Wouldn’t it be great to sit in on the next meeting of the fast-collapsing ACT party.
Actually, it’s looking rather like a National Party B team now that Boscowen has bowed out and we have Don Brash (former National leader) and John Banks (former National police minister) in the first two slots on the list.
They might be the only ones to turn up at ACT caucus meetings, in the next parliament, although this prospect assumes (a) Banks wins Epsom and (b) ACT can muster enough support to get at least one more member into the House.
And who would bet on that happening, eh?
The party is polling well below the 5 per cent threshold to be guaranteed seats in Parliament.
Alf hears it has registered just 1.1 per cent support in the last Fairfax Media Research International Poll.
We can rule out Brash winning North Shore – unlike Alf, he is unattractive to the bloke in the street and his missus.
Don’t forget he was beaten by a bloody Social Crediter, of all things, when he stood for by-election in the East Coast Bays electorate way back, and he again failed to win the seat at the general election of 1981.
So that leaves his immediate Parliamentary future in the hands of John Banks, who hardly sees eye to eye with him in his basic philosophy as has become all too obvious on the cannabis issue.
Probably Banks disagrees very strongly with Brash.
Stuff today is reporting –
The former Police Minister has rejected a suggestion from party leader Don Brash that cannabis be decriminalised.
But while Alf was taking his daily dose of legalised mind-altering stuff yesterday – that is, good old-fashioned booze – Brash was saying he had serious questions about New Zealand’s current marijuana laws and gave his personal endorsement to at least open up a debate over cannabis law reform.
However Banks today told Radio New Zealand he would not support the decriminalising of the class-C drug.
Also today, Prime Minister John Key said Brash’s new-found support of decriminalising cannabis was a “step in the wrong direction”.
Key criticised Brash for suggesting the law be changed because people were already breaking it by smoking dope.
“Go and ask the police officers, go and ask the parents in New Zealand whether they want their 18-year-old child to be smoking a joint before they head off to school,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme.
“The message that Parliament sends has to be the right one and that is there is no place for drugs in our society.
“That is the thing that leads to criminal activity, it leads to brains being fried, it is a drug that takes them on to other drugs.”
But Brash basically sees things in economic terms and has pointed to the $100 million cost to taxpayers of enforcing marijuana prohibition.
He also says many people believe it to be less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol.
Hmm. Maybe he has a point, and obviously Mrs Grumble could grow the stuff in the back garden if it was permitted, whereas you have to grow heaps of barley to be able to make a bottle of whisky.
But here’s the thing for those ACT caucus meetings (if they can get two MPs or more into the House).
Brash has a distinct liberal streak – he likes small government and keeping the state out of our lives.
Smoking marijuna should be of no concern to the state, except when the smoker then does something illegal.
Banks, on the other hand, is of an authoritarian bent.
If it’s immoral or tasteless or anything else at odds with his set of values, then send in the cops, round up the miscreants and lock the buggers up.
Poor old Banksie probably has never fully recovered his equilibrium since it became legal to do the sorts of things that Alf understands poofters do.
When Parliament passed the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, he declared:
“This day will be remembered as a sad and sickening day for New Zealand”
Alf suspects he thought homsexuality had suddenly become compulsory.
Brash’s libertarian views come out in his views on pot smoking.
Brash has said –
“I don’t use it, don’t intend to use it and hope none of my family ever use it either, but what we know is that cannabis use in New Zealand is one of the highest in the world, it’s estimated to be three times the cannabis use in the Netherlands where it has been legal to use since 1976.
“In Australia some states have legalised it, some have not, consumption in those states seems to be falling.”
Let’s see the data.
If it shows there’s a chance of reducing the use of pot, then surely it’s worth at least talking about legalisation without having to take refugee in the law-and-order mumbo-jumbo that exposes an intolerant mindset.