Title: Testimonial to Futility Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 11th May 2006 - 12:00pm1147305600 Article: 1230 Rights
Was the Christian Heritage Party ever intended to be anything more than a protest party vote? Recently, I discovered on Wikipedia that there were apparently several Dutch Reformed fundamentalist political parties, such as the Political Reformed Party (SGP) and ChristenUnie (Christian Union). Rather like our own CHP, the SGP refused to join any trans-fundamentalist political initiatives, even given their agreement on issues like abortion, euthanasia, drug decriminalisation and same-sex marriage in the Dutch context. Not that it's ever done all that well- due to the Dutch proportional representation electoral system, it has only ever won two to three parliamentary seats in the lower Dutch parliamentary chamber. Such boutique, protest vote parties are known as 'testimonial parties' and are widely acknowledged as being there more for show, as 'parties of principle,' other than as pragmatic political parties who sacrifice their purist tendencies to securing and maintaining office. The SGP has existed in its own right, since 1922, and its core support is concentrated in Overjissel, Verleuwe and Zeeland. Coincidentally enough, according to Dirk Vanderpyl's history of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand, this happens to be exactly where the conservative Calvinist Dutch immigrants that mostly founded the CHP came from. Therefore, did the SGP act as a template for the CHP? If so, its founders have some questions to answer, given the superfluous nature of the SGP to mainstream Dutch politics, due to the status of the SGP as a self-acknowledged testimonial party. Was the CHP founded as a New Zealand testimonial party, whose own purism would preclude it from ever gaining enough support at the polls to cross New Zealand's MMP five per cent threshold after the electoral reform referendum here in 1993? If so, then CHP fundamentalist voters wasted their vote for the last seventeen years, since the foundation of what seems to have intentionally been a boutique protest party for some of its Reformed Church founders. Born again and born yesterday? Recommended: Christian Heritage Party of New Zealand: SGP/Political Reformed Party (Netherlands): ChristenUnie/Christian Union (Netherlands): See also entries for the above Dutch parties at Wikipedia: Craig Young - 11th May 2006    
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