Opinion: New? Conservatives?

From Craig Young, 24 December 2018

With Family First off "protecting" New Zealand from the use of cannabis for adult personal use, abortion rights and the decriminalisation of assisted suicide, there aren't all that many conservative Christian pressure groups paying any attention to LGBT issues.

Even Family First seems to have tacitly acknowledged the futility of its abortive crusade against gender-appropriate changing rooms and ablutions for transgender students, which leaves only one political entity monitoring LGBT political developments- the "New" Conservative Party. Which is a misnomer, because in terms of its board of management and current leader, Christchurch builder Leighton Baker, the current party management and leadership was inherited from the "old" Conservative Party formed by Colin Craig in 2011. In 2015, Colin Craig left under a cloud and inaugurated a stream of litigation against those he had alleged had defamed him, leading to reciprocal cases in some instances. That litigation is still ongoing. After a period, former Christchurch East candidate Leighton Baker (formerly a candidate for the defunct fundamentalist Kiwi Party, absorbed by the Conservative Party in 2011) took over in 2017.  Without Colin Craig's bankroll, the Conservative Party's voter share plummeted to 6253 votes, 0.25% of total voter share.  Despite this lamentable showing, which saw it pipped by the Opportunities, Maori and Legalise Cannabis Parties, the "New" Conservatives have bumbled along at the fringes of New Zealand politics over the last fifteen months since the election. Baker is still party leader, despite his continued absence of local or national political office holder experience.

Perusal of the Scoop webpage discloses that the New Conservatives have gibbered about relationships, Santa's gender and Pride marches this year, although most of its attention has been focused on anti-immigrant right-wing conspiracist topics, particularly the United Nations Compact on Migration, given that right-wing conspiracy theories routinely depict the United Nations as an incipient totalitarian regime with its own armed forces and security forces pitted against 'national sovereignty.' For that reason, the New Conservatives and other elements of the conspiracist right have fearful anxieties about this imaginary contingency and castigate mainstream political parties for not undertaking wider infomation campaigns to the general public about being an international signatory to such agreements. While one would hope that the government would provide such information as a matter of course, why should it do so to placate a microparty that cannot even attract a single percentage point of total voter share? Added to which, there is the question of extremism. Amongst others, Deputy Conservative Leader Elliott Ikilei was involved in the campaign to permit Canadian right-wing extremist Lauren Southern to speak against Muslim immigration earlier this year, seemingly on the basis of sectarian aversion and paranoia about New Zealand Muslims related to mere sectarianism and conspiracist nostrums.

Whereas the Colin Craig era Conservative Party tried to convey the impression that it was also a fiscal conservative party, provided its membership with internal party communiques and media, and kept in regular touch with its branches, none of these practical aspects of political party status seem to have occurred to Baker and his current entourage. For a party to be eligible for continued registration under the Electoral Act 1993, it must have five hundred or more members. Does the New Conservatives still have that number? It is long since time that Baker and his colleagues acknowledged that this ramshackle, weak facade serves no useful purpose and dissolved itself. Perhaps another social conservative party could then rise in its place without the baggage of past leadership and the ineptitude of the current incumbents.

Not Recommended:

New Conservatives media page: www.newconservative.org.nz/press-releases