Since I put it up, I have had some real interesting conversations about my previous blog concerning who to vote for. On the whole, most responses echo my own dilemma. That said, there have been some responses which I wish to respond to.
First, I am now less inclined toward the Conservatives after I have been reminded of their views on ending the Treaty processes and removing the Maori seats (similarly NZ First and Act). While I can understand these ideas and believe that one day we may move to this place, I consider that these policies show a lack of awareness of our colonial history and the deep impact of the oppression of Maori in our past. I cannot imagine what it is like to be invaded and “my” nation effectively seized by an oppressor. We see the impact of such things in the world today in places like Palestine and the Ukraine. It is horrific. The carnage caused by the European settling of this nation has been immense and many NZers are simply not aware of it. Take the Parihaka story for example, which every NZer should be familiar with (http://parihaka.com/). Such things are not solved quickly. One thing I love about NZ in comparison to the mess many other nations are in is that we are committed to working to resolve these injustices. Such reconciliation takes time. We have a treaty with Maori. The State must honour it. Perhaps the day will come when Maori and the State come to an agreement that the Treaty settlement should end and that the seats are no longer needed. That will be the time. Not when some small fringe political party decides it.
The other issue that has been discussed is my concern over the Greens and abortion. One person suggested to me that abortion is a private morality rather than a social justice issue. I find such reasoning remarkable considering that any person who holds this view was once a foetus and I am sure is more than pleased that those in their world at the time of their initial development were socially just and “allowed” them to live. Abortion is not a private morality issue. It is a social justice issue – justice for the most vulnerable of all people; those in the womb. The Green policy in question is wrapped up in their women’s policy and gives almost complete precedence to the rights of a woman over an unborn child. From a Christian perspective, this is flawed as the stronger and powerful should always be concerned for the weaker and powerless (e.g. Jesus and the marginalised). Without doubt, the Greens policy will make abortions more easily accessible and increase their number. When something is made easier, people do it more often. Case in point, lowering the drinking age – we have a way bigger problem since the age was lowered. Similarly, the Greens policy on abortion will increase abortions. Their policy wants “to enable abortions to be performed earlier in pregnancy, which is safer.” Safer for whom? Certainly not the baby! The Greens wish to remove abortion from the crimes act. So, when a woman gets an abortion that violates the law, is it not then a crime? What then is the point of abortion law? Surely, if it is not a crime any abortion will be ok even if it violates the parameters of their policy. I repeat – this policy will increase abortions. I also believe the policy is discriminatory against women, who it is meant to protect. This is because all women start life as a zygote and so it discriminates against the unborn girls of the world. Any decent women’s policy would strongly protect their right to live rather than give older women almost complete freedom to have them killed. This policy will increase violence against children, little girls and boys. I do accept that the abortion laws need a make-over, but not in this direction. At least one contradiction in the Green’s policies is amazing. On the one hand they are determined to rid NZ of child poverty – the policy that leader Russell Norman stressed on a recent TV debate. That is a great policy from a Christian point of view – if there is a way, bring it on. Yet at the same time the Greens are making abortion easier and so are promoting the killing of children. A real cynic might see the policy as a step toward eugenics and one way to remove child poverty – less mouths to feed? I find it amazing that some Christians will support a party that thinks this way. The incarnation is the centre of our faith (John 1:14) and it began with an unborn child in the womb of Mary by the Spirit (Luke 1-2; Matt 1) – how can those who worship the God made flesh countenance accepting the killing of the unborn child. I don’t know why the Greens get themselves involved in such policy. Why don’t they stick to their core business – the environment? I might vote for them if they did. I don’t get it.
The final thing worth noting is the decriminalisation of marijuana which I consider a very important debate. We have immense problems already with cigarettes, alcohol and legal highs without adding to the cocktail of drugs our nation is high on. If we decriminalise it, people will smoke it more. What is wrong with us as a nation that we need to get stoned, high, or pissed all the time? I would not consider voting for any party that seeks to decriminalise marijuana (except as a legal medicine, fully medically tested, and prescribed by doctors). Back in my dark days I smoked the stuff and it is not good for you especially bad when blended with alcohol (I am still recovering). So, for me that further rules out Mana Dotcom (who are at present scrapping about this), the Greens, and need I say, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party! According to Norml, the Labour Party also want to decriminalise it and perhaps allow it to be sold to adults – another question mark against Labour. The only parties that will not are Conservatives, National, NZ First and United Future (see https://norml.org.nz/2014/toke-the-vote/).
So, who to vote for – the thinking goes on … God help us…