Pandering to Family First?

by Mr Wainscotting

Actually, no.

It’s been difficult to find any media reports on what Key and Goff told Family First. Patrick Gower from 3 News gave us a little, but only seemed interested in what Key had to say. I’ve had to find most of my info from (gasp) the New Zealand Herald. If I come across anything else that refutes what I’m about to write, I’ll update this. From the looks of it, my cynicism was proven wrong, which can only be a good thing.

Remember they were asked to talk personally, not deliver their party lines.

So, John “haven’t rolled back gay rights” Key told Family First that he supports parental notification for teenagers seeking abortions — though said he probably won’t be campaigning on it. This is a disgusting move that the conservative right try to get legalised to shame the teenagers into carrying the pregnancy to term, and it has no place in a society that values women’s freedom. Let’s hope he realises that his opinions don’t trump women’s rights and never does campaign on it.

On allowing same-sex couples to adopt, 3 News gave us

“I’d have to think about that. I’d have to have a look at it.”

There is no reason to deny adoption rights to same-sex couples other than bigotry, and there is no reason for a prime minister to not have an answer other than for fear of losing votes. But then the Herald gave us

“I can understand a situation and might support a same-sex adoption. I’m more thinking of a scenario where you have a heterosexual couple who break up.

“The single most important thing you can do for your kid is love them.”

Which is rather different. It’s still a “might,” which isn’t good enough, but at least he’s recognising that the value lies in the parent’s love and commitment and not their gender, so he’s off to a good start.

What about Goff? When asked about parental notification, gave an emphatic “no.” Good. Women (and this includes teenagers) deserve the right to choose what happens to their bodies without being shamed, and it’s really good to see him not shy away from this position in spite of him being in front of what he knew was a hostile audience.

What about same-sex adoption? Gower’s report on 3 News didn’t even bother to mention Goff’s response to FF’s questioning on this front, but the Herald quotes him thus:

“I think if you have a single focus, the focus would be never putting children into a position where they are not being brought up in a stable, healthy and supportive environment, regardless of the gender of either parent.”

A bit waffly, but very right. Doesn’t suggest that he’s going to be pushing for equality, but isn’t against it.

I was impressed, to be honest. And I do take back my earlier cynicism. It’s good to see both Key and Goff not pandering to fundamentalist votes, even if it was clouded in waffly political-speak — the admirably clear “no” by Goff on the question of parental consent for teen abortions a clear exception to the “waffle” charge.

And I concede that yes, politicians need to go wherever they’re invited to speak, especially during an election year, and can’t play favourites against those who don’t agree with them, but I still don’t think Family First should be given the time of day.

What I’m not impressed by is Patrick Gower’s apparent lack of concern in what the leader of the opposition is saying in an election year, preferring to write an article that seems just a series of meaningless sound bites more reminiscent of a Twitter conversation than news.

Right, enough politics for a while, my next post will have to be on robots or something…


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