How did your MP and Party perform in 2013 on the conscience/family issues


How did your MP and Party perform?

Family First NZ has released its ‘Value Your Vote 2013’ report card which rates the politicians and the political parties on how they have voted on six key conscience / family issues during 2013.

The issues included:
* 3 significant votes around changing the definition of marriage, allowing a referendum on the issue, and allowing for conscientious objection,
* reducing the harms of gambling,
* the Sky City pokie deal, and
* toughening bail laws to protect families from repeat violent offenders.

Most of the issues should have been conscience votes but it appears that not all parties allowed that or were under pressure to vote a certain way – for example, National on the Sky City deal.

In the overall ratings for political parties on the six issues, NZ First scored highest with 83% followed by Labour on 51%, National on 41%, the Greens, Hone Harawira and Peter Dunne on 33%, and John Banks and the Maori party on 17%.

In the rankings for individual MP’s, only Labour MP’s Ross Robertson and Su’a William Sio both scored a perfect 100%. Labour’s Damien O’Connor, independent MP Brendan Horan, and all of the NZ First MP’s scored 83%.

Amongst the party leaders, Prime Minister John Key scored just 17%, while Labour leader David Cunliffe scored 50%, and Winston Peters was the highest of the party leaders scoring 83%. Mr Peters was also highest scoring party leader last year.

Perhaps what is most surprising is how poorly the so-called conservative parties and politicians (National, ACT, United Future) have done in promoting moral and family issues such as protecting marriage, allowing for conscientious objection to the changing definition of marriage, and limiting the harms of gambling.

Our Value Your Vote resource has been hugely popular during the general elections of 2008 and 2011 for informing families, so this annual report card is an interim update on the issues that were significant during 2013.

We are planning a significant resource for this year so that families can vote according to their values on issues around marriage, euthanasia, parental notification, anti-smacking law, abortion, adoption, marijuana, prostitution, sexualisation of children, and many others.

The results for 2013 can also be viewed on the website

The Issues

Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – 3rd Reading
April 2013
In ramming through the ‘shot-gun’ same-sex marriage bill, Parliament chose to reject the obvious cultural and natural characteristics of marriage and the subsequent creation and care of children, and made marriage just about partnership. Despite their grandiose view, the politicians never had the authority to redefine marriage – and their efforts only mask reality. In ramming through this bill in a shameful way without due consideration, and with no clear public mandate, politicians committed an arrogant act of cultural vandalism. The equality cause is not advanced by destroying institutions. Equality should respect difference, not destroy it. There was no discrimination in the law as it stood. Ironically, marriage now has become meaningless – and genderless! We will now be using the word to describe something else – not commonly or traditionally conceived, but conceived by politics and political correctness.

With the accompanying consequence of changes to adoption laws, politicians also weakened the rights of the child in favour of pandering to the demands of adults. A child has a right to a mum and a dad. We should not set out in public policy to deny a child that basic right. This is a gender issue – not a sexuality issue. The gender of the parents does matter to a child.

It is perfectly possible to support traditional marriage, while also recognising and respecting the rights of others. There was absolutely no need to redefine marriage to provide legal recognition and protection for same-sex relationships. In 2004, the government introduced Civil Unions and changed over 150 pieces of legislation to achieve this very thing. Adults have a right to form meaningful relationships – they just don’t have a right to redefine marriage.

For millions and millions of people worldwide, marriage is a specific culturally and historically bound institution. Civil unions were always argued to be an acceptable alternative, and there was no need to change the current definition.

Read more info


Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – Referendum on Redefining Marriage
March 2013
At the same time as politicians were ramming through this bill, many of them were also collecting signatures for a Referendum on state asset sales – saying that NZ’ers had a right to be heard on this issue, and the government should listen to the public. That same courtesy did not extend to this bill, and two proposals to allow a Referendum on this important social change were voted down – despite there being no clear public mandate to make such a significant social and cultural change.

Read more info


Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – Conscientious Exemption
March 2013
The politicians demanded a conscience vote on this bill, ironically at the same time as they voted that the same-sex marriage bill would not protect the consciences of places of faith from having to host ‘same-sex weddings’ if their facilities are available to the general public, and would not protect the consciences of marriage registrars and marriage celebrants who are not part of approved mainline churches or approved organisations to lawfully be able to refuse a request to marry a same-sex couple by reason of the same-sex of the couple.

A poll of 1,000 New Zealanders found strong support for amendments. 80% of respondents thought marriage celebrants should not be forced to perform same-sex weddings if they go against their personal convictions. Only 32% of marriages conducted in New Zealand are conducted by celebrants who may have the benefit of the conscientious exemption which seriously undercuts the assurances given by MP Louisa Wall to Parliament during the 1st Reading.

73% of respondents believed churches, temples, mosques, and other places of faith should not be required to allow same-sex marriages in their buildings. The politicians considered it to be appropriate that it be unlawful for churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship to refuse to host same-sex ‘marriages’ if the building is normally made available to the public.

Read the Legal Advice Read more info


Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill
September 2013
The gambling bill as originally drafted would have given councils and the public power to cut the number of poker machines in their area and ensure that gambling proceeds are fed back into the immediate community. The bill proposed to:
Gives councils power to eliminate or reduce pokies at a venue if the public feels they are harmful.
Ensure 80% of gambling proceeds return to the community where the money was lost.
Phase out the corporate societies which distribute pokie earnings, and replaces them with transparent, local committees
Insist that venues introduce gambler tracking systems which measure losses, and pre-commit cards which allow players to preset the time and money they gamble.
Remove special status of the racing industry as a recipient for the purpose of racing stakes.
Unfortunately the government ‘gutted’ the bill of key provisions during the select committee process and made it not very different to the status quo of how the law operates now. Family First now opposes the bill because of the exclusion of the important provisions above.

