Nikki Kaye for Education Minister?

A suggestion from a NZ First MP that could have merit:

@TraceyMartinMP
Would like to see Nikki Kaye promoted up to Minister of Ed. Great Chair of the Education & Science Select Committee

Kaye has proven to be very capable of working with other party MPs.

Perhaps she could find a way of working with education groups – if they have any intent to work productively with a National Minister of Education.

Cross party Christmas cheerfulness

Maybe they’re glad to be finishing Parliament for the year, but whatever, there’s been an outburst of cross party cheer.

Clare Curran

In @nikkikaye ‘s office with @garethmp and @traceymartinmp having a glass of bubbles #digitalliteracy

Gareth Hughes

Great to work with @clarecurranmp @nikkikaye @traceymartinmp on IT education inquiry and to share a glass of bubbles to celebrate today

Tracey Martin

@clarecurranmp @nikkikaye @GarethMP It was a joy to work as a team to advance this important area for New Zealand. May there be more ops :)

Nikki Kaye

@GarethMP @clarecurranmp @traceymartinmp yes – cross party Christmas cheer for the progress on this inquiry

I hope the spirit of optimism and cooperation continues next year.

Nikki Kaye’s marriage equality bill speech

Amongst some excellent speeches on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill was this from Nikki Kaye.

Video: Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – First Reading – Part 2

Transcript (draft):

MARRIAGE (DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE) AMENDMENT BILL

First Reading

NIKKI KAYE (National—Auckland Central):

I am pleased to support the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill . Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

I want to congratulate Louisa Wall on bringing this bill to the House. Today is an important day for New Zealand, because I hope that we are on the cusp of passing a piece of legislation that will strengthen the rights and freedoms of a significant group of New Zealanders.

In this House there is huge diversity. We were born in places across New Zealand—from Takapuna to Ruatōria to villages in Samoa. We have MPs of different ethnicities—Samoan, Korean, Chinese, Pākehā, and many more. We have MPs of different faiths—Muslim to Sikh to Christian. We are a House of Representatives. We reflect the diversity of New Zealand, and our families are all so different.

What binds us together is a shared sense of justice, fairness, and a heartfelt belief in this amazing democratic, hard-working country. My grandfather fought for our freedom, as did many members’ relatives, in this House.

Ronald Reagan once said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same”. New Zealand has a proud history of leading in issues of equality.

This bill, in my view, is about justice and the basic right of every New Zealander to have equality before the law.

Civil unions gave us a step forward in that it conferred many rights to New Zealanders who had been deprived of them in the past. However, it did not guarantee every New Zealander the ability to marry the person they love. It did not guarantee an equality of status relationship.

I go further and say that this bill not only confers on every New Zealander an equality before the law in terms of their relationship but gives a dignity and an acceptance to a group of New Zealanders who not long ago were criminalised for the people they love.

I stand before you today as a member of the National Party. As the National Party, we have a strong history of bringing together different groups of New Zealanders.

Recently, the Prime Minister commented on the founders of the National Party. He said: “… they thought that the individual freedom promoted by National involved many diverse groups with conflicting interests. Tolerance was the key to working through those conflicts—giving everyone a say, but ensuring the Party ultimately focused on the good of the country as a whole.”

That is why I accept that being a champion of freedom is also about accepting that others may hold strong opposing views and that they have the right to voice and exercise those views in this House.

We may vote differently on this side of the House on conscience issues, but we are bound by equality of opportunity. We are a party that has always treasured freedom of choice. We are a party that is often regarded as the unwelcome hand of the nanny State reaching into the homes of many New Zealand families.

It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge some of the people and the liberal members in the past who have fought on this side of the House for freedom. Venn Young proposed the first attempt at homosexual law reform, Marilyn Waring dedicated her time in Parliament and her academic career to issues of equality, and the Rt Hon Jenny Shipley proposed and helped pass the human rights legislation.

I also stand before you today as the member for Auckland Central. I represent the wonderful suburbs of Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, and Rocky Bay, and a huge lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

But at a personal level, regardless of the fact that I am a member of the National Party and the member for Auckland Central, I support this bill because I actually believe it is the right thing to do. I know the arguments in opposition.

