I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t support the government redefining marriage. But paradoxically, I am very pleased and proud of John Banks for saying that he will vote for it.
I don’t know how many people are left in the ACT Party – I suspect all sane people who aren’t within shot of a high list position have departed by now. But it is a stark reality that most people in ACT would be fully supportive of the government sanction of gay marriage. It would be crazy and foolish for Banks, the party’s sole representative in parliament, to vote against something his party wholeheartedly supports. I don’t believe Banks personally supports the idea for one second. But he is an ACT MP, and he has recognised that ACT MPs should vote in a way which reflects their party. And I admire him for that.
It seems to me to also be further proof that John Banks is everything in a party leader that Rodney Hide was not. Hide voted to ban freedom of expression in Wanganui, directly against the sentiments of his party, encouraged a double standard on Maori property rights, supported Nick Smith’s RMA reforms that made the removal of those property rights more efficient, gave Consumer Affairs greater power to ban products, and turned Auckland’s local government upside down, to no great positive effect. There’s no classical liberal legacy there. And yet Banks has given us charter schools, and is voting against his own views to support the views of his party! Who is has helped ACT’s cause more?
If there are people still wishing Hide was ACT’s leader instead of Banks, this move should disabuse them of their fantasies.