Now that was quick. In just 48 hours the Government’s position on the changes to the age of consent laws has gone from a we support the policy in the bill, to we are happy with the select committee choosing between two options in the bill (a minor porkie, there were no options, just the ability to accept the changes or not) to we are totally ditching the proposed changes.
The Government has panicked on the basis of merely two days of headlines, and is in the idiotic position where it says it thinks the law would be better changed, but it will not even try to debate the issue. Isn’t this sort of poll driven panic what got them into trouble on the foreshore?
What they should have done is recognise that such a move could be very inflammatory, and rather than just bring a bill into Parliament, they should have openly canvassed in a discussion paper the pros and cons of criminalising 15 year olds for having sex with each other, debated whether one can seperate out what we want society to do, and what we want people to go to jail for.
It’s not as if people don’t listen to reason. 90% of the people I have discussed this with reacted with disgust as first. When one askes them though do they think kids should be prosecuted for having sex with each other, they almost all say no. There was a debate out there which could be won, if the Government wasn’t too scared of its own shadow.
A few people have been critical of Opposition MPs for beating this up, but look that was inevitable. Mouthing off at conservative MPs for beating this up, is like yelling at your dog for urinating on a lamp post – it is natural behaviour 🙂
A good communications strategy would have been aware of the potential of this blowing up, and worked out how to minimise the chances of this happening.
I was going to post yesterday that Russell Brown had posted a good commentary on the issue. It even got NZ Pundit agreeing the changes were not as bad as thought, and this comes from a man who has a daughter starting puberty!
Russell has followed up with another post on the issue, and he even calls my last post on this “useful and well-informed” which will probably land me in trouble with the vast right wing conspiracy hierarchy 🙂