NRT’s Candidate Survey

No Right Turn has a candidate survey. I am not, and never plan to be, a candidate, but will answer the survey anyway.

Questions and answers over the break.

Do you support or oppose:

* legalising marijuana (or pharmaceuticals based on it) for medical use?

Under very tightly controlled conditions, yes, but preferably pharmaceuticals based on it, so not used as a backdoor.

* …decriminalising marijuana for recreational use?

I think drugs like cannabis cause huge social ills in society, especially in areas like Northland, and are contributing factors in violent assaults etc.

However I do not believe criminalising it has been effective, and would support decriminalising it and focusing on education and rehabilitation. I would keep some criminal sanctions for dealers, and possibly heavy or repeat offenders.

* …raising the drinking age?

Definitely not. You can not tell 18 and 19 year olds they are old enough to vote, marry, join the army etc but not purchase alcohol. Also note that the law does not set a drinking age but effectively a purchase age.

* …allowing same-sex couples to adopt children?

Allow yes, but I would not have the law treat same-sex couples identical to a married couple. I do believe that it is important for children, where possible, to have a male and female parent involved in their lives. Basically a married couple would gain more points on a scoring system for suitability, but it would be only one of several factors in prioritising applications and acceptances.

* …amending the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry?

I’d like to see how Civil Unions go first. I do not see a significant difference between a civil union and a marriage except the title. The title is one held very dear by some religions and I am unsure if it worth generating the backlash such a move would generate, for a semantic gain.

My ideal situation is probably one where the state merely registers life-long partnerships, and people can get the title of marriage on top of that, should they wish to.

Bottom line is I would rather it was not put to the vote anytime soon, but would probably vote in favour if I was an MP.

* …voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?

Yes. As I blogged on 2 August 2003, Rodney Hide’s story of the death of Martin Hames convinced me to support euthanasia for terminally ill people, and also made me cry.

Again I would want the strictest safeguards that patients are in sound mind, are not being pressured, and time delays between decision and implementation. I would also want individual doctors to be able to refuse to administer euthanasia.

* …the retention of sedition as a crime in the Crimes Act?

Take it out. Like many laws, it is no longer needed or appropriate.

* …the retention of blasphemous libel as a crime in the Crimes Act?

Also take it out. No-one should be going to jail for blasphemous libel.

* …further restrictions on hate speech?

Totally against this. As NRT himself says, the response to hate speech is more speech in response, not trying to stop people saying unpopular or even hateful things.

* …the use of indefinite detention without trial for those subject to a security risk certificate?

I am against indefinite detention. There are some circumstances where detention without trial is necessary to protect NZ and NZers, but the time involved to resolve such matters should be months not years.

* …Georgina Beyer’s Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill?

Against. I gave my reasons on 18 March 2005.

* …Gordon Copeland’s New Zealand Bill of Rights (Private Property Rights) Amendment Bill?

Hmmn had to go read up on that one. Looks very sensible to me, and subject to the provision I have only read a news article on the bill, not the bill itself, looks a great idea.

* …entrenching the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as supreme law?

Against. To do so would change the nature of our judiciary and we would end up with highly politicised appointments like we do in the US. I believe Parliament is a better way to guarantee fundamental human rights, as Michael Cullen pointed out.

And if one did want to entrench the NZ Bull of Rights, I would want to amend it to focus on the core universal rights, not more recently invented rights.

* …New Zealand’s participation in the International Criminal Court?

No problems with NZ participating. I do respect the reasons the US will not participate though, as they would be the target of politically inspired prosecutions on almost a daily basis.

* How do you think the government should have handled the Ahmed Zaoui case?

The case has gone on far far far too long. This is not all the Government’s fault. To some degree the first case of this type was always going to be a nightmare as every single step of the process can be challenged and reviewed, setting precedents for the future.

I would have dropped the opposition to being released into the community earlier. Zaoui may well have been involved in terrorism in Europe, but there is no suggestion that he would post a particular risk out in the community, especially with the high profile the case has had. It was his detention for so long that won him so much support, not that he is necessarily someone we do want to live in NZ.

The Government needs to change the law, once the Zaoui issue is resolved, so that future cases have much clearer guidelines and are dealt with in months, not years.

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