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Parliament: Petition report back debate - Homosexual Law Reform Bill (5 November 1985) [AI Text]

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Speaker I'm directed to report that the Justice and Law Reform Committee has carefully considered three petitions praying that Parliament vote that the homosexual law reform bill does not proceed. And 31 petitions praying that the House reject the homosexual law reform bill. The committee had no recommendation to make Mr Speaker. I move that this report lie upon the table, Mr. Speak, Mr Speaker. The collection [00:00:30] of signatures for and the presentation of this petition has been controversial. The member for Man two has said that the rally outside resembled a rally at Nuremberg, and there's probably not much need for the debate on that subject. This house had 91 boxes in it. They were covered in slogans. What we weren't told was that more that none was more than 50% full and [00:01:00] many were under 25% full. The overstatement involved in the presentation of the boxes and the overstatement of numbers to which I will refer later, do no credit to the petitioner. They debase to the level of unbelievable propaganda the strongly held views of many thousands of people. The committee hearing [00:01:30] itself was relatively exciting. It went from the morning through until after 7 p.m. The petitioners had seven witnesses, including a lab technician presenting the medical argument. All witnesses were subjected to extensive questioning except the witness who ordered the petition collation who shot through before all members could question him. Apart from that, all questions [00:02:00] were answered and including those supplied to the member for Hauraki by his question writer Barry Reid, the public relations officer for Mr Hay, the member for Invercargill. A point of order. Mr. Peters. Mr. Chairman, it will have occurred to you, as has occurred to the rest of the house. That the report back thus far is purely outrageous. The member who is required to report [00:02:30] back accurately what went on before the Select Committee is reporting back now, sir, on pure PSA supposition and guesswork on his part Now. So I ask that you bring him back to the purpose of this debate, which is an accurate report back of what went on. Speaking to the point of order, it was referring to a sheet of questions which was given to me instead of to the member for speaking to the bottom. The honourable [00:03:00] Mr McClean. Mr. Chairman, whichever side of the house whichever side of the argument members of the House are on, they would expect that a report on a petition from a large number of citizens, whatever argument there may be about the actual number will be treated seriously and with some dignity by the house. At the moment. Sir, we have not heard much about the We've not heard much about the petition hearing itself. We've heard some derogatory comments about those people who assembled [00:03:30] outside parliament for the presentation of the petition. We've heard derogatory comments about some of the people who appeared before the committee, and we've heard derogatory comments about some of the members of Parliament who served on the committee. Now, sir, at a certain stage, I believe the dignity of this House demands that you draw the member to the attention of standing orders and particularly the narrow purposes of this particular debate. Speaking further to the chamber where members [00:04:00] have the right of free speech within the confines of standing orders, this petition is being reported back with no recommendation, which I would suggest to you as this matter, right. The way through is a conscience matter is one where all members have the right of free speech are not constrained in any way. And if the member, though he be chairman, wishes to make comments on the nature of the petition, the evidence presented by the petitioners, [00:04:30] the attitudes which they adopt, then that sir, is his choice. And all members of this house on either side as this is a conscience issue have the right to respond in the way that they see fit. I think we've got, uh, two points here, and I think that they both have equal weight and importance. I think that the the point that was raised considering relevance is an important one it's referred to in Speaker's rulings on Page 27 number five. Only those matters that were dealt within a select committee and were in the bill may be discussed [00:05:00] on a report of a select committee. An appropriate time for a wider discussion of the principles of the bill and which is contained in the bill is during the second reading. Now I think so far as he's gone, the member for Hamilton West, uh, has fitted those requirements. Um, I'll allow them to continue, but I draw members attention to the fact that we must remain narrow in our consideration, Uh, of the petition. It's what went on in a consideration of this petition in the select committee that we are debating. And, uh, I think, [00:05:30] too, that it's, uh, worth considering that that the chief government whip is correct. Also that, um, other members, if they wish to reflect upon the proceedings of the Select Committee, are free to take part in the debate. Trevor Mallard, Mr Speaker, the member for Invercargill, also played a prominent part in the committee as well as telling of his experiences in Cairo, he tabled a long list of practises adopted by some people promoting the petition, which led to a questioning of [00:06:00] the validity of some of the signatures. I carefully examined the petition as it related to my electorate. The petition has claimed that 17,000 electors had signed it. In actual fact. Their coding showed that only 12,000 were claimed against Hamilton west, of which only 3188 are on the electoral roll. There are over 100 cases in Hamilton of multiple [00:06:30] signatures and many cases of the same hand writing being used for more than one name. The petitioner's witnesses stated that it was thought acceptable for one person to sign for their family, their workmates or persons too inebriated to sign in a hotel. Mr. Speaker, it is role of the house to deal with the homosexual [00:07:00] law reform bill and dealing with it. They should carefully consider the actions of the petitioners. It would be inappropriate to refer it to the government as it is a private member's bill and therefore the committee made no recommendation. Norman Jones Mr Speaker, I wish to move by way of an amendment that the motion be amended by [00:07:30] adding the following words and be referred to the government for most favourable consideration. And I do so, Mr Speaker, because this petition presented of 817,000 signatures to this parliament is the largest ever petition presented to Parliament of this country and far exceeds the Save Manapouri petition of 260,000 signatures which I was responsible for starting and have also far exceeds. The [00:08:00] Maru saved the beach forest petition of 341,000 signatures and to have this parliament receive a petition at the time of 817,000 signatures. And this petition started only seven months ago. And in those seven months, right after the time of presentation, this house 1,817,000 signatures. And since then they've been coming at the rate of 1000 a day. And I have here another 18,000 signatures [00:08:30] and that which I cannot present to this house because this petition has been presented. But I put produced them here and that makes the total 835,000 senators now, irrespective of what