Last Friday I attended Family First’s 2018 Forum on the Family. It was an excellent day well attended by around 300 people from all over New Zealand. There were great speakers on some key issues. However perhaps the most enlightening moment was hearing the Hon Simon Bridges interviewed. It was a major disappointment.
Bridges is a churchgoer with who ostensibly holds personally to Judeo-Christian values. However he clearly has little understanding of how important those values are to our culture and society. He has bought into the falsehood that such values are a purely private matter and not something he should bring into the public square. Hence when asked whether he considered the institution of marriage should be upheld in public policy he answered that it was not the role of government to tell people how they should live. The idea that nearly all social policy is normative and projects a vision and ideal of how we should live seems lost on him.
The institution of marriage is foundational to the good society. It is the rejection of this institution (apart from efforts to redefine it) over the last half century which has caused untold suffering and harm to the welfare of our people. How has Simon Bridges not understood this? Has the delusion of politics being purely about the economy blinded him to the reality of what is happening to our children?
On other family values topics Bridges was equally uninformed, evasive and disappointing. Issues were “complex”, New Zealand had “moved on” and according to Bridges no-one was even raising these matters on his regional roadshow. The last comment perhaps cut to the core of the issue. True leadership addresses the real issues that are key to the well being of our people. It doesn’t simply massage itself around the noise of public opinion.
We won’t see true leadership from the National Party under the Hon Simon Bridges. I’m glad I left. It is definitely time for something new.