The conservative (lower-case ‘c’) groups are all coming out with their voter guides including Family First and, yesterday, Right to Life. Family First has put out a Value Your Vote guide (blogged about at THM in terms of election spending issues) that is actually useful for pro-choice voters because on reproductive rights issues, we can just vote for everyone FF opposes.
FF also has a list of how those candidates who already have Parliamentary records have voted on issues it’s interested in. Again, if reproductive justice is one of your things, you can just look down the column of, say, “parental notification” and vote for the people who don’t get a tick, and/or are labeled “not family friendly”. (Who’s sick of the word “family” being co-opted by conservatism, raise your hands?) It’s handy, and a useful research tool, so thanks FF!
And we learn a few things from the FF guide, like the fact that even though Mana doesn’t yet have a policy on reproductive rights (not a good start, Mana!), Hone Harawira apparently told FF he doesn’t support three of its key reproductive rights questions on FF’s guide: 7. Unborn Child Has Right to Life; 8. Informed Consent for Women Seeking Abortion and 9. Parental Notification for Teen Pregnancies. Good news! And don’t forget, these are written in code, so “unborn child has right to life” means forcing all women who become pregnant to continue those pregnancies whether they want to or not (Don Brash is “undecided” on this one); “informed consent for women seeking abortion” means things like forcing women to see ultrasounds and be given lectures about fetal development (because, don’t forget, pregnant people are too stupid to know anything about their own pregnancies and have to be told by a doctor). As for “parental notification”, have a look at some of the entries on that over at ALRANZ’s old blog on Issues.
(By the way, FF reports that Goff and Key refused to complete the questionnaires, but FF has assessed them on some issues anyway.)
In my biased opinion, ALRANZ’s voting record and party guides are far superior, but they’re not as flash as FFs. Why not? Well, according to its records at the Charities Commission site, FF received more than $300,000 in donations this past year, so it can afford quite a lot of flash.
Meanwhile, THM has blogged about Right to Life’s candidate questionnaire, and yesterday, the organisation’s spokesman, Ken Orr, issued a media release warning voters not to support the Greens. Why not? I quote: “It is the view of Right to Life that the Greens Party in Parliament presents a growing threat to the right to life of our unborn children and to the upholding of marriage as being exclusively for one man and one woman.”
Orr has also written separate posts against Peter Dunne of United Future and John Key, the latter for his “support for legislation that would permit doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide” – that is, euthanasia.
Finally, there have been some great progressive candidate forums including the Wellington Young Feminists Collective’s ‘Ladies in the House’ and Women’s Choice debate at Auckland University. I’d also recommend looking at the coverage of the general election at THM, much of it by the amazing Julie.
So, for the voter who cares about reproductive justice, there’s lots of information out there – and the antis do a lot of the hard research work for us, which is nice because they seem to have lots more money. Meanwhile, do add a comment if you’ve come across any other helpful guides that address reproductive justice (or the lack of it) in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
The Tertiary Women’s Focus group guide to voting briefly addresses it, in the context of election issues relevant to women in tertiary education.
Thanks Sophie. The Greens look the best in that round-up too, although of course it would be better if they actually had a policy on the issue.
The Cons are gunning for women’s reproductive choice. (Thanks, NZ Catholic. Heh heh heh).
The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has also put out an election guide: http://www.ncwnz.org.nz/assets/Uploads/Election-Guide-2011.pdf