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Dear Don, I expected better of you!

Wed 1 Dec 2004 In: Features

An open letter from Jim Peron, commentator and editor of the New Liberal Review. Dear Don: What a terrible disappointment and compromise of principles. First, it was National not wanting to lower the business tax so that far Left members of parliament are actually now more low-tax than National. Then it was the endorsement of Labour's Super plan. Now this statement on the Civil Unions Bill. It's worse than having Bill English back. I don't know what happened to Don Brash but I suspect he's been kidnapped and is being held prisoner somewhere. You want a referendum on whether or not we have civil unions. If you were in 1933 Germany would you support a referendum on the rights of Jews and allow the majority of the population to determine the rights of the minority? I doubt you would since I'm sure you do not believe that individual rights are subject to majority approval. Human rights are not grants from the majority. Either people have a right or they don't. If they do then they have it regardless of the opinions of the majority. What I find particularly embarrassing for you is the reasoning you have used. Do you actually think that the submissions on Civil Unions were not orchestrated by groups like Destiny Church and Maxim Institute from a small sector of fringe fundamentalists? Do you honestly believe these represent the broader community of New Zealand? Submissions in a political process only attract a tiny number of people and are subject to orchestrated campaigns all the time. One takes the submissions from the main groups and reads them and realises they represent those special interests. But you can not and ought not to assume they represent a cross section of Kiwis. From what I see in your press release your statement of how "people" see this legislation is exactly the line pushed by the fundamentalist Maxim Institute--the very moral conservatives you have said you prefer not to be in alliance with. This bill is no attack on marriage or on civil society (and I defend both). But that is Maxim's line to their followers and to the fundie churches in New Zealand that are their support base. Ask them about their position on divorce and you'll quickly find that you are in the same boat as Civil Unions‹as far as they are concerned‹since they believe divorce is equally threatening. When you became National Leader you took principled stands in defense of classical liberalism. That attracted a lot of people to National who had left it. Your brave, principled, stands brought a lot of them back to National. I now see them leaving again after realising that National is not going to hold to liberal principles. Those who want low taxes, civil liberties, free markets and free minds will only apparently have the option of supporting Rodney Hide in the next election. I do not endorse any party myself. I endorse principles. I believe that if people get the ideas right the politics will take care of itself. But somewhere along the way National got the ideas wrong which is why you were such a breath of fresh air. I realise the orchestrated campaign of Maxim and other anti-liberal conservatives raises the heat on members of parliament in regards to principled stands. It is precisely at times like this, when there is an orchestrated campaign by a lobby group disguised as an "educational" foundation, that we learn what fortitude regarding principles an individual possesses. I am sorely disappointed. I expected far better. Jim Peron Jim Peron - 1st December 2004    

Credit: Jim Peron

First published: Wednesday, 1st December 2004 - 12:00pm

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