by MICHAEL OTTO
WELLINGTON — The Kiwi Party will not stand candidates under its own banner in the General Election, but is encouraging members to work with the newly-formed Conservative Party.
Kiwi Party president and former MP Gordon Copeland said there are two main reasons for the move.
“Firstly because of the striking similarity between the polices of the two parties and secondly because the polls indicate that the leader of the Conservative Party, Colin Craig, will win in [the] Rodney [seat], Mr Copeland told NZ Catholic.
If Mr Craig can win the seat, “it opens the door for a number of other people, including some from the Kiwi Party, to enter Parliament on November 26 as MPs,” Mr Copeland said.
He said crossing the 5 per cent party vote threshold or getting a candidate elected had been difficult for the Kiwi Party.
“. . . [but], with that barrier removed, we are hopeful that thousands of people who hold to the values which we espouse, will vote for us on election day.”
In the 2008 General Election, the Kiwi Party fielded 25 candidates out of a possible 70. It polled 12,755 party votes in 2008 — 0.54 per cent of the total votes cast.
Kiwi Party deputy leader Simonne Dyer told the March for Life in Auckland on October 8 that joining forces with the Conservative Party would lessen vote-splitting by Christian or pro-family voters among smaller parties who espouse such values.
Mr Craig came third in the Auckland mayoral race in 2010, with more than 40,000 votes.
He organised a March for Democracy in Auckland in 2009 to demand the Government adhere to a citizens’ initiated referendum on the “anti-smacking” law.
The Conservative Party, which announced on October 10 that it has been officially registered with the Electoral Commission, has yet to announce detailed policy.
But its website criticises both Labour and National-led Governments for refusing to implement the results of referenda.
The party, which heads its website’s introduction page with “honesty, safety, prosperity, family”, opposes ongoing tax increases and rising spending by Government, calling for hard decisions to be made in the interests of the long term good.
A Conservative Party spokesman told NZ Catholic there wasn’t a formal merger between the two parties, but the Kiwi Party is encouraging its members to work with the new political entity.
Mr Copeland, a former financial administrator for the Wellington archdiocese, entered Parliament as a United Future list MP in 2002. In 2007, he resigned from that party after disagreements over proposed anti-smacking law, continuing in Parliament as an independent MP.
The Kiwi Party was formed in 2008.
Mr Copeland described the Kiwi Party as “a wonderful experience for me”.
“It has wholeheartedly embraced issues as diverse as the cause to reduce abortions, the decriminalisation of child discipline (a smack on the bottom or on the hand) and the establishment of a Royal Commission on the breakdown of the family, which so negatively affects hundreds of thousands of our beautiful children.
“It fully supports an increase in the drinking age to 20.These all come under the political umbrella of ‘social conservatism’,” Mr Copeland said.
“But we have also been active in working to ensure that the Treaty of Waitangi is honoured, the victims of property crime receive restitution, that a minimum wage is established to provide a living wage to all those in the workforce and steps are taken to ensure that all young people are in be in training or work — not on the dole. “These all come under the heading of social justice. Add in a commitment to education for all, quality health care, a savings ethic and a fair tax system and you have the heart of the Kiwi Party.”
by MICHAEL OTTO