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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Family First: Wrong, Key

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 30th September 2008

Value Your Vote: Family First's new website is a strategic nightmare
Have Family First bungled their "values voters" website launch?

Logically, for a Christian Right organisation, they would be trying to maximise social conservative influence within the next Parliament. Yet, to do so would totally contradict their sycophantic fawning on Leader of the Opposition, John Key.

Let's see why. On the first page of the "Value Your Votes" website, we note that there is a list of party leaders. On the basis of social conservative ideological purity, Winston Peters is the highest-ranked social conservative head of a currently represented New Zealand political party, and New Zealand First ranks second behind United Future, in terms of its social conservatism. Ironically, Winston would have a 'perfect' score if the 'values voter' site focused on social conservative ideological purity alone, excluding the Electoral Finance Act. It should be noted that Judy Turner has an 'impeccable' social conservative voting record, as has Gordon Copeland, tucked away in the Independent party menu option, so no-one can see him.

Now, if social conservatives were to vote purely on the basis of social conservative ideological purity, then Winston Peters would be back in Parliament, and presumably propping up a Labour/Green coalition government, as might Peter Dunne, with a suitably loyal caucus. All of this would also cut into National's voter share, and I don't think ACT will thank it for its low preference ranking here, primarily due to Rodney and Heather's stalwart centre-right social liberalism on most issues.

Will social conservatives necessarily follow this course of action? Or will they vote National, in the hope that they'll reverse Section 59 Repeal? John Key has announced that civil unions and prostitution law reform won't be reversed under an incoming National administration, he voted against Copeland's same-sex marriage ban bill andsays that he prefers the status quo when it comes to abortion, as well as voting for the Death With Dignity Bill's second incarnation.

Why does Family First back Key? Is it really some quaint anachronistic sexist aversion to strong, competent liberal female political leadership and pathological hatred for social liberalism? But if they're really committed to their anti-Labour agenda, then why promote the interests of New Zealand First and United Future, and give Winston Peters a clean bill of health?

None of the Family First website makes any sense from the viewpoint of electoral strategy.

Craig Young - 30th September 2008