This post has been rather overtaken by other far funnier events since I drafted it. But dammit I did proper research and everything so read the damn thing, then go back to the far funnier posts at The Civilian, Dim Post, and Scoop.
So, following the glorious third reading of the marriage equality bill, Colin Craig had dire warnings for our Parliament:
“The day of reckoning on the redefinition of marriage is still to come,” says Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig.
“Last night was not a vote of the people of New Zealand. If it had been, the answer would have been no.”
And he has precedent to back him up:
“We have seen the public vote disregarded on law and order, on the number of MP’s and on the Anti-Smacking Bill. Parliament’s unwillingness to even put the marriage issue to the people sadly comes as no surprise.”
Let’s take a look at just how convincing his precedents are.
Laura Norder & 99 bottles of MPs on the wall
In 1999 we the people voted on two referenda which served to illustrate a lot of the problems with citizens’ initiated referenda.
In one of the few unambiguously-worded referenda put to the NZ people, 81.5% of voters supported reducing the number of MPs in Parliament to 99.
In one of the stupidest referenda put to the NZ people, designed primarily to give people like the Nonsensical Sentencing Trust material for unjustified panic-mongering press releases for the next decade and a half, 91.78% of people voted yes to:
“Should there be a reform of our Justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences?”
Restitution, focus on the victims, AND harsher sentencing and hard labour. That’s a clear-cut result if I ever saw one.
The referenda were held on election day and subsequently completely ignored by the incoming Labour/Alliance government. (NZ First MP Barbara Stewart did later put up a bill in 2006 on the number-of-MPs issue, which was shot down in Select Committee because it made no sense.)
Three years later, in 2002, the people’s vengeance was swift. Of the 120 MPs who had callously ignored the voice of the people:
- 57 retained their electorate seats
- 27 retained their list seats
- 4 MPs inherited seats from their party’s previous MP
- 5 MPs switched from list to electorate or vice versa
Quite interestingly (now I’ve slogged through all that), only four electorates actually changed party hands at all, and the government did not change (though some might argue that was proof of God’s wrath, or United Future getting the balance of power was God’s wrath, etc.)
And in today’s Parliament? 21 of those terrible evil wrath-of-God-to-descend-upon-them class-of-1999 MPs still hold the same seats. (3 were list MPs and gained seats).
As you can see, the carnage wreaked upon our Parliament as vengeance for the denied wishes of the electorate was massive and bloody.
Punching Larry Baldock in the face
In 2009 a truly dreadful referendum question was posed to the New Zealand public:
“Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”
… which is no way loaded.
This of course followed on from the passage of the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act, meaning child abusers and other people who think hitting kids is neat-o could no longer get off scot-free for whipping teenagers with riding crops.
That Bill, introduced by Sue Bradford, was passed by the slimmest of slim margins: one hundred and thirteen to eight.
87.4% of voters (on 56% turnout, as it was a postal ballot) voted “No” on the referendum, which even John Key agreed was pretty meaningless.
Once again, Parliament ignored The Will Of The People. Result?
Of the MPs who voted in favour of not letting child abusers pretend their violence against minors was totes justified because they were being a brat:
- 48 electorate MPs were re-elected
- 27 list MPs returned on the list
Of the eight who voted against,
- Rodney Hide was re-elected in Epsom and dragged Heather Roy and a few more Actoids back in with him
- Everyone else fucked off
Gordon Copeland – who rage-quit from United Future over the issue – magically failed to gain any traction from it and was not re-elected to Parliament. His righteous, God-fearing Kiwi Party folded before the 2011 election.
But John Key, humble Member of Parliament for Helensville, may have suffered the greatest indignities, for through God’s loving wrath he was elevated to the office of Prime Minister and forced to appear on Letterman.
Now, there’s also the tiny trifling fact that the 2008 election was a bit of a smashing one , eliminating NZ First (temporarily), crushing United Future, resurrecting ACT, and seeing a bit of a swing towards National. So I guess the issue of smacking kids (and having fewer MPs and being tough on victim compensation or whatever) might not have been the number one thing on people’s minds.
Conclusion? Given Parliament’s callous disregard for the Will Of The People on stuff dating back to ’99, God has a heck of a lot of reckoning to get through before we need to worry about his marriage-equality-related vengeance. And even Colin Craig has already gotten bored enough with this particular travesty of democracy to get distracted by a satirical news site making fun of him.
So we’re probably going to be OK.
The mainstream media trumpeted the findings:
Poll: People want smacking law changed
And three paragraphs in explained:
Respondents were asked whether the anti-smacking law should be changed to state that “parents who give their children a smack that is reasonable and for the purpose of correction are not breaking the law”.
Seriously, what the fuck is up with fundy bigots and their perpetual need to lie about things?
Wait, no, it’s not a lie, it’s just a conveniently twisty overcomplicated series of questions which handily paraphrases into what they want it to. So they’re not liars as such, just manipulative scumbags who will say and do whatever it takes to bully society into retrograde attitudes.
They are fully aware that just saying “a smack” would not get the same juicy results as “a smack that is reasonable”. I mean, how do you argue with that, when being prompted for a yes/no answer? They said the smack was reasonable so of course it should’t be illegal! Duh!
Note the same trick in the follow-up question, which is coincidentally not written out in full until the very bottom of the article:
Would you still smack your child to correct behaviour if you thought it was reasonable, despite the current law?
I look forward to Curia’s future work, involving questions like
“Should rollerblading safely at high but reasonable speeds around blind corners be not against the law if you don’t hurt anyone 99 times out of 100?”
