Archive for the ‘Gordon Copeland’ category

Kiwi Party policy

March 4, 2008

The Kiwi Party (the new name for the former Future Party, which broke away from United Future after the anti-smacking bill with Gordon Copeland and Larry Baldock, has unveiled its tax policy (the first party this election, to the best of my knowledge to do so). Here are the key elements of it:

Income splitting for families with dependent children. This policy would allow a family with a father earning $76 000 per year, and stay at home mum raising children, to have the income split equally. This means instead of being taxed at 19.5% on the first $38 000 of income, the next $22 000 is taxed at 33% and the last $16 000 is taxed at 39% (total tax paid is $20 910), they will be able to have their income split in two, at $38 000 each, meaning it will all be taxed at 19.5%, reducing the total tax paid to $14 820. This is quite nice policy that will help families.

$100 of income tax goes to a charity of your choice. Nice aid to charity, but it should be up to you, not the government to decide how you spend your money. Should spend the money cutting taxes elsewhere and give new Zealanders the choice of whether or not to give it to charity.

Adjust tax thresholds for inflation. It promises to backdate this policy to 2002 by increasing the 19.5%/33% threshold from $38 000 to $46 000, and raising the 33%/39% threshold from $60 000 to $73 000. Good move.

Artificially increase wages by increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Oppose. The minimum wage was $9.50 pre 2005, and as part of Labours coalition confidence and supply agreement with NZ First it was raised to $12 per hour, a high level. Although the wage increase is tax deductible, Peter McCaffrey has a good deal to say about how it might actually stop further wage increases.

Health insurance premiums to be tax deductable. Good move. Ease pressure on the state health system, encourage health insurance and reduce taxes.

GST off rates (about time) and a proportion of GST to go to local government. This will reduce the ever increasing rates bills many New Zealanders face. Good policy.

Overall sensible policy, though the increase in thresholds to $73 000 and $46 000 is too timid with bigger cuts needed, and I have strong reservations about the minimum wage part. Sadly, as the Kiwi Party is not registering in the polls, and will struggle to get 0.5%, yet alone 5%, these policies won’t be implemented. Hopefully might give National some ideas.

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A new Christian Party?

October 25, 2007

A few weeks ago, Destiny Party decided to dissolve itself, and tried to form a new party with former United Future MP Gordon Copeland. I have always beleivedthat it is senseless to have several separate Christian Party’s in New Zealand, destroying each others chances of getting anywhere near the 5% threshold, and give Destiny and Copeland kudos for trying to address the problem. However, the creation of the new party was a fiasco from the start and Lewis and Copeland quickly broke up. The presence of Destiny in the background gave the party the “Destiny’s child” label in the press, and created the impression that Destiny was controlling the new party. Copeland went back to focus on Future NZ while Destiny has created its new “Family Party”with another former United Future MP Paul Adams (which is basically Destiny under another name). The original problem, three separate “christian party’s” (including Field) all fighting against each other, and destroying each others chances of getting anywhere near the 5% threshold.

So what is the solution? Firstly, there must be some a united ticket. Some accommodation of Copeland’s Future NZ, Field and Destiny (and maybe the Exclusive Brethren) will need to be reached. yes, I know Destiny NZ is seen as extreme and will scare off many votes, and the brethren are a crazy cult, but Destiny will add a good 10 000 or so dedicated volunteers with some money, and the brethren have plenty of money. The trick with including Destiny is to make sure it doesn’t dominate (or appear to dominate) the new party. Destiny renaming itself “the family party” will help (hopefully the media and people will forget its origins), and it can be added to the new party after it is already formed (this can be arranged secretly prior to launching) so it will appear Destiny is joining the new Party, not the party being a new form of Destiny. Mainstream churches (many of which are apolitical, so prominent members or moderate Christians may have to suffice) will need to be included to get the moderate christian vote included. Unity will be essential. The leader (there will only be one) will need to be chosen carefully, someone with good communication skills, comes across as non-scary, like-able, friendly, with good political management skills will be needed. The leader will also need a high profile (i.e. a mayor of a large city, existing MP defecting from a larger party, celebrity, e.t.c.) or have a high profile created fro them by the media. Discipline will be all important. It may take years of planning, but I’m convinced a new Christian Party can succeed.