the member for Hamilton West now, Hamilton West says. And he was chair of this committee, I might say, Mr Speaker, that during before the committee stages during the committee stages on this bill and before this major petition was presented to this house that chairman, acting chairman, then presented [00:09:00] to all members of the government all government MPs Government research law reform petition not to all government MPs Government Research unit from Trevor Mallard MP for Hamilton West 18th of September. Before this petition was even presented. And that chairman, who's supposed to be impartial, I would have expected it from the from the member for Wellington Central but to her credit she didn't do it but to have the acting, then acting chairman of the committee, present to the to his own [00:09:30] members of parliament who were on the committee. We have reasons that the total figures of the Keith the homosexual Law reform petition should be challenged before it was even presented to this house before the committee even got it. We have written the first letters, the following in the name of the chairman of the committee and he goes on as he said today, that there were school boys saying that they had signed it 20 to 27 times while any school boy that lied about 20 to 27 times lying, who [00:10:00] should believe him. On the 28th time when he told his own member of parliament that had signed it 27th time, he lied 27th time. Why should the member for Hamilton West believe him on the 28th time? We presented this petition to Parliament in good faith, and we put it into we put it into electorate form mainly not because it was necessary because, quite frankly, because, quite frankly, it is irrelevant this petition, now of 835 [00:10:30] signatures, speaks for itself. It needs no explanation, Mr Chairman, The many hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, yes, aid from probably 12 to to to upwards because the bill affects 12 year olds, not six year olds. We couldn't put it. We're quite prepared to concede that there are probably below voting age signing the petition, but certainly not the numbers of Children. And I will prove quite conclusively because [00:11:00] because we can produce another petition if necessary, and indeed intend to do so based based on the computerised electoral role. So whatever the fate of this petition, this issue is not going to go away. It will remain with this country right up to and including election year. And I tell you now, from the chief petitioners of 835,000 petitions that we will computerised electoral rolls and we will put 500 people into every electorate. And [00:11:30] we'll give the member for Hamilton West and the member for Wellington Central a computerised electoral roll petition to repeal to repeal whatever bill is passed in this house and we'll give them an electoral petition on which the roll numbers of every of every vote the names and addresses printed provision for the signature. And we'll give each of those 4 to 500 people 50 names to contact within the next 12 months, and then I personally will be. Will will [00:12:00] move at the appropriate time, a homosexual law reform repeal bill, which time we will give him voters. We will make this an election issue, and if he doesn't believe and if he doesn't believe that we can do that, I can tell him we can produce 835 signatures in seven months. We have the support, we have the finance and we have the money. And that's the sort of petition. So it's not going to go away. Mr. Speaker, the honourable I beg your pardon before I call the next Honourable Member. The question, [00:12:30] uh before the houses that the report be up on the table since when it's been moved by way of amendment in the following terms that the motion be amended by adding the following words quote and be referred to the government for most favourable consideration. The Honourable Anne Mr Speaker, I must challenge the figures of the hay petition in relation to evidence from my own electorate of [00:13:00] Littleton. Mr. Speaker, when I was given through my office a report of the hay petition divided into electorates, I naturally looked up the electorate of Littleton. And there was a claim that 5139 people had signed the petition identified as coming from within the boundaries of the Littleton electorate. Mr. Speaker, I chose to take a very large team of workers over a period [00:13:30] of several days to that room in this building where that petition was lodged. Every single sheet in every one of the 92 boxes containing the petition sheets were searched, and each sheet that contained a Littleton address was put aside and xeroxed. Those Xerox sheets were taken back to my electorate, where a second [00:14:00] team of workers examined each one of the signatures in relation to each one of the addresses. Mr. Speaker, I was first of all, extremely puzzled to find not 5139 signatures but 1500 signatures. A very small proportion of the larger number claimed I went through every [00:14:30] single sheet in the whole 92 boxes, not not myself alone but myself with the team of helpers. Over three days, 1500 signatures and addresses only, Mr Speaker that related to addresses in the Littleton electorate. Not 5139. My team of helpers in the Littleton electorate [00:15:00] then checked each one of those 1.5 1000 names. And I have to report to the house, Mr Speaker, that the vast majority of those 1500 names appeared to be genuine. There were signatures while which an eligible were able to be checked against the habitation index and judged to be appropriately the signatures of those persons. The vast majority of the addresses were correctly in the [00:15:30] Littleton electorate. But, Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that there is, I think, substantial evidence from the Littleton electorate that the hay petition has somehow totally overrepresented and misrepresented the number of signatures they claim on the petition, which come from the Littleton electorate. There is a double check on this Mr Speaker, which [00:16:00] I find fascinating as the house will know. I recently held a referendum in the Littleton electorate with ballot papers delivered to every single household. Those point of order, Mr Speaker. Nothing that we have heard so far in any way, shape or form relates to the report back from a select committee. Mr. Speaker, while I respect what the member is saying regarding how she [00:16:30] feels about the petition, we are talking about the petitions course at the select committee. Now, sir, I'd ask you to ask her to address her comments to the matter before the House. A report back on the select committee or the amendment speaking to the point of order. Mr. Chairman, Um, the member on her feet is indeed speaking to the evidence given to the select committee. The witnesses that appeared before the committee presenting [00:17:00] the petition were examined at length as to the, um, method they had used to ascertain the eligibility of the signatures and the whether or not the signatures were genuine and how they had been collected. And that is exactly what the member for Littleton is addressing in her speech. And I'd suggest you are sticking very closely to the discussion of the select committee that was hearing the petition. Yes, Um, I think that, [00:17:30] uh if one looks at the the speaker's ruling on the subject, uh, found on page 27 it's clear enough that only those matters that were dealt with in the select committee and were in the bill Well, it's not a bill of petition, Uh, may be discussed