Friday, April 18, 2008

Minor parties reject death penalty

Last month, during the Kingmaker debate, a TVNZ7 Colmar Brunton poll revealed that 37% of New Zealanders believed we should bring back the death penalty. This didn't receive very much discussion in the debate, so I thought I'd ask our minor party leaders where they stood and whether they'd regard a plan to reinstate judicial murder as an obstacle to coalition. Here are the results:

  • Rodney Hide (ACT): "We are totally and absolutely opposed to the reinstatement of the death penalty."
  • Jim Anderton (Progressive): "The Progressive Party and its predecessors have a longstanding policy of opposition to the death penalty". They also noted that they don't bargain their support for detailed policies at coalition formation, and instead prefer to advocate within cabinet and where necessary exercise their right to agree to disagree (IIRC, Anderton had some interesting things to say about this during the actual debate).
  • Peter Dunne (United Future): "We are categorically opposed to the death penalty in any shape of form. I doubt we would ever support a government wishing to reinstate it."
  • Jeanette Fitzsimons (Greens): (in the actual debate) "[The death penalty] isn't going to solve anything and we would certainly never support any government that was going to do that". In email she was cautious about coalition bottom lines, and noted that no other party is proposing reintroducing the death penalty, "however if anyone did, we would not be in a government with them".

No response was received from the Maori Party or New Zealand First.

The strong and unequivocal opposition isn't really surprising (in fact, I would have been surprised if the response had been anything else), but its good to have them on record about it.