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Christian Heritage Elects New Leader

23 August 2003

Christian Heritage Elects New Leader

Christian Heritage today elected a new leader. At the party’s conference in Nelson delegates from around New Zealand voted to elect Mr Ewen McQueen to take the reins from retiring leader Mr Graham Capill. Mr McQueen, a 38-year-old project manager/analyst from Auckland (personal profile below), won the leadership in a contest with Mr Vic Jarvis, an employment consultant of Palmerston North.

Addressing conference delegates before the vote, Mr McQueen emphasised the importance of the party having a clear focus on what the key issues are for New Zealand society today. He stated:

“It is my firm conviction that those issues revolve mainly around the breakdown of family life, and in particular the undermining of the institution of marriage. So many of our social and economic problems come back to these roots. This is where the soul of the nation is hurting. This is why so many New Zealand children are suffering.

Let’s identify with where our people are hurting. And then let’s take the lead in rebuilding a culture that affirms marriage, strengthens families, and celebrates life as the gift of God. It’s a simple message, but it’s one that will resound in hearts across the land.”

As well as stressing the need for the party to be “on-message”, Mr McQueen said the party also needed to be well presented and well managed if it was to gain the confidence of the electorate and succeed in the future.

In addition to the leadership contest, the conference also considered options for the future direction of the party and voted to continue as an independent Christian political party. On this issue Mr McQueen noted that the Christian/family values constitutency had grown considerably since the late eighties when Christian Heritage was first launched. He said,

“As New Zealand’s pioneer Christian political party we can be proud of our contribution in kick-starting and helping to grow this constituency over the last fourteen years. The fact that increasing numbers of New Zealanders are now willing to vote for leadership that puts the family first, is cause for real hope that our nation can change for the better. We must to continue to be part of that process to ensure there is a clear and consistent voice for the virtues that build strong family life, and ultimately a prosperous nation.”

Mr McQueen said Christian Heritage offered a unique package to the electorate. It was a democratic political party that drew its membership and support from a broad spectrum of the Christian community in New Zealand. It had a consistent campaign track record spanning five general elections and three by-elections. It had a core of experienced candidates who had already demonstrated a long-term commitment to the cause. And it now had a rejuvenated leadership team with the passion and focus needed to take the party forward.

He said these were all attributes that would help the party become a major player in the Christian/family values constituency in the future.

Mr McQueen also paid tribute to retiring leader Graham Capill who he said had led the party with great tenacity and perseverance for many years. He said Graham Capill had invested a huge amount of his life into the party and had won the respect of many New Zealanders.

Mr Capill himself addressed delegates for the last time as leader, and urged them to unite behind the vision of reforming family life in New Zealand. He thanked members for their support over the last 14 years and said that the new leader would bring energy and enthusiasm to this ongoing promotion of this party vision

END

EWEN MCQUEEN - PERSONAL PROFILE

- Age 38
- Married, three children
- MA (Hons) Economics
- Project manager / analyst

Ewen McQueen has an M.A.(Hons) in economics and works as an analyst and project manager in the health sector in Auckland. He is currently involved in a number of projects related to the District Health Board's major redevelopment of its Auckland and Green Lane Hospital sites.

Ewen has a long-term commitment to seeing Christian values and principles represented in government. To this end he has stood for Parliament five times over the past decade. This included standing for Christian Heritage in the Taranaki-King Country byelection in 1998 where he surprised commentators by coming in ahead of NZ First and the Greens. He was also the party's deputy leader and finance spokesperson from 1995 to 2000.

Over the last decade Ewen has made significant contributions to public debate on family issues, with articles published in major newspapers around the country. He has also networked with a range of churches to encourage and facilitate their input into the select committee process on various public policy issues.

Ewen is married with three children and lives in the central Auckland suburb of Mt Eden. Both he and his wife Rachel are committed Christians with a vision for the restoration of family life across the nation. They are members of Valley Road International Church in Mt Eden.

Ewen was born in Palmerston North, but grew up on Auckland's North Shore where he attended Takapuna Grammar School in the early eighties.

ENDS

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