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Richard Lewis On Copeland's Withdrawal

Former Destiny New Zealand Leader

20 September 2007

Richard Lewis On Copeland's Withdrawal

It is with much regret that I learn of Gordon Copeland's withdrawal from co-leadership of the new soon-to-be launched, political vehicle.

About four months ago Destiny and Future NZ came together with other political stakeholders, to set aside differences for the purpose of presenting a single voice at the next election. With the support of a group of Christian leaders we call the National Advisory Council (NAC) and who are derived from a broad range of Churches and Denominations (these are not official representatives of these churches but are seasoned Christian leaders), we were able to make key decisions to move the new party forward.

On 10 July (10-weeks ago) the NAC made a 'unanimous' decision on co-leadership of the new party between Gordon Copeland and myself. This decision was subsequently affirmed in writing on 14 August (5 weeks ago). The documented resolutions included a formal position in the new vehicle for Larry Baldock.

Additional resolutions included:
* "29th August last arranged meeting of FNZ. Finish meetings of F.N.Z"...Agreed

* "Initiate de-registration of Destiny party together with a carefully scripted press release serving notice of the intention to form a single vehicle"...Agreed

* "Strong agreement at NAC that Richard be affirmed as a Co-Leader"

* "That this group confirms the earlier decision of NAC that Richard Lewis be a co-leader of the new political vehicle"...Agreed

Clearly, the leadership issue was resolved.

The decision to lay down the Destiny party was a big one for us to make. We could have, if we wanted to, continued to build on a five-year foundation. But I considered our collective endeavour to form a new single vehicle as far more important than retaining the Destiny political vehicle. So on Tuesday 18th September Bishop Tamaki and I informed the public of New Zealand that the Destiny Party would be disbanded.

To explain our de-registration and in line with the NAC directive, we served notice of the formation of the new vehicle and its pending launch in 5-6 weeks time. The obvious speculation and questions of "why," "who," "how" and "what," were natural outcomes. We felt it was important to be open and up-front with the media, the public and our nationwide membership base, of our roles in the new vehicle. In doing so we were careful not to disclose details of others involved in the new party and stressed to the media that the final composition of leadership would be revealed at the later launch.

I am hugely disappointed about the developments of the last two days. Through all of this, I have sought to conduct myself in the best interests of the new party. Yesterday I met with Gordon and together we agreed to front on Willie Jackson's Eye to Eye pre-recording this coming Friday - hence my surprise at today's announcement.

I am still totally committed to the formation of this new party and hope that the 'cause' that brought us all together some four months ago might be the glue that holds this together. That cause is to see one unified Christian-values party that advocates strongly for New Zealand families in Parliament. Because New Zealand desperately needs it.

Despite Mr Copeland's most recent announcement withdrawing from co-leadership and plans to launch his Future NZ party, Destiny NZ will continue to honour our commitment to de-register our party.

My intended course of action is to go back to the NAC and the wider group that has forged this pathway over the last 3-4 months to review our position and consider the most appropriate way forward. From there we will likely make further announcements about the new party.

Richard Lewis


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