Vote Choice: Colin Craig of the Conservative Party

vote-for-choice-round_1This is the first election that may bring Colin Craig into Parliament, so we took a look at Bob McCoskrie’s “Forum on the Family 2014” interview with him.

Firstly, on parental notification (from 21.19 in this YouTube video)

CC: Oh, absolutely. Hey, I’d change it if I could, absolutely – I’d propose it. I think it’s long overdue that we recognize that an exception to what is otherwise a generally accepted principle, which is that parents or guardians are consulted around the medical issues of children, simply shouldn’t be made on this issue – it shouldn’t be made on any issue. When did we think that separating children from their parents was the smart way to go? It’s not, it’s another breakdown of what I believe is the basic institution of society, which is the family. You start getting the law in there and prying apart those relationships, and isolating a child in a particular circumstance, which could be a difficult one – it’s just not the right way to go.

Far from “prying apart those relationships”, the current law (explained here) is designed to protect those who don’t feel able to tell their parents/guardians. Nothing prevents young pregnant people from informing and/or involving their parents if they feel able to. Good child-parent relationships cannot be legislated into reality, so vulnerable pregnant teens must be protected from having any decision forced on them.

Colin_CraigNext, Craig goes on to explain why he supports legislation giving “an unborn child the right to life”, even though he accepts that such legislation is unlikely to ever be passed in New Zealand:

BM: In the Value Your Vote, in 2011, I think you got in a bit of trouble because one of the questions we asked was “Does the unborn child have a right to life?”. And…

CC: Yeah, was that the exact wording? I think it was “Would you support legislation? .. I think was –

BM: Giving an unborn child the right to life-

CC: Yeah, yeah.

BM: And you put undecided.

CC: Yeah, I did.

BM: And, in this year’s one, that we’re about to release, you’ve put ‘Yes, you would support it’.

CC: Yeah.

BM: What’s changed?

CC: Well, I think the understanding of the question’s changed, because the first time that that came out I was looking around the world going “Okay, where have they got legislation along these lines?” and Poland, which is a 97% Catholic country, was trying to get legislation through to that effect, and they were having a lot of difficulties around the legalities of it. So I looked at it very much strictly on the wording, and not so much on the principle. Now I’m looking at it in terms of the principle and saying well, I absolutely support an unborn child’s right to life, and I always have – that hasn’t changed, but I think the way I’m looking at the question has changed, in that I’m seeing it not so much as a “Can you practically imagine that we could get legislation in this country to that effect?” It’s more a principled answer to say this is where I do stand.

And finally, he comments on the Greens’ proposal to decriminalise abortion:

CC: Well, look I was already, I mean I’ve been interviewed on TV about that, and I just said “Look, I think that’s a crazy, extreme suggestion.” I think that we already have too many abortions and I think that anyone in their right mind would hopefully have the ideal that we should reduce those. And hopefully get rid of them altogether, although I think that’s a Utopian view. I don’t think we could achieve that, but we certainly can achieve a dramatic reduction. And that’s a life saved every time and I… for me that’s huge and I think that those – and I’m imagining that some people here (gesturing to audience) probably work in that field, and I’ve always thought of it like this: If we could reduce abortions by a thousand a year, in twenty years down the track, you put every one of those kids in a room, you’d have 20,000 people there who would otherwise have died. (scattered applause) And I think when you think like that, it makes it really clear where we should be.

BM: What about in terms of pre-screening? For gender selection, for Down Syndrome? For cleft palate, like in the UK?

CC: Oh, no, no, look I’m not in favour of that because I think all you’re doing is then giving people more reasons to go there. I mean, and I know in some countries they, you know, it’s all male-female and males are more important so let’s ditch the females – I’m not sure there are any countries where they do it the other way around yet. Although if feminism keeps going, you never know, Bob. (laughter from audience) You never know. But no, look, I think it’s just such a dangerous place to go. I think we do want to know if the mother’s health is going to be compromised. That for me is what pre-screening should be about. It should be about “Is this healthy? Are we all going well and we’re on track?” Because there are times when medical intervention is necessary. And I think that’s what medicine should be focussed on, is preserving life, both mother and child.

So to sum up:

• he wants mandatory parental notification laws

• he supports the principle of right to life but doesn’t think it’s practical

• he thinks that letting the pregnant person decide for themselves is crazy and extreme

• he doesn’t support any pre-screening abortion for any reason unless there is a health risk to the pregnant person, because it gives people “more reasons to go there” (ie, ignorance is bliss!)

• he’s a little worried about the feminist agenda

So there you have it. Colin Craig, leader of the Conservative Party, a true conservative, cares so deeply about families that he neglects to consider individuals.


Many thanks to Kerri for watching, listening and transcribing CC.

Read all the entries in our Vote Choice series.