I joined the March for Life in Wellington last Saturday and was thankful for the opportunity to affirm the sanctity of human life in New Zealand. However whilst the march was great – what this country urgently needs is politics for life.
It was wonderful to see the event strongly supported. Over 2,000 people took a positive and multi-cultural message to Parliament about the need to protect all kiwi children. They had come from all over the nation to be there. There were several great speeches including from Simon O’Connor and Alfred Ngaro. Both of these National MPs spoke well and with undoubted sincerity. The problem is the party they represent will never do anything about this issue. Not only this, it will do its best to make sure they too don’t rock the boat.
Having spent the last decade in the National Party I am well aware of the strong internal culture of risk avoidance on controversial moral issues. It’s not just that the party does not have a policy on abortion – there is a deep-seated expectation that anyone who does have a view should keep it entirely to themselves. MPs may be pro-life but they are there representing the party – so they better not do anything that is not “on-message” with where the party machine is going.
As for the Labour Party, abortion liberalisation is part of its platform. Hence as predicted pre-election, that’s exactly where it’s headed. If there is such a thing as a pro-life MP in that party they certainly won’t be raising their head any time soon. The Greens are of course eager to save the whole planet except for children in the womb. And NZ First whilst not necessarily so keen, will maintain confidence in the Government and keep this agenda rolling.
If we are to ever see a pro-life agenda in our Parliament there is only one solution – a political party which includes respect for life as an integral part of its wider platform. Such a party would not just resist the current moves to complete liberalisation. It would pro-actively seek to implement a programme of incremental steps to affirm life. Informed consent, ring-fenced funding voted on by Parliament, facilitating adoption, reviewing the grounds for abortion – these could all be steps on a journey to ultimate protection for our unborn children.
Of course some will say we need cultural change not just politics. That is true. However political leadership is always a huge part of achieving cultural change. That leadership won’t come from within New Zealand’s existing political parties. It could come from something new…