Welcome to our resource Value Your Vote 2020. This is the fifth election that we have provided this popular voting resource for families.
The 2020 election is unique in that we not only have two votes under the MMP system, the party vote and the electorate vote, we also get another two votes: on whether euthanasia and cannabis should be legalised in New Zealand.
Your votes will literally change lives.
We believe that economy, education, health, housing, and law and order are significant. Our response to the health and economic threats of COVID-19 have been especially important this year. But focusing on economics and other issues while ignoring social values will actually make society’s present problems worse in the long term, not better.
Research proves that the strength of marriage and family, along with respect for life and the protection of our most vulnerable, has a major impact on the strength of a nation: lowering the rates of child poverty, child abuse, imprisonment, mental health and the costs of welfare - and producing an ordered, civil society.
Over the past two decades, there have been a number of law changes voted on by our politicians which specifically impacted the welfare of New Zealand. Marriage and the role of parents have been increasingly devalued, and the respect for life and health has never been more at risk.
This brochure (and the accompanying guide on our website valueyourvote.nz) does two things:
1. It allows you to see how each MP, including each party leader, has voted on important social issues. Many of them are conscience votes, allowing an MP to vote according to his or her conscience rather than along party lines. However, in many cases, there seems to be a ‘party conscience’.
2. It explains the reasons why a NO-vote in both the referendum on cannabis and the referendum on euthanasia is the only option. There is also a summary of why the new abortion law should never have been passed.
VOTING ACCORDING TO OUR VALUES IS THE GREATEST FREEDOM AND PRIVILEGE WE HAVE. WE SHOULD VALUE IT — AND USE IT!
This site allows you to see how your local MP and each political party has voted - and will vote - on these important social issues. Many of them are conscience votes, allowing an MP to vote according to his or her conscience rather than along party lines. However, in many cases there seems to be a ‘party conscience’.
Please note that Family First New Zealand does not endorse or oppose candidates or parties for elective office. This record should not take the place of your own effort to evaluate parties and candidates. We would encourage all voters to make informed decisions on party policies across key issues important to you.
We are pleased to offer this guide as a helpful resource to aid you in making an informed decision when you vote this September.
National Director – Family First
Authorised by Family First, 28 Davies Ave, Manukau City 2241
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1 Supported on the basis of also holding a public referendum
2 NZ First supported this bill, but did force Labour / Greens to accept amendment which helped maintain the ability for legal sanction - rather than full decriminalisation as intended by Labour / Greens
3 National support medicinal marijuana, but opposed this bill because "smoking is not medicine", a concern that Family First shares.
4 “Banning conversion therapy” is Orwellian double-speak for any attempt by parents or counsellors to reduce gender dysphoria by helping the child become comfortable with their biological sex. These bans are really about locking children into transgenderism.
5 Raise price, raise purhase age, reduce accessibility, reduce advertising & sponsorship, target drink-driving (plus increase treatment availability)
* based on public statements or vote
"Didn't vote" = was a current MP but either abstained or didn't show up for the vote
# Labour leader Jacinda Ardern refused to complete our questionnaire. Where possible, we have recorded a response based on her voting record and/or public statements. We also surveyed co-leader Marama Davidson whose responses were identical to James Shaw. The Maori Party refused to respond to our questionnaire.
## The New Conservatives were surveyed because a significant number of their policies align with the positions of Family First NZ, and they are currently appearing in the political polls. This in no way should be taken as an endorsement of the party as a whole.
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For millions of people worldwide, marriage is a culturally-significant, historically-bound institution. But a majority of politicians chose to reject the obvious cultural and natural characteristics of marriage, and the subsequent creation and care of children, and made marriage just about partnership. The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act was an act of cultural vandalism. The equality cause is not advanced by destroying institutions. Equality should respect difference, not destroy it.
Read more: ProtectMarriage.nz
Under the same-sex marriage legislation, it is unlawful for churches, mosques and synagogues to refuse to host same-sex marriages if the building is normally made available to the public. While the bill was being debated, a majority of MPs voted down an amendment which would uphold the right of individual celebrants and registrars to refuse to marry a same-sex couple. Since the law change, some wedding facilities have been pressured to change their policies, or have stopped making their facilities available to the public, to avoid possible prosecution. Some marriage celebrant applicants have been turned down due to their personal convictions on the definition of marriage, despite assurances from politicians that this would not happen.
In 2005, the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Amendment Bill attempted to clearly define and confirm marriage as a union between one man and one woman, in accordance with the common law understanding of marriage. The bill was defeated.
In 2019, a majority of MPs voted for a private members bill from ACT MP David Seymour which legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide. Many MPs had to ‘hold their noses’ and vote for a referendum to be held to approve this law change – despite opposing other referendums on important social issues - in order for the bill to be passed. The referendum will be held at the same time as the General Election this year. Amendments to allow for full freedom of conscience provisions for health professionals, and a mandatory one-week cooling-off period, were both defeated. Previously, in 2003, a Death with Dignity Bill was defeated.
Read more: 20 Reasons to Vote NO to Euthanasia in 2020
MARIJUANA & OTHER DRUGS
As part of the coalition agreement made between Labour and the Greens in 2017, a referendum on legalising marijuana will be held at the same time as the General Election this year.
