is the best way to promote a culture of Human Rights or respect for others. I am also concerned that restricting freedom of speech drives abhorrent views (eg Fascism) underground rather than allowing them to be expressed and refuted.

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

I'm glad that we live in a country that respects the rule of law and that such a thing could never happen in New Zealand. (I'm also glad I voted for the Supreme Court)

...restoring the death penalty for serious crime?

Do I support executing people convicted of murder, for example, like Arthur Allan Thomas? No. Do I trust the State to get it right every time? No. Do I think that the threat of capital punishment acts as a deterrent to serious crime? Well, it doesn't seem to work in the USA.

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

Yes. See above on same sex marriage

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

No. One, it does nothing in reality. Two, it conflates a recent western social and cultural construction (private property) with things intrinsic to our humanity, such as the right to have opinions, practice our culture and be free from arbitrary power.

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

I have always been a strong supporter, although the more I investigate the less clear I become. I do think we need to undergo a process of constitutional change and enact a written constitution incorporating the Bill of Rights and the Treaty of Waitangi, become a republic and decentralise political power. I also recognise that this is a complex and delicate thing that needs to be very carefully worked through and that we can sometimes effect the opposite of what we intended when we mess with significant constitutional issues. For example during the Supreme Court deliberations I watched the right wing force a clause affirming parliament's commitment to parliamentary sovereignty (which I think is delusional) and to the rule of law, and then heard the Chief Justice say in a lecture after it was passed that those two things may be contradictory. hehe.

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


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

I don't see the need, but don't feel strongly about it.

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

They should have based their decision on real evidence rather than innuendo and propaganda primarily originating with the Algerian regime. When made aware that there was an issue they should have engaged with it, rather than trying to avoid and procrastinate. They should have balanced a need for security with a commitment to human rights and principles of justice.

But that's what happens when you pass hasty, ill-conceived legislation with draconian powers for State agencies under the guise of supporting a US led clampdown of civil liberties disguised as a war on terror.

As usual, Nandor's views are entirely his own, and do not necessarily represent those of the Green Party.


Look at this guy - he not only publicly states his opinions, but they're all common sense. I'm tellin' ya, he'll never make it into Parliament!

Posted by Anonymous : 5/12/2005 11:59:00 PM

Congratulations Nandor! And thank you. Thorough, informative, well thought through, and well written. The best so far, by a long way. Now I just wish that Auckland Central was my electorate.

Now what are the rest of the candidates doing? Get on with it.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/13/2005 05:48:00 AM

Mmm. a considered, articulate and pragmatic politician.. could we make dope smoking compulsory for the rest of the House? ;)

Posted by Anonymous : 5/13/2005 09:36:00 AM

Auckland Central *is* my electorate. I'm almost inspired to join the Greens and do some campaigning for Nandor.

Posted by Rich : 5/13/2005 10:33:00 AM

I am glad I emailed him - he hadn't seen the survey but said he would. Shows integrity and a commitment to principles which I think is characteristic of the Green Party. The national candidate Paula Bennet seemed a bit a bit wary of it but said she might and I had no response at all from Lynne Pillay.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/14/2005 01:16:00 AM

I think its quite interesting that 50% of the responses so far have been from Green candidates - it says something about the party and its culture that they are willing to be up front with the voters and tell us what they believe in.

And yes, I heartily encourage people to email their local candidates and ask them to complete the survey.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/14/2005 10:52:00 AM