“Is wearing white at a wedding okay if the bride isn’t wearing white and you’ve asked permission to wear white and it’s more off an off-white anyway and nobody minds you’re wearing white?”
Maybe he could hook up an awesome tie-in with Westpac, too.
The point is this: if you agreed with Family First’s statement, you are one of two things:
- Confused by stuff explicitly designed to confuse you
- A pro-violence child abuse apologist.
The only practical function of section 59 was to allow people who had hurt their children so badly that it got to court to walk free. Electric jug cords? Riding crops? Please, tell me what’s so fucking “reasonable” about that.
(Note: I’m being a little facetious with that request, because I will in fact delete any pro-smacking bullshit posted here. It’s violence. Against children. If you did it to an animal you’d be arrested. End of.)
Final question: does “Curia” actually stand for Completely Unreliable Results In Abundance?
I am inclined to snort whenever Bob McCoskrie pulls a statistic out of his boner and claims it shows some kind of mainstream support for his views. Ditto anyone who still sincerely argues that the “anti-smacking” referendum showed any kind of clear result (for anyone who missed it the first time around, Lyndon Hood’s flowchart remains the best illustration of why it didn’t.)
But I think statistics have a place. Especially when they back up my own arguments. It’s not that I’m biased, honestly, it’s just that Bob McCoskrie takes:
69% of people said “yes” to the question “Do you think schools, as part of their sex education programme, should be required to encourage pupils, to abstain from sex until they are old enough to handle the possible consequences of pregnancy?”
And turns it into
69% of kiwis overall [support] the ‘wait’ [i.e. abstinence] message
Whereas Idiot/Savant, for example, takes:
A Herald-DigiPoll showed that 61.2 per cent of the public felt adoption law should be changed to allow all couples, including same-sex couples
And turns it into:
over 60% of kiwis support gay adoption
See the subtle difference? (And no, saying “over 60%” when “waaaaaa it’s only a LITTLE bit over and you’re trying to sound like it’s nearly two-thirds of people when REALLY it’s actually only slightly nearly two-thirds of people waaaaaa” doesn’t count.)
(Also, Roy Morgan backs it up, and has … rather more cred that Herald DigiPolls, but the point stands.)
Of course, Bob doesn’t really care about people’s actual attitudes, hence his (and the wider religious right’s) love of convoluted, multipart survey questions which rely on people’s innate biases and desire not to reject good propositions just because they’re surrounded by bad propositions (the way you might feel a bit stink about saying no to shagging Clive Owen just because it’s offered as a threesome with Clive Owen and Stellan Skarsgard. Wait, no, I would totally go there …)
One of these days we’re going to see a headline blaring FAMILY FIRST SURVEY FINDS KIWIS HATE GAY PEOPLE and no journalist in New Zealand is going to bother to take the time (i.e. the five seconds on Google) to figure out that the original question was “Would you, like, kinda hate it if your gay best mate, like, totally kicked a puppy right in front of you?”
[Trigger warning: violence against children, murder]
From a Conservative Party leaflet rife with other goodies like “changes to alliances … should only be done after careful consideration” and “It’s fact that quality time, baby with mother (or sometimes dad), in the early years is enormously significant …” the winning sentence has to be:
It’s time to get back to common sense and acknowledge that reasonable force is necessary and sometimes beneficial for some children.
Mr Q and I were watching an episode of Forensic Files or some other generic crime show. Two teenaged boys murdered their parents, and threw a party with their parents’ bodies wrapped up in plastic in the basement. Yet all the members of the community who were interviewed were just shocked and puzzled, just couldn’t think of a reason why these kids would do this. The parents were good parents, you know, brought those boys up right, it was all just a huge mystery.
When the kids talked about the murder, one of the things they said was that they waited for their mother to leave the house, then turned on the stereo. Because they knew the very first thing their mother would do on entering the house would be walk over to the stereo, turn it off, and yell at them.
You can either take from this that maybe our society can have a slightly fucked up idea of what “good parenting” constitutes, and maybe we have a tendency to label some kids as “bad kids” [before they murder their parents] and thus justify parents being “harder” or “stricter” because “the kids need discipline”, so maybe take a slightly dim view of the idea that two teenagers just magically became homicidal against their saintly caregivers …
… or, you know, you can believe that from the moment they are born, some kids are just so inherently evil they need to be struck by their parents.
I normally don’t like to make these calls, but I’m pretty sure I can assume which side of that argument Jesus would have been on.
… on the matter of the laughably predictable response by the
Beat Your Kids To Prove Your Authoritah Kiwi Party to Adoption Action’s campaign to drag our adoption laws kicking and screaming into the 21st century. (And props to Jacinda Ardern for taking up the cause.)
There is no evidence to show that children require two (2.00) parents and one must have a diddle and the other a fanny. Sure, there’s evidence that children do better with two (as opposed to one or none) committed parents in a stable relationship, but there is not a shred that suggests that the gender or sex of the parents is of fundamental importance, and there’s certainly not the tiniest scrap of evidence to suggest that children do any worse when raised by same-sex parents.
Yep, I know who I’d trust my [hypothetical] kids with.
(BTW, Larry, you’re probably the last fucking person on this planet who should try to pull the “logic/ideology” dichotomy.)
Lyndon Hood’s spreadsheet guide to voting in the forthcoming [insert ideological slant] referendum is amazing, and offers a great reason not to write rude things on your ballot – it’s not the little orange person’s fault the question’s stupid, is it?