Monday, April 18, 2005



First response

I've had the first response to my candidate survey, from Hamish McCracken, the Labour candidate for East Coast Bays. His full response is below (questions in bold):

If you could ensure the passage of one act on one issue in the next Parliament, what would it be?

I would like to see a range of public health measures promoted to encourage healthy eating among school age and pre school children. This would range from support, education and labelling regimes to help parents and a set of guidelines about what foods should and should not be available in public institutions such as schools and hospitals. There is strong evidence that this would have positive long term implications for both quality of life and costs in the health system.

What three other electoral candidates or sitting MPs do you think are most similar to you in their political views?

Lynne Pilay, Tim Barnett and Russell Fairbrother.

MMP is about coalitions: What sitting MP who is NOT in your party do you think is most similar to you in their political views?

Matt Robson

Do you support or oppose:

...raising the drinking age?

No I would advocate public education rather than legislative change.

...legalising marijuana (or pharmaceuticals based on it) for medical use?

Yes

...decriminalising or legalising marijuana for recreational use?

Decriminalising yes, legalising no.

...allowing same-sex couples to adopt children?

Yes

...amending the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry?

Yes

...allowing voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?

Yes

...state funding of integrated schools?

Unsure

...the retention of sedition as a crime in the Crimes Act?

This needs to be reviewed.

...the retention of blasphemous libel as a crime in the Crimes Act?

This needs to be reviewed.

...further restrictions on hate speech?

Very cautiously yes. I would want to pay very close attention to the wording of any legislation that might reduce the freedom of expression we enjoy.

...the use of indefinite detention without trial for those subject to a security risk certificate?

Yes

...restoring the death penalty for serious crime?

No

...Georgina Beyer's Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill?

Yes

...Gordon Copeland's New Zealand Bill of Rights (Private Property Rights) Amendment Bill?

Unsure

...entrenching the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as supreme law?

No but more because our entrenchment procedure lack any real teeth making the process a waste of parliamentary time.

...New Zealand's participation in the International Criminal Court?

Yes

...lowering MMP's threshold from the present 5%?

No

Finally,

With the benefit of hindsight, how should the government have handled the Ahmed Zaoui case?

The government acted on the best advice available and should always do so as a matter of course. What is important is that we live in a country where people have the right to challenge the government in court and win.

Hopefully it will be the first of many...

Update: Added question 3, on coalitions.

10 comments:

Crikey a liberal chap that seems to think indefinite detention without trial is 'sweet as'.

Posted by Kevin : 4/18/2005 08:41:00 PM

In hindsight a Foreshore and Seabed Act question would have been nice.... A judicious "review" option for some of the responses... interesting.

Posted by t selwyn : 4/18/2005 09:27:00 PM

Yes, it's a bit of a worry. Possibly someone in his electorate needs to press him on that. And OTOH, are his opponent going to be any better...?

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/18/2005 10:36:00 PM

I thought his views were interesting. But I agree with Kevin about the indefinite detention: but it's an interesting example of how people's views are more complex than a simple 'liberal-conservative' spectrum, and is the sort of detail this survey is trying to pull out.

Posted by Icehawk : 4/19/2005 09:22:00 AM

I have to wonder how much freedom Labour MPs have to express dissent on the indefinite detention thing.. my take is the entire party is 'eating dead rats' over the issue.

Posted by Huskynut : 4/19/2005 10:41:00 AM

Labour will have lost any chance it had at regaining my vote if indefinite detention without trial is indeed policy, whether it's explicit or implicit.

kevin, I'm intrigued at the notion that objecting to indefinite imprisonment without trial is a "liberal" position. I'd have thought that supporting a consitutional right of all subjects of the Crown going back to the middle ages was, I dunno, a _conservative_ position. But I am easily confused by labelling.

Good answer on the entrenchment question.

Posted by stephen : 4/19/2005 11:34:00 AM

Stephen - Not really, if I'm guessing right, he's simply equating entrenchment in a NZ context with the entrenched provisions of the Electoral Act 1993. Those provisions are, of course, only ‘singularly’ entrenched, i.e. the provision giving effect to the entrenchment is not itself entrenched. Parliament could repeal that provision first, then repeal any of the provisions previously protected by the entrenching provision. Proper entrenchment is ‘double entrenchment’, where the entrenching clauses are also entrenched.

Posted by Lewis : 4/19/2005 04:36:00 PM

Huskynut: Ditto. We'll really know when they unveil their post-Zaoui amendments to the Immigration Act; while MPs and candidates may be willing to swallow dead rats on the basis that the mistake has already been made, they may be far less eager to codify it in law...

Stephen: I guess it clashes with that other great conservative pillar, "respect for authority"...

Lewis: maybe I should have been more specific about that...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/19/2005 06:05:00 PM

I've also had a response to question I managed to leave off the original survey (about coalitions), and have added it above.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/19/2005 07:02:00 PM

I understand that, Lewis, but in the end, Parliament is sovereign, and importantly, not bound by its previous decisions. If a law is double entrenched, and a subsequent law plainly and deliberately repeals it, will the subsequent law stand up in court? I think it could.

Posted by stephen : 4/20/2005 07:45:00 AM