Granny gets her gun, rides shotgun for National

Granny Herald has rather debunked her nickname lately. Tagged ‘Granny’ Herald for the socially conservative views expressed in the Auckland-based newspaper, the Herald writers have nonetheless pushed strong social liberal positions in recent times.

The latest is a Herald editorial that demands Kiwis ‘get over it’ on the topic of Green MP Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking Act (text of altered S59).

Lobby group Family First seem to have reached the 300,000 required signatures to force a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum at this year’s General Election. This appears to have sparked concern in the Herald editors that National’s electoral victory may be smothered by a resurgent anti-smacking debate drawing out socially liberal Kiwis to back Labour.

Hence, the apparent contradiction in an erstwhile ‘right-wing’ newspaper and lobby group on opposite ends of the tug-of-war. It should be noted of course, that many National MP’s are socially liberal, and voted for Bradford’s bill to become law (irrespective of the redundant nonsense John Key put in as clause 4 – Police have always had discretion on all laws as to whether they prosecute).

What is shocking, is that the editor makes wild assumptions; “many signatures on the petition were, in fact, gathered before the compromise clause was inserted” and “the anti-smacking law is no longer a matter of substance to the public”. Granted, they cite a survey showing the S59 position of just 4.2% of people would “likely influence their election vote”, but this simply reflects the impossibility in voting on 1 issue in an election. People want to choose a government that aligns with their views on a range of topics, not just a single issue – even if viewed as the most important.

Worse by far, the Herald’s editor notes CIR are non-binding, so claims “there is little reason to think this one [if passed – SD] would lead to the anti-smacking legislation being thrown out”. What a cynical expression of our democracy! Regardless of how MP’s voted for the Act, surely a democratic position would be for them to change their position to represent the views of the people that put them in the Beehive to … represent their constituents? That the Herald does not think MP’s would (or should) change their stance – irrespective of the voting outcome) is horrendously totalitarian in outlook. NZ is not supposed to be a 3-year elected dictatorship!

Recall the late 1990’s saw a CIR on firefighting resources get around 90% support, which saw a partial government backdown. To suggest as the Herald does, that a majority of voters in a CIR should be ignored because “attempts to raise a hue and cry over the law during the election campaign would be misguided” reflects the deeper desire of the Herald to avoid a bunfight on anything other than tax cuts and PPP’s for transport, it seems. Granny has got her gun, and is warding off anything that may distract from the core message of a National government.

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