We asked a bunch of MPs and candidates the same five questions to help you decide where to cast your vote at the end of this month. Today it’s Act’s Wellington Central candidate Stephen Whittington’s turn.
What are the five biggest issues this election?
Government debt, which over the last 3 years amounts to almost $20,000 for each and every New Zealander;
A sluggish economy, with small forecast increases in productivity which will lead to stagnating wages; poor job growth, limited by regulation that more often constrains businesses rather than enables them to expand;
Youth unemployment hitting 27% — the highest in recorded history, driven by the removal of the youth minimum wage;
And finally, an education system that limits choice to the wealthy, who can afford to pay taxes for a public education, and again pay for education through private fees — if the money followed the child to whichever school they attended, private and integrated education would be available for all.
What is your stance on gay marriage?
I support gay marriage. Every one should be equal before the law – heterosexual couples should not be legally privileged over homosexual couples.
What is your stance on gay couples being able to adopt?
I support gay couples being able to adopt. The law as it stands is absurd – gay singles can adopt, de facto heterosexual couples can adopt, but gay couples in a relationship cannot. Again, people, regardless of their sexual preference, should be treated equally.
How do we lower the suicide and attempted suicide rate of Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in NZ?
In respect of suicide, there are major issues. The first is, I believe the media need to be able to report more on the issue, to ensure something is done about it. I have also heard that some school principals prevent the formation of queer-straight alliances in their schools. This should stop; all people should have access to support groups. If there are other sensible ideas that would impact on bullying, I would support them.
What is your view on the To Be Who I Am Report?
In respect of the To Be Who I Am report, in all honesty I have not had time to read the full content of the report. I have read the Executive Summary, and am fully supportive of the initiatives outlined therein.