The leader of the Conservative Party in New Zealand said on a live TV debate on Saturday that being gay is a choice and gay men ‘are statistically far more likely to have suffered child abuse’.
Colin Craig, a business man who started the Conservative Party in New Zealand in 2011 and does not hold a political seat, has become the most vocal opponent of marriage equality in the country.
Craig was speaking in a head-to-head debate with Labour MP Louisa Wall, the sponsor of a same-sex marriage bill that is likely to be passed by parliament at first reading, on TV3 political discussion show, The Nation.
The Nation’s presenter Rachel Smalley said on the show that they had contacted National MPs Simon O’Connor, Tim Macindee, Mike Sabin, Colin King and Eric Roy but they refused to take part in a live TV debate on the issue.
‘It seems a number of our politicians are a bit nervous about which way they should swing on this issue,’ said Smalley. National Prime Minister John Key has said he will support the bill, but Finance Minister Bill English said 'I thought the issue had been solved' with civil unions.
Craig said the politicians who were not commenting on the issue were being ‘too timid’ and failing to take ‘leadership’. He also said: ‘Role modelling, the people you get involved with, the type of life you live. All of these are inputs into our choices [being gay].’
Wall said ‘marriage is a human right’.
Craig is pushing for a referendum on the issue, a move supported by minority party NZ First.
But Wall says a referendum will be ‘too expensive’, as the the last one in New Zealand cost ‘just under $11 million’ (New Zealand dollars, $9 million, €7.26 million) and that they tend to show a ‘bias against minorities’ leading to a ’tyranny of the majority’.
Craig came third in Auckland’s mayoral election in 2010.When he first heard that Wall's same-sex marriage bill had been draw in a Members' Bill Ballot he tweeted: 'It's just not intelligent to pretend that homosexual relationships are normal'.