The passing of the Marriage Equality Bill last week was a triumph of bi-partisan politics.
Our elected leaders were able to think for themselves, ignore party doctrine and speak honestly about the concerns of their constituents.
It was celebrated in news headlines across the globe, and it made me proud to call New Zealand home.
But on the same day, the National led-Government, bound by doctrine and blinded by ideology, voted to make protesting at sea illegal. It is the latest move by Steven Joyce and John Key to re-write our laws and roll back our environmental safeguards to suit overseas oil companies.
Companies like Texan oil giant Anadarko have been spooked by how much we care about our beaches and the sea that we fish and swim in. So they’ve been meeting behind closed doors with Ministers to crack down on our proud tradition of protesting. They don’t want you or me to stand up for what’s right. They only want to keep foreign shareholders happy.
We’ve had Warner Brothers and the Hobbits and we all know about SkyCity and the pokie machines. Well, now it’s the turn of Big Oil to get in on the act.
And they now have John Key’s blessing.
As if this was not enough, the Government also announced its plans to allow deepwater oil drilling to go ahead under new laws without the public’s right to know or have our say.
It was protesting at sea that led to New Zealand going anti-nuclear. It was our anti-nuclear stance that gave birth to our clean green reputation. It is this reputation that has become the lifeline of our economy. Almost half of our jobs and seventy percent of exports are based upon it. It was these actions that defined who we are and how the world sees us. And we should be proud of this.
As Martin Luther King Jnr said: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”. In the same way that politicians stood up to acknowledge the importance of love in society, we will stand up to protect the values that make us who we are.