Why? Firstly, Christian coalition came close with 4.3% of the vote. And this was in a very crowded electoral marketplace (with National, ACT, NZ First, United and a few smaller party’s all going after the same voters). The libertarianisation of ACT, possible retirement of Peters in 2011 (or electoral defeat in 2008) destroying NZ First, should create a less competitive electoral marketplace. United Futures success in 2002 can be added as a past success of a party campaigning on “family values”. Secondly, the constituency does exist. In a recent poll, 6% of New Zealanders said they would definitely vote for such a party, with 15% likely to. The social conservatism of many Pacific Island New Zealander’s could give the new party a real chance in Mangere (with Field?) or Manakau East, avoiding the 5% threshold with a win in such a seat.

However there are great difficulties involved. Firstly, achieving the unity needed is the first problem. Christians (even conservative Christians) are not a united identical bunch. Some hold very left wing views, others (like me) to the right. A (perhaps more bigger) divide is how to reconcile the moderates and extremists. Some Christians hold very extreme positions on issues like abortion and “gay rights” and would make those issues the focus of the campaign, while others would prefer a more compassionate stance on those issues, and would be scared of by extremists. For this reason, it is unlikely a united Christian Party will ever get of the ground. However, the obstacles don’t end there. It must get 100 000 people out to vote for it. A well funded, slick campaign focusing on “family friendly” welfare/tax policies while taking a moderate-looking stance on moral issues (e.g. focusing on banning abortions for girls under 16 behind their parents backs, instead of banning abortions for rape victims, although opposition to all abortion in principle will need to be included to please the conservative wing) in the right circumstances could succeed. Weaning Pacific Island voters off Labour will be another challenge, but moral issues can be used as a wedge to separate them from Labour if played carefully (if Labour’s in opposition, and unable to bribe them or scare them about what National will do, this task will be easier). Getting prominent community leaders in South Auckland included will help. And if elected, a Christian Party could make a difference.

In short, a christian party can succeed, but only in leaders of existing Christian Party’s unite and get their act together.

Unity one step closer

June 19, 2007

The Dominion Post for today has an article called “Copeland, Field hold secret meeting”. the contents can be judged by the title. One reason why Christian parties don’t suceed in New Zealand is because there are too many of them and they split the small christian vote. A good  formula could be Future NZ + Field + Destiny= Nothing. I have problems with both Field and Destiny, Field because he is corrupt (and corruption is a Labour Party value, which is the opposite of Christian family values) and Destiny (because they are too extreme) but if Field, Destiny and Future NZ team up they will stand a far better chance of making 5% (or winning a electorate) than they would seperate, although even then they would be unlikely to make 5%. However, when seperate, they can not be a real force in NZ politics.

United Future has no future

May 26, 2007

Dave at big news has information that United Future has fallen below the 500 members required to be registered as a political party. Dave does not give the source of the story on his blog, and asuming he is honest, I doubt United Future will be derigistered given that even small fringe parties like Legalise Cannibis have 500 members. If true, United future is in big trouble. Given that its only two weeks since Copeland’s defection, it is likely there will be more defections with him, and some members may not renew their membership. If derigistered Dunne can stay in parliament if he keeps his Ohariu seat in 2008, but can’t bring anyone on the list with him.

New Party established

May 16, 2007

Former United Future MP Gordon Copeland has decided to set up his own new political party, together with Larry Baldock. It will be caled the “Future New Zealand” party. The reason for the defection is the Anti-smacking Bill. Given the views of Copeland and Baldock, the party is likely to be centered around traditional moral values. My fear is that there are currently too many christian political parties in New Zealand. first we have Destiny, then we will get Field’s new party, then we have the new Future party, and there is several conservative parties (National, United Future and NZ First) all competing for the same Christian votes. At least there isn’t Christian Herritage anymore. Given such a crowded political marketplace, it will be difficult for any of these parties to get the 5% threshold. There is however a real danger that these parties could take up votes that would overwise go to National, and thus hurt the chances of getting Labour out.