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Peter Dunne Speech - Political Correctness

Hon Peter Dunne

Leader, United Future

Political correctness: its full influence on the political process.

Maxim Institute Conference Auckland, Saturday, 27 March, 2004

Ladies and gentlemen

Lesbian dads. Pakeha being referred to as 'tauiwi' at graduation ceremonies of otherwise reputable institutions. Prostitution being turned into just another job. Prisoners being referred to as 'clients'. Civil unions becoming a back door to marriage...

You might well ask, just where do we want to start with political correctness? However, a better question would be where are we going to stop with it?

And stop it we must.

Let us make one thing very clear: political correctness is not simply an alternative worldview that you are free to adopt or reject. It is coercion. It is bullying.

It is dressed up as a form of tolerance of diversity, but in reality is anything but. It is an ill-disguised, highly intolerant attempt to subvert the way we think, the questions we ask and the positions we hold, in order to change the very nature of our society to fall in line with an agenda of a truly undemocratic elite.

It despises so many of the values that have been at the heart of this nation since day one.

It wages war on the family, as the base unit of our or any society; undermining its parameters and chipping away at its building blocks, for no more profound reason than the fact that traditional concepts of family do not fit the perceptions of some of its advocates.

United Future's adherence to common sense is based on the notion that it reflects our shared experience, which is why we are anti-political correctness.

In a world where political correctness has increasingly held sway over recent decades, that has made our messages very unwelcome to many of the country's self-appointed elites.

But equally it has made them very, very welcome at the dining room tables and in the living rooms of middle New Zealand.

Common sense, as shared experience, is the antithesis of political correctness.

The two cannot live and breathe in the same space, and we make no apologies for being the common sense party - the voice of reason, the voice of moderation, the voice of middle New Zealand.

Kiwis are not extremists - we never have been and we never will be.

We do not tread breezily down that path; but there are one or two aspects of our national character that have perhaps laid us open to the subversive plotting of the PC brigade.

First, they have preyed upon one of our very real strengths as a people - our sense that every last one of us deserves a fair go.

This is our spirit, it is our tradition and long may it be so.

But it can be, and has been, abused.

As we pick through the Treaty of Waitangi and debate its role and its meaning today, and the way it has been both used and abused, I invite you to stop for just a minute and consider one very simple matter.

For all our failings and frailties over the years as a nation; for all the breaches and the scandals, for all the acts of commission and acts of omission, I would like you to point to another nation anywhere in the world where coloniser and colonised stopped to draw up a founding document of such inherent dignity and humanity?

That spirit that existed in 1840 is still here today among all our races.

But it needs to be brought to the fore to replace the prevailing spirits of guilt and greed because the original mood is what will eventually vanquish political correctness in favour of common sense and an honest and noble future.

The real New Zealand spirit is one of fairness and reasonableness - but it is one that has also been used to form a wedge in the door upon which the PC armies have pushed.

And they have pushed and they have pushed until they have marched on through on issues as diverse as race and gender, of the dumbing down of our education system and the sanitising of our institutions.

The second and very real area of our national character that has left us vulnerable to those who insidiously push their agendas upon us is our somewhat laid-back, undemonstrative nature.

It takes a lot to rile the average Kiwi enough to bring them to their feet in protest.

And in the case of political correctness, it is fair to say that our laid-back nature has contributed to the ease with which we, as a nation, have succumbed to very deliberate, underhand and sustained campaigns.

However, let's be very clear - battles have been fought, but the war is far from over. And daily, the tide is turning in favour of common sense.

Although it takes a lot to rile us, we can be brought to our feet.

When Kiwis say 'enough is enough', they do so with a boldness and clarity that is at times breath-taking

And the message has come through loud and clear that Kiwis will no longer brook political correctness. They will no longer tolerate the narrow ideologies of others being shoved down their throats.

The events of recent weeks make it clear that the 'pink think' agenda, which United Future has railed against throughout this term of Parliament, is no longer going to be accepted.

And about time too!

New Zealanders have over many years been pushed and cajoled - at times with great subtlety and at other times with the gauche over-reaching of too-cocky-by-half governments - very often second-term governments pursuing second-term agendas.