In an independent poll of 1,000 NZ’ers, 87% of respondents supported Councils being able to cut the number of pokie machines in areas they are thought to be particularly harmful.
Source: NZ Herald
Read more info


SkyCity Pokie Deal (International Convention Centre)
November 2013
The purpose of the Bill was to give effect to an agreement between SkyCity and the Government to build an international convention centre in exchange for legislative changes allowing an extra 230 slot machines and 40 gaming tables, a 27-year extension to SkyCity’s Auckland casino licence, and other regulatory concessions.

Family First is opposing any law change which would allow the mass influx of more ‘mechanical pickpocket’ machines to SkyCity. This law change is completely contrary to the Gambling Act which seeks to reduce gambling harm. Casinos thrive on the false promise of getting rich quickly, but the reality is that those who can least afford to gamble are gambling themselves deeper into debt. Significant risk factors for problem gambling include being between 25-34, Maori or Pacific ethnicity, lower educational attainment, being employed and living alone. Problem gambling is strongly associated with risky drinking behaviour and smoking. Other health problems for gamblers include stress-related health problems, major mental problems, and medical conditions. Of most concern is the impact on families including domestic violence, unsupervised children in casino carparks, children going without food clothes and other necessities, and US research suggesting a link between gambling and physical and emotional abuse.

In addition, there were four other interested parties in building the convention centre. The Deputy Auditor- General was concerned with how unfairly they were treated in the tendering process. The Convention Centre (if needed) could be built without a mass increase in pokie machines.

Read more info


Bail Amendment Bill
August 2013
Under the provisions of this bill, offenders charged with serious crimes would have to prove they can be trusted out at large. It makes it more difficult for serious violent, sexual or Class A drug offenders to get bail, and people charged with serious crimes would have to prove to the Crown they would not be a threat to public safety if allowed out of custody. This change reverses the burden of proof for bail cases involving serious offences. At present, it is usually the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove a defendant should not get bail.

We supported what was termed as Christie’s Law (launched by the Sensible Sentencing Trust) – for five good reasons

1/2. Brian and Lynette Brown’s 24-year-old daughter Natasha Hayden was slain by Tauranga man Michael Curran at McLaren Falls on January 10, 2005. Curran was granted bail by a High Court judge on July 7, 2005 after four unsuccessful bail applications and while awaiting trial he murdered 2-year-old Tauranga toddler Aaliyah Morrissey on September 13, 2005.

3. 17-year-old Augustine Borrell was stabbed to death at a party in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay in September 2007. Murderer Haiden Davis was on bail for another violent crime when he killed Augustine…

4. Vanessa Pickering, who was murdered by Malcolm Chaston while he was on bail. Pickering’s body was found on a hill near Godley Head in Christchurch in February 2010. Chaston, a 41-year-old with a violent criminal history, was jailed indefinitely for her murder.

5. Christie’s Law was sparked by the fatal stabbing of Auckland teenager Christie Marceau. The man accused of Marceau’s murder was on bail at the time of the alleged murder.

Read more info

see also Bay of Plenty Times – Feb 28 2012

see also Auckland Now – Feb 28 2012


Still to be voted on

Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill
Successive governments have undervalued families and families are being penalised for having children. The political and policy focus has been on the needs of the economy, rather than on the welfare of children and the vital role of parents. In reality, this policy would represent about 0.2% of the total government spending, yet research shows that the role of mothers and the early bonding between mums and babies is vital for healthy child development. Ironically, the spending on early childhood education has almost tripled in the past ten years – yet there was no suggestion of a veto by the government then, as there has been on this bill. A 2008 report by UNICEF rated New Zealand 23rd out of 25 countries for effective paid parental leave. Kiwi parents get 14 weeks paid parental leave while the average in the rest of the developed world is approaching one year. In 2009, the Families Commission called for an extension of paid parental leave to at least 12 months. A recent Department of Labour evaluation of paid parent leave showed that only ¼ of mothers thought the paid parental leave was long enough, and up to 75% said ideally they would take a year off. Yet the average time at which mothers return to work is when their baby is six months old. Only 14 weeks of that is paid. ‘Financial pressure’ was cited as a key reason for returning to work earlier than desired. The role of parents during the crucial early years of a child should be acknowledged.

Read more info


Manukau City Council (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) Bill
Violence, turf wars and streets littered with syringes and used condoms at Hunters Corner and Manurewa led the former Manukau City Council to have a bill introduced to Parliament. But with the advent of the Super City, the Regulation of Prostitution in Specific Places Bill has been amended to reflect the new governance structure, which means that the Auckland Council could pass bylaws to outlaw street prostitution anywhere in the city. Under the bill, the council must specify where street prostitution is outlawed. It cannot apply a blanket ban. The bill would enable prostitutes to be moved out of residential areas. The Greens labelled the bill “repugnant’! Although Labour supported this bill being referred to a select committee, almost 2/3’rds of the MP’s had previously voted against the ‘Manukau City’ version in 2010. This bill has now dragged on through the process for almost 4 years now – will still no end in sight!

Read more info


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