Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Big News: Labour Did Not Campaign On Civil Unions

Big News with Dave Crampton

Labour Did Not Campaign On Relationship Recognition Or Civil Unions

Don Brash raised some interesting points in last Thursday's Herald about the way we have pushed through social changes - such as prostitution reform, civil unions, and the Property Relationships Act - and says that such issues should not be done with backroom MMP deals and conscience votes managed by the ninth floor of the beehive - as the prostitution and civil union votes were.

He questions MMP, saying the only benefit to MMP is the ethnic and gender balance - and suggests a referendum on our electoral system again, including SM- the supplementary member system, which cuts list MP's by half. In fact he wants to use referendums more widely than constitutional issues - like moral issues, for example. Brash wants accountability and consensus and sees MMP as a system that does not provide that. But I have to ask, who in New Zealand is he accountable to other than his own caucus and party? He is not elected by the people, does not represent the people, but if he is still the leader and wins the election this year he will have to lead the people.

Brash he wants to have a referendum on the way we eleect our politicians - and make it National Party policy.

Personally I support MMP over FPP, but I still think there are too many list MP's - and if there is a change of Government at the next election one of these MPs may well be the first unelected PM. The most recent poll I saw on MMP/FPP was last years NBR - Phillips Fox poll of 750 voters which showed that 43 per cent support MMP, while FPP was up to 40 per cent - its low was 29 per cent in early 1998.

Check out Jordan Carter's column on the issue. It's well written, but Jordan hasn't got it all correct.

People do not want to be ruled by referenda - any more than being ruled by a dictatorship. But most people do want to be governed in step with public opinion. Jordan implies that the Greens and Labour campaigned for same sex relationship recognition in 1999 and 2002 and therefore, as the Government, Labour had a mandate to push through civil unions. It didn't. For a start, civil unions wasn't Labour policy prior to the 1999 election.

The Civil Union Bill committee's first report wasn't until May 2001, and civil unions weren't mooted until after the 1999 election. It's rainbow policy was not up and running until just a few months before the 2002 election. Most people didn't even know it was policy until after the election. Jordan Carter surely knows that a vote for a party is not a vote for its entire manifesto. He says

"When you campaign on an issue and win an election, one assumes a mandate exists."

But Labour didn't campaign on the issue. The Labour campaign details were finalised before the policy was issued and the policy was snuck in at the end. It was about as much as a public mandate as the failed fart tax.

The Greens actually supported gay marriage, whereas Labour supported relationship equivalance. But "campaigning"? I don't think so - except perhaps in the gay media like Express, which most people don't read. The Government has never had a mandate to push through civil unions- and never heavily "campaigned " for equivalence of gay relationships prior to the election. In fact the responses to the Labour 1999 "same sex and the law" document showed an overwhelming proportion of submitters were against any of Labour's proposed social changes.

There are two reasons why Labour is still ahead in the polls: We have a good economy and Helen Clark is seen as a better Prime Minister than Don Brash - or anyone else in National - will be. The problem is, though, that Labour only supports and advocates for minorities that agree with a smaller minority - it's own caucus. I don't hear Labour advocating for Maori,Muslims - or any ethnic minority for that matter - Christians, paedophiles, the unemployed, migrants and refugees, or victims of NCEA.

Unless, of course they are gay, and preferably living with a partner.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news