Thursday, February 17, 2022

Well, at least we now know who the real defenders of free speech are

Parliament passed the so-called Safe Areas Bill, which I wrote about on Tuesday, by a majority of 108-12 at its second reading. That’s a slightly bigger margin than at the first reading last year.

Among those who swung behind Louisa Wall’s Bill after opposing it first time around were National MPs Christopher Luxon, David Bennett, Jacqui Dean, Joseph Mooney (no, I’d never heard of him either), Scott Simpson and Tim van de Molen. Labour’s Rino Tirikatene also changed his vote, while his fellow Labour caucus member Neru Leavasa courageously switched the other way.

National MPs Penny Simmonds, Louise Upston, Melissa Lee, Maureen Pugh, Harete Hipango, Simeon Brown, Simon O’Connor, Michael Woodhouse and Chris Penk opposed the Bill, as did Labour’s Anahila Kanongata’a Suisuiki, Jamie Strange and Leavasu.

Although it was a conscience vote, the Green Party caucus supported the Bill without exception. No surprises there. Chloe Swarbrick probably reflected the Greens’ confusion (a less charitable word would be hypocrisy) when she wrote an impassioned defence of the right to protest last year and apparently saw no contradiction in wishing to deny that right to people opposed to abortion.

More surprising than the Greens’ vote, and infinitely more disappointing, was the bloc support for the Bill from ACT. So much for the party’s posturing as champions of free speech. Perhaps the novice ACT MPs were influenced by their leader’s oafish attack on the anti-abortion movement during the first reading debate last year when, at the same time as declaring his commitment to free speech (yeah, right), he confessed to detesting the “odious ogres” who maintain protest vigils outside abortion clinics. Want to see a bigot masquerading as a liberal? There he is, right there.

There’s no disguising or softening the fact that yesterday's vote was a betrayal of free speech and a blow to the right to protest. New Zealanders who place a high value on those democratic principles will just have to note the names of those who voted for and against the Bill and remember them at the next general election.

Footnote: Someone asked me why I keep referring to the legislation as the “so-called” Safe Areas Bill. My explanation is simple: the space around abortion clinics is anything but safe for the unborn.




Terry M said...

Just needed to look at the make-up of the select committe to see that it was stacked. Not that it made any difference. I do not recall my MP asking my opinion(Allan-joking).

Trev1 said...

Luxon just shat his pants as far as I am concerned.

Madame Blavatsky said...

What this boils down to is denying people their right to express their disapproval towards the practice of killing unwanted unborn children for personal convenience. Think about that. It's bad enough that they think killing children in the womb is morally acceptable, but it adds another level of crazy to also be of the opinion that those speaking out against the practice are the bad guys in this equation.

We expect this level of anti-human insanity from the leftists, but Luxon and Seymour continually disqualify themselves from receiving my vote. I just can't fathom how bad these two have shown themselves to be. Seymour's putative libertarianism is not only the political worldview of an 18 year old who doesn't yet know how the world works and how societies function and what their purpose is in the real world, but to make matters worse, he doesn't even uphold the freedoms that libertarian's preach (and the "freedom" to have an abortion for convenience is the opposite of freedom my book). Like the nominal-at-best conservative Luxon, he is so unmoored from any discernable set of principles, he basically defies categorisation. Finding and staying on the path of least resistance while merely being there and receiving a Parliamentary salary seem to be the extent of their horizons.

Jacqueline said...

It's a shame 'we' feel a need to make laws around normal behaviour. Worse - to rush through legislation as though there's no tomorrow for individual character growth.

At Camp Molesworth, sometimes I felt all I could say to people was, "thank you for that" - the 'that' being all manner of ordinary behaviour. Once, I said, "you are so kind" to a man and he replied, "what? This is normal behaviour. It's just normal!"

I note you care about babies, Karl. And you love and deeply respect your grandsons, I think. And you and your wife are companionable, it seems.

I first discovered your site a short while ago and I asked you to consider receiving a piece from me regarding my view that we have more Christians in New Zealand than 'we' realise.

I would love to encourage my fellow Kiwis that those of us who quit 'being a Christian' did in fact 'keep the faith' all along.

I have a unique message to share but this is not the right time to have my own site.
If there are people out there who accept me as one who has just a little faith in Jesus Christ, then perhaps there is great hope for our democracy. God knows we are in dire straits.

Please could you consider my request? I would have given my name that first time but I assumed it was enough that you had my email address.
I am keen for your audience, as you shared a while back that you were no longer a Christian, and because you seem so normal. This would be an interesting experiment anyway and we have nothing to lose. It appears that we each already know that our individual common sense and self respect will remain intact.

It is normal behaviour that our Wellington protesters, as representatives of all New Zealand, beseeched our Police to police with consent, after being abused by them. It should not be our norm that our media reports lies. How can it be that our people are courageous, yet our media fearmonger?

I would not harass a woman seeking an abortion and it would be out of character for me to attempt an audience within the so-called 'safe space'. If for any reason I felt compelled by Love to enter an otherwise unsafe area, then I would be quietly suffering beyond my normal inner equilibrium.

