Article Title:Re-valuing our votes?
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:27th September 2011 - 12:42 pm
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Story ID:10844
Text:The Christian right's Family First pressure group has put out its latest "Value Your Votes" guide online, so I decided to investigate. There is some weak attempt to moderate criticisms that the organisation has a right-wing bias through reference to votes on Easter trading law liberalisation (which the Christian Right oppose), raising the drinking age (which has strong general support) and banning liquor advertisements (likewise), as well as regulating and curtailment the exploitative effects of loan sharks on low-income families. Fine, but what about Labour's P/crystal meth criminalisation, to name but one inexplicably omitted piece of legislation? Still, the bias here is obvious - although clearly, it's not happy with Prime Minister John Key. When it comes to party leaders, Phil Goff is disliked by social conservatives for his outstanding social liberal voting record - he gets a ten percent mark in terms of their 'family issues' agenda. Pita Sharples is next to bottom, but surprisingly (or not) Key scores third 'worst' on the Family First listings, perhaps because he voted for the Relationships Bill, against the same-sex marriage ban, supported the ban on parental corporal punishment and also voted against Easter trading restrictions and banning liquor advertisements. Effectively, I wouldn't blame the Prime Minister for thinking he'd been stabbed in the back. Surprisingly, Tariana Turia polls pretty well, despite her social conservative stance on LGBT and abortion rights. Unexpectedly, too, Green leaders Metiria Turei and Russell Norman score comparatively well for left political parties, picking up approval for their stance against Easter trading liberalisation, support for liquor advertisement bans and loan sharks- they're rated twenty five to twenty eight percent 'family friendly.' Who are the worst social conservative party leaders, then? As might be expected, Peter Dunne and Don Brash get marked up, although Dunne is faulted for supporting LGBT relationship equality and the antibelting law, as well as opposing Easter trading restrictions, increasing the minimum liquor consumption age and voting against restrictions on Manukau street sex work. Still, at forty four percent, this may mobilise Ohariu-Belmont social conservative voters to vote for him. To prevent this, we need to solidly support Labour's Charles Chauvel, who came within one thousand votes of unseating Dunne in 2008. Don Brash does even 'better' in their terms, with support for prostitution law reform, decriminalisation of euthanasia and opposition to raising the minimum age for liquor consumption as 'blemishes' on his social conservative voting record. ACT voters, take careful notice. Do you really want this man back in Parliament given his untrustworthy past? I suspect that Key will be appalled at the supportive approach that Family First has taken toward Winston Peters, who scores highest in terms of social conservative ideological issues. New Zealand First apologists need to take a long, hard look at this. I hate to admit this, but the Prime Minister is correct on this issue- Peters is an extremist and has a highly toxic voting record. Under no circumstances should any of us vote for that man and his sycophants. Turning to MPs surveyed, Clayton Cosgrove, Damien O'Connor and Ross Robertson are the only real worries when it comes to opposition to civil unions and relationship equality, as does Ross Robertson. By contrast, Annette King, David Cunliffe, David Parker, Lianne Dalziel, Parekura Horomia, Ruth Dyson, Steve Chadwick and Trevor Mallard all have excellent social liberal voting records. Remember too, Parker is standing in Epsom at this election and may well be the safest bet for LGBT and urban liberal voters in that electorate. When it comes to the Mana Party, Hone Harawira is solidly dependable, which leads me to discuss the National caucus and its dire voting record on LGBT political issues during the Clark administration. All of the National MPs that voted for the passage of the Civil Union Bill have either retired or resigned from Parliament, which means that we are left with a motley lot that voted against it while in Opposition, as well as against the Clark administration's Relationship Bill and for Gordon Copeland's same-sex marriage ban bill. There are few exceptions here- Key, Williamson and McCully voted for relationship equality but against civil unions, as did Peter Dunne. Key voted against the same-sex marriage ban bill. Oddly, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is not included in the Value Your Vote online guide, but is within Investigate's lavish spread on the pressure group's ideological purity test. If social conservatives followed these suggestions, they might well end up saving ACT and United Future (although I suspect they're worried at Brash's cannabis decriminalisation calls), but would also contribute to New Zealand First's parliamentary resurrection, which would benefit Labour (although not us, given that it might impede adoption reform and transgender equality yet again). If this is a signal that Family First wants its entourage to vote for National, it is obviously punishing Key for his lack of ideological purity when it comes to his mooted euthanasia law review. Inverting this, then, we need to insure that we vote against National, ACT, New Zealand First and United Future, but for Labour and the Greens. Electoral common sense, in other words- which is copiously lacking in this rather confused voters guide. If I were Key, I'd be quite angry at this little backstab. Recommended: Value Your Vote: Craig Young - 27th September 2011    
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