on the report of a select committee. Now, I don't understand that. Um uh, that the material that is being uh presented by the member for Littleton was in fact heard in the select committee at the same time. What I understand [00:18:00] to be doing is to be introducing a critique of the material that was heard before the select committee, uh, in a form which was pursued at the time that the select committee set. Um, And for those reasons, I would have to allow, um what the what the member is proceeding to do. Although I have to, um, caution her that that she must, in her remarks continue [00:18:30] to refer to the proceedings of the Select Committee and make her material relevant to that consideration. Thank you, Mr Speaker. And I am sir doing exactly that because my understanding of the report of what happened at the at the committee stages was that the petitioners indicated that they, in terms of overall counting and checking, had insisted that at least six different people had minimised [00:19:00] discrepancy. And I am giving evidence evidence, sir, of my independent checking, which contradicts that particular, uh, suggestion. Mr. Speaker, I was saying that there is a double check on what I myself am producing for the house. I was saying that I recently held a referendum in the Littleton electorate and the return from that referendum of those who opposed the bill was 1736 [00:19:30] a remarkably close figure, if I may suggest to the 1500 who in fact said they signed the petition and even more remarkably close figure, sir, when you take into account that a couple of 100 of those who said they signed the petition of the 1500 in fact have to be disallowed because they were, for instance, uh, names of people who were not found on the roll [00:20:00] names of people who in fact, uh, were signing phoney names and so on. Mr. Speaker, I want to suggest that whatever the hay petition represents, it does not represent over 5000 people signing the petition in my electorate at the most, it represents a Mr Peters. There will be people in this country who would have heard that speech with some amusement as I do. [00:20:30] I know all about the constitutional purity of certain members. And the member for Littleton, when she witnessed the greatest constitutional outrageous country has ever seen, remained silent. Dead people voting people voting into this country from Piedmont, California People who didn't live within of my electorate voting and she remained silent. But today she's as pure as the driven snow on whether or not somebody can sign something as innocent as a petition. [00:21:00] Now, sir, she played. She claimed tonight to have had a referendum. Does she not know what the word means? Will she still claim that she had a referendum in her electorate? Of course she did not. So why falsely get up in this house tonight and claim that she did? Now, sir, the petition speaks for itself. 817,000 plus people. It doesn't matter about their ages, their addresses or who or what they are. [00:21:30] What matters is that they are following a century old tradition for the right to petition their parliament. That's the number of the matter. 800 plus something 1000 people petitioning their parliament that they do something about a matter. And it doesn't matter which way or what side of the issue we are on to try and deny it and discredit. It is palpably false. Because if they were wrong [00:22:00] for 50 for 500,000, it would still be the biggest petition and no amount of electoral. Jerry Manning, in the mind of that member over there is going to change that matter now. So I speak in favour of the amendment and against the report back. The chairmanship, sir, on this committee was frankly not within the tradition of this parliament. Abysmal. A chairman, sir, who declared his position. He was biassed impartial, prejudiced, And he put out a letter to his [00:22:30] colleague sir, attempting to damn the petition before it came before him. And I believe, sir, and that is one thing that we must do with standing orders is to rule out that sort of behaviour on the part of a chairman preach of privilege. You name it, sir. He was involved in it. the member for Hamilton West, and he's got the audacity to get up and try and damn members who hold a different point of view. He says that some school Children signed 27 times. Name one. [00:23:00] Here's a fair challenge. Name one school boy who signed that petition 27 times. Now the thorough analysis they have claimed to have done on this petition would enable them to step up right now and say, Yes, I know who that boy is because many boys did it. That's what they said. Can I name one? Of course they can't. Of course they can't and they won't and they won't. And it's the reason why the member from Hamilton West will go because you cannot get up in this house on a matter sensitive to so many [00:23:30] people and get away with that patently false conscience Vote or not, When the truth is not a matter of conscience, we can have a different conscience. But we're talking about truth now, and that's what separates the member from Hamilton West from those who want to have some veracity regarding their argument in this debate. Now, sir, the fact of the matter is simply to see it. This petition, which was signed by over 800,000 New Zealanders, got but a few [00:24:00] hours before the select committee. And those few hours serve belie everything the deputy prime minister has ever said about how he was going to hold select committee hearings. If ever we have seen just how shallow that man is, it's to do with this petition. And he has in all these debates, said absolutely nothing. His total record before the rotary clubs and all that. All those speech, speech speaking [00:24:30] engagements he had about open government about reforming the select committee, Uh, but lies before the truth of this committee. Order, Order, order, order! Firstly, I'm going to ask the, uh, the honourable gentleman if he would, uh, withdraw that remark. That reference to the, uh he knows the word I'm referring to, and I ask him to withdraw, and I just before I go on, might I again, uh, come back to the Honourable Member? I've just [00:25:00] taken over the chair, but I am having difficulty in relating what the honourable gentleman is saying to the report of that, uh, on the of the committee before us on this petition for you, sir. They gave this committee. They gave the select committee hearing of a petition which is two times bigger than anything else else ever come for this country? Parliament. But a few hours. That's how I read it, very simply. Demons. It was treated, sir, in the most cursory and terse cavalier [00:25:30] and arrogant fashion. And the deputy Prime Minister should get to his feet tonight and explain what he meant when he talked about. Give Parliament real control. This is back on 224, 84 2nd of April 84. Of course, that was before the election. And then we talked about giving select communities equality of democracy. What was he talking about? It's high time he'd got up and explained himself because, frankly, sir, I don't care what side of the issue people are on these people who are feeling a very carefully affair. [00:26:00] Mr. Bray Brook. Mr. Speaker, The right to petition Parliament is an ancient right throughout the English speaking world. It is a means by which citizens can bring to their members, even the Queen or the King. That would was in old times the fact that they thought something was wrong and they demanded justice. Mr. Speaker, When this bill was introduced, there was