Where do social conservatives go?

Wesleyan minister writes:

Dear New Zealand Labour Party,

I’m not sure if this is the best time to be offering any thoughts to you as I’m sure it still hurts after Saturday night – especially since you have lost some good colleagues, but I wish to share some thoughts. I am not affiliated with any party so this is not coming from a winner who is gloating or a loser who wishes to play any sort of blame game. Please hear this with the generous heart it comes from and the desire to see the current opposition strengthened.

On Saturday New Zealand spoke. In so doing, our nation declared the National Party to be their preferred governing party by a clear margin while your party suffered one of the worst defeats ever. There will be much dissecting going on to work out what happened. The worst of it already involves some talking about vote rigging and vitriol about the nature of New Zealand voters such as not caring about the poor, being selfish and it goes on. There’s blame of the media happening and, inevitably, Kim Dotcom is being held up as the reason for the left’s poor showing. Some will dismiss the Labour defeat by pointing to the MMP system and the ‘left block’ but even that did not fare so well. Others will point to Labour’s recent revolving leadership and talk about factional fighting – political blood may well be spilled with this in mind. There will be those that point to a lack of working more closely with the Green Party and others will point to working too closely with them. In among it all I would like to offer my own humble thoughts – simply because I think that in the interest of our nation, it is important for you to be a strong party. New Zealand needs a functioning, cohesive opposition in order for our democracy to be healthy and to keep the government accountable to working in the interests of all New Zealanders, and the facts are that National won’t govern forever so you need to be a healthy party for that time when you are, again, the government.

I’m going to begin with a bold statement and then make my case from there. I believe New Zealand is more socially conservative than many in the political and media realm realise. I believe that was reflected in the vote. Putting aside economics, social conservatives could vote for National, New Zealand First, Conservatives, United Future and the Maori Party and not feel like they were acting contrary to their value system. Whether those places are truly socially conservative is a matter for discussion, but the perception is that if you are socially conservative, there is a place in those parties for you.

National has done a good job of creating a broad umbrella where social conservatives and social liberals can live side by side and both feel validated within the party. The same goes for their economic conservatives and liberals. Labour used to be able to do the same – that is no longer the case. Labour used to be a place where social conservatives and social liberals could co-exist around an agreed economic direction in terms of welfare and job creation. They also largely agreed on health and education direction. It was a party for the working class and the working class combines both social conservatives and liberals. But ask yourself, where does an economically center-left social conservative who agrees with things like free access to health and education now go to find a political home? The answer is that there is no such place. . .

Whether it is palatable or not to those within the party and whether it is accurate or not, Labour is seen to be the party who drove through prostitution law reform, civil unions, gay marriage, the so-called ‘anti smacking law’ and it is seen as the major party that has and would liberalise abortion policy. Accurate or not, it is also perceived as the party that would push other things such as euthenasia and gay adoption. Now, each of these represents contestable ideas and I’m not offering an opinion in any direction on any of them, but ask yourself, if you were a social conservative on any of those issues, how comfortable has it been to exist within Labour? None of those issues are the ‘core business’ of Labour but they are the very things that have driven away social conservatives. Labour MPs who have spoken out against those issues or expressed their unease over them have seemed to be the odd ones out and very often maligned even though those MPs completely align with Labour’s roots. . .

Reverend Francis Ritchie

I have deliberately stopped part way through in fairness to the author to encourage people to click on the link and read on.

The comments make interesting reading too.

When Labour got so little support in the election the Green Party would have expected to pick up quite a few of its votes.

But it too did worse than it had hoped.

Instead of migrating left, many voters disenchanted with Labour moved to the Conservative Party and New Zealand First which are socially conservative and National which is a broad church that accepts divergent views along the social spectrum.

Hat tip: CoNZervative

18 Responses to Where do social conservatives go?

  1. The better question for many of us, is where do small state capitalists who are social liberals on euthanasia, cannabis legalisation, abortion, et al go?

    We are badly served by the tyranny of a majority.

    I especially hope that some current MP picks up Maryan Street’s euthanasia bill: it should be one of the most important debates in the coming three years.


  2. jabba says:

    some have suggested that Labour needs to close down and start a new party based on their roots .. I sort of agree. I will never return to Labour in it’s present form.
    Interesting that they are in such a mess at 24% (their worst ever result) but that is over double what the Greens got and the Greens are happy as Larry and STILL consider themselves the real opposition.


  3. Andrei says:

    The better question for many of us, is where do small state capitalists who are social liberals on euthanasia, cannabis legalisation, abortion, et al go?

    You can’t be serious!

    MMP is a system designed to stack our Parliament with effete urban liberals who believe in things like Abortion on Demand, Euthanasia and even incest between consenting adults.

    Fret not Maryan Street’s Bill will see the light of day and another Abomination will be inflicted upon the Nation of New Zealand as it commits suicide, the land to be inherited by a people far more worthy than scions of the degenerate West


  4. TraceyS says:

    “the Greens are happy as Larry”

    I don’t think they are, jabba. Co-leader Metiria Turei lost 1000 votes across both PV and electorate vote (2011 to 2014) in her electorate Dunedin North. This was an 8% drop in percentage terms. Hard to see how they’d be happy with that.

    She was, however, outdone by their other co-leader who lost 1599 votes (combined) in Rongotai – a 9% drop.

    Happy as Larry?


  5. Paranormal says:

    Andrei you shouldn’t believe everything you read. The media loved the beat up, but contrary to the furor in the MSM he wasn’t promoting incest. Here’s what he actually said:

    “Much has been said of Jamie’s prior personal writings about drugs, from what I can tell, he has advocated for decriminalisation across the board. I don’t bother asking about this. But what about incest – should the state intervene if adult siblings want to marry each other?

