March 23, 2017 in General
The Conservative Party is fast becoming a bad joke. It barely registers in most opinion polls and its media releases are ignored apart from the release aggregator Scoop. The general media consensus seems to be that after Colin Craig tore the party apart over whatever his relationship to his former media manager, Rachel McGregor, was, despite the fact that there may well be continuing financial assistance from that quarter, the party is effectively moribund. It rarely puts out communiques and Leighton Baker’s election as leader has placed the party in the hands of a former Kiwi Party candidate (for Christchurch East). As the defunct Kiwi Party was non-viable and only too eager to be assimilated into the Conservative Party’s ranks in the first place, this is not a good sign. Moreover, unlike Colin Craig, who at least tried to balance fiscal and social conservatism, Leighton Baker hasn’t held mainstream public office either and doesn’t have Colin Craig’s strategic management and organisational scale. As evidence, one should note that building and construction is its only non-religious policy released thus far. After the inevitable happens, things need to change. The next religious social conservative party will have to be narrow focus and predicated on the anti-euthanasia movement, which is barely part of the New Zealand Christian Right at all and far more diverse and mainstreamed than Family First, the Conservative Party and Right to Life New Zealand. They’re too radical and not centrist enough. Turning back the clock on marriage equality, decriminalisation of sex work, liberal censorship policy and liberal terms of abortion access are all forelorn hopes, as those issues were resolved during the eighties and nineties. Family First and Right to Life have no function but to make impotent gestures within an increasingly liberal, secular New Zealand. Their time is coming and they know it.