Christian Heritage NZ Closing Down
CHNZ Media Release - 03 October 2006
Christian Heritage NZ Closing Down
Christian Heritage NZ announced today that it was closing down. Party leader Ewen McQueen said it was time for new things to arise in Christian politics in New Zealand and the party was closing down to allow that to happen.
Mr McQueen acknowledged that Christian Heritage had struggled for many years to attract broad support. The criminal convictions of its former leader last year had also created a legacy of negative perceptions around the party that would be very difficult to overcome. He stated
“For any Christian political party to succeed it needs to be a vehicle that will unite the Christian vote. We do not believe that Christian Heritage simply carrying on under its current banner (or even under a different name) will achieve this. It is time for something completely new.”
The CHNZ leader said that after the last election the National Board had considered its options and concluded that closing down was the best way forward for the sake of the wider cause. This had been recommended to the membership who then endorsed the decision in a postal vote. Party President Mr Nik Gregg said,
“Obviously this was not an easy decision to make. However 97% of our members agreed that this was the right thing to do. We have never existed for our own sake, but rather to try and achieve some positive change for our nation. It is now time to pursue that goal through other avenues.“
Mr Gregg went on to pay tribute to the members who had contributed to the party over the last 17 years. He stated,
“Christian Heritage has had the loyal and faithful support of a large number of people over many years. They have given much to the cause and have been hugely important in helping to build a Christian/family values voting constituency in New Zealand. On behalf of the leadership team I want to publicly thank them for their support.”
The resolution endorsed by the members included a recommendation that the leadership team seek to work with others in the wider Christian community to establish a new and unified Christian political vehicle. CHNZ leader Ewen McQueen noted that there was a significant Christian and family values voting constituency in New Zealand that was at least five to ten percent of the party vote. Whilst to date it had not been successful in achieving clear parliamentary representation, MMP still offered the opportunity for this to happen in the future. He stated
“There is no reason why a broad-based Christian political party cannot succeed in New Zealand. The voting base is there and I am sure that there would be support for a fresh, new and unified political vehicle that was on message with the key family values issues."
Mr McQueen said parliament was lacking a political party that would make a strong and clear stand for the importance of family life, the primacy of marriage and the sanctity of human life. He said,
“There is a big gap in our political landscape that remains to be filled. No party in our current parliament is speaking with any conviction on behalf of the unborn child, or in support of the institution of marriage, the primary building block of stable family life. These are critical issues for our nation. If we do not address them then we will abandon future generations of New Zealand children to the increasing brokenness, dysfunction, neglect and abuse that this generation has suffered.”
Mr McQueen said that those who advocated working as individuals to espouse these values within other parties ignored the fact that our parliamentary system was essentially based on political parties. This was even more the case since the introduction of MMP. He said,
“In forming coalitions it is the policy platforms of political parties that are brought to the negotiating table, not the views of one or two MPs within a party. If we want a family values agenda brought to bear on government policy then we need a party in parliament which will pro-actively pursue such an agenda.”