an almost instantaneous reaction to it throughout New [00:26:30] Zealand. It came as a surprise to many. It came as a surprise, I might add, to many politicians as well, because none of us neither members or parties, had a mandate for this bill. So this petition was a reaction to the introduction of that bill. It was also a reaction and a genuine concern of fear that went through many of our citizens. Of that, I am absolutely sure, Mr. Speaker, it was fairly obvious that when the petition was launched that those [00:27:00] who promoted the bill in favour of homosexual law reform would have to pull out all the stops to try and degrade by whatever means the petition. True or false, everything would have to be done because they knew that a petition of this magnitude would have a huge punch power in this chamber. And so we have heard today about people who cannot be named signing 27 times and other people [00:27:30] on the tombstones and graveyards and what have you, Mr Speaker, even if only half the petitions are genuine. I believe that that's grossly concerned. Even if only half are genuine, it still remains a huge petition. It still remains a very, very strong concern being expressed by the citizens of this nation against the introduction of this bill. I am quite aware that the bill will be debated tomorrow night and will go to a vote and committee [00:28:00] stages and what have you. But this is the citizen's way of telling members of Parliament to go no further. It is their right to do so, and I respect that right speaker. I was very disappointed to hear my colleague on the report back in an insulting manner describe what happened on Parliament steps. When this petition was presented. I was there together with some other colleagues from my own caucus. Mr. Speaker, I did [00:28:30] not think of Nuremberg. How on earth could anybody, except with a warped mind, say that? How could anybody when people get up and sing their country's national anthem, surely that is not an insult and then say the Lord's prayer. We even pray in this chamber. Does that remind anybody of Nuremberg? And that the girls brigade or the the church groups were there in the girls and boys brigade uniforms carrying the flag of their [00:29:00] country. Is that Nuremberg? Let me tell you that that is an insult to even suggest it. I defend the rights of any citizen to present a petition to their parliament. It is their right, and we should respect it. Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot of human rights concerning this petition. I just wonder if the same concern for human rights will come later in this session when a bill is presented for the human rights of the unborn. I bet we hear a different story then, Mr Speaker, [00:29:30] I support the amendment moved by the member for Invercargill. It is cavalier, to say the least, to reject this petition and have no recommendation whatsoever for a largest petition in our country's history. I am rather sad that those who have objected to the petition and have actually promoted the bill and they have every right to do that should have sat in judgement on it. I think, Mr Speaker, [00:30:00] that that was wrong. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. And I believe that that is an important consideration which was lacking when this petition was presented. And I regret that. Sincerely, Mr Speaker, can I just close by saying that this issue will not die? This issue will not go away even when the bill to which this petition refers to is voted upon. And even if the position petition itself is [00:30:30] committed to the archives in the hearts and minds of citizens of this country, there is an overwhelming desire. I believe that it should not proceed. And that petition actually echoes those thoughts. The only way to settle it is a referendum. I am absolutely convinced of that. And let the people of New Zealand decide by presenting this petition they have already spoken. And it be it belittle us all here to jeer, sneer or degrade, or [00:31:00] try and belittle an honest petition for which many 1000 signed in good faith. I'm, uh, in some quan here. Excuse me. Um, just stop the clock. Uh, I normally take go from one side to the other, and I think that that would be the better way in handing this debate that I move from one side of the chamber to the other. Although I realise that there are people in the chamber who are irrespective party [00:31:30] have different views. Now I'm getting a call. At this point. I can. I think I know the views of the various people. If I was to call a person with the contrary point of view to the one to the member who's just spoken, I've got to call a member of his own party. If I look to the other side and say, Oh, I should be giving a call to someone from the opposition party I know that we're going to have somebody with the uh, who's expressing a similar view to this petition as the speaker [00:32:00] who's just spoken now I'm in the hands of the of the chamber present. I am inclined to go from side to side. I think that would be fairer in one way, but it does. It could mean that there could be a preponderance of speakers on one side of this issue and for that reason I feel that there's a justification for really calling on Mr Walla at this stage. But if there's no real objection to that in the chamber, anybody [00:32:30] speaker, I rise to support your ruling, sir. Of course, I just want to make this point that the member for Nelson, who was going to take the court before the member for Napier, will have an opportunity because I understand, sir, that it's your intention on this matter to take as many members as wish to only one hour, one hour debate. Well, under those circumstances, sir, then I think that is the point I make exactly is that it's [00:33:00] only fair that you take it from one side of the house to the other, and that only strengthens your decision. So I think you've made a very good decision, sir, and I concur with what you said, I think you are, and that this is a conscience vote on both sides of the house. There are no party lines in calling the member for Napier. The speaker in the chair before you, in fact, called two members in a row on the same side. Were you now to call the member for hierarchy? That [00:33:30] would mean three members in a row on the same side of this issue. And on this issue, the sides are not sides marked by a neat line down the middle of the chamber. They are science in terms of how one views both the bill and the petition, the amendment. And I want to suggest to you that there are very strong arguments for opposing the amendment. Even if one opposes the bill, it is not quite as simple, perhaps as some people have made up, because it comes to the very heart of a conscience. Vote with this [00:34:00] particular amendment. And I suggest to you, sir, that there is good reason for suggesting that the member for Nelson should have the next call. Indeed, there reasons for suggesting that two members opposed to the amendment should be called in a row, since two members in support of the amendment were called in a row. Previously, however, I think it would be quite unfair, sir, in terms of the balance within a one hour time limit debate to call three members in a row from one side of the house where I think all members recognise [00:34:30] that her house is fairly evenly poised between two sides on this issue which runs across party lines. Right. Mr. Lee. Mr. Lee. Yes, Mr Lee. Mr. Speaker. It was appropriate in a second reading that the ruling was given that it should favour those