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Saturday 11 October 2008

Is Judith Collins the next John Banks?

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 26th February 2008

Is Judith Collins set to be the next John Banks of any future National administration?

National MP Judith Collins
Over the anti-belting legislation, Collins suggested that National would repeal the legislation if it won office, pandering to Christian Right scaremongering and opponents of the law like Family First and the miniscule Kiwi Party.

Green List MP Sue Bradford, architect of the Section 59 Repeal Act, replied that it was ominous that militant Family First fundamentalist Bob McCoskrie seemed to have such undue influence over the formulation of National Party "family" policy. I'd have to agree. First John Key says that the legislation will stay, yet his own 'family' spokesperson contradicts him. Collins is obviously a loose canon, and already a prospective liability to any future National Cabinet.

As for McCoskrie, he denied any proximity to the Opposition. Yeah, right.

Let's conveniently forget the "Forum on the Family" last October 2007, when Collins and Family First sung in tune on most Christian Right core issues. Let's conveniently ignore Family First's opposition to the Electoral Finance Act last year.

Above all, let's ignore the proposed "Ministry of Family Affairs" that will be established if National wins the next election, with Collins as minister. Why do we need a separate "Family" Ministry, given that we already have an excellent Families Commission? Oh wait - the Families Commission has a pluralist definition of what constitutes families, and supported the anti-belting legislation.

From that, one can infer that the so-called Ministry of Family Affairs might well be a counterbalance to this, and possibly biased toward parachuting otherwise unqualified social conservative activists into the New Zealand public sector. In other words, taxpayer's money will be wasted on nostrums like anti-abortion pregnancy "counselling" services, biased reports that urge Christian Right agenda items like opposition to inclusive adoption reform, same sex marriage and abortion access for pregnant incest and child sexual abuse survivors, and "abstinence" programmes instead of proper, evidence based comprehensive sexuality education.

Now, if I belonged to concerned lobby groups, the Labour Party or Greens, I would file a succession of Official Information Act reports into preliminary planning and staffing for the prospective ministry, before it has a chance to get off the ground. Moreover, has there been any correspondence between Banksia and the aforementioned Family First, or any other Christian Right lobby groups?

If I were the Leader of the Opposition, I'd call 'Banksia' in and ask her what she thinks she's doing. I would remind him that he need only take a look at the Family First online newsletter to realise that Family First stands for many other, less electorally palatable stances on public policy...and that it's still seven months until we go to the polls.


Scoop news website:

Banksia's parliamentary website:

Christian Right 'family' pressure group of ill-repute:

Craig Young - 26th February 2008