Who do I call? The Ministry of Justice website has no contact details for it. But we know it exists – the “Soviet unit” set up by Minister Andrew Little last year. It was tasked with “calling out misinformation” during the cannabis and euthanasia referendums. Will it call out its own Minister? Or will his arrogant disregard for the truth go unchallenged?
Last night on TVNZ Andrew Little falsely claimed that the Family First NZ campaign against legalising cannabis was being funded “by a large US outfit trying to influence New Zealand politics”. According to Little, Family First “are going to have to answer to New Zealanders about the fact that Americans are funding their campaign interfering in New Zealand’s election processes.” But what Little calls a “fact” is actually a lie. If anyone should be answering to New Zealanders it is him. Will his Soviet unit call out his blatant spreading of misinformation? Don’t hold your breath.
The Say Nope to Dope campaign being run by Family First and other concerned New Zealanders is funded by the voluntary giving of ordinary Kiwis. It has not received a cent of overseas funding. As part of its campaign it is offering views from overseas experts into the debate – as are those advocating for liberalisation. That is the normal business of public debate.
None of this means anything to Mr Little. The polls are showing public opinion is against cannabis liberalisation. This was enough to trigger his cynical effort with the liberal New Zealand media to foment a shallow anti-American response among the public. It was an effort that Little should be ashamed of, and for which he should apologise. Again, I wouldn’t hold your breath.