against and those four in alternate four. That was a debate without limit. This debate, sir, is a one hour debate, and it's appropriate. I believe [00:35:00] that your ruling before the House now should be endorsed that it be alternate from the government to the opposition, sir, with a limited time debate. That would be the only reasonable and fair ruling in this matter. The only thing that I'm concerned about in replying to the honourable member who's asked on his feet is that really there's no government opposition, uh, operating at the present time on this matter. And I draw attention of the members to speakers' rulings on this matter of page 51 [00:35:30] number two on page 51 where the speaker is, uh, dealing with a situation where the whips are not operating. Uh, he has a number of criteria and calling for members, and this is over for the choice of the speaker. Firstly, he tends to look at here. He tends to call on senior members of the house. First, he tends, then to alternate between sides of the house, although not knowing which side of the argument individuals are on. And thirdly, he must note the length of [00:36:00] time a member has been seeking a call that is relevant. But, uh, the degree of a member's involvement with the subject is so relevant, and that's number a number four in this matter. Now, those are the matters that are guiding me and guided speakers in the past on that ground, knowing the involvement in this matter of, uh, the member who spoke last and the member who would now seek the call from the, uh can I say, the National Party side [00:36:30] of the house rather than the opposition side. I feel constrained this. I feel that I should at this time in rule, in view of that ruling of Mr Speaker, call on Mr Williston. Mr. Speaker, it has properly been said that the presentation of petitions to Parliament is an ancient and important right of the people, and it has a central place in our democracy. And that places a solemn duty on members of the House to [00:37:00] seriously consider petitions presented to the House. But it also presents an equally solemn duty on those seeking to have petitions presented to the house to ensure that what they say about those petitions is correct and to as far as is within their power to make sure that the petitions accurately represent the names on them and the views of the people who have signed them. And in that context, I want to comment on a few aspects of this petition and the evidence [00:37:30] which was given to the select committee on it and one of the or in fact, the two principal petitioners. Mr. Hay and Sir Peter Tate, in presenting their submission, said that the fact that the petition was broken down into electorates demonstrated the bone of fide or good faith of the persons promoting and administering the petition. And they went on to say And I quote, If the petitioners had felt they had anything to hide, the petition could have been presented in any order which would have made it almost impossible to criticise the logistics, [00:38:00] statistics and inferences drawn from it. And certainly it did appear when the petition was presented to members of Parliament on the steps and brought into this chamber shortly thereafter that it was sorted into electorates. There were 92 boxes. They were brought to this house with the names of electorates on them. I went to the strong room in which the petition was kept expecting to find the box which contained signatures from my electorate. In order to view those signatures, I got there and found. Not only were the boxes [00:38:30] about 7/8 empty because they were large boxes, but also found that the impression which had been given to the television watching public of a petition presented by electorates was not correct. And the claim made by the chief petitioners before the select committee, which they said represented or indicated the good faith of the petitioners was in fact a totally void claim because they were not sorted into electorates. Mr. Speaker, I was not able, with the resources and the time available to me to check fully, to find [00:39:00] just how many signatures from my electorate there were. I did go through 50% of the boxes and from them found a sample of forms bearing a code on them, which was the parliamentary electoral code for my electorate, which presumably meant that those names had been entered onto the onto a computer to churn out the number which purported to be from Nelson. And I want to look at some of those. Mr Speaker. I was sent a document by the petitioners, which claimed that 12,142 [00:39:30] people residing in the Nelson electorate had signed, and that was compared with the number of electors in that electorate and with the suggestion that there was a majority of electors who in fact were opposed to the passage of this bill in my electorate. In fact, at least a third of the names purporting to come from my electorate, according to my sample, are not correct, and I have here of photocopies of some sheets, which I'm happy to table. Here is one which has 23 names, all attributed to Nelson. None of the people on that sheet gave addresses in the Nelson [00:40:00] electorate. Here is another one, which had some 26 names, of which 25 were attributed to Nelson. 16 of them those ones came from other electorates, and two others were not on the roll. Only seven correct another sheet with six people from another electorate. All encoded Nelson. Three people on this one all encoded Nelson. Sorry, four all from another. Only one of them is from from the Nelson Electorate. And perhaps the most interesting of all, Mr Speaker here is one which contains a number of names. It has [00:40:30] 25 names on it. 21 were attributed to Nelson. Of those, I think some two were actually on the electoral roll in Nelson. The others gave Nelson addresses. They appear to be in the handwriting. Children. Many of them appear to be in the same handwriting. One of those people was contacted on my behalf by one of my checkers who was known to that person. She is a college pupil in Nelson. She stated that she had never seen the petition and certainly had not signed it. I'm not saying, Mr Speaker, that that means none of the signatures [00:41:00] purporting to come from Nelson are in fact, valid. What it does mean is that certainly a significant proportion of those signatures claimed to be from the Nelson electorate are in fact either from other electorates wrongly attributed to my electorate, or are in some way, or are those of minors or possibly people who were not who did not sign it I also had a number of people complain to me about coercion brought on them to sign the petition at the workplace where they were subject [00:41:30] to the censure of their workmates if they declined. I have also had an instance of a child of approximately 10 years old being, uh, harassed. Uh, what would be That was the word that was used to me into signing a petition on the main street and Mr Speaker that I think does fall into faith. Question the good faith of the petitioners. Mr. Speaker, I want to endorse confirm the amendment of my colleague that this petition be given most favourable consideration. It's an insult [00:42:00] to the intention and the integrity of 817 plus news 1000 New Zealanders that the petition should have come back with a no recommendation before the house. So from the outset, let the house be reminded that the acting chairman that day the member for Hamilton West sought to restrict the opportunities of the petitioners to give their evidence [00:42:30] to give their