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Sex a safe election topic in Lower Hutt house of God

Nov 22nd, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

SEX EDUCATION may not be high on a party’s political agenda but the topic certainly stirred discussion in the most appropriate setting – a church.

SILENT PRAYERS: ACT party candidate Peter Mccaffrey catches a few minutes alone before the evening's discussion

The Catholic parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Lower Hutt hosted an election forum last night, welcoming Hutt South candidates to talk about their party policies.

Most talk centred on Archbishop John Dew’s statement for the 2011 election titled Securing the Common Good, and each candidate’s response to it.

Time was given for questions after the discussion, one of which concerned sex education in schools and whether they would change current teaching methods and why.

Gordon Copeland, Hutt South candidate for the Conservative party explained the need for content to change and parental involvement to be prioritised.

“It’s sponsored by Durex and basically an advertising campaign for condoms,” he says.

“You’d be shocked some of you if you actually saw what is being taught in our schools at the moment.”

Mr Copeland pushed the ideas that parents should decide what programme is best for their child and that the current model does not fit that requirement.

“It scares the hell out of me,” he says.

ACT representative Peter Mccaffrey was quite straightforward in reiterating his party’s view on the issue.

“I don’t even need to make a decision about whether this is a right thing or not to be doing because it should be up to you,” he says.

He says it should be up to the schools and the government should be in no position to tell people what to do with their child’s sex education.

Incumbent Labour MP Trevor Mallard was the only other candidate to comment and insisted the education methods already in place work.

The odd twist in the sex question was that it was asked by ACT Party candidate Alex Speirs.

Mr Speirs said after the meeting he stood down from the discussion to let his colleague Mr Mccaffrey represent the party.

He says it is something never really brought up in these forums and that it would be good to see all the candidates have a go.

“I wanted to hear something different,” he says.

While it may have been a question from one ACT candidate to another, Mr Speirs says it was entirely sprung on his fellow party member and made out of interest.

“I have my own personal beliefs anyway,” he says.

Parish member and discussion mediator, Chris Duthie-Jung said the topic was a bit of a surprise but was appropriate for the meeting.

“There was a good range of questions,” he says.

“It’s fascinating that an ACT member brought it up.”

Abortion was also billed as part of Archbishop’s statement, a topic that only Gordon Copeland touched upon.

Mr Copeland said women should be better informed and be able to make this life-changing decision themselves.

According to 2006 census statistics, Hutt South is the home to 11,274 Catholic residents, 18.3% of the religious demographic in that area.

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