Christian Democrat Party (New Zealand)

Last updated

The Christian Democrat Party of New Zealand was a Christian socially conservative political party established in 1995. It contested the 1996 general election as part of the Christian Coalition with the Christian Heritage Party.

Contents

It changed its name to Future New Zealand in 1998 and contested the 1999 election. It formed a coalition with the United Party as United Future New Zealand in 2000 and contested the 2002 election. The coalition became a full merger the following year.

Founding and Christian Coalition

Christian Politics NZ.svg

The Christian Democrats were founded by Graeme Lee, a National Party MP. Lee had a reputation as one of the more conservative MPs in Parliament, and was particularly active in opposing Fran Wilde's homosexual law reform bill. When the Christian Heritage Party, a strongly conservative group, was established, Lee initially rejected it, believing that it was better to work from within the National Party. Later, however, when he lost his ministerial rank in a Cabinet reshuffle, Lee decided to leave National. Although there were attempts to have him join Christian Heritage, Lee disagreed with many Christian Heritage policies. He instead established a group called the United Progressive Party. After a failed attempt to merge the United Progressive Party with Christian Heritage, it was relaunched on 17 May 1995 under the name "Christian Democrats".

Talks between the Christian Democrats and Christian Heritage continued, with many people believing that a united front was the only way for the Christian conservative movement to be successful. [1] There were, however, significant policy differences between the two parties. One major problem was Christian Heritage's "confessional" nature, which meant that only Christians could join the party. Graeme Lee and the Christian Democrats, by contrast, preferred to make their party "values-based", saying that anyone who shared the basic Christian moral outlook (whether actually Christian or not) should be able to participate. The two parties also disagreed on a number of other points, with the Christian Democrats generally being more moderate than Christian Heritage.

Eventually, however, the two parties agreed to contest the 1996 election as a single bloc. The resultant Christian Coalition was announced on 29 March 1996. Throughout the existence of the Coalition, however, there were tensions between the two parties – the Christian Democrats accused Christian Heritage of extremism and inflexibility, while Christian Heritage accused the Christian Democrats of putting political pragmatism before Christian morality. The Coalition received 4.33% of the votes, a little short of the 5% which would have given it seats in Parliament, and it collapsed soon afterwards, with both sides accusing each other of having held the Coalition back.

Future New Zealand and United Future

Shortly after the Coalition collapsed, Graeme Lee stepped down as leader of the Christian Democrats, having decided some time earlier to retire if the Coalition was not successful. After a considerable period of time, Anthony Walton was selected as the party's new leader. Walton took the party even further away from the confessionalism of Christian Heritage, abandoning the explicitly religious nature of the party in favour of a broader "values-based" platform. It changed its name to Future New Zealand in November 1998 and contested the 1999 election, gaining 1.12% of the votes and no seats.

Future New Zealand joined with the United Party to form a coalition known as United Future New Zealand in November 2000 and contested the 2002 election as such. The joint parties polled strongly, gaining eight seats in Parliament. The coalition became a full merger in 2003.

Only one founding member of the Christian Democrats, Murray Smith, became a United Future MP, so there has been debate as to how much of the Christian Democrats remained in the modern party. One side of this debate argues that United Future list MPs Larry Baldock, Bernie Ogilvy and Paul Adams all had involvement with evangelical organisations, such as Youth with a Mission, the Masters Institute in Auckland, and City Impact Church, and while they may not have been Christian Democrats, they were conservative Christian political activists and community figures before their entry to Parliament. Over and over again, United Future voted against socially liberal legislation in Parliament, or else supported socially conservative private members bills. These included the Prostitution Law Reform Act 2003, Care of Children Act 2004, Civil Union Act 2004, Relationships (Statutory References) Act 2005 and Death With Dignity Bill 2004, which they opposed. Murray Smith sponsored an unsuccessful private members bill which would have required parental notification before an abortion could be performed, which did not pass. Although a conservative Catholic, Gordon Copeland has frequently cited the work of organisations such as the Society for Promotion of Community Standards and Right to Life New Zealand as a basis for comments against the Prostitution Law Reform Act, and himself introduced an attempt to ban same-sex marriage into the 48th New Zealand Parliament on 7 December 2005.

In February 2006, Copeland submitted an anti-abortion private members ballot bill into the 48th Parliament, entitled the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (Informed Consent) Bill. This bill would ensure that women give informed consent before undergoing an abortion of their unborn child.

Electoral results

ElectionParty# of party votes% of party vote# of seats
won
Government/opposition?
1996 Christian Coalition89,7164.33
0 / 120
Not in Parliament
1999 Future NZ23,0331.12
0 / 120
Not in Parliament
2002 United Future135,9186.69
8 / 120
Supporting Labour-led government
2005 United Future60,8602.67%
3 / 120
Supporting Labour-led government
2008 United Future20,4970.87%
1 / 120
Supporting National government
2011 United Future13,4430.60%
1 / 120
Supporting National government
2014 United Future4,5330.22%
1 / 120
Supporting National government
2017 United Future1,7820.07%
0 / 120
Not in Parliament

See also

  1. "Christian parties still look to merger". The New Zealand Herald . 9 May 1995. p. 5.

Related Research Articles

A conscience vote or free vote is a type of vote in a legislative body where legislators are allowed to vote according to their own personal conscience rather than according to an official line set down by their political party. In a parliamentary system, especially within the Westminster system, it can also be used to indicate crossbench members of a hung parliament where confidence and supply is provided to allow formation of a minority government but the right to vote on conscience is retained. Free votes are found in Canadian and some British legislative bodies; conscience votes are used in Australian and New Zealand legislative bodies.

