Avoid trivia and scandals – NZ Bishops’ election statement

Bishops election statement

The New Zealand Catholic bishops’ election statement wants elected politicians to focus on issues that matter.

They say that scandals and trivia that dominate public debate shouldn’t be on the 2023 election agenda.

The bishops’ Election Statement for the 2023 General Election says increasing numbers of people are becoming disillusioned and people are disenfranchised because serious issues are treated as political footballs.

Their statement says in part:

“We are concerned with the growing trivialisation of politics, with the focus of politicians and media being on mistakes, misdemeanours or scandals of individual parliamentarians instead of being on the scandals of poverty, mental health and the diminishment of the sanctity and dignity of life.”

Their bishops’ statement is being distributed to the country’s 470,000 Catholics in six dioceses and 194 parishes.

“We are concerned that so many of the issues affecting all of us are treated as political footballs.

“Successive election-season promises and the changing of policies in line with the agenda of each new government are not working.

“More and more people in our land are becoming disillusioned and feel disenfranchised.

“Our hope is that the politicians who will form the Government … will focus on the issues that beset us as a nation and work together across party lines to make real progress in finding genuine, lasting solutions.”

The bishops ‘ statement also comments on rising levels of poverty and mental health, the lack of housing in various dioceses, and this year’s big storms.

During the past three years, the bishops have called out and complimented the government on several issues.

“We lamented the growing indifference to the sanctity of life. We affirmed our commitment for Te Tiriti o Waitangi as offering us a pathway of unity for our nation.

“And we talked about the rapidly growing toxicity in our communities that is dividing us and that generates anger, hate and even violence. These are but some of the many issues we face.”

Love your neighbour

Citing Jesus’ command to love your neighbour as yourself, the bishops acknowledge finding a party or candidates that subscribe to Christian behaviour can be difficult.

Nonetheless, they urge all Catholics to be informed. All Catholics should look seriously at the policies of each party and the position of each individual candidate, the bishops say.

“At times we cannot find parties or candidates who subscribe to all we believe. When this happens, we make choices, informed by our conscience guided by the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching, for the party or candidate which will bring forth the most common good, especially for the poor and vulnerable, and at the same time whose policies will bring forth the least moral harm.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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