Title: Green Tide? Credit: Craig Young Comment Monday 3rd November 2008 - 10:38am1225661880 Article: 6685 Rights
Contrary to pundit wisdom, Helen Clark may win a fourth term, albeit with a substantially increased Green share of the centre-left vote, and possibly, the assistance of the Maori Party on confidence and supply. I don't think the latter scenario is necessarily going to be a problem. The Maori Party know what it's like to be an oppressed and subordinated minority, and their renaissance and reassertion of their cultural identity has had a profound influence on our own subsequent movement for LGBT rights. I agree with them about the seabed and foreshore legislation- it should never have been passed in the first place. I agree about the entrenchment of the Maori seats, and I'd even go so far as to say that I think they should be in proportion to the rest of Parliament, reflecting the scale of the Maori population- which might mean at least twelve such seats. Personally, I was interested to hear that Pita Sharples supports the idea of a written constitution, as I am an advocate of that necessary development myself. It goes without saying that of course, the Treaty of Waitangi would be the cornerstone of such a document. As much as I support the idea of a Canadian-style Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the latter has one flaw- it doesn't incorporate Canadian treaties with indigenous communities. The Maori Party would have many pakeha who agreed with them if they wanted a fully fledged Royal Commission on Constitutional Reform. On LGBT issues, there would need to be some accommodation. I would accept any Maori Party observations that any revisiting of the Adoption Act 1955 might need to incorporate the practice of whangai adoption as well, and I am open to dialogue, inclusion or whatever solution that they might propose to this issue. As for same-sex marriage proper, there will be no clash there whatsoever, given that the Hawaiian sovereignty movement supports same-sex marriage on the basis that it was recognised in pre-colonial indigenous Hawaiian society. Indeed, we could probably even adapt ancient Hawaiian same-sex nuptial ceremonies to Maori social and kinship contexts if they so wished. As for the Greens, Germany had a Social Democrat/Green coalition (1998-2004) in power earlier this decade, and there were productive results. One figure, German Green List MP Volker Beck, particularly stands out as the prime mover behind the passage of Germany's Registered Partnership Act 2001. Their version includes adoption reform, although Germany has yet to adopt federal antidiscrimination laws as yet- Beck is still lobbying for those. German and Australian Greens support same-sex marriage proper as well, as do the New Zealand Greens. If there are more Green MPs after this election, and it translates into a strengthened centre-left parliamentary composition, we will be able to press for legislative solutions to outstanding problems with provocation defence and adoption reform. Is this scenario possible? As I've said beforehand, it reflects what happened in Germany in 2002. While the majority centre-left Social Democrats experienced falling popularity, the same didn't apply to the German Greens, whose voter share saved the centre-left from opposition status until the next federal election. Even then, they still retained a healthy eight to nine percent of the vote. When we vote this Saturday, I suggest we consider this possible outcome in our minds. Craig Young - 3rd November 2008    
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