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Tim Barnett Should Go

Party Leader Graham Capill has joined the chorus of people and organisations questioning whether Tim Barnett should be the chair of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, which is examining the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill.

Mr Capill said, “How can Mr Barnett be an impartial chair on these matters when he is reported as saying, ‘it has been difficult throughout the past week’s hearing as he sat through homophobic submissions’ (Press 21/7/00).

“Such a statement calls into question the objectivity of his chairing ability and has nothing to do with his sexuality.

“Serious objections were being made by many of the 675 submissions. People are genuinely concerned that giving property rights to homosexuals and de facto couples will undermine marriage and will be detrimental to children. If those issues are dismissed as homophobic, why go through the exercise of listening to submissions?” Mr Capill asked.

Mr Barnett was reported as saying that the situation ‘would be the same for Maori MPs if they had to listen to racist submissions, or for women hearing statements against them. A lot of fathers (at the Select Committee hearing) were denigrating women.’

Mr Capill said, “Far from denigrating women, the Christian Heritage Party holds women and their work in high esteem. To misrepresent what was said shows manifest bias. Good decision making requires an ability to weigh arguments on their own merits, even when the views expressed are contrary to one’s own. Mr Barnett seems unable to do this.

“Mr Barnett has asked to be judged on his ability to chair the Committee. His bias and prejudice to anything ‘straight’ shows he is unable to separate his role as chairperson from his sexuality. He should step down.

“If he does not resign voluntarily while this legislation is being considered, the Prime Minister has a duty to protect the democratic process. I am sure that if Mr Barnett publicly denigrated women in the way he did those fathers who made submissions, the Prime Minister would have stood him down long ago. The ball is in the Prime Minister’s court!” insisted Mr Capill.

Contact: Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766

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