|United Future's leader Peter Dunne At the weekend, Peter Dunne and his newly relogoed United Future party held their annual conference. Dunne was quite vocally relieved that the Future New Zealand faction had decamped.
With hindsight, Dunne now seems to acknowledge that the unholy and far from civil union that United and the original Future New Zealand entered in 2000 was always a fraught one. Increasingly, Dunne claimed, he became aware that many of the UFNZ caucus had a hardcore fundamentalist agenda that was some distance from his more centrist one. When a much-depleted UFNZ caucus was returned after the last general election, there were bound to be some points of disagreement. Cue Sue Bradford's anti-belting bill, cue noisy divorce from Gordon Copeland, and cue the retro-metabolism of Future New Zealand.
So, bereft of the fundamentalist faction, how has UFNZ fared? According to Dunne, Copeland took a handful of fundamentalists with him, but not as many as Larry Baldock and Copeland boasted. UFNZ President Denise Krum and UFNZ List MP Judy Turner stayed the distance. However, the same Judy Turner is attending the "Forum on the Family" conference that Family First is holding in late October, and Denise Krum is Christian Democrats/FNZ founder Graeme Lee's daughter- so how far have the fundamentalists really gone?
And one notes that the Barking Mad Room, the antechamber of Investigrunt magazine, derided Dunne for his return to more convincing centrism. Personally though, I think that Dunne has apparently read the Goethe version of Faust, and has decided to emulate the German Romanticist happy ending version of the myth, rather than Christopher Marlowe's more downbeat ending of infernal reclamation. Never mind. He's free to do so, and indeed, who can blame him? Craig Young - 5th September 2007