The rise of Christian political parties
Kiwi politicians are a mostly secular bunch, said The Press, but that could change in New Zealand’s 2020 election. The vote might see no fewer than three Christian parties battling to win seats in Parliament, which any one of them could do without passing the 5 percent threshold for proportional representation so long as it won one of the legislature’s directly elected seats. New Zealand had marginal Christian parties in the past, campaigning largely on their hostility to same-sex civil unions. But this new wave seems to be spurred largely by opposition to abortion and is strongly influenced by “U.S. culture-war rhetoric.” Alfred Ngaro, a lawmaker with the center-right National Party who is mulling the launch of a new Christian party, tastelessly compared abortion to the Holocaust in a recent Facebook post. Ngaro’s new party would join the New Conservatives, who oppose not only abortion but also euthanasia and drug legalization, and Coalition New Zealand, a mom-and-pop outfit with a “strong Maori dimension.” Will these parties trigger an infusion of religion into politics, awakening a “silent majority” of Christian believers? Or, in their competition for the 3 to 4 percent of voters who have historically chosen Christian parties, will they cancel one another out?