Wednesday, 16 May 2007

16 May 2007 - Stuff - Copeland quitting over smacking bill

Copeland quitting over smacking bill

By TRACY WATKINS - The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 16 May 2007

CLASH OF IDEAS: See link for photo: Gordon Copeland debating the child discipline bill outside Parliament earlier this year. It is believed the United Future MP is quitting the party as he does not agree with its stance on the issue.
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UPDATED REPORT: The government has been dealt a blow on the eve of the budget, with United Future MP Gordon Copeland expected to announce today he is resigning from his party in protest at the so-called anti-smacking bill.

NZPA understands that Mr Copeland is leaving over Green MP Sue Bradford member's bill to remove from the Crimes Act the statutory defence of "reasonable force" to correct a child.

Mr Copeland, a Christian, has always opposed the legislation and while he voted for an amendment stating police had discretion not to prosecute inconsequential complaints he felt the bill still made criminals of parents who smacked their children.

He would form the party with former colleague Larry Baldock who has been running a petition against the Bradford bill.

The party would be called Future New Zealand - the name of the Christian party which the United Party previously merged with.

When Parliament sat at 2pm National Party deputy leader Bill English questioned Prime Minister Helen Clark about Mr Copeland's decision.

He said the Government could now only rely on 59 votes in the 121 MP Parliament.

"What assurances can she give as the leader of the current coalition of Labour, United Future and New Zealand First that the Government commands a majority in this House?" he asked.

The Government's only formal coalition partner is the Progressive's Jim Anderton. It has support agreements with New Zealand First and United Future and a cooperation agreement with the Greens under which that party abstains on confidence and supply issues.

The Government may find it harder passing some legislation but its confidence and supply arrangements are secure as they were when Taito Phillip Field became an independent.

Miss Clark said that the Government continued to enjoy the confidence of the House.

- With NZPA


Patrick Dunford said...

In the last hour this very morning, United has updated its website to remove Larry Baldock and Gordon Copeland from the Board and MPs list respectively.

The move to reform Future New Zealand is to be applauded as it gives the conservative Christian community a voice in Parliament since National distanced itself over the Section 59 Bill.

I am waiting to see which of the United board will be leaving to join FNZ as I am sure there are a number there who are prepared to put their faith in the development of the party along with many Christians all around NZ.

These are indeed turbulent times but we must all have faith as a community we can all pull together and ensure that the Christian voice continues to be actively represented in Parliament. I thank God that Gordon and Larry are prepared to take this great step forward in the face of uncertainty and opposition from all quarters, and make a stand for righteousness in this land.

Anonymous said...

Bernie Ogilvy and Anthony Walton have also been removed from the board members list on the website.