NewsHub 7 July 2017
The Prime Minister’s doubled down on many of his moral positions when it comes to issues ranging from the accessibility of pornography to why he doesn’t agree with any form of euthanasia.
Bill English was the marquee guest at conservative group Family First’s annual “Forum on the Family” on Friday, which was attended by around 300 people. Mr English is a staunch Catholic and often received widespread applause from the conservative attendees.
He gave his views on a lot of hot topics at the forum.
Abortion – against the practice but isn’t seeking a change in the law.
He says he accepts the majority of New Zealanders aren’t on side with his views on abortion. Mr English has previously told Newshub he is “opposed to abortion on principal”.
Currently, women can only get an abortion if two consultants approve it, which doesn’t always happen. When pushed on his views today, he told Family First Director Bob McCoskrie most laws generally reflected the public position on an issue.
“Most people have a different view than I do about abortion. That’s not just reflected in the law, but sort of the practice of it”.
He added that in the foreseeable future, a change in legislation isn’t on the cards.
“In the meantime, the law is how it is and we’re not proposing to change it”.
Euthanasia – opposes any form of euthanasia.
Mr English says there are no safeguards that could be proposed to change his views on euthanasia, saying “I don’t think you could make them adequate”.
The reaffirmation of the Prime Minister’s position comes as parliament is set to debate ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill which has been drawn from the ballot. But unlike most legislation, the Bill will be a conscious vote so MPs will make their own minds up on the matter.
Mr English says there are various reasons why he doesn’t support a law change.
“The first one is simply protection of the vulnerable; we have a law that says you can’t kill. What it actually means – because the law doesn’t stop people doing it – you are subject to that being scrutinised around intent. To cross that line gets you into all sorts of challenging situations”.
He also believes that the role of a friend or a family member is to remind people about the value of their life “which is not about how they feel, it’s how the rest of us feel and the objective value of it”.
Gay marriage – doesn’t oppose but personal definition still “one man, one woman”
Mr English voted against the Civil Union Bill in 2004 as well as the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill in 2013. But when he became Prime Minister he made a complete U-turn saying he’d probably vote differently now.
When pressed on the matter by the conservative Mr McCoskrie, Mr English stuck to his guns.
“Yeah I said that and I meant it,” adding that he doesn’t believe any gay marriage has an impact on his or anyone else’s relationship.
But, when asked if his own personal definition for the word marriage was between “one man and one woman” his views were unclear.
“Well that’s my definition of it”.
He went on to discuss how he was married in the Catholic Church, and his views reflected those Catholic beliefs.
Pornography – has no interest or tolerance in porn whatsoever
Mr McCroskie pressed Mr English around his thoughts on porn, right after the audience listened to an hour-long presentation on the matter. Family First has long campaigned for an expert panel to investigate the damage it’s causing to young minds.
Bur Mr English claimed it’s a challenging issue to police, saying you couldn’t just “ban it”.
He then told the audience it’s not necessarily an issue for the Government to sort out.
“If you’re looking to the Government to be the arbiter of morality, you are going to be constantly, consistently disappointed.
“What drives in my view constructive social behaviour is our families, our iwi, our churches, our communities”.