Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Candidate Survey: Sixteenth Response

From Michael Collins, ACT candidate for Mana:

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 the passing of a regulatory responsibility bill to ask tough questions of any legislation that comes about. Too often we see legislation that appears as though it is a bribe to a sector of the community. We could do with fewer laws on our books so we should have a process that determines whether laws are actually required. It would work similar to how the Fiscal Responsibility Act requires tough questions to be asked of financial legislation.

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

I think the views of ACT Leader Rodney Hide are pretty close to what I believe. I am a staunch Classical Liberal so share a lot of views with the ACT team. It is pretty hard singling out particular people when you have such a strong field of candidates and MPs. I know Gavin Middleton, who is standing for ACT in Rongotai, has similar views to me on social issues.

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?

I think on social issues I would see eye to eye with Katherine Rich. On economic perhaps Brash but he has been a little wishy washy of late in an effort to accommodate the centre ground.

Do you support or oppose:

...raising the drinking age?

I oppose raising the drinking age. Clearly alcohol abuse amongst the young is a problem, however I really do not see how raising the age of purchase will alleviate this problem. Alcohol consumption is a maturity issue. I don't think an arbitrary age can be set that says all people above or below this age are mature. Also we can send 18 year olds off to war. Do we really want to be saying that it's ok for them to give their life for their country but not to drink alcohol?

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

Absolutely support. If it proven to have medical advantages then I can't see why we would deny someone treatment. The arguments against this are flimsy if you support legalising marijuana.

...decriminalising or legalising marijuana for recreational use?

I support legalising as my last answer just alluded to. I think individuals are the rightful owners of their own bodies and what they put into them. It is not for some politician to play mother or father and regulate what's good for someone or not. Note this is not the same as endorsing substance use/abuse. If people want to use it fine by me - as long as they accept the costs with doing so. With this in mind I wouldn't advocate legalisation of marijuana before people are forced to take responsibility for their action through health insurance. The taxpayer should not have to foot the bill for the choices made by some.

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

Support. Children do best when growing up in a loving family environment. The state should be neutral to what relationships are valid. The sole considerations in this case should be what's in the best interest of the child and perhaps take into account the wishes of the birth parents.

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

Unsure. I support the rights of gay and lesbian people to have relationships and be treated the same as anyone else by the state. However marriage has been an institution which has typically involved a man and a woman. It's more of retaining a tradition. I believe that with the introduction of the CUA that upholding this tradition (in name only), discrimination is less of an issue. I do however think the state has no real role in recognising relationships. That is for private individuals and organisations to do.

...allowing voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?

Support. If someone wants to end their life it is selfish of others to restrict that. Take Motor Neurone disease. People have committed suicide while they are still able to because they didn't want to live through a vegetative state. By doing this they cut out part of their life that would have still had some quality about it. Had they been able to have euthanasia, they could spend more time with their loved ones.

...state funding of integrated schools?

I support the funding following the child. The people that have the best interests of the children at heart are the parents. They contribute through taxes the funding for education. It should be they who decide what school to send their children.

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

Oppose. We should not regulate for points of view. I see it as being in conflict with the right to free speech.

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


...further restrictions on hate speech?

Oppose. Voltaire had it right. Once the bigot opens his mouth then we are all free to criticise and correct him. Also I have no faith in politicians deciding what we can and cannot say.

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

I don't support holding someone without trial indefinitely. If people are going to be issued with a security risk certificate then serious questions need to be raised as to why they were allowed into New Zealand. Otherwise charge them and take them to trial.

...restoring the death penalty for serious crime?

Oppose. I believe there are crimes that people do deserve to die for but I do not believe the state is in a position to get it right 100%.

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

Oppose. I don't like the idea of forcing someone to recognise something that they find immorally wrong. Of course I am fully supportive of those who wish to use their own resources to change their gender. I just don't think anyone's attitude toward those who do should be regulated. Regulation of opinion does not change it.

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

Support in principle. I haven't read through the bill but the idea of recognising private property rights appeals to me. Protecting the right to property is one of the core functions of the state in my opinion and it beggars belief to think we haven't enshrined this into law yet - whether in the Bill of Rights or some other constitutional type legislation.

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

Oppose. There are far too many flaws in the BRA to enshrine it as supreme law. There are provisions in the Act that I think society would be a better regulator of than legislation.

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

I haven't given this much consideration - no opinion.

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

I tend to think that 5% is a pretty arbitrary number to assume a party is worthy of representation. The reason we have that threshold is in my opinion no longer relevant (a hark back to the Weimar Republic and how easy it was for the Nazis to come to power). The royal commission suggested a threshold of 4%, which, if there were to be a threshold, would be much better.


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

A lot better. ;-)

As usual, Michael's opinions are his own, and do not necessarily represent those of ACT.

Update: Added answer to question 3.


Sounds very sound and sensible. Vote Mike Collins and Act!

Posted by Anonymous : 6/14/2005 10:51:00 AM

Yeah but voting for you in Mana won't hurt will it? Safest Labour seat in the country although ironically it'd be Act policies that worked best there. *sigh. Vote Freedom; vote Collins, vote ACT!!!

Posted by Anonymous : 6/14/2005 12:37:00 PM

While I don't support the ACT policy of compulsory health insurance, I do think Mike has made a good point regarding so called "victimless" crimes like drug abuse. As long as the public are paying for health care then any action that leads to a deterioration of helath cannot be said to be "victimless" (I would include stuffing oneself with junk food in this category).

We seem to be faced with three alternatives, none of them ideal. Compulsory private health insurance, let them die, or some form of "nanny state" control over what people put into their body. Personally I would favour the latter as the lesser of 3 evils, inspite of all the "control freak" accusations this response is bound to attract.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/18/2005 12:50:00 PM