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Greens' Population Policy misinterpreted

17 October 2008

Greens' Population Policy misinterpreted

The Green Party Population Policy does not seek in any way to influence the number of children New Zealanders should have, as could be taken from a TV3 news item tonight.

"One sentence in the policy has been wrongly interpreted to mean the Green Party are putting pressure on parents to have fewer children," Green Party MP Keith Locke says.

"There is no way the Green Party would ever dictate to any parent how many children they should have. Every child is a loved and wanted child.

"It would also be racist to try to dictate family size, given that the various ethnic groups in our society have different birth rates.

"The sentence in the policy that has been misinterpreted could have come from any family planning association pamphlet.

"It reads: 'Ensure that potential and existing parents have full and free access to countrywide Family Planning services so that informed decisions about the number and spacing of children can be made at the appropriate level, by the parents concerned' (emphasis added).

"Clearly it says the decision about how many children to have is one for the parents alone.

"Like many people, the Green Party is concerned with the growing global population, and the pressure that puts on the Earth's resources. The Greens have looked at the Ministry of Environment's research into the carrying capacity of the New Zealand ecosystem.

"Their document 'Ecological Footprint of New Zealand and its Regions' enumerates the carrying capacity of New Zealand, but the Green Party 'recognises that a sustainable population level for New Zealand would not be "final and fixed" but flexible.'

"However, it would be quite wrong to take from this that we are asking parents to have less kids," Mr Locke says.

"It is anathema to myself - as it is to the Green Party - that any person should interest themselves in the right of any one to choose how many children they have," said Mr Locke.

ends

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