I do not believe that tradition is a good reason to block same-sex couples from the ability to marry. If we had accepted in this House the arguments of tradition, then women would have never got the vote, and women would not be sitting in this Chamber this evening. In terms of religion, there will be ministers and people of different faiths supporting the bill and some who oppose it.

Some have raised issues of religious freedom, and I believe that those issues can be worked through at the select committee.

I know how important this bill is for many young New Zealanders. Young New Zealanders overwhelmingly support this bill.

When I look to the future of this country and the many people who will come after us in this House, I believe that if this legislation does not pass today, it will eventually pass. I meet young New Zealanders every day who are very diverse. They are more diverse than their previous generation. They have a high level of tolerance and respect for people’s differences. They do not shun those differences; in fact, they celebrate them.

I stand here as a New Zealander with eight siblings. I have had lots of parents; several step-parents . I have a mother who has a boyfriend of 25 years and I have a father who has had several marriages. Dad, I think you have used my quota!

The point that I make is that New Zealand family structures are very diverse, and a major reason that I support this bill is that I want every New Zealander to have—and I cannot deny any New Zealander—the ability to marry the person they love.

I stand here as a New Zealander who believes not just in equality of the law but also as someone who has seen people prejudiced and teased in the broad light of day in this country.

I have seen the subtle prejudice: the people who say that their partners are not invited to work functions, the people who feel uncomfortable holding hands walking down the street, and the people who may not be invited to the family Christmas. I see it through my electorate office. I see it in the street.

The prevention of prejudice is not just the role of parliamentarians in this House. Our country would be a lot stronger if we all practised the values of greater tolerance, respect, understanding, and compassion for fellow New Zealanders.

I have met through my office people who are scared to come out to their friends, their families, their colleagues, and their community.

In fact, the saddest result of prejudice that I have seen has been—and is reflected in—the high number of youth lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender suicides. Some of these people have taken their lives because they cannot see themselves as being accepted. They cannot see themselves being happy.

This Parliament has an opportunity through legislation to help change that. I will vote for marriage equality so that every New Zealander can marry the person who they want to love.

This bill enshrines a principle that society supports loving and committed relationships between two people. In all of the over 10,000 constituency queries that I have had, I have never had anyone who has said that they want to be married to more than one person.

As a legislator, I support New Zealand having laws that recognise the value of two people making a commitment to each other in law. My idea of strong family policies is initiatives that support the well-being of children and education and health, and that enable two committed people to be in a relationship and have that recognised in law.

That is why I believe that the institution of marriage can actually be strengthened by enabling more people to marry. I want to acknowledge some people who have been on this road and have fought for freedom within our party.

I want to acknowledge Sean Topham, Shaun Wallis, and Megan Campbell. I want to acknowledge Tau Henare. Kia ora, Tau.

I am pleased to support this marriage equality bill in the House, because I believe that this bill is fundamentally about justice, freedom, and equality of opportunity. It is actually a reason why I am a member of the National Party. Our country, in my view, will be a much better place for enabling every New Zealander to walk with a little more freedom this evening.

I commend this bill to the House.

 

Felix Marwick on the marriage equality bill

Reporting on the reporter – Felix Marwick is the chief political reporter for Newstalk ZB. Yesterday he tweeted…

Normally I don’t take sides on matters political. But I’ve decided to make an exception

…and linked to a statement on his views on the bill: Political Report: The many opinions on marriage inequality

After the bill passed it’s first reading Marwick commented:

Best quality debate I’ve seen in parly for a long time

Must admit the 78 was more than I’d expected. I thought low 70s might be possible. Worth getting out of the sickbed to watch

(The final vote was 80-40).

Conscience vote debates do tend to bring out the best in our MPs. Gives ppl a chance to gauge their character. Not so easy with party votes

It’s the first time I’ve watched a full bill debate. There were a number of excellent speeches, notably (for me) from Louisa Wall, Nikki Kaye and David Clark (my electorate MP in Dunedin North).

Parliament often (justifiably) gets criticised, but this was representative democracy at it’s best – that’s how it seemed to me, but I guess it helps that the speeches and the outcome fit my own views.

