It may be just co-incidence that Labour MP Trevor Mallard decided to bring a petition to Parliament for prisoners to have a right to be sperm donors, just after he was placed well down Labour's published list for the coming election. Mallard says he does not necessarily agree with the proposal, he simply believes it is an MP's duty to allow anyone to petition Parliament.

Really? Is there no proposition so ridiculous that he would not table it for the attention of the House? Or did he choose this one because it had originally been sent to National's Chris Bishop who nearly took Mallard's Hutt South seat at the last election and no doubt helped the veteran MP decide not to stand in the electorate again?

Bishop was promoting a bill on organ donation when he received the petition from convicted murderer Karl Teangiotau Nuku who believes it is a prisoner's right to donate organs, blood and sperm if they wish. Bishop obviously thought it unworthy of attention and he was right.

Imprisonment means the loss of the right to move about the community and participate in its activities. If a blood or sperm bank wanted to seek donors in a prison it is free to do so, but there is no obligation to provide them with the opportunity to donate. The right to procreate is not one that warrants active state support. In fact the public might wish it to be actively discouraged in certain situations, prisons especially.