evidence. There was all sorts of unprincipled behaviour, partial behaviour in the chair to restrict the opportunities that the petitioners should rightly have had presenting, as they were the largest ever petition in the history of the nation and of this parliament. It was for the reason of the debacle that ensued, that I felt it necessary to move a vote of no confidence in the chair, sir. And it's only because of the predominance [00:43:00] of the government members and the way they thought that that motion was lost. It wasn't lost on the public of New Zealand, sir. And the submission that was made that day by the petitioners was in that form, sir, a very professional submission, a compilation of a number of people who gave what I believe was in fact, evidence of unequal quality. Sir, In that evidence, Mr Keith Hay spoke [00:43:30] about the family breakdown that would result if this bill became law. Sir Peter Tate commented about the necessity of keeping the present law as a buffer law and that in fact, every everything had been done to ensure that the petition was handled correctly in the public place. A Mr Alan Anderson, an ex senior laboratory scientist, referred [00:44:00] to the fact that he believed that AIDS would indeed escalate and would exacerbate with the decriminalisation should this bill go through and we would see, in fact, a worsening situation. Mr. Peter van R, a solicitor, referred to the fact that this legislation was, in fact a pace setter. It was the most progressive of its type in the world and that we were, in fact, pawns in the world gay scene in so far that this Parliament was [00:44:30] being asked to pass legislation that had not been passed anywhere else in the world. A Reverend Phillips gave further evidence that the Bible was clear in his teaching, and it spoke very clearly against homosexuality. Practise. Mr. James Bacon from a professor in the university also gave very clear evidence, sir, about the implications in the classroom and the way that this would [00:45:00] dam the Children of our nation. If this bill became law, sir, the evidence was clearly that this petition was the largest ever presented to this parliament. Indeed, at 817 plus 1000 it would have achieved its a million targets set by the petitioners if they would had time. It was gathered otherwise, in just over [00:45:30] six months time, a remarkably short period and, sir, that everything was done. According to the petitioners to ensure that the petition was in fact carried through with integrity with care with caution. And that's why it had at the bottom for the first time in petition history, a note to say that only people above or secondary age should sign a petition. And so it was also noted that this petition per capita [00:46:00] would be the largest petition on a basis ever presented to any Western parliament in the history of the world. Now, sir, of course, there were allegations. And of course, there were attempts to deny and discredit the petition. Because that is the only way that, in fact, proponents of the bill and opponents of the petition could in fact make their case valid. Sir, that was not achieved In spite of the comments that we made to the house tonight. The comments made first by the member for Littleton [00:46:30] all hinge on the fact that her people went through all those boxes. Sir, I challenge her to in fact, give more evidence that the petition was presented to Parliament, not to individuals. Yes. Uh, Mr Mr Speaker, I want to comment on some of the, um activities that took place at the committee because I think it's important that the public know, uh, what the, uh, petitioners told us when we asked them in particular about the integrity [00:47:00] of the petition, which the previous speaker has just mentioned. They brought to the committee and Mr Wilding, who had apparently been there scrutineer, um, in Auckland for the petition. He told us that each sheet had gone, been gone over carefully, probably about six times that the names on them had been encoded for electorates and that finally, the results were all written down. They had been allocated out. And of course, the result was this gold covered book, which was sent to all members of Parliament. [00:47:30] We asked that man and the other witnesses, How did they come by? The figures in this book purported to show the percentage of the electoral population who had signed a petition in each electorate. It was very interesting. I particularly asked, Did they use habitation, a habitation index for each electorate to check the names and the streets of the people? Mr. Wing's answer to my question was, What's that? He did not know what a habitation index was. Did you use electoral [00:48:00] roles was my next question, I presume. Then you used the electoral role. No, he said. We didn't electoral roles. We don't have access to that sort of equipment, like members of Parliament have. How then I asked, Did you know which electorate people lived in? Well, he said, our people who are checking just put them into the electorate that they thought they lived in. For example, he said, Uh, we said if they wrote, then the name of the street and simply Hamilton, [00:48:30] how did you allocate them into into electorates? Mr. Wing said. Is it important? Well, I suggest it was important because the committee was presented with evidence by the petitioners to tell us the proportion and the number of electors in each electorate that had signed the petition. The integrity of the petition is clearly in question. Mr. Chair, Mr. Speaker, What we were told was that the names were allocated according to what electorate, [00:49:00] the sort of thought they were in. Those left were put into a pool and allocated out on a pro rata basis. In the case of Hamilton City, between two only Hamilton city electorates, not the four electorates which cover Hamilton. Unfortunately for the petitioners, some academic demographers at Waikato University went to the trouble of examining the Hamilton sample, which was gained by pulling out all the Hamilton [00:49:30] sheets from the petition, which took a number of hours to do in a number of helpers. They found 22.4% were validly on the role in the electorate claimed by the petitioners. Mr. Speaker, we were assured that the signatures were thoroughly checked and that they were all valid. I was concerned after hearing that evidence as to how valid they were. And I produced some photocopy sheets of some pages from the petition. This is a page which has a number of [00:50:00] Mata Mr Speaker, Here they are on the bottom line, six signatures, all in the same handwriting. How did that come about? I asked one of the petitioners, Mr Roast, How come all in the same handwriting? Well, he said. Often we had Maori families and one person would sign for the whole lot. Very interesting Maori household. This Conlan, Patterson, Thompson, Campbell, all these people with different surnames, all living together in one house in [00:50:30] all with the same handwriting. I suggest that it was a pretty racist statement for Mr Roast to make and clearly indicated that the um, the the petition does not have much integrity. Mr. Speaker, the member for hierarchy, has claimed that they presented professional witnesses. Mr Anderson, he quoted Well, I received a letter from the University of Auckland after the hearing from Dr Paul Goldwater, senior lecturer [00:51:00] in virology, claiming, saying that it was important that he made comments about the validity of Mr Anderson's submission. Mr Anderson is not correct in calling himself a medical