They have been pushed by governments and politicians with an eye on their political legacies; by bureaucrats and pressure groups with the most Machiavellian tendencies.

The surest sign that has been happening was the insanity of lesbian fathers in the Care of Children Bill - a clause that United Future succeeded in protesting right out the door.

But how did this type of thinking ever come to outweigh the plight, for instance, of kids suffering Third World illness while growing up in our largest city, to name but one issue?

When Maori and Pacific Island lesbian sports junkets and hip-hop fact-finding world tours outweigh sending old soldiers who laid their lives on the line for this country to their fields of battle one last time, things have gone too far.

When a government is more concerned about protecting the 'rights' of gangs to hold their illegally earned property, while giving them the wet-bus-ticket treatment as they ruin a generation with P and other drugs, things have gone too far.

The world might not have gone mad, but the PC brigade certainly has.

And today there are stealthy moves afoot to tell New Zealand families; New Zealand husbands and wives that their marriages hold nothing that is simply between a man and a woman.

Note again, they haven't asked New Zealand husbands and wives and families what they think. They tell them.

Indeed, more often than not, they are not even afforded that courtesy - legislation is simply driven through Parliament.

So let met tell you here and now that United Future is going to push for the Civil Unions Bill to be dropped.

This misguided piece of legislation is pure social engineering and the ultimate in political correctness.

And what's more, this Parliament has no mandate from New Zealanders - I repeat, no mandate - to push this through.

It is claimed that the Bill would allow de facto and same sex couples to legally register their relationships, and even have civil ceremonies.

Let's be honest here: this legislation is about one thing and one thing only.

It is about extending the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples, without calling it marriage.

The media have it right this time when they call it the gay marriage law.

Does anyone believe for one moment that gay couples that 'unite' under this law won't consider themselves to be married?

Now while New Zealand society has progressed to a stage whereby we are tolerant of alternative lifestyles, and will willingly respect them as a private affair, many will baulk at the idea that the nature of marriage, an institution that also exists outside narrow legal definitions, is being altered in this way without their consent.

I support recognising the property rights of people in committed long term relationships, as the law currently does, and in resolving outstanding issues like next of kin status or rights of inheritance for people in same sex relationships, but I draw the line at creating a parallel form of marriage to achieve it.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of this politically correct, 'pink think' agenda is the message it sends to the country about national priorities.

Why are we putting gay marriages before making sure that there are enough police on our streets, before ensuring that the sick get quick and effective treatment at our hospitals, before unclogging our roads and before giving our kids the education they need to survive in an increasingly complex world?

The Civil Unions Bill should be seen for what it is - an out and out attack on the values of mainstream New Zealand.

United Future will mount the strongest possible campaign against this deeply flawed Bill, and I will be writing to all party leaders to seek their support in opposing it.

This Bill does not stand alone.

Political correctness has now become so ingrained that it transcends all parties and governments.

'Smoke free' legislation pursued by both governments with equal vigour over the years is a classic example, with last year's draconian legislation supported by both National and Labour MPs the classic example.

We have seen it in gambling legislation; in occupational safety and health legislation; in all manner of legislation dreamed up by public health zealots who have had the ear of Ministers in every government since the late 1980s, and there is no real commitment by either of the major parties to curtail this nonsense in the future.

But where is the demand for this kind of radical social reform?

There has been no clarion call from middle New Zealand for such changes, yet they have been steadfastly imposed with an arrogance and intolerance that has been breathtaking.

What has arisen in recent years is a new accompanying line that goes beyond our right to disagree and now resorts to personal denigration of those who do not worship at the altar of political correctness.

So we are ridiculed as a bunch of rednecks if we happen to think that fathers should be men.

Or if we believe that marriage is a union between a husband and a wife.

Or if we think that everyone should be able to take the kids down to the coast for a bit of fishing without permission from the local iwi.

It has never been the role of any government to change the way we think.

That is our prerogative as New Zealanders and we must treasure it. United Future will yield to no one in our determination to preserve that most basic right.


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