But there is hope for equity from our youth. Midweek I co-judged, with David Farrar, a debate with the somewhat dodgy moot, ‘Politicians are even worse in the boardroom than in the bedroom’. Don Brash was host and I’ll say no more on that.
The occasion was launching Youth for Act and listening to the debaters – male and female – was encouraging. They want government out of our bedrooms, for instance, with same-sex marriage, not just civil unions. Racism does exist – Maori youth are busted for drugs, not white middle class, so legalise cannabis. Act, they said, shouldn’t just bang on about economic issues.
And here’s a good analogy they posited. If liberal parties just want individual freedom, like tax cuts, to enrich themselves, consider this: do you really think Sir Roger Douglas and Heather Roy voted against the banning of Kronic because they want to smoke themselves into a stupor?
Like Deborah I was encouraged by the debate, hearing young ACT candidates make the case for ACT to push social liberalism as much or even more than economic liberalism.
It was nice to hear passionate ACT candidates talking about the need for same sex couples to not be discriminated against, and to (as Deborah reported) argue that the current drug laws unfairly criminalise young Maori, as they are more likely to be searched for drugs.
The debate was about whether ACT should focus more on economic liberalism or social liberalism. There were good arguments on both sides, and of course the answer is in fact you should do both. But I tend to think it would be good to hear more from ACT on social liberalism, because their brand there has been unclear. No one doubts ACT’s commitment to economic liberalism, but they do wonder about the commitment to social liberalism.
Wouldn’t it be great I thought to hear Don Brash say something along the lines of “Yes we are going to get rid of the Maori seats, because race based seats are wrong – but we are also going to decriminalise personal use of cannabis, as our current drug laws unfairly penalise young Maori”.