Christian Democratic Party (Norway)

The Christian Democratic Party, is a Christian-democratic political party in Norway founded in 1933. The Norwegian name literally translates to Christian People's Party, shortened KrF. The name may also be translated as "The People's Christian Party".

New Zealand National Party Major New Zealand political party

The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that largely dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the Labour Party.

Christian Heritage Party of New Zealand

The Christian Heritage Party of New Zealand was a New Zealand political party espousing Christian values and conservative views on social policy. Although it never won seats in an election, it came close to doing so in 1996 as part of the Christian Coalition and briefly had a member in Parliament.

United Future New Zealand, usually known as United Future, was a centrist political party in New Zealand. The party was in government between 2005 and 2017, first alongside Labour (2005–2008) and then supporting National (2008–2017).

Peter Dunne New Zealand politician

Peter Francis Dunne is a retired New Zealand politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ōhāriu. He held the seat and its predecessors from 1984 to 2017—representing the Labour Party in Parliament from 1984 to 1994, and a succession of minor centrist parties from 1994. He was the Leader of Future New Zealand from 1994 to 1995, United New Zealand from 1996 to 2000, and United Future from 2000 to 2017.

United New Zealand

United New Zealand was a centrist political party in New Zealand founded in 1995. It merged with the Christian-based Future New Zealand party to form the United Future New Zealand party in 2000.

Christian Coalition (New Zealand)

The Christian Coalition was an Evangelical Christian political party operating in New Zealand. It was an alliance of the now-defunct Christian Heritage Party and the Christian Democrats, New Zealand's two theologically conservative Christian parties. The Christian Coalition did not meet with the success that it hoped for, and was eventually dissolved.

Abortion in New Zealand is legal within the framework of the Abortion Legislation Act 2020, which permits the termination of pregnancy for up to 20 weeks of pregnancy and removed abortion from the Crimes Act 1961. After 20 weeks, abortion is permitted only if a health practitioner deems it "clinically appropriate" and consults at least one other health practitioner. Abortion is only illegal if a person who is not a licensed health practitioner procures or performs an abortion.

Christian politics in New Zealand

This article discusses Christian politics in New Zealand.

Paul Adams is a politician and former rally driving champion from New Zealand.

Larry David Baldock is a New Zealand politician. Before entering national politics, he was involved with Youth With A Mission and spent 15 years living in the Philippines. After returning to New Zealand in 1996, he joined Future New Zealand in 1999, standing as a candidate in the Tauranga electorate at that year's general election. In 2001, he was elected to the Tauranga City Council, and served as a list MP for United Future New Zealand from 2002 to 2005.

Gordon Copeland

Gordon Frank Copeland was a New Zealand politician who served as a Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2008. He entered the House of Representatives as a list MP for the United Future New Zealand Party from 2002 but he resigned from the party in 2007. In March 2009, Copeland became Party President of The Kiwi Party, which he had co-founded with another former United Future list MP, Larry Baldock, in May 2007. Copeland stood for the Conservative Party in the 2011 New Zealand general election. Prior to entering Parliament he held a number of corporate positions before working as the financial administrator for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington.

Murray Smith is a former New Zealand politician. He was a member of the United Future New Zealand party caucus, having been elected to Parliament as a list MP in the 2002 election.

The Kiwi Party was a political party operating in New Zealand between 2007 and 2011. Briefly known as Future New Zealand, it was a breakaway from the United Future New Zealand party and sought to carry on the tradition of Future New Zealand. The party was formed when MP Gordon Copeland left United Future after a dispute over support for the Crimes Amendment Act 2007. At the 2008 general election, the Kiwi Party was unsuccessful, and was not re-elected to Parliament. It did not contest the 2011 general election under its own banner, but the leaders and other members stood for the Conservative Party.

Graeme Lee (politician)

Graeme Ernest Lee is a former New Zealand politician. Originally a National Party MP, he broke away to found the Christian Democrat Party.

Voice for Life

Voice for Life, formerly known as the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), is a New Zealand pro-life advocacy group. Besides opposing abortion, Voice for Life has also lobbied against infanticide, embryonic stem cell research, cloning and euthanasia. In recent years, it has strongly campaigned against the decriminalisation of euthanasia in New Zealand as well as abortion, but was unsuccessful in preventing the decriminalisation of either in 2020.

Brian MacDonell

Brian Peter MacDonell is a former New Zealand Member of Parliament for Dunedin Central in the South Island.

Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 Act of Parliament in New Zealand

Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977, also known as the CS&A Act 1977, is an Act of Parliament in New Zealand. It was passed shortly following an inquiry by the Royal Commission on Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion. The legislation established the legal framework for abortion in New Zealand; with abortions being allowed provided the procedure was approved by two certifying consultants and that the circumstances met the criteria of the Crimes Act 1961. In March 2020, several of its provisions were amended by the Abortion Legislation Act 2020, which eased access to abortion and eliminated most of the criteria established by the Crimes Act 1961.

Abortion Legislation Act 2020 Act of Parliament in New Zealand

The New Zealand Abortion Legislation Act 2020 is an Act of Parliament in New Zealand that amends the law to decriminalise abortion. Under the act, abortion is available without restrictions to any woman who is not more than 20 weeks pregnant. Women seeking an abortion after 20 weeks have to be assessed by a qualified health professional.