laboratory scientist or immuno haematologist, he said. He was a medical laboratory technologist and in fact, although he has very good knowledge of hepatitis viruses, he has evidently not kept up with the current knowledge about AIDS. His professional qualifications were certainly in doubt, [00:51:30] as was the evidence. The factual evidence he gave to the committee was wrong. Mr Speaker, Mr Anderson told us that the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists were wrong and he was right. He told us the American Psychological Association were wrong and he was right and that the long list of doctors from the Wellington region who signed the petition were Mr Speaker, I rise to support the amendment [00:52:00] that this house should give a favourable considerable a most favourable consideration to this bill. Mr. Chairman, I have got to say, as an observer, an interested observer in the happenings and following of this bill over the last few months that these matters have been handled with obscene hate by a committee of this Parliament. I believe that the principal petitioners and others feel cheated by [00:52:30] the way this committee of Parliament has treated them. And I want to report back that having read most of the submissions to that select committee, although not being a member of the same, that the thrust of the petitioners opposing this bill was simply that this bill was designed to destroy the fundamental building blocks of this nation, the family unit and, of course, ultimately democracy itself. [00:53:00] This bill, according to the principal petitioners in simple terms, is just another set accurately aimed at the crumbling house of Christianity. The petitioners opposing the bill and other so called social reform. The petitioners opposing the bill believe that this bill and other so-called social reform [00:53:30] will have a devastating medical, social and moral impact on the future of this country. I happen to believe that what those 800,000 people have to say is that simple message. And I stand here tonight telling this house that simple message. They are concerned they have come to the highest court in the land. And they have been cheated by this committee of Parliament, of [00:54:00] which, at one time, the member for Hamilton West was the chairman, at which time a vote of no confidence was moved in his chairmanship. And the day I called on this committee, his colleague, the member for Hamilton East, was the chairman of the committee. And I have never seen such a sicker, sicker performance speaker by that point. Mr. Speaker, this petition was heard on one. The member for re was never a member [00:54:30] of that committee. That is irrelevant to the that is not a valid point of order. Any member may comment on the proceedings of the committee. Mr. Chairman, the member is actually correct about the petition itself. What I was referring to was submissions to the bill which I believe the 800,000 people listening tonight on the wireless will want to establish [00:55:00] Sir and It's part of this general thrust that I am concerned about the cavalier way in which that chairman, the member for Hamilton West, treated the people that turned up to give submissions at their expense because of their concern to this committee of Parliament. And they were treated thoroughly, badly, and 11,052 people in say, Mr Banks, we do not want you to support this bill or this petition, [00:55:30] this petition, and that's what I'm going to do. I support the 800,000 New Zealanders that came to parliament to show that they were outraged at this initiative and wanted it stopped dead in their tracks. And that's why I rise to speak to the amendment that my colleague moved. 11,000 people in signed that. But even if there was only 10,500 it is still enough. And in a recent [00:56:00] radio poll conducted in my electorate by Radio New Zealand that can be checked by the member for Wellington Central, the architect of the bill in question, 80% of Ware people said no. 80% of people said no. We don't want this homosexual law reform because they do believe that the family unit is so they have asked me to [00:56:30] come down here and state to this house very clearly their opposition to this legislative initiative and to say that they want me to support the amendment that my colleague moved to make this a most favourable report to parliament. It is absolutely outrageous that the government member for Wellington Central should have been a principal participant on this day of this petition because I saw her performance on the [00:57:00] day on the one day that I sat in on the submission to the principal bill and the way she manipulated the sycophantic member for Hamilton in East, the chairman on that day would have to be seen to be believed. It was sickening. It was a conspiracy by members of a committee of this parliament that I have never seen before. I have never seen before. This parliament has gone down [00:57:30] in the eyes of the public of New Zealand as a result of the way of the concerns of 800,000 New Zealanders have expressed to this parliament and have been treated in a most obscene way. Helen. Mr Speaker, I want to make one point about the hearing of the petition before the select committee, and that is that all members of the opposition who are present were given a full opportunity to ask their questions. And indeed, the sponsor of the bill, the member for Wellington Central, only [00:58:00] asked her questions when other members of the committee had finished. And I think that answers many of the points raised by the member for so I want to take a line and raise an issue which I think has not been raised properly in the debate so far, which I think is crucial for members of Parliament to understand because I think the amendment moved by limber cargo is in fact a very dangerous amendment. And even members who oppose the bill should think very [00:58:30] carefully before they support this amendment, because what the amendment does is refer the petition to the government for most favourable consideration to the government for most favourable consideration and what the amendment does. If the member in Baca would do me the honour of hearing me in silence as I heard him, then he would learn he learn that the government nor the opposition neither [00:59:00] has a policy on this bill. It is absolutely inappropriate and I'll come to that. I will come to that matter in a minute. It is absolutely inappropriate for an amendment to be moved in this house which undermines the very basis of conscience voting. And I want to say to my colleague, the member for Napier, that he may recall that at least two occasions I have stood up before the Labour Party conference [00:59:30] and supported his right to a conscience vote on issues where the majority, the overwhelming majority of that conference, was opposed to the view that he takes. And indeed, by and large, I was in sympathy with the majority of that conference because I believe that the members of this House do have a right to a conscience vote on certain moral issues. [01:00:00] And the amendment moved by the member for Invercargill undermines the basis of that conscience vote. Because it is saying it is saying if it is passed that the government should have a position in opposition to this bill, and that is the government should not have a position either for or against this bill, and I want to say further, sir, that I'm not here question [01:00:30] the integrity of the 7700 people claimed to have signed the petition In my electorate, I know