|National MP Judith Collins Last weekend, the Christian Right gathered its pressure groups to converse about The Family. Several MPs met them for interrogation over whether their parties had 'family friendly' policies.
For a welcome change, LGBT issues were off the list when the discussion centred on what major issues concerned families today. I suspect that may be because neither same-sex marriage or inclusive adoption reform are on the government's agenda of imminent reform issues. However, National's so-called "families" spokeswoman, Judith Collins, was playing to the pack.
She appeared obsessed with the government's anti-belting legislation. Predictably, Gordon Copeland railed against abortion and sex education, and the Pacific Party and Collins used the opportunity to attack the proposed Electoral Finance Bill. Excuse me, what was that about "people without values" again, Ms. Collins?
To be sure, there were some sane and sensible parliamentarians on offer at the proceedings- Russell Fairbrother (Labour) and Sue Bradford (Greens). Bradford even argued that she preferred early abortion access to the prospect of neglected, battered and abused children.
I'm sorry, but what about issues affecting real families, like housing affordability? Thanks to the current Opposition's market rental policies of the nineties, low-income families of any form cannot afford to purchase their own homes, which is especially bad if they have a mentally ill or intellectually disabled family member. To their credit, centre-left MPs did raise those issues. What about National's suspected intention to slash invalids and sickness benefits for families in real need? What about uncapping prescription charges?
Not for the first time, I cannot help but wonder who the Christian Right "pro-family" groups really represent. It seems to just be religious single-income lower middle class families with the male breadwinner in self-employment, and nobody else. Fine, but why don't they actually say so? And isn't it time that the rest of New Zealand's diverse families spoke up about the shared anti-families worldview of the current National Party spokeswoman and the Christian Right? Craig Young - 23rd October 2007