Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Q+A: Louisa Wall and Colin Craig on Gay Marriage

Sunday June 10, 2012
 
Shane Taurima Interviews Louisa Wall and Colin Craig about Gay Marriage 
 
Q + A – June 10, 2012
 
SHANE TAURIMA interview LOUISA WALL
and COLIN CRAIG about gay marriage
 
SHANE                         Thank you both for joining us this morning. Colin Craig, more than two-thirds of Kiwis support it. Why don’t you?
 
COLIN CRAIG – Conservative Party leader
                                       Well, look, a poll says that, and if we look at the States, most of the polling over there says, you know, 60% to 70%. But 32 out of 32 states when it when to a referenda—
 
SHANE                         Let’s talk about New Zealand.
 
MR CRAIG                   ...decided it was—
 
SHANE                         The New Zealand poll, though – nearly two-thirds support it. Why don’t you?
 
MR CRAIG                   Why don’t I is I think that marriage is not purely something that belongs to the state, and I think what we’re talking about here is an intersection of many different interests. So, marriage is cultural, it’s traditional, it’s an institution in our society—
 
SHANE                         So tell us why you don’t support it.
 
MR CRAIG                   Why I don’t support a change to that is that I think that marriage is a word that’s historically, traditionally defined, and I think that all New Zealanders have an interest in it. Now, if all New Zealanders did decide, and I would support a referenda on this, if all New Zealanders decided, “Hey, yeah, look, we’re ready for a change,” fair enough, but I don’t think that’s where New Zealanders are at.
 
SHANE                         So you’d back a referendum?
 
MR CRAIG                   Absolutely, I would, yeah.
 
SHANE                         Louisa Wall, why do you want it?
 
LOUISA WALL – Labour MP
                                       Because our community want it. So, the rainbow community have been asking for this for a long time, so as chair of Rainbow Labour and our caucus, it’s been my prerogative, as the chair of that group, to put a private members bill forward in response to our community. So we know 400 of our community have civil unions every year, but about 80 of those people – so 20%, roughly – are heterosexual couples. So in the civil union space, we have equality, and in the marriage space, we’re wanting equality.
 
SHANE                         Do you have all your caucus’ support?
 
MS WALL                     I do. I got it through caucus, so it’s been submitted, it’s in the ballot. It is a conscience vote.
 
SHANE                         So why not make it a party vote? If it’s that important, why not put it up as part of Labour Party policy?
 
MS WALL                     It was in our policy. It was in our manifesto. We went to the election espousing the issue of human rights and equality, in terms of marriage equality and adoption equality, so I’m merely following through on our Labour Party policy. But it is a conscience vote, just as alcohol is in our caucus.
 
SHANE                         Colin Craig, do you support one law for all?
 
MR CRAIG                   I support equal rights and privileges for all New Zealanders.
 
SHANE                         One law for all, though?
 
MR CRAIG                   Yeah, I don’t like that phrase, but equal rights and privileges for New Zealanders.
 
SHANE                         So why do you support one law for heterosexuals and one law for homosexuals?
 
MR CRAIG                   Well, look, I agree with civil unions. Obviously, I’m on record for that. Following civil unions, we changed 160 pieces of legislation over that in this country to make sure that we had equality. What we’re talking about here is who has the right to use and define the word “marriage”, and I believe there's a status quo. We’ve got generation after generation, marriage has been between and a woman, and that is what I believe the New Zealanders want. They’ve got cultural investment in this, historical investment in this, religious investment in this.
 
SHANE                         But why one law for homosexuals and one law for heterosexuals?
 
MR CRAIG                   The only difference here is the word “marriage”. I mean, we’re not talking about an issue of equality across other things. We’ve addressed that in this country, and rightly so.
 
SHANE                         So if it’s only to do with a word, why are you against it?
 
MR CRAIG                   Because this word is an important word. The people are invested in it, and we can see that. This is a debate that rages not just here but around the world, particularly the Western world. That’s where it’s being debated. So the word’s important, and it has great meaning and significance to many New Zealanders, and I think the issue here is not about rights, it’s about respect. It’s respecting what that word already means.
 
SHANE                         Well, do you respect – as an example, do you respect the same-sex community who want this option?
 
MR CRAIG                   Well, look, it’s all very well for a small section of the community, and let’s remember—
 
SHANE                         Do you have respect for them, though, Colin Craig?
 
MR CRAIG                   Let’s remember— I do, and let’s remember that this is not where all homosexuals are at. There are a number of homosexuals who take a different view. They talk to me, and they’re saying, “No, look, we are happy with where we’ve got to in this country. We do not want to challenge what marriage means—“
 
MS WALL                     Shane, can I just—?
 
MR CRAIG                   “We respect it already has a meaning for others.”
 
MS WALL                     Can I just contribute there? I mean, the reality is that marriage in New Zealand is a civil institution The religious institution or the religious right that our churches have won’t be changed by defining marriage as I proposed. 
 
SHANE                         What will change?
 
MS WALL                     Is the definition of marriage, which is about two people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, having the choice. And so Colin’s point that some sectors of the rainbow community are happy with civil unions, and actually I was. My partner and I had a civil union. But there are others, and I guess the most prominent person at the moment is Alison Mau. She wants to marry.
 
SHANE                         Why are you so hung up on marriage, on the term “marriage”, on the word?
 
MS WALL                     Marriage is a social institution. It conveys resiliency—
 
SHANE                         Is it a religious thing?
 
MS WALL                     That’s part of it. It’s a civil and social institution in our society.
 
SHANE                         But you can have, as an example, a civil union ceremony at a church.
 
