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NZ Elections: Failure Of Christian Right

NZ Elections: Failure Of Christian Right

Dr. Michael Kidd

Family Party candidate Waitakere

“…there is a need for a moral imperative (which) must now focus on debt, aid trade and AIDS” God’s Politics/Jim Wallis

The Family party was formed out of the Destiny party - a Faith based party - achieving some 14,000 votes in the ‘05 election; however the Family party vote dropped to 6,900 in November 8, ‘08 election. This is also in line with the overall drop in the Christian oriented vote from 77,000 to 40,000 votes. In fact if you take a calculator the Destiny/Family vote is proportional to this overall drop.

Is NZ a less Christian country, and what does this mean for Australia which elected a Christian Prime Minister in 2007? Wallis was very influential with both Kevin Rudd and Obama, the later being attacked by the Christian right for pervasive liberalism.

The US and Australasia originate (with the exception of indigenous and recent immigration) from Judo-Christian-Celtic stock which has traditionally placed spiritual aspiration in the fore front. It can reliability be said the New Age movement looks to ethical and cultural motivation from the same roots, albeit more pagan.

Did people vote out of fear rather than following the ‘will of god’. There certainly was an economic scare, as many have lost their household savings, and are about to lose their jobs as a result of the greed of the capitalist system. Perhaps none of this matters.

My own view is that the elections in USA and NZ shows the death of the white, evangelical voter which have traditionally lined up on anti-abortion, pro-‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ and “global warming is bunkum” issues. People want a sense of hope not gloom as the message of Jesus to all, was one of hope; fitting the issues within the context of practical solutions rather than the simply “correct”.

Abortion needs to be lowered by persuasion and incentives and proper counseling that show the true impact on the mother and father of termination. Global warming is another issue but trying to get a better emission trading system that does not stifle economic activity must be balanced against trying to appeal to the NZ Pacific Island vote when many have experiences of rising sea levels.

My Fijian wife tells me of a strip of beach in her Fijian village which disappeared during her life due to rising sea levels; and I personally witnessed a WWII gun emplacement at Suva point covered by 2ft of water at high tide. Political parties need to inform their policy at the grass roots level. National has learned this lesson well.

With regard to the anti-smacking debate, the emphasis should have been on smacking as a last resort, the real issue being parental inability to control, leading to rebellious children who then go onto become drug experimenters, and find that they have gone beyond a point of no return. There are lots of measures in the cupboard to influence children along the right lines.

Finally, to take up the point of Wallis, and develop it somewhat, the current turmoil in the capitalist system shows us a need for a new form of economics which relate to the needs of people. Schumacher said this some 35 years ago and it is still relevant today:

“...by considering goods as more important than people and consumption … (is) a surrender to the forces of evil”.

The issue therefore is not just one of packaging – of which the Family party had plenty – but of listening to the warriors who have been sent, and then the walls of Jericho can fall. Complex issues require lots of thoughtful attention by men and women who can think beyond the square, but also use Christian ethics.


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