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The Hubbard Interview

Mon 13 Dec 2004 In: Features

Dick Hubbard For, Chris Banks speaks frankly with Mayor Dick Hubbard about his shock (and still unsubstantiated) suggestions that Civil Unions should not be passed into law because of the high probability that gay and lesbian parents will abuse or murder their children. When campaigning for the mayoralty Hubbard told glbt media he was pro-Civil Unions. Chris Banks: Why have you changed your mind? This puts you in direct opposition to what you told the gay community before the election. Hubbard: No I don't believe that it is. What I've been very concerned about is the whole family question in the debate. I have no problems with civil union per se, but I am concerned about emphasis on the families, and that's why I've been tee-ing up with the chappie who runs the Parenting With Confidence programme, Ian Grant. And you'll see that he was one of the signatories there too. I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on the family, the children side. And I want to get my head around implications of changes to possible changes to the adoption bill. CB: But it does urge MPs to vote down the Bill? Hubbard: That's right yes, because I was more interested in the amendments being put up by Richard Worth which I think covered what the gay community wanted, it gave more emphasis and protection on the family side. CB: But you did say you had no problem with the Civil Union Bill before the election, and now you've written a letter saying the opposite... Hubbard: No no no, the Civil Union Bill per se didn't come up before the election, there were vague references to it... CB: No I asked you a direct question for the Queer Nation programme on television and you said you didn't have a problem with the Civil Union Bill... Hubbard: I had no problems with the concept of it, but at that stage there was certainly no detail out about what was involved. And I hadn't realised or understood the implications as far as children are concerned, and that was why I was putting my name to that letter. I don't see that as an inconsistency. CB: What would you say to gay and lesbian people who voted for you based on the perception that you supported the Civil Union Bill? Hubbard: Well I would have supported the amendment put up by Richard Worth, rather than the actual text of the Civil Union Bill that's going through today, which I believe gave the appropriate recognition and rights, but gave more protection on the family side. CB: In terms of an opinion about the bill, why did you decide to actively campaign against it and use your status as mayor of Auckland City to do it? Hubbard: When you say actively campaign, I put my name as one of six signatories to a letter, I'm not out there on my own accord, I'm not giving a speech on it or anything like that, I've added to the very great volumes of correspondence and submissions going on on both sides of the bill. I understand the bill will be almost definitely passed, I understand it'll be passed by a comfortable majority, obviously I accept the bill if it is passed, and I believe its appropriate to get ones views up. I'm not down in Wellington thumping on doors or anything like that. And you'll notice there's another mayor that's put his name to the bill as well, that's the mayor of Rotorua, and you'll notice there's a senior businessman put his name to it... CB: What is your connection with each of these people in the letter? Hubbard: I know them but I wouldn't regard them as friends or associates. CB: Who actually wrote this letter? Hubbard: The original idea came from John Sax, and I do know John and I've known John for 2-3 years. I do know where he comes from. CB: Are there any connections with the Maxim Institute? Hubbard: Absolutely, categorically not. CB: Because some of the statistics come from their website. Hubbard: OK, I'm not aware of that, I've had no association with Maxim Institute. CB: So you don't have any connections with Maxim or anything other right-wing groups? Hubbard: No, no, and that was asked of me during the campaign. In fact during the campaign there was a suggestion that I was a member of it. Absolutely no contact at all. CB: Taking into account your support for the gay community, and your statements that a tolerance to a gay community is very important for a vibrant city... Hubbard: It is, yes... CB: The opening paragraph of this letter you've signed says that research shows that gay parents are more likely to abuse and murder their children. That's incredibly strong language. Hubbard: Well, I understand those statistics are correct and they've come from reliable sources. CB: Well the statistics have actually come from court records in the UK... Hubbard: Mmm. Yep. Ok. CB: ...and none of the statistics actually mention same-sex parents specifically, yet your letter has chosen to include gay parents within this. Hubbard: Yes, we were trying to put an emphasis on the whole question of children and children's rights because I think during the debate there hasn't been, in my opinion, enough emphasis...I've been a little surprised at the commissioner for children and the commissioner for families hasn't come through a little bit stronger on this. CB: So you see no contradiction in saying you have support for the gay community but you believe that gay parents are more likely to abuse and murder their children? Do you really believe this to be true? Hubbard: Well, if the statistics are true, and I understand they are true, then I accept the statistics. CB: So you believe this is true? Hubbard: Well, I've been informed that the statistics are true and reliable. So obviously, if they are we accept this. CB: So you accept the statistics that you've quoted? Hubbard: Yes and if you can prove that the statistics are not true, well I'm more than happy to listen to that too. CB: Even though the statistics don't specifically mention gay parents, you would still take them to include gay parents? Hubbard: Yes, yes. I mean they're broad-ranging statistics and they're part of the argument that's been put up over the protection of children. Now statistics are statistics, they're broad averages, and we know and understand that with any range of statistics there are exceptions that go both ways. And its the same with any set of statistics. When you say statistics, you don't mean all, you're talking about averages. CB: Will you remain accessible to the gay community to discuss your attitudes on this issue in future? Hubbard: Yes more than happy to. As I said I'm the listening mayor, the accessible mayor, and if a representative group wants to come and see me, more than happy to do that. CB: The major concern though, is from gay and lesbian voters who are feeling quite insulted and disturbed right now by this letter, not because it opposes the Civil Union Bill, but because of the implications it casts on them as parents. Hubbard: Well, I'm more than happy to talk that through. If someone wants to come and see me about that, more than happy to listen. Chris Banks; - 13th December 2004    

Credit: Chris Banks;

First published: Monday, 13th December 2004 - 12:00pm

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