Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A new Destiny?

Pope Tamaki held a press conference today and announced that he would be winding up his DestinyNZ party to make way for a new party to unite the Christian vote. Tamaki clearly thinks that with the combined followings of himself, Gordon Copeland's FutureNZ, and Taito Phillip Field's yet-to-be-established "Pacific Party", the Christian right will be able to repeat the achievement of the 1996 Christian Coalition and have a real chance of achieving solid Parliamentary representation. But thanks to MMP's undemocratic 5% threshold, it is more likely they'll repeat its failure. The Christian Coalition gained only 4.3% of the vote in 1996, won no seats, and collapsed in mutual recriminations over whether they should have taken a harder or softer line. As for this time round, a right-wing Christian party will mainly draw votes from National and United Future, making it more difficult for National to reach the 46% it needs to form a government willing to implement its policies - and in the unlikely event it makes it over the threshold, it will make the coalition dance even more complicated than it is at present (probably to National's detriment, as a Christian party is more likely to be a deal-breaker for others than a valuable addition to a coalition arrangement). It may also force National to defend itself on the right to prevent that loss of votes, alienating the centrist voters it needs to win over to gain power. So ironicly the greatest effect of this move may be to aid the success of the very social liberal parties the Christian right are trying to overthrow.