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Tuesday 10 April 2012

For want of a nail?

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 22nd November 2011

The Key/Banks tea date doesn't seem to have panned out how its participants wanted. But are our communities particularly missing something?

Most of the controversy seems to be based on the premises of trust, transparency and accountability and for the first time during this campaign, Key looks rattled, refusing to discuss what went on in that Epsom cafe, despite Opposition and media calls for him to do so. As for Brash and Banks, they are engaged in mutual confirmation that they trust one another and that for the duration of this election campaign, Brash will remain ACT leader. (Of course, there's the small matter of what might happen afterward, if the Epsom voters decide that Banks is a suitable person as their elected representative).

However, that is appearing increasingly unlikely. In one seat micropoll, the Epsom electorate appears to have solidly swung behind Paul Goldsmith, National's candidate, who is polling at forty five percent, while Banks languishes far behind at twenty-nine percent. Should this be an accurate harbinger for Banks and ACT, it would face electoral oblivion. The infamous 'Cuppagate' appears to have precipitated a fresh bout of speculation about ACT's organisational and leadership stability under Don Brash, with speculation that Catherine Isaacs, the party president, will replace him soon after the election. It would be intriguing to speculate what has led to this desperate pass for ACT. Is it the anarchic factionalism that has prevailed within the party organisation and parliamentary caucus since 2008, or is it primarily attributable to Banks' lack of convincing credentials as anything other than a populist social conservative who is plainly incompatible with an urban liberal seat like Epsom?

This has handed Labour and the Greens a tactical advantage, especially if they refer to the ample examples of disregard for parliamentary submissions and overuse of urgency during this parliamentary session. One hopes that this will help to crystallise their objections to these repeated abuses of process.

Be this as it may, perhaps we should also be concerned about another aspect of the Brash/Banks arrangement. Several weeks ago, I noted that Brash had affirmed his support for inclusive adoption reform as ACT Party leader. However, the devil is in the detail. Since then, he has clarified that his caucus will have a 'conscience vote' on the issue of inclusive adoption reform during the next parliamentary term, should Banks make it as Epsom MP. Meaning?

Meaning, Banks hasn't really changed in terms of New Zealand LGBT communities. Meaning, a conscience vote may be neccessary because John Banks is an unreconstructed homophobe after all and intends to vote against it. I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I suspect that I am not.

Fine. Turnabout is fair play. If Banks and ACT aren't prepared to support us insofar as this remaining LGBT equality issue goes, I suggest that we should return the favour- and not vote ACT in the Epsom electorate unless Brash or Banks confirm otherwise and commit themselves to support for adoption equality.


Andrea Vance: "ACT polls at wipeout low in Epsom" Stuff 17.11.2011:

Craig Young - 22nd November 2011

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