Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I’m certainly not above a little schadenfreude over the tribulations of my far right christianist friends, so I’m afraid I’m smiling as I write this: A New Zealand anti-gay christianist party is folding. They’re not the first, but they’re one of the most high-profile, in some ways.

The “Family” Party has officially asked to be de-registered and its website is already gone. It was created to replace a defunct party called “Destiny New Zealand”, founded by far-right TV preacher Brian Tamaki (who’s recently been under intensive scrutiny from the New Zealand Herald). Destiny Church’s party ran in the 2005 elections and won 0.62% of the Party Vote (14,210 votes) and no Electorate Seats. It was not in Parliament.

Following that failure, the party rebranded itself as the “Family” Party and was led by the political director for Tamaki’s organisation. The Deputy Leader was a rabidly anti-gay former MP who, according to GayNZ.com, “notoriously and unsuccessfully fasted to call God to strike down the Civil Unions Bill.”

The new party contested the 2008 election with even worse results: 0.35% of the Party Vote (only 8,176 votes) and again, no Electorate Seats. This was the crushing end to Brian Tamaki’s declaration that he and his church would be “ruling New Zealand in five years”, though I believe it took more than five years to get to that point.

The “Family” Party was the last expressly christianist party registered in New Zealand, though a couple others have many christianist policies. None are currently in Parliament.

Last August, I wrote about how no christianist party has ever done well in New Zealand. Their most successful year ever was 1996, the first year under MMP, when they failed to win any seats in Parliament. Their percentages have been declining ever since.

This doesn’t mean that there are few christianist voters in New Zealand, just very few who are so extreme that they’ll only vote for a “pure” party. Instead, most conservative Christians—even far right ones—will vote for conservative mainstream parties, even though they don’t have a christianist agenda, because to do otherwise would not only throw their vote away, it could very well help elect a centre-left government. For them, it’s a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils; oddly, many of us mainstream voters know exactly how they feel.

Personally, I think some egos may have overruled common sense; conservative Christian voters show far more common sense than the would-be leaders of failed exclusively far right christianist parties. That they would ultimately fail and we’d be left with parties that either are, or are mostly, secular, was entirely predictable. This is, after all, New Zealand.


liminalD said...

I can't tell you how happy this makes me.

Pastor Brian was my pastor when I attended Lake City Church in Rotorua growing up (his church before he started Destiny) and he was a right sleaze even back then. Years later, I stood on the steps of Parliament when Destiny's Nazi parade rolled into town to protest the Civil Union Bill, all black shirts, hakas and hate. It was terrifying, and I have never seen my country the same way since.

My feelings of hurt and disappointment were somewhat reduced by the disapproval towards that march that was evident in news coverage, but still I felt really traumatised I guess.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I know what you mean. The only thing I can say is that New Zealand is not Destiny, or vice versa. The fact that they've failed so hugely shows that. Will you please email me off-comment? I'd like to find out more about all this.