Monday, June 29, 2009

Fletch John Key and the 'Will of the Electorate'

After today's News coverage on TV with John Key saying he wouldn't change the smacking law regardless of the outcome of the referendum, I got to thinking about what he said during the election about the 'will of the electorate' with regards as to why he voted against the Prostitution Bill. The below is from the NZ Herald almost exactly a year ago [bold emphasis mine]-

But the reason he changed his mind about prostitution was because some constituents visited his Helensville electorate office and suggested that supporting the bill would send the wrong signal.

A couple of the constituents had 16-year-old daughters. As parents, they felt that whether Key liked it or not, the bill would legitimise prostitution as a credible pathway for the girls.

Key said he started to think that in the end, he was a representative of these people.

He firmly believed that if he asked his electorate what they wanted, they’d want him to vote against it. “So I did. And that’s always been the view I’ve taken.”

Yes, well - whatever happened to that thinking? The referendum is a clear means of "asking the electorate what they want", yet he now intends to ignore it whatever the outcome. And I also don't buy that changing the law back will tie up Parliament - that's just a cop-out. I helped put Key there by voting for him; he is there to work for me and the citizens of NZ, not the other way around.

Meanwhile, Barnardos has done a survey of children who say "smacking is wrong, full stop"..
Um, what did you expect them to say? Good grief, some people are dumb - and they are calling the referendum useless? How much money did it cost THEM to get an answer they already knew they would get? Hello?!

“The initial results from the survey show that the majority of callers (more than 55 percent) do not think parents taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child”, says Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos New Zealand.

I'm not sure whether 55% constitutes a "majority of callers" either. 'Just over half' would probably be a better description, but then that wouldn't suit their purposes would it.

7 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

Great post Fletch. Also, you might want to look at SJ Dennis' closer look at that Barnardos survey:

Barnardos' own propaganda doesn't measure up

Anonymous said...

And hot off the wires - National Radio has just reported they have obtained documents showing the Ministry of Social Development will be axing a child abuse investigation team, under John Key's 2009 budget cuts.

Oh, the irony of these 'won't somebody think of the children' politicians. I'm sure Sue Bradford will attack the budget cuts, but ... think of how many investigations of real child abuse $9m (cost of meedless referendum) could have bought. Sigh.

Leonidas said...

yeah, well you can thank clark for that $9mill price tag.

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

There is a slight distinction. If a bill is seen to legitimise prostitution as a credible pathway, and your electorate does not like that, you vote against the bill as wishes of the electorate lead to decisions you consider in the best interest of constituents.

If you consider passing smacking legislation is seen as a normative legitimisation against smacking, you vote accordingly. That is acting in the interests - although not necessarily the wishes - of constituents. I'm sure that's how Key sees it.

I think the difference between your position and Key's,is Key believes he has to act in the interests of constituents' interests - though not necessarily their wishes - whereas you consider that interest should reflect wishes - in this case wishes in relating to the referendum.

Key would say that the question doesn't reflect constituents' wishes, therefore any response has no bearing on interest.

ZenTiger said...

Then Key is a weasel. His comment earlier still remains hypocritical now, because it's qualified with "I'll do what I want to", which is not the impression he was trying to give the first time around.

Madeleine said...

I think this is still Key's position - he likes to please as many as possible - and as he does not want to change this law he is trying to talk down voter turnout so he is not forced to follow the electorate.

If there is a good turnout and a resounding result I will be very surprised if Key does not cave and listen. He just doesn't want to have to so he is trying to prevent it from happening. A referendum that not many people vote in because they think he won't listen and its a waste of money and the question is confusing and the law is working and all the other rubbish arguments, is a referendum he can justifiably ignore as it is not a clear indicator of the majority view, hence all his talk at the moment, he wants to make sure the majority do not resoundingly speak.

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