Positive politics and gay adoption

The negative side of politics gets a lot of coverage, and many people have a negative impression of inter-party bickering. The working positively and together usually doesn’t get the same headlines.

But it does happen, often behind the seens and media glare.

Political rivals unite on gay adoptions

Two MPs from opposing parties, National’s Nikki Kaye and the Greens’ Kevin Hague, have joined forces to develop a bill that would legalise adoption by gay couples.

Ms Kaye, the MP for Auckland Central, said she had worked for 18 months on the issue with Mr Hague, a West Coast gay MP.

It is possible that the Government could pick up the work Ms Kaye and Mr Hague are doing on adoption and surrogacy laws as a Government measure, while making some of the controversial issues a conscience vote.

Much has been said about the Greens not being prepared to combine in Government with National, but they have always said they will work together on policies of common interest. That’s what Hague is doing here. And thanks to him (and Kaye) this is a policy initiative that may progress.

When the MPs started at looking at the Adoption Act 1955, they decided it would be best to approach it from a perspective in which the welfare of the child was paramount.

The two MPs are drafting legislation to amend the Care of Children Bill 2004 based on a previous Law Commission report that looked at guardianship and adoption.

The measure should be ready in a few months, Ms Kaye said, and would be a private member’s bill in her name or Mr Hague’s.

As a private member’s bill it will depend on being drawn from the ballot.And a Labout MP has something on the go their too:

Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern has a bill in the private members’ bill ballot that would require the Law Commission to rewrite the law to allow gay couples to adopt.

Adern and Kaye are Auckland Central rivals – but the election is over, maybe they could combine on this as well.

With Young National initiatives in getting a remit passed in the weekend at their Northern Conference maybe National will pick it up and ensure it progresses.

Young Nats support gay adoption

The Young Nats’ northern regional conference in Auckland at the weekend passed a remit supporting adoption by couples in a civil union.

With their leader’s support:

Prime Minister supports gay adoption

John Key says he would support a bill looking to legalise gay adoption through its first reading in parliament.

Several MPs, including Nikki Kaye and Kevin Hague, are also behind the proposed move.

Mr Key told RadioLIVE that while he supports the concept, there are wider issues to consider.

“This is the issue with gay adoption it’s the same issue with heterosexual adoption and that is that there’s just not enough kids to adopt. I mean there were less than either 100 or 200 non-family adoptions last year.”

There are always wider issues to consider. That’s what parliamentary process and MPs are for.

Kaye and Ardern on child abuse

There are two lengthy comments by Nikki Kaye and Jacinda Ardern in The Herald on child abuse:

Broadsides: Preventing child abuse

In summary they come to similar conclusions, we need to act, and we need to work together.

Nikki Kay:

The truth is that for every child that makes the paper or even makes it to the emergency department there are many more that suffer in silence behind closed doors with nobody to help them.

We also need be clear that, regardless of what measure a government or a community can take, the final responsibility rests with the individuals who abuse these children and the families that allow abuse to be hidden.

Preventing child abuse and neglect requires not only a response from government but also requires a social change which can only happen with the help of all New Zealanders.

Some of these issues are complex, but we have turned around damning social problems like drink driving before. It requires political will, intelligent policy, but most of all a strong commitment by all New Zealanders to say at every opportunity that it is NOT ok.

Jacinda Ardern

There are some things we don’t need to be told; we just know. Shamefully for all New Zealanders, our appalling child abuse rates is one of those things. Surely then, it’s time to stop all the chat, the lamenting, the writing of discussion documents. Surely, it’s time to act?

I am under no illusion that there is a quick fix to ridding New Zealand of child abuse and neglect and just as many of the answers and solutions as to how we can protect our children will come from within communities as they will from parliament. But we cannot ignore our responsibility to act. That’s why, ultimately, I am glad that the Government has released a Green Paper for Vulnerable Children.

We will offer to work with the Government again on this issue. Because now is not the time for more words- it’s time to act.

We need all politicians and all parties to talk together and to act together so we can improve things for our most vulnerable children.

It won’t just help children now, it will help them for life, and it will help their children.

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