NRL News

Pinoy and pro-life: New Zealand Parliament’s newest member

by | Jun 7, 2019

A Filipino-Kiwi lawyer creates a first

By Paulo Garcia and Carolyn Moynihan

Editor’s note. This is excerpted from a post that appeared today at Mercatornet and is reposted with permission.

It may be a sign of the times that the newest member of the New Zealand Parliament began his maiden speech in the House last week using three languages. In highlighting the sanctity of life, the family, religious tolerance and free speech he made it clear that he would not dodge other key issues of our time.

Paulo Garcia, who joined the National Party benches after a member retired, began, as is usual here, by greeting in Maori the customary tribal authorities of the land. He proceeded in Tagalog, identifying himself with the rest of the migrant community from the Philippines, and then began again, delivering his speech in English. At the end, Filipino supporters — strongly represented in a packed gallery — responded, Maori style, with a “Pinoy” waiata (song).

New Zealand is as multicultural as anywhere in the West. Filipinos, as Garcia pointed out, have boosted the workforce in many sectors: in nursing homes and hospitals, on construction sites, in IT and engineering, in hospitality – and, surprisingly, dairy farming.

And now, for the first time, in Parliament.

Garcia, married to Maria Lourdes, and the father of four girls, lost no time in identifying himself as a Catholic. The opening of his speech took the form of a prayer, thanking “our loving God that he has given his children the opportunity to serve New Zealand” and asking for “a steady heart, mind, and body that we may help bring your will for us in New Zealand to fruition”.

In the following excerpts the new MP addresses the issues he sees as important for the country. …

Sanctity of life issues

“All of us have the seeds of prejudice within us, but it is a question of which seeds we water and grow. There have been people who say my views are intolerant. Why? Because I am pro-life? Because I believe in the sanctity of life? Because I take the great Māori proverb literally and to its logical conclusion? He aha te mea nui o te ao? (What is the most important thing in the world?) He tangata, he tangata, he tangata (It is people, it is people, it is people.) … When it comes to human beings, we cannot pick and choose which ones are protected and which ones are not, and we cannot say some vulnerable lives must be protected but others not. …

A call to men

“Men are particularly to blame. Women are often left abandoned, uncertain, and pressured to get rid of unexpected children or to raise them on their own. I salute in absolute praise all single mothers. I can honestly say that if either my wife or I had had to raise our daughters alone, we would have struggled severely as well. Despite the due importance we all attach to this task in our hands—that of governing this country—parenting is the most important job we really have. As mothers and fathers and, collectively, as a Parliament and as a nation, we need to support parents, we need to support our families, and we need to support our children, but I highlight that the men of this country need to do more. We as men need to stand strong in our relationships. We must be reliable providers and protectors. We must show tamariki [children) the way to respect and honour women.

Free speech and the pro-life voice

“Whatever laws we might pass in this Chamber, the pro-life voice must no longer be despised and discounted as offensive. … While we need to stay vigilant and investigate people who post offensive material online, we need to be equally concerned about any move in this House to restrict freedom of speech, a move which has all too often been used by those in power to silence those with differing opinions or ideas. This doctrine, peddled by those who pretend to be progressive, asserts that the mere expression of ideas itself is a limitation on the rights of others. This is preposterous. We must always run the risk of being offended in the effort to afford each citizen their freedom of expression, their freedom to be wrong, and, yes, unfortunately, even nasty. …

Read the Hon. Paulo Garcia’s complete speech (or watch on video) at the NZ Parliamentary website.

Categories: Pro-Lifers