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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Election '08: The Christian Right gets ready to rumble!

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 24th September 2008

The Christian Right is knuckling down for involvement in the latest election campaign, as usual, pathologically opposed to the Labour Party, Greens and social liberal politics. What's happening out there?

The Maxim Institute's nzvotes website is operative, as are its electoral candidate meetings. The Institute appears to have hit on a way around the Electoral Finance Act- if it is the case that one's website produces only general guides to the New Zealand election, and carefully observes political neutrality, then it is bound not to get caught out. That said, I imagine it will probably continue to release centre-right public policy research and statements. Thus far, it has held one candidate meeting in Central Auckland- others are scheduled for Central Auckland, Pukekohe, Helensville, Rotorua, Christchurch, Dunedin, Whangarei, Upper Hutt and Wellington.

Family First are taking a far more proactive stance, although a puzzling one. It will be remembered that they fell afoul of the Electoral Finance Act when they were forbidden to distribute a voters guide that targeted the 'moral' issuesand various party leaders and parties voting records.

Believe it or not, New Zealand's most 'moral' politician is...Winston Peters. That's right, Mr Peters has an 'exemplary' social conservative voting record, despite current allegations about donor accountability and transparency that have resulted in an ongoing parliamentary privileges committee. I am sure that the embattled New Zealand First leader will welcome this unexpected declaration of confidence in his probity and gravity as a political leader.

How do I know this? Ah, well, that's the dilemma. Earlier, it was reported that Family First had refused to enrol as a 'third party' for the purposes of the Electoral Finance Act, which would have rendered it liable to cost containment in terms of its expenditure on the printing and distribution of its so-called 'values voters' pamphlet. It seems that they may have changed their minds, as the 'values voter' pamphlet is now online, apparently 'authorised' by Bob McCoskrie, which suggests that the pressure group may well have applied for third party status after all. If this is the case, then they may have also sidestepped the cost of printing and distributing their propaganda through use of Internet publication. If this is the case, can they maintain their opposition to the Electoral Finance Act as an obstacle to 'free speech?' Curiouser and curiouser. will be investigating this further.

Finally, remember the antigay Exclusive Brethren cult? Well, it now seems that they tried to provide the dying Howard adminstration with electoral funding last year, only to be rebuffed by the Liberal Party, even after services rendered during the Australian federal election campaign in 2004, and New Zealand's general election in 2005. Apparently, they were acting on advice from Crosby/Textor, which now regards any offer of assistance from the inept right-wing sect as 'radioactive'. How wise of them. It is to be hoped that the Exclusive Brethren have finally learnt their lesson, but don't bank on it.


Family First websites

Maxim Institute websites

Michael Bachelard: "Sect tried to donate to Howard campaign" Sydney Morning Herald:

21.09.08: 20080921-4kqm.html

Craig Young - 24th September 2008