The cause of all manner of hidden controlled suffering is this government's norm. Individuals are bending until they snap. It's normal.

We can gain victory over tyranny. My message of hope is unlike any from the churches (and I am a normal Kiwi, well qualified to say so) and my plan of action is positive for every New Zealander whose norm is not hand wringing or apathy.

I'm not normally a very good writer but I value everyone's freedom of speech more than my right to silence. My normal is to reach out.

This latest law is just plain stupid.

I am Jacqueline; I belong to no groups except my family; I have no political affiliations; I would behave out of character as much as my mental health could withstand in order that our democracy finds a way forward from here in secularity and by science. My explanations regarding being a Christian are unique and unlike any I have heard from the churches. My personal worldview was developed by living in the world and reading the Bible. My husband is Darryl Walter. Southland

Alex M said...

Why is this bill necessary.
Isn't it every woman's right not to get pregnant.

Andy Espersen said...

Jacqueline – in my opinion, you have written the most insightful comment to this whole Covid situation I have seen in a long time. Thank you for that.

In a way we do “have more Christians in New Zealand than we realise”, because our whole New Zealand culture and civilisation is based on the sincere Christian values the Europeans brought with them – and which transformed the Maori people within a generation. But we are now busy erasing all that : a few years ago Parliament stopped the “quaint” habit of saying prayers on opening.

Our lockdown legislation would never, could never, have been enacted if the basic principles behind them had been measured with a Christian yardstick. Lockdown legislation is openly un-Christian.

We do have one example of Christian reaction to that evil legislation, namely Brian Tamaki (interestingly of Maori descent). Alone among all other mealy-mouthed, cowardly main Christian denominations he chose to martyr himself for his belief in “True Freedom in Christ

Brendan McNeill said...


You are right to be indignant, particularly around the votes of Luxon and Seymour. Luxon has stated he is a Christian and good on him for owning his faith, but his philosophical base is only ankle deep. He appears to have no appreciation of the need for free speech, or to value individual liberty. He cannot expect my vote.

David Seymour is another disappointment to put it mildly. I refrained from voting for them last election because of his sponsorship of the euthanasia bill but was prepared to support ACT this time around if they were willing to ensure the NZ Bill of Rights would be legally upheld in our Parliament.

It seems he is unable or unwilling to commit to that.

Consequently, I have never been more discouraged about the state of New Zealand politics. Still, while I am pessimistic about our cultural trajectory, I remain a hopeful Christian, knowing that the transcendent is eternal while our present travails (such as they are in the affluent west) are temporal.

Jacqueline said...

Andy, I also have been impressed with Mr Tamaki in the context of his fighting evil mandates. Very grateful. However, in the big picture for all New Zealand, in general, his actions are unhelpful politically and I know that all the churches hurt people, including Destiny. A while ago I asked Brian and Hannah to publicly repent of their past false prophesies, and they didn't. So that was that, to my mind. A Christian would publicly repent of prophesies put into the public domain which were proven false.

I loved the Church/the churches, and now I don't. ( My upbringing was within a mainstream church.)I now use the term "the body of Christ" to express my belonging.I would like to see an open discussion amongst Kiwis, regarding the name 'Christian'.I was expelled from the church which raised me, when I exposed deceit, and I know from other painful experiences to keep away from all the others. In my opinion the name 'Christian' is the loveliest name on earth. So, I had a hard time coming to terms that Church is unhelpful to Kiwis' future and I am now of a maturity where I can never be convinced otherwise, and unless somebody comes up with a better name for me as a follower of Christ, then 'Christian' I am. It's a little like how 'Dad' and 'Mum' are the nicest names within society.

I hope Karl will give me a chance to further explain myself.

How normal! Andy encouraged me. Should I say "thank you" back? I dare say, there is barely time; it is imperative that we fight for our democracy now, not later. I have a way, I really do! Imagine... in the future Kiwis will look back upon these stupid laws (and abundance of them) and go, "what the...?" "How on earth did our forebears think they needed those laws?" And they will know their history, objectively.

We have it in us, my fellow Kiwis, Christian or not, to fight our way through this with great joy. I am certain you will need to follow a Christian on the way. This is the only hope we have of secular governing and prosperity for all.

I accept my position of transitoriness and we each are called to have peace regardless of our circumstances. But Jesus said that he wants to see us doing his will at any one time. That's not possible if we're quitting and allowing all this nonsense wash over us.

I am ready for a joyful fight; where are you all team? If I'd had some of you with me at the police station when I asked to speak with Mr Parnell, WE would have been making progress by now. Instead, I have physical bruises. Thankfully, I got off lightly in that respect. The thing which hurt most was the enabling woman.

Scott said...

Yes Luxon says he's a Christian but also says he's not been near a church for 5 years. Church attendance is a good test of someone's faith.
Luxon appears to profess a personal faith in Jesus but so far it has not translated to his voting record. Sad.

Ross said...

So why do you think Luxon voted for it Karl?

Karl du Fresne said...

No idea. You should ask him.