Article Title:The Peron Interview
Category:True Stories
Author or Credit:Chris Banks
Published on:10th March 2005 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:648
Text:GAYNZ.COM: Winston Peters said you have "links" with NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Is this true? PERON: No. I bought a bookstore in San Francisco. One of the previous owners had already established contact with that group. I had never heard of them prior to this. That owner said he had one requirement, and that was that the NAMBLA Bulletin be sold. It was neither obscene nor illegal. It was sold before I bought the bookstore and sold afterwards even though I was not the owner. I did, however, make sure that the bookstore stocked dozens of other publications to minimise it's visibility as much as possible. I assumed that most people were intelligent enough to know that stocking a publication at a bookstore is not an endorsement of it. The same publication was available at at least four of the five other bookstores in the area, and the company that delivered it told me it was sold in about a dozen bookstores in the city. Before I arrived in San Francisco this group had been meeting at the Gay Community Center which closed down due to a lack of funds. At that time the group moved to the bookstore which was used by various groups for public meetings. I don't think any request for meeting space was turned down but I was not there. I was troubled by things I heard from them and did ask them to move their meeting as soon as they could. They did leave. They stopped having any meetings for some time and later resumed them at the San Francisco Public Library, where they had a meeting room hired there under their name, as I understand it. I was not comfortable with their message and became more uncomfortable the more I heard. I was not a member or supporter and I did ask them to leave as soon as they found other premises. GAYNZ.COM: Do you hold any views regarding the lowering or abolition of the age of consent? PERON: I don't know how to resolve the question of age of consent. It varies from specific category to specific category, and from nation to nation (and state to state in the US). Individuals have different capacities in making decisions at different times in life. I've meet adults who are so woefully uninformed as to be unable to make a rational decision. I don't know how to resolve that. There ought to be an age of consent but I have no idea how to determine it. GAYNZ.COM: Winston Peters quoted on National Radio from an essay you'd written which spoke of “world-wide hysteria” surrounding child pornography. What is the context of this essay? PERON: It was written originally in the 80s and then some new material was added in the middle in the mid 90s. It concerned what was happening in the US at that specific time. The US government was attempting to entrap people to make purchases from fake companies they set up. There was no evidence these were people inclined to break the law. The solicitations were intentionally obscure so the person being entrapped may not even know what they were ordering until it was delivered, but at the point of delivery people were arrested on the spot. In addition, there were parents going to jail for taking photos of their own children in the bathtub or running on the beach naked. That was the hysteria I was writing about - nothing else. It was specific to time and place and can not be applied outside that time or place or context without intentionally distorting my intentions and bringing me into false repute. With children in pornography there is an extremely strong case for assuming the material can only be produced by violating the rights of children. The manufacture and distribution of such material ought to be a crime. GAYNZ.COM: Peters has also alleged you had your work visa cancelled in South Africa, due to the “dubious nature” of your business activities. Is any of this correct? After several years of residency the Home Affairs department didn't renew my work visa and would not explain the reason. That meant I was to leave. This was taken directly to the Minister of Home Affairs at my request, who had it investigated and then ordered his department to renew my residency as there were no issues he could find that would warrant otherwise. I was in the process of becoming a permanent resident based on my relationship to a South African (we are still together) when we experienced violent attacks from criminals attempting to rob us. At that point we felt we should leave and did so purely for safety reasons. GAYNZ.COM: Are you running a “pornography outlet” in Auckland? PERON: I own a general bookstore, Aristotle's. We do have a gay section and there are books with adult themes. We rent out hundreds of general videos and DVDs of which some are adult oriented. That is no different than most video rental outlets I visit. I don't know if you are assuming that any item with a gay theme is automatically pornographic. Our business plan says we target the gay community as a customer base, but the overwhelming majority of our titles are mainstream publications. The items are less than 3% of inventory and are legal. You can't imply Borders is a religious bookstore because they sell Bibles and books on theology. They are a bookstore. So is Aristotle's. I think that the "adult" content is probably under 1 percent of inventory but couldn't tell for sure unless I counted every item for sale. It is miniscule by any standard. GAYNZ.COM: There has been some muddled talk around troubles with the Immigration Service in New Zealand. What troubles have you encountered, and how is ACT leader Rodney Hide involved? PERON: An NZIS official commented on my politics, saying “‘that no libertarian should be allowed to come and live in the country”. The section of her paper regarding this was hard to follow, and incoherent in places. I am libertarian in my thinking. That means equal rights for all people, limited government, free markets, social tolerance and a pro peace foreign policy. I don't know what this woman's views were but I suspect she really didn't understand mine nor tried to do so nor did she refer to anything I said. The appeal board said that she was forbidden from dealing with my application and she was removed from the process entirely. Rodney Hide wrote a letter to the NZIS asking what was going on with this situation, and why this woman was saying this, but I have never seen his actual letter. My application for residency was based on my bookstore which operates now and is where I work 45 hours per week. There is no requirement that the business be incorporated, and the sole trader status under which it operates is consistent with our application and any requirements. The Institute for Liberal Values, for which I am executive director, is a not-for-profit organisation for which I work as a volunteer. It was not part of my application for residency. It is run by a board, and I do not have cheque-signing powers for it. Rodney Hide is on this board. There is no connection between the Institute for Liberal Values, and my bookstore Aristotle's, which is wholly owned by myself and my life partner.     Chris Banks - 10th March 2005
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