A lot of people are emailing their MP's over the Civil Union bills. I've seen some of the replies. Some of these people obviously want to persuade their MP to vote against the bill, others for it.
This is conscience vote, meaning that MPs vote with their conscience. Now that's pretty hard for some MP's to do, but many MP's have strong views on the bills - such as Chris Carter and Peter Dunne.
Because it is a conscience vote, an MP's conscience,or opinion, carries more weight than their constituents views. When an MP's mind is made up, the views of those who put them in Parliament are irrelevant, judging by the replies I have seen from Chris Carter.
Four people are driving the civil union legislation in Cabinet: Michael Cullen, Helen Clark, David Benson Pope and Chris Carter. They have been busy speaking at gay frendly groups all over the country.
Chris Carter has one message for anyone from his electorate who writes to him opposing the bill.
Your views are irrelevant.
I thought MPs were supposed to listen to, and take on board constituents' concerns - even if these bills are conscience votes.
Chris Carter has a different view. In his words, to one of his constituents:
I utterly reject the suggestion that the state should discriminate against my relationship, my family and my children because it suits someone's personal morality. I teach my children that it doesn't matter who they form a relationship with, it doesn't matter who any body else forms a relationship with either.
That is the kind of New Zealand I am fighting for. I will continue to do so despite your protests
Or in other words: Bugger Off.