that some of them have some very strange connections, but I've been into that elsewhere in this house. But I know that most of those are honourable, decent voters. Many of them belong to my own Labour Party branches. But, sir Oh, yes, indeed, in my electorate, which is a rather conservative electorate, but that is not the point. The point is, sir, [01:01:00] that the consciences of members of this House should not be open to barter. This is the kind of issue on which members of this house have to look inside themselves without the aid of government whips or opposition whips and decide what they think is right. And when they have decided what they think is right, then they have the responsibility [01:01:30] to vote according to that action. And the only thing that can channel that freedom because it is a very precious freedom, is if they have made a prior commitment to their electorate to abide by a poll within their electorate on a specific issue. And I have come to resent. So I think many members of this house have come to resent the quite improper pressure which has been brought to bear from both extremes in this [01:02:00] argument, the attempt to blackmail members in terms of votes at the next election, the attempt to blackmail in terms of certain connections or whatever, the attempt to turn members of this house into puppets. Now, what I'm saying to the member in ver cargo is I accept he opposes the bill. I respect his right. But, sir Oh, yes, indeed, in my electorate, which is a rather conservative electorate, [01:02:30] but that is not the point. The point is, sir, that the consciences of members of this house should not be open to barter. This is the kind of issue on which members of this house have to look inside themselves without the aid of government whips or opposition whips and decide what they think is right. And when they have decided what they think is [01:03:00] right, then they have the responsibility to vote according to that action. And the only thing that can travel that freedom because it is a very precious freedom, is if they have made a prior commitment to their electorate to abide by a poll within their electorate on a specific issue, and I have come to resent. So I think many members of this house have come to resent the quite improper pressure which has been brought to bear [01:03:30] from both extremes in this argument, the attempt to blackmail members in terms of votes at the next election, the attempt to blackmail in terms of certain connections, or whatever the attempt to turn members of this house into puppets. Now what I'm saying to the member in the cargo is, I accept. He opposes the bill. I respect his right to do so. I do not agree with him, but I accept he's utterly [01:04:00] sincere in opposing this bill. But he should not come to the this house and say that a matter relating to that bill should receive favourable consideration from the government. That is utterly wrong because he is undermining his very own case, the case by which the members for Napier and the member for Southern Maori and other members on this side will oppose the bill. [01:04:30] Well, the honourable Mr Wellington, Mr Speaker, the the government whip, the chief government whip, like the proponents of the measure, and opponents of the petition tonight simply protest too much as simple as that. And I have not heard the member for Saint Kilda so much on the defensive as he has been in the last [01:05:00] five minutes. His only defence, sir, was to say that the government does not have a policy on this particular measure. So might I ask him, why does his junior whip bring the bill in? He knows very well the long established conventions of this place, which by and large, not prohibit in a technical sense but do by custom and form certainly [01:05:30] frown upon a measure of such a divisive nature being introduced by a whip with senior or junior. And for him to get up and say, Well, of course, the member for nature is opposed to this and therefore the government the Labour Party does not have a formal position on the matter is I repeat, to protest too much. He referred to his electorate, and he says, Well, it's a conservative one. The base [01:06:00] of that member's political support in the electorate of Saint Kilda is the Castle Street branch. That's that's the university as simple as that as simple as that. And I repeat, he protests far too much. And if and if Mr Speaker And if Mr Speaker he is right. Why is it why is it that so many of his colleagues, particularly [01:06:30] particularly the Wellington based members, have polls in their electorates and having had their polls say, But of course, my electorate. Mr. Speaker, thank you. My electorate, Mr. Speaker, they say, supports me in the stand. Supports the bill for homosexual activities amongst young people of 16. Where is there evidence of the polls they conducted in their electorates? Have they been tabled in this house? The [01:07:00] electorate survey from the member for O'Hare, the electorate survey from the member for Miramar, the Electorate survey by the member for East Cape, which had a moving that way and then another way and coming back again. How genuine are those surveys they are not. And so they would not hold a candle to a petition of the people of this country who are common sense and practical, and to hold strong views on a matter of this type and to [01:07:30] say that a petition of unprecedented numbers and magnitude, nearly a million, nearly a million does not count in the councils of this country is manifest nonsense. And that's why the member for Saint Kilda simply protests too much. And for the Deputy Prime minister to sit there and listen to it all and say, Well, of course I'm going to vote for this thing. And the petition means nothing. The great apostle of constitutional purity to be [01:08:00] a party to a or of a government that says petitioning Parliament on this particular issue is not in fact is not. In fact, an exercise this house should listen to is, sir is sir an outstanding example of the member for Christchurch, Um, central double standards and matters of this type because we haven't had consensus in the country since his government came to power and [01:08:30] to ignore the voice of the people as expressed in this manner. And I believe genuinely I haven't counted the people in my own electorate. I haven't had to. I know what they think I regret. The time allotted for this debate has expired, and the question was that the report to be agreed to, but it has since been amended. And the question now is, uh that, [01:09:00] uh, the, uh, petition be referred to the government for most favourable consideration. The question is that that amendment be agreed to. Those who are of that opinion will say I of the contrary opinion will say no. The eyes have it division called for. Ring the bells, the eyes will go to the right. The nose will go to the left. They tell us for the eyes are [01:09:30] well, tell us for the eyes. Uh, Mr Jones and Mr Bray Brook and they'll tell us, uh, for the nose. Uh, Mr Mallard and Miss and Fran, lock the doors. Lock the doors. The question is that the amendment be agreed to. The eyes are 34. The nos are 39. [01:10:00] The amendment will not be agreed to unlock the door. Unlock the doors. The question now is, er that er the motion be agreed to. Those who are of that opinion will say I of their country opinion will say no. The eyes haven't.

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AI Text:September 2023
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