    “Well personally, I don’t think they [the State] should. However, it’s a matter of almost no significance because it just doesn’t happen.” If nothing else, I’m impressed by the consistency in his belief in Classical Liberalism. I can’t think of any other NZ politicians I could get that answer from. Jamie quickly reminds me that these are his views, not ACT views and not policies he’ll be representing in his job as leader. And this is, what I see as the problem with Jamie Whyte.”


  6. Gravedodger says:

    Get over it Andrei for all you hold dear.
    Jamie Whyte only mused on whether in the light of our, IMO rather unnecessary moves into legislating around two poofs getting into a “marriage”, should the state be legislating around sex between consenting adults who are related.
    With the clear and present garbage around the state involving its self in bedroom activities that will only ever come under judicial scrutiny under extraordinary circumstances I find his musing totally understandable but to extrapolate such musings as you and others seem determined to do, into ACT policy is disingenuous at a minimum.

    Religious inspired law around such sexual activity had a sound basis in genetic fact but with modern contraception and medical understanding it seems to me to be as relevant as laws around serfdom, ie somewhat overtaken by progress.
    BTW I am not promoting such behavior anymore than Whyte was, as moral behavior is so predicated on perceptions.
    That said I will defend your rights to your opinion it is just that I think you are being unrealistic to continue with the denigration of the tyro political leader for what has turned out a rather too honest musing.


  7. Andrei says:

    Oh dear, I seem to have touched upon a nerve with my response to a lament that the fiscally conservative, socially “progressive” do not have a voice……


  8. Gravedodger says:

    No Andrei you perpetrated a mythical interpretation of Whyte’s remark out of context to give a validity to your conservative religious viewpoint well made many times over.
    Whyte never to my knowledge advocated for anything other than decriminalising a behavior that has more serious connotations around investigating such law breaking than any possible proving of such.

    A law that is right up there with the insane law of ‘Children riding on tractors’ of 40 years ago the only prosecutions were after the fact as if their was insufficient punishment being administered by the grief of the poor bastard who broke the law for whatever reason.
    I know I was a law breaker as there were times when child care and time management collided and the child was safer sitting beside me than being run over.

    As for my nerves you aint a snowballs chance in hell of touching them.


  9. Andrei says:

    Talk about missing the point Mr Dodger

    A million people, including myself did not vote in the last election and ultimately that is because that it was perceived by those non voters that there was nobody worth voting for – just a bunch of wooly woofters, chardonnay sippers from leafy suburbs who chatter nonsense about things that are not on most normal peoples radar, like incest.


  10. Mr E says:

    Andrei thinks he speaks on behalf of the non voters. Thinks he knows there motivations.
    Ha ha!


  11. Mr E says:



  12. Andrei says:

    Andrei thinks he speaks on behalf of the non voters. Thinks he knows there motivations.

    Mr E, please get it right – not there their motivations, there their lack of motivation to go to the polling station and cast there their vote.

    For example ACT NZ on election night polled 0.69% of the votes cast, why was that do you think?

    How well do you think Jamie Whyte actually connects with the average New Zealander?


  13. TraceyS says:

    Mr E, you will no doubt appreciate the irony in opening a sentence with “Andrei thinks…” when pointing out that he claims to know what other people perceive. I find it mildly amusing.

    What’s real is that not a single one of us knows what others “think” or how they perceive. And if we did it would be useless information anyway because people are free to change their thoughts, their position, their outlook as often as they change their underwear.

    My main criterion for who to vote for is based on the principle of free-thinking. Which party least presumes telling us what, or how, to think?

    Certainly not the Green Party. We have seen, through the comments at this blog, exactly how people who dare to think freely about such matters as fossil fuel use are treated. It is definitely not OK to be a free thinker in that company.

    I think Jame Whyte ended up doing a fine example of a free-thinking individual. People just didn’t vote for it. Better luck next time.


  14. RBG says:

    People who deny human induced global warming from fossil fuel use, in the face of the scientific evidence, may well claim to be ‘free’, but they don’t show many signs of being ‘thinkers’. That’s just my personal opinion BTW, I don’t speak for the Green party. 2013 global increase GHGs 2.3%, 2014 already heading for being one of the hottest years on record. Try thinking!


  15. TraceyS says:

    “I don’t speak for the Green party”

    But you may as well. Your line: “people who deny human induced global warming…” are non-thinkers and only “claim” to be free is a perfect fit.

    Free thought doesn’t require evidence, justification, or approval. It doesn’t even require communication. So you should be grateful that the so-called “deniers” are bothered to do so.


  16. TraceyS says:

    And perhaps we should also be grateful to hear Jamie Whyte communicate his free thoughts?

    At the very least he provided something with which to keep wee minds busy.


  17. Paranormal says:

    RPG a 2.3% increase in greenhouse gasses that are measured in parts per million could be considered as 5/8ths of F all. Any thinking person would wonder how something so infinitesimal could have such a dramatic affect on climate…

    Just for the record the science isn’t settled, even if the politics might be.


  18. Mr E says:

    Dr Jock Allison
    PhD in Agricultural Science from Sydney University
    Commonwealth Scholar
    Master of Agricultural Science from Lincoln
    Former director of AgResearch Invermay
    Former consultant and director of Abacus Biotech Ltd
    Leader of Save Invermay
    Winner of Lincoln University’s prestigious Bledisloe Medal

    According to RBG – Non thinker. Very thoughtful RBG. Very thoughtful.


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