Mr SPEAKER: Before I call the next speaker, I am aware that a number of speakers have arranged to have split calls. I ask just that that be revealed to the Speaker as the call is taken initially.
Hon MAURICE WILLIAMSON (Minister for Building and Construction): I too will be taking a split call with my colleague Jami-Lee Ross. It is sort of the young and the vibrant versus the old and the boring.
Hon Ruth Dyson: Which one’s which?
Hon MAURICE WILLIAMSON: Members of the House will be forced to choose which one is which.
I want to, first of all, congratulate Louisa Wall on this bill, and I want to say that the good news about spending years in this Parliament is that you learn to deflect all of the dreadful sort of fire and brimstone accusations that people say are going to happen. I have had a reverend in my local electorate call and say that the gay onslaught will start the day after this bill is passed. We are really struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like. We do not know whether it will come down the Pakuranga Highway as a series of troops, or whether it will be a gas that flows in over the electorate and blocks us all in.
I also had a Catholic priest tell me that I was supporting an unnatural act. I found that quite interesting, coming from someone who has taken an oath of celibacy for his whole life.
Hon Amy Adams: Cel-i-bacy.
Hon MAURICE WILLIAMSON: Cel-i-bacy—OK. We will go with celibacy, OK. I have not done it, so I do not know what it is about.
I also had a letter telling me that I would burn in the fires of hell for eternity, and that was a bad mistake because I have got a degree in physics. I used the thermodynamic laws of physics. I put in my body weight and my humidity and so on, I assumed the furnace to be at 5,000 degrees Celsius, and I would last for just on 2.1 seconds. It is hardly eternity—what do you think?
I also heard some more disgusting claims about adoption. Well, I have got three fantastic adopted kids. I know how good adoption is, and I have found some of the claims just disgraceful.
I found some of the bullying tactics really evil. I gave up being scared of bullies when I was at primary school.
However, a huge amount of the opposition was from moderates, from people who were concerned—who were seriously worried—about what this bill might do to the fabric of our society. I respect their concern; I respect their worry. They were worried about what it might to do to their families, and so on. Let me repeat to them now: all we are doing with this bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage. That is all we are doing. We are not declaring nuclear war on a foreign State. We are not bringing a virus in that could wipe out our agricultural sector for ever. We are allowing two people who love each other to have that recognised, and I cannot see what is wrong with that, for neither love nor money—I just cannot. I cannot understand why someone would be opposed.
I understand why people do not like what it is that others do. That is fine; we are all in that category. But I give a promise to those people who are opposed to this bill right now. I give you a watertight, guaranteed promise. The sun will still rise tomorrow. Your teenage daughter will still argue back at you as if she knows everything. Your mortgage will not grow. You will not have skin diseases or rashes or toads in your bed. The world will just carry on. So do not make this into a big deal. This bill is fantastic for the people it affects, but for the rest of us, life will go on.
Finally, can I say that one of the messages I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought—this bill was the cause of our drought. Well, if any of you follow my Twitter account, you will have seen that in the Pakuranga electorate this morning it was pouring with rain. We had the most enormous, big, gay rainbow across my electorate. It has to be a sign—it has to be a sign. If you are a believer, it is certainly a sign.
Can I finish—for all those who are concerned about this—with a quote from the Bible. It is Deuteronomy. I thought Deuteronomy was a cat out of the musical Cats, but never mind. The quote is Deuteronomy 1:29: “Be ye not afraid.”