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Big News: "Knock out the Green Party", CHP Told

Big News with By Dave Crampton

“Knock out the Green Party,” Christian Heritage Party told

The Christian Heritage Party rebranded itself at their triennial convention earlier this month. Despite being “the highest polling party outside Parliament” at the last election, they are not happy with 2.4 percent of the vote they got and aim to more than double it to get into Parliament at the next election. They say they’ll do it. They said that before the last election as well – and probably the one before that. I don’t believe leader Graham Capill will get into Parliament. Another party, United Future New Zealand, is also Christian–based and surely must be taking some of the CHP vote. We’ll they’ve got Peter Dunne in Parliament, and he has been there for some time, so they’ve got a foot in the door.

The Christian Heritage Party’s new logo is “Christian Heritage - turning the tide”. Capill told the conference that although NZ was built on a Christian foundation, the tide was ebbing away that Christian heritage. The CHP weren’t all that impressed when transsexual Mayor Georgina Beyer was voted into Parliament at the expense of a born again Christian who was also standing for election.

But the tide turning slogan is not all that original. A nationwide men’s movement called Promise Keepers, who are currently running annual conferences for at least 4500 men in the main centres, have a very similar slogan. Publicity for their “turn the tide” conferences was released ages ago. Maybe the name similarity is merely coincidental.

Membership of the CHP is made up of born again Christians. Speakers at their biggest conference don’t have to share the faith, though. Women’s refuge head (and maybe future Wellington mayor?) Merepeka Raukawa-Tait spoke at the conference, focussing on challenges facing family life in New Zealand – but I bet that didn’t include paying taxes.

The CHP don’t want to be known as a morals party any more- they know it won’t get them into Parliament. I’ve been saying that for years. Now the CHP want to stick with issues such as education and health, police, justice and defence. At least that is better than being known as a moral watchdog and being known for their unsuccessful campaigns against moral issues and homosexuality.

But according to the Challenge Weekly, a weekly Christian paper. Rev Fred Nile, Australia’s equivalent to Graham Capill (except Nile and his wife are politicians) maintains the devil and the flesh are not so much the political enemy of the Lord as the Green Party.

“We must knock out the Green Party,” Nile viciously told those gathered at the CHP conference in Auckland. Nile maintains the Greens are anti-God, adding it was time the CHP showed other people what parties like the Greens stood for.

But it is the Greens who are doing increasingly well in the polls, purely because more people like them, like what they stand for, and want to vote for them. It is pretty hard to knock out a party that is polling better than NZ First, United Future New Zealand, and the Christian Heritage Party combined, especially when it is the lowest-polling of the three that is told to do the knocking by someone from another country.

But it is interesting what the CHP stands for. They want to be part of a compassionate government – but how compassionate will they be to human rights of gay couples, sex workers and to those they would call “immoral people”? The CHP also want freedom of speech – but their manifesto proclaims that if they had their way there will be no bad language on TV. Not even bugger or bloody – now that’ll cut down advertising revenue, especially from Toyota and drink-driving campaigns. There will also be no prostitution, and no shopping on Sundays. Maybe the only people allowed to work on Sundays will be priests, ministers and Seventh Day Adventists -and those driving public transport so carless people can get to church.

The CHP say they are also into unity – and they are, particularly family unity. However they say they will not “join in any comprehensive coalition, but would act in ways that ensure stable, responsible government.” It sounds politically irresponsible to me – not really embracing MMP and unity at all.

However if they take the line of Fred Nile and “knock out the Green Party”, that sounds like it is more of a direction into the political wilderness than playing their part in a politically unified government.

But the “rebranding” can only be better for the public image of the CHP if it loses the moral tag. It remains to be seen whether this turning the tide will stem the move away from a Christian heritage or ebb away at an opportunity of a Christian Heritage voice in Parliament.

In the meantime Fred Nile and his cohorts will do well to read their Bibles and learn that politicians who run our country, even Green ones, are to be respected as the Christian belief is that it is God who puts the politicians in power. They can even be prayed for – but they are not there to be knocked out, only voted out at elections.

- Dave Crampton is a Wellington-based freelance journalist, in addition to writing for Scoop he is the Australasian correspondent for newsroom-online.com. He can be contacted at davec@globe.net.nz

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