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Title: PandR: Dead End? Credit: Craig Young Comment Friday 23rd September 2016 - 1:06pm1474592760 Article: 18818 Rights
 
What is the New Zealand Christian Right up to, and how do we interpret its current behaviour? As noted several weeks ago, Family First is on tour, inflicting Bob McCoskrie on hapless, predominantly rural or provincial parts of New Zealand, which raises some interesting questions about the absence of imported subcultural luminaries from Australia and the United States in this context. The answer is clear enough- the US Christian Right is trying to foist Donald Trump on a hapless US federal electorate, which is resisting that dire prospect, and the Australian Christian Right is fighting a well-organised Australian LGBT community over either a federal parliamentary or plebiscite vote for or against marriage equality. Canada is having its own headaches with the introduction of federal assisted suicide and transgender rights legislation, as well as the introduction of comprehensive and inclusive sex education in Alberta. So, they're doing presentations, which seems to imply that they're not quite sure what they should be concentrating attention on. Everyone but us and some straight media outlets are ignoring anti-transgender US Christian Right propaganda imported by Family First. Their abortive moral panic against transgender student welfare and health isn't going anywhere. Part of the problem is the prolonged farce of the former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. The current focus of media attention is on the person and not on his political agenda, which centres on his alleged defamation of Jordan Williams, head of the Taxpayers Union. In an inflammatory brochure distributed around the country, Craig accused Mr Williams, Whale Oil blogger Cam Slater and former Conservative management board member John Stringer of a "dirty politics" conspiracy. Mr Williams has finally gotten around to have his case heard. John Stringer and Christine Rankin have expressed their concerns about an alleged improper relationship, while Rachel McGregor, his former media manager, alleges sexual harrassment and payment in arrears while she worked for him. Mr Craig says that they had a close friendship, but denies that there was anything beyond that. Bob McCoskrie, Garth McVicar and Nicky Hager (!) are scheduled to appear as Craig's defence witnesses. How do we interpret these shenanigans? Colin Craig is a charismatic leader, which leads to some difficulties when it comes to institutional and formal management relationships, which are required for strategic planning and long term survival. Because he is a charismatic leader, problems arise because there is no formal path of sucession and the leader becomes a long-term fixture within his organisation, failing to attract much support outside it. When one thinks about it, that is exactly what happened to Graham Capill and his defunct Christian Heritage Party. Even if Colin Craig is found innocent of defaming Mr Williams at the end of this trial, it must be asked whether the Conservative Party is going to survive this. Of course, there is still a Christian Right. However, it's now centred on the health select committee and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society petition for decriminalisation of assisted suicide and opposition to that is organised by the Nathaniel Centre, Euthanasia-Free New Zealand and Care Alliance, all single-issue organisations focused on that particular issue. Family First does belong to the Care Alliance coalition, but it's not spending much time in Wellington, working against the proposed End of Life Choices Bill that would decriminalise physician assisted suicide. Family First may not want to face the possibility, but it looks as if the "pro-family"/anti-LGBT movement that existed for the last forty years has started to unravel. The anti-euthanasia movement is the future of the New Zealand Christian Right and it has little place for broad spectrum distractions like those that Family First all too frequently indulges in. It is too disciplined and focused on the task at hand, which is defeating the End of Life Choices Bill and providing a counterweight to the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and allies within the euthanasia debate. Added to which, there's the future scenario for euthanasia decriminalisation which involves climate change, spread of new disease pandemics and conservation of medical resources, even if that doesn't eventuate for another twenty to thirty years. The Zika virus may only be the beginning. When it comes to Family First and the Conservative Party, the path leads nowhere but a dead end. Not Recommended: Family First:http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/ Conservative Party:http://www.conservativeparty. org.nz/ Craig Young - 23rd September 2016    
 
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