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Nats using gay issues to divide

Wed 27 Apr 2005 In: New Zealand Daily News

National cannot make civil unions into an election issue, despite its attempts to "mobilise grumpy rednecks", scapegoat minorities, and play "the Muldoon card", says Progressive MP Matt Robson. “It is beyond the powers of Don Brash to make civil unions into a major election issue,” he says. “The best he can do is to try and ride politically on the coat-tails of those diehard conservatives who cannot accept that this battle has been lost by them.” National leader Don Brash said in yesterday's NZ Herald that a "great many people, with some justification, feel that the Government has been preoccupied with social engineering at the cost of dealing with the issues that affect most people's lives and that is a view that is quite widespread and that's an issue we will certainly highlight." Robson says “social engineering” is a meaningless term. “Whenever I hear someone refer to ‘social engineering' I know that they're bereft of ideas and are reaching for their slogans. Other expressions in the same category are ‘the homosexual agenda' and ‘politically correct' which are similarly meaningless codes for things the Right don't like.” “The New Zealand Right know that they can't fault the government on its economic record and so they're trying to play the Muldoon card. Get a handle on something socially divisive and see what you can do to exploit it.” Don Brash's office did not respond to questions over how much National's commitment to human rights has changed since 1993, when it passed the Human Rights Act. Robson points out that civil unions are a direct consequence of the then-National Government's decision to support that legislation.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 27th April 2005 - 12:00pm

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