Christian Democrat Party (New Zealand)

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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.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Social conservatism is the belief that society is built upon a fragile network of relationships which need to be upheld through duty, traditional values and established institutions. This can include moral issues. Social conservatism is generally skeptical of social change, and believes in maintaining the status quo concerning social issues such as family life, sexual relations, and patriotism.

1996 New Zealand general election

The 1996 New Zealand general election was held on 12 October 1996 to determine the composition of the 45th New Zealand Parliament. It was notable for being the first election to be held under the new mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system, and produced a parliament considerably more diverse than previous elections. It saw the National Party, led by Jim Bolger, retain its position in government, but only after protracted negotiations with the smaller New Zealand First party to form a coalition. New Zealand First's position as "kingmaker", able to place either of the two major parties into government, was a significant election outcome.


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.

1999 New Zealand general election

The 1999 New Zealand general election was held on 27 November 1999 to determine the composition of the 46th New Zealand Parliament. The governing National Party, led by Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, was defeated, being replaced by a coalition of Helen Clark's Labour Party and the smaller Alliance. This marked an end to nine years of National Party government, and the beginning of the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand which would govern for 9 years, until its loss to the National Party in the 2008 general election.

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.

United Future New Zealand political party

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).

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".

The Honourable Graeme Ernest Lee,, is a former New Zealand politician. Originally a National Party MP, he broke away to found the Christian Democrat 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 dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the New Zealand Labour Party.

Fran Wilde New Zealand politician

Dame Frances Helen Wilde is a New Zealand politician, and former Wellington Labour MP, Minister of Tourism and Mayor of Wellington City. She was the first woman to serve as Mayor of Wellington. She was chairperson of the Greater Wellington Regional Council from 2007 until 2015.

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. 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.

Anthony John Walton is a former New Zealand political party president. He was leader of the Future New Zealand party, having previously been a prominent member of Future New Zealand's predecessor, the Christian Democrat Party. Before becoming president, Walton had been on the Christian Democrats' National Council since the party was launched in 1995. Walton championed Future New Zealand's merger with United New Zealand, creating the modern United Future New Zealand party in 2000. He was expected to take second place on United Future's party list but elected instead to pursue other career options. Walton is currently chief minister at the Olive Tree Church in Wellington. He is also associated with Zeal, an evangelical Christian youth enterprise and entertainment venue in that city. He has written on the subject of Christian apologetics and church formation. In 2001, he wrote a Christian apologetic's work.

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.

2002 New Zealand general election

The 2002 New Zealand general election was held on 27 July 2002 to determine the composition of the 47th New Zealand Parliament. It saw the reelection of Helen Clark's Labour Party government, as well as the worst-ever performance by the opposition National Party.

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.

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.

Larry Baldock is a New Zealand politician. Before entering national politics, he was previously involved with the International Youth With A Mission organisation and spent 15 years living in the Philippines. After returning to NZ in 1996 he joined the Future NZ Party in 1999. He stood in the Electorate of Tauranga in 1999. In 2001 he was elected to the Tauranga District Council and then became a member of Parliament for the United Future New Zealand party as a list MP from 2002 to 2005.

Bernard James (Bernie) Ogilvy is a New Zealand educator and politician. He was a list member of Parliament (MP) for the United Future New Zealand party from 2002 to 2005. He left United Future with the breakaway Kiwi Party in 2007.

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
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

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