Referendum questions first up at forum

Dunedin parliamentary candidates (from left) David Clark (Labour), Michael Woodhouse (National),...
Dunedin parliamentary candidates (from left) David Clark (Labour), Michael Woodhouse (National), Ben Peters (Opportunities), Jack Brazil (Green) and Robert Griffith (New Zealand First) got their points across in front of a packed crowd at the Opoho Presbyterian Church last night. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Cannabis made Labour’s David Clark "giggly", National’s Michael Woodhouse had a "bad reaction" to the drug and the Green Party’s Jack Brazil lauded its medicinal benefits.

Parliamentary candidates at a debate at the Opoho Presbyterian Church last night were mostly in favour of legalising cannabis.

They were split on the End of Life Choice Act.

The two referendum questions were tackled first up at an upbeat meet-the-candidates forum, where candidates squeezed in witty one-liners and there was standing room only for the audience.

Mr Woodhouse was pleased Otago won the Ranfurly Shield from the Taranaki rugby team.

"It just goes to show a blue team can win when they’re the underdogs," he said.

New Zealand First’s Robert Griffith urged people to support his party to give "Labour a brain and National a heart".

Arguing against euthanasia, Dr Clark said his grandmother suffered from mental illness and had attempted to take her own life. She had felt she was a burden on society, he said.

The candidates clashed over gun control reforms.

Mr Griffith said NZ First had worked behind the scenes to have the concerns of gun owners listened to.

"The only hunter that needs a semi-automatic is a really bad hunter," Opportunities Party candidate Ben Peters said.

He also said house prices should be held steady for a generation, to allow wages to catch up.

The candidates agreed inequality was a big issue this election.

Mr Brazil spoke in favour of strengthening hate-speech law.

Dr Clark said he wanted free speech preserved so ideas could be debated.

Mr Woodhouse said people lost the ability to learn from each other when debate was shut down.

"I learn a lot more from David than I will from one of my colleagues," he said to audience laughter.

Act New Zealand candidate Callum Steele-Macintosh was unable to be at the debate because of work commitments and New Conservative’s Solomon King was ill.


Big fat no from me for both of the referendum questions. End of life Choice Act is not stringent enough for me to have any confidence in how it will be interpreted and used.

Must prominent people disclose, especially if they have managed a hospital?

The cannabis referendum is not a general election issue.






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