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Thursday 09 October 2008

United Future Timeline

Posted in: Features
By - 17th September 2008

A rough guide to developments relating to the election of conservative Christian MPs to parliament, under the mantle of the United Future party.

Tuesday 17 September
United Future MPs decline to answer a questionnaire on their religious beliefs and attitude to gay issues. Tim Barnett remains concerned about their personal vs party agendas and believes the MPs will eventually have to go public in Parliamentary debate.

Wednesday 14 August posts the full text of the 1993 Adams submission on human rights. It includes confusion of gay sexuality with crossdressing, objection to having to deal with health professionals who might have HIV, and distress at the thought of men in frocks teaching in schools.

Tuesday 13 August
He's Baaaack! Paul Adams slips back into Parliament when another United Future MP disqualifies herself for not meeting residency criteria at the time of her nomination. On TV Adams recants his HIV quarantine stance, saying a lot of time has passed since 1993.

Sunday 11 August
The Sunday Star Times newspaper reveals links of a United Future MP, Bernie Ogilvy, to a religious 'cult' in Auckland which ran a controversial programme in the 1970s to rehabilitate streetkids. Suggestions are made that teens money was taken from them, that they received severe religious indoctrination and the cult amassed twelve properties. Ogilvy says the programme is in the past, deflected the 'cult' description and says the houses were sold and the proceeds given away.

Saturday 10 August.
Following final counting of special votes United Future looses enough votes to displace their ninth list MP, Paul Adams, from Parliament. The greens pick up an MP in Nelson.

Friday 9 August
Labour makes a surprise announcement that it will not be forming a coalition government with both the Greens and Jim Anderton, but will instead rely on a coalition with Anderton and "support" from United Future MPs on confidence and supply votes. The NZAF reiterates its call for the United Future MPs to come clean, citing a need for open and transparent government.

Wednesday 7 August
It is revealed that Paul Adams, an ex-racingcar driver and the ninth listed MP for United Future, made a submission on the 1993 Human Rights Bill opposing gay rights and suggesting that people with HIV should be quarantined and not let loose in society. This revelation disquiets the NZ AIDS Foundation and three out gay Labour MPs, Georgina Beyer, Tim Barnett and Chris Carter. The media begins to focus on the extreme conservative religious backgrounds of most the United Future MPs. Christian Heritage deputy leader Merepeka Raukawa-Tait labels Adams submission unchristian. Following calls from the NZ AIDS Foundation for the United Future MPs to "come clean" about their religious agendas, Peter Dunne labels the calls as "trawling for muck."

Wednesday 31 July
In express newspaper article United Future MP Gordon Copeland denies the party could seed a conservative Christian coalition against gay rights. He says he was in favour of homosexual law reform. Fellow MP Larry Baldock says he and his fellow MPs "want to represent Christian values but we're not here to run on moral issues alone."

Saturday 20 July (Election Night)
With the possible assistance of the worm's favourable rating, Peter Dunne, incumbent MP for Ohariu-Belmont and leader of the tiny United Future party, and his party surge past the 5% threshold, bringing nine practically unknown MPs into Parliament on his coattails.

Monday 15 July
During TV1's Election debate, a visual "worm" on screen indicates the feelings of a selected audience as the party leaders speak. United Future leader Peter Dunn is the clear winner with commentators attributing his high approval rating to his "middle of the road common sense views and positions." - 17th September 2008