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Electorate’s Right to Know Denied

15 October 2011
Media Release

Electorate’s Right to Know Denied

It is disappointing that the leaders of the two main political parties and the Maori party have refused to answer a questionnaire recently presented to them by Family First. Peter Dunne, the leader of the United Future Party and Winston Peters, Leader of the New Zealand First Party among others are commended for their openness in providing a full response to the questionnaire.

We have a Parliamentary democracy, democracy requires a society that is free and fully informed. Those who stand for public office and seek election to govern our country have a very serious duty to provide information on their position on important moral and family issues that concern our community. By refusing to provide any answers to this authoritative national questionnaire they are in fact inferring that the community has no right to know what their views are. This is dismissive and unacceptable. Why should we be expected to elect to Parliament leaders who refuse to tell us what they will do when elected?

We who have the privilege and duty to elect those who are to govern our nation, have a duty to elect persons of character and integrity. Those who govern do so with the consent of the governed. We have a right to know if they have an informed conscience and what their views are on matters that concern the community.
Some of the questions in the questionnaire concerned the definition of marriage, as one man and one woman, the right to life of the unborn child, abstinence and parental-based sex education, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and prostitution. All of these issues are current and will continue to be issues before Parliament during the next term.

The first duty of the state is to protect the right to life from conception to natural death of all the members of the community. The unborn child is the weakest and most defenceless member of the human family and has an inalienable right to life. The recognition in law of the right to life of the unborn child is the justice issue of our era. Now that the Supreme Court of New Zealand has refused to hear Right to Life’s submissions on the right to life of the unborn child, this justice issue will now be presented to the highest Court in the land, Parliament. The electorate have an absolute right to know from our political leaders what their position is on this and other important justice and moral issues. Government should be government for the people by the people. The untenable refusal of our political leaders to answer the questionnaire is unacceptable and undermines our democracy. Their refusal to communicate is the first step towards a dictatorship.

Ken Orr
Right To Life New Zealand Inc.

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