We asked every MP how they would vote in the upcoming cannabis referendum. For MPs who didn’t respond, we have also looked at public statements they may have made. These are noted with a *
Read more: 20 Reasons to Vote NO to Cannabis in 2020
The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act 2019 was introduced primarily to provide police with additional powers to target the manufacturers and suppliers of synthetic drugs, which have caused significant societal harm and many deaths. However, the Government also used the bill to introduce what the Law Society and the Police Association labelled ‘a de-facto decriminalisation’ of not just cannabis, but all drugs – P, heroin and cocaine. The NZ Police said that discretion was already being used by the Police on a daily basis, including “the use of alternative resolution options including pre-charge warnings, Te Pae Oranga, and referrals to health and other support services” and that their focus “continues to be on targeting the organised criminal networks who supply these harmful drugs to our communities. However, the possession and use of illicit drugs remains illegal and prosecution remains an option in order to prevent harm and keep people safe.’ At the same time as the public are about to vote on whether we should legalise cannabis, the Government is telling police not to prosecute people buying and using hard drugs.
[It is acknowledged in our record that at the 11th hour NZ First was able to force the Government to tighten the discretion in favour of the ‘public interest’ when determining whether to prosecute.]
In 2019, the Government introduced legislation to make medicinal cannabis products more accessible. Regulations to support that Bill came into force on 1 April 2020, meaning approved cannabis-based medicines can now be prescribed by any medical practitioner. The NZ Drug Foundation said it was a “win for patients”. National proposed an alternative bill, setting out a much more detailed regulatory regime which would allow patients to buy cannabis products from pharmacists, and would not allow for any loose-leaf smoking. While Family First agreed with the concerns expressed by National around loose-leaf smoking – it is clearly not a medicine - we do support the expansion of further quality research into the components of the marijuana plant for delivery via non-smoked forms. Medicinal marijuana should be tested and supervised (and funded) like any other medicine – but not used as a smokescreen for recreational use. We should keep marijuana medical. If the current medicinal cannabis regime is falling short, we should fix that legislation, but that does not mean we should legalise it for recreational use.
In 2018, prior to the introduction of the government bill, Green MP Chloe Swarbrick’s (previously Julie Anne Genter’s) private member’s bill was effectively a grow-your-own-dope-medicine bill, with very little control or safeguards. It was rejected by the majority of MPs.
Read more: SayNopeToDope.org.nz/medicinal
The new abortion law – championed by Jacinda Ardern during the 2017 election campaign and passed this year - means that New Zealand now has one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world. A number of amendments designed to remove some of the extreme aspects of the law were all rejected by a majority of MPs.
Read more: Fatal Flaws – Abortion Legislation Act 2020
The Role Of Parents
Currently, girls under the age of 16 can have an abortion without their parents being informed. In 2004, a law-change proposed to prevent this was defeated. During the debate on the new 2020 abortion law (referred to previously), an amendment which would have seen abortion for minors treated like any other health procedure was again defeated. In all other health contexts, the health practitioner is required to assess the child’s capacity prior to a medical procedure and, where capacity is lacking, obtain the consent of a parent or guardian. It is ironic that abortion advocates want abortion to be treated as a ‘health issue’ – but not when it involves a teenager seeking an abortion.
Read more: LoveThemBoth.nz
Section 59 of the Crimes Act was amended in 2007, removing legal protection from parents who exercise discipline over their children in the form of reasonable physical punishment – despite the fact 87% New Zealanders opposed it in a subsequent referendum. Most social indicators around the welfare of children have continued to worsen since the law change, proving we are not tackling the real causes of child abuse. The amendment makes parents who engage in reasonable correction of their children liable for prosecution and unwarranted intervention by police and Oranga Tamariki. Despite promises that this wouldn’t happen, legal analysis and evidence from families rebut the assurances that were given.
Read more: ProtectGoodParents.nz
Just over a week after 87% of New Zealanders voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to change the anti-smacking law, politicians had the opportunity to support a bill that would have decriminalised light and non-abusive smacking for the purpose of correction. This would have removed the fear and uncertainty around the anti-smacking law, which continues more than ten years on. This proposed amendment to the law was virtually identical to that aggressively lobbied for by the National party. The bill was defeated, and all National MPs voted against it.
Other Social Issues
Prostitution was made legal in New Zealand in 2003. The new law enabled small brothels to operate in residential areas next to family homes, and failed to protect communities and families from the effects of street prostitution. It also failed to deliver on the stated aim of the law, which was to significantly improve safety, health and welfare for prostitutes. What it has achieved is an improvement in working conditions for pimps and brothel owners. Ultimately, the new law legalised the sexual exploitation of vulnerable people.
A number of communities around New Zealand have been trying to deal with the problems created by street prostitution: intimidation, noise, litter, and criminal behaviour. The 2003 prostitution law (see above) failed to give local councils the ability to deal with the nuisance and harm caused to both prostitutes (many of whom are under-age) and families. This bill, which was defeated, would have enabled prostitutes to be moved out of residential and family shopping areas.
Medical evidence on accident probability, disease, and brain development clearly supports delaying the age at which young people have easy access to alcohol. Raising the drinking age would reduce the level of damage to young people - and to society - and would contribute to future health and well-being. The 2012 proposal to increase the drinking purchase age would have undone some of the harm which resulted from the previous lowering of the age, but it was defeated. (This is just one of the 5+ Solutions for reducing alcohol harm which Family First supports).
After a number of attempts to change the law, the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act was passed in 2016, allowing trading on Easter Sunday. Based on the arguments used by its proponents, Good Friday, Anzac Day and Christmas Day will soon be targeted.