David Bennett: Why he voted yes

Hamilton East MP has change of heart

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 13:41 18/04/2013

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David Bennett was the only MP in the country to switch from opposing marriage equality to supporting it in last night's vote.

The Hamilton East National MP voted against the Marriage Amendment Bill at its first two readings, but last night he changed his mind and voted for it.

The bill passed its final reading 77 votes to 44.

So, why the change of heart?

''I listened carefully to everybody's speeches and all the readings and also the public and the constituents for their feedback to me, which has been very valuable,'' Mr Bennett said.

''It's a really hard one. I understand and appreciate both sides of the argument, but in the end of the day we have the legislative definition of marriage, there's a group of people that wanted to be part of that definition and it seemed appropriate, from a legislative point of view, that we make that change.

''That's really what swayed me in the end.''

Mr Bennett said a referendum would have been the best way to make a decision on the bill and said feedback from people in Hamilton East had been ''evenly divided''.

''There will be some people that will appreciate what I've done and some people that won't. That's the nature of the beast I guess.

''I personally still think everybody should have had a say in it.''

He also said there were still issues with the bill around adoption but ''legislation's not always perfect''.

The only other person to change their vote at the third and final reading was Te Tai Tonga Labour MP Rino Tirikatene.

After voting for the bill at the first two readings he voted against it last night.

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- Waikato

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