MS WALL                     Heterosexual and homosexual couples can have that. Marriage is a right of everybody. I believe it’s a human right, and my challenge to Colin is that in his philosophy or with his party principles, he espouses to believe in equality, he espouses to believe in individual freedom. And actually that’s what this is about – an individual’s right and freedom to marry.
 
SHANE                         What about gay adoption, Colin Craig? Do you support that?
 
MR CRAIG                   Well, look, it’s a different debate. We have a lot of rules and restrictions about—
 
SHANE                         But do you support it?
 
MR CRAIG                   ...adoption in New Zealand, and I support the existing law, which has a lot of restrictions.
 
SHANE                         So you don’t support it?
 
MR CRAIG                   No, I support the existing law, and the current law does rule out gay adoption.
 
SHANE                         Why? Tell us why? Why shouldn’t a same-sex couple be able to adopt?
 
MR CRAIG                   Well, I’ll tell you why we have the existing law at the moment—
 
SHANE                         No, tell us why you don’t want the change.
 
MR CRAIG                   OK, I support the existing law. The existing law says what matters here, above all other things and solely is the rights of a child. Now, I actually think – and it’s my opinion – I actually think there are difference between a man and a woman. I actually think that when we get to choose the environment in which a child grows up, to have both a male and female role model, a mum and a dad is the ideal, and therefore I do support that restriction.
 
SHANE                         We don’t have that now, do we, though, Louisa Wall?
 
MS WALL                     No, it may be the ideal, but I think more ideal for our children is that they grow up in a loving environment. And what our rainbow community are asking for is the same rights to legalise and formalise their relationship, and we all know that as a basic unit in society, two people who bond themselves for life provide a stable environment for children to grow up in. So as a consequence of my bill, under section 3 of the Adoption Act, because same-sex couples will be defined as spouses, they will be able to jointly adopt. And I think in society, that’s what we want. We have a number of children growing up in single-family households, and actually anything that adds value in terms of those social institutions for our children—
 
SHANE                         Do different gender role models matter, though?
 
MS WALL                     But we’re assuming that same-sex couples actually don’t have whanaunga or the wider social groups to ensure that our children do have role models of both sexes. I mean, at the end of the day, if this is about children, we want children to grow up in loving families.
 
SHANE                         Isn’t that the point, though, Colin Craig? Isn’t it about children being able to be brought up and cared for in a loving, tender, nurtured environment?
 
MR CRAIG                   Love is important. It’s not everything. Role modelling is very important – the single biggest influence on children is parents. I actually think a mum and a dad – when we get to choose, and with adoption we do, and there aren’t many of them, and there's a huge number of great parents out there waiting to adopt already. It’s not like we’re short of takers here. I don’t believe there's any impetus or any need to change the existing law. We’re doing the right thing by children. We don’t have a lot of adoptions that are outside of family – what we call stranger adoptions – but those we do are working well. I think in 25 years, there's been one that failed. We’re doing it right. There's no need to change here.
 
SHANE                         Very quickly, because I have to wrap it up, but how confident are you that it’s going to get through – gay marriage, gay adoption?
 
MS WALL                     It will get through the first reading, I’m absolutely confident. I think that there is public opinion that says that they support same-sex marriage.
 
SHANE                         And there we will have to leave it. Thank you both for joining us.
 
ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Joseph Cederwall: Ten reasons to have hope for a better Media in the future

Last week, I wrote about the news crisis in 2018 and why there is hope for journalism despite of (or perhaps because of) this dire situation. This piece will explore what exactly gives us hope at Scoop and will outline some tangible projects and approaches to dealing with this crisis that Scoop is looking to explore in the coming months - years. From tech innovations such as the blockchain, AI and VR, to increased collaboration between newsrooms and new community ownership models, there is plenty of reason for hope.

So, here are ten reasons to have hope for a better media in 2018 and beyond: More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The EU Trade Talks With NZ

In the very unlikely event that all will be smooth sailing in negotiating access to Europe for agricultural products from this part of the world, the EU/NZ negotiations could be wrapped up in about two years – which is relatively fast when it comes to these kind of deals. At best then, we won’t see any concrete benefits until half way through the next term of government. More>>

ALSO:

World Refugee Day: What 7 Former Refugee Kids Love About New Zealand

RASNZ asked 7 members of their specialist youth service (along with two staff members who work with refugee background youth) how they felt about New Zealand – and filmed the responses. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity Settlement: Affects 5000 Mental Health Support Workers

Health Minister Dr David Clark is pleased to announce an estimated 5,000 mental health and addiction support workers will soon receive the same pay rates as care and support workers. More>>

ALSO:

DHBs: Nurses Plan Strike Action For Next Month

Nurses across the country have confirmed a notice of a 24-hour strike, starting on 5 July. District Health Boards (DHB) were working on contingency plans following a notice to strike by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation. More>>

ALSO:

Oranga Tamariki: Children's Ministry Shifts Away From Putting Kids In Care

Children's Minister Tracey Martin is signalling a shift away from putting children into care, and towards intensive intervention in a child's home. More>>

ALSO:

But No Way To Tell Why: Significant Drop In HIV Diagnoses

A new report shows that for the first time since 2011, the number of annual HIV diagnoses in New Zealand has fallen. But without funding for a repeat of ongoing surveys to monitor changes in behaviour, testing and attitudes, health workers can’t be sure what’s driving the decrease. More>>

ALSO:

On Her Majesty's Public Service: Inquiry Into Spying Claims Extended To All Govt Agencies

In March, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes announced an inquiry after it was revealed the firm spied on Canterbury earthquake claimants for Southern Response. The inquiry was furthered widened to include the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, who had been spying on Greenpeace staff. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages