NZ Herald 22 April 2013
Prime Minister John Key says he gave approval to National MP Maurice Williamson to appear on American talkshow Ellen because it was an opportunity to promote New Zealand as a tolerant, progressive country.
Mr Key said he was surprised by the global attention Mr Williamson had received for his speech in the House on gay marriage legislation last week, and jokingly described the MP as “our own little gay icon”.
Mr Key said that National was not concerned that its MPs’ high profile in the gay marriage debate would harm the party’s chances of forming potential coalitions with parties who opposed the law change, such Colin Craig’s Conservative Party.
“We’re not going to change our position on conscience issues. The caucus fiercely preserves its right for conscience issues, when it comes to abortion, gay rights, alcohol … so in the end we’ll be upfront and tell Mr Craig and anybody else that’s our position.”
He forgot to mention smacking – oh, wait, that was SUPPOSED to be a conscience issue!