Winston Peters is once again doing what he does best; playing silly buggers with all and sundry; Stuff reports:
NZ First leader Winston Peters has called for a referendum on gay marriage, but declined to say how he would vote on one.Peters this afternoon said the eight New Zealand First MPs had agreed not to support the bill for "marriage equality" being promoted by Labour MP Louisa Wall."We will not be voting for this bill, we will argue for a referendum and we believe there should be enough members of parliament who have got confidence in the public of this country to trust the public to decide this issue after reasonable debate," Peters said.However, he indicated he would make no contribution to any debate over gay marriage, saying his views on the matter were "irrelevant".The public should be left to decide on the issue "rather than have people try to twist the public debate with their personal view," Peters said."Look at the record of parliamentarians on important social issues - they're all over the place," he said."These serious issues of this type should be decided by the public of this country and not a few temporarily empowered politicians."Asked if the party's position meant all its MPs would abstain on the vote, Peters said: "I've just said that's what our position is and we're united on that."Asked to confirm that the party would abstain, rather than vote against it, he said: "Well, we're not voting for it, is what I said. We believe it should be by way of referendum."
Once again, Winston Peters is dancing on the head of a pin. NZ First will not vote in favour of Louisa Wall's Bill, but Peters refuses to confirm whether his party's response will be to abstain or to oppose.
NZ First is a conservative party, even though it propped up Labour between 2005 and 2008. At least two NZ First MP's have publicly indicated opposition to Louisa Wall's Bill.
But is also confirms one thing; New Zealand First should simply be re-named Winston First. In Winston First, MP's do not have consciences; they vote as their leader directs them, even on issues of conscience. Their conscience is their leader's conscience, or the lack thereof. Peters is the ultimate populist; he will not make a decision on this issue until he sees how public opinion is swinging. That is simply not good enough.