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Election '08: Net Losses, Small Gains?

Sun 9 Nov 2008 In: Comment View at Wayback

Centre-right victory: NZ's new PM John Key There does appear to be an outflow of social conservatives from Parliament as a result of last night's general election, despite the centre-right victory. First, the good news. And yes, there is some. As everyone expected, the Kiwi Party didn't make it back to Parliament, the Family Party didn't make it into Parliament, and in Mangere, the Pacific Party ended its political life when Pacific Island voters chose Sio Su'a (Labour) as their new MP. While Peter Dunne is back in Parliament, it will be without any of his fundamentalist caucus colleagues from United Future. Moreover, judging from Charles Chauvel's strong showing, his fundamentalist entourage may have damaged his reputation within his constituency seat. Without a caucus, one will have to see whether his erstwhile fundamentalist organisational members stay involved with the party. Congratulations to Grant Robertson, as well. One hopes that ex-ACT MP and now failed Wellington Central National candidate Stephen Franks takes the hint and refrains from standing in future elections. And of course, New Zealand First is gone. As that party was usually a social conservative voting bloc, apart from the late and beloved Brian Donnelly, its loss represents a net outflow of seven social conservative votes. Altogether, ten social conservative votes were lost from Parliament in total. As for the Christian Right's 'gains,' they consisted of two National MPs, Jonathon Young (New Plymouth National MP) and Peseta Sam Lotu'Liga (Maungakiekie, National). Both of them might end up as the forthcoming parliamentary term's versions of Banks and Lee. In New Plymouth, though, Harry Duynhoven (Labour) was uncharacteristically socially conservative for his caucus. That means that the New Plymouth result was technically a zero-sum one. Ravi Musuku failed to unseat Helen Clark in Mount Albert, of course. What can we learn from this? It looks like the Pacific Island community isn't a soft touch for social conservatism. However, the fundamentalist community has abandoned the separatist fundamentalist party strategy for influence inside National. That said, there are still six LGBT MPs within the current Parliament, and Kevin Hague will prove a valuable addition. He was an excellent NZAF board member and he will be an asset to the centre-left in Parliament, a high-calibre strategist to replace Tim Barnett. As for Helen Clark, I will be sorry to see her go as our Prime Minister, and as Labour leader. She was an inclusive Labour leader, and became the longest serving Labour Prime Minister. When the time comes to elect the first New Zealand President of a new republic, I hope she stands for election. Phil Goff is her logical replacement, and he also has a strong social liberal voting record on LGBT issues. Together, we need to insure that the Key administration will become a single-term aberration. Craig Young - 9th November 2008    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Sunday, 9th November 2008 - 8:18pm

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