Christian Party, a gamble, gambit or Godsend?

Christian Party, a gamble, gambit or Godsend?

Craig McCulloch

Wellington, May 20, 2019

Alfred Ngaro and National Party Leader Simon Bridges (RNZ Picture)

And election year will offer plenty of opportunities to leverage that angst with issues like abortion, cannabis and euthanasia all to be in the spotlight.

Socially conservative voters might have typically found a home in New Zealand First, but many are frustrated by its decision to form a coalition with Labour over National.

Previous elections have proved there is a Christian constituency in New Zealand prepared to vote for such a movement.

The risk for National

In 2014, more than 95,000 people voted for the Conservatives, pushing them just shy of 4% In 1996, the Christian Coalition reached 4.3%.

With a safe seat in Botany, the Party would have to drum up only 2% or 3% to bring in extra MPs. But while the strategy may look good on paper, the move would be a massive gamble.

The Party could crash and burn like so many small parties before it.

It would be seen by many as cynical and contrived and could turn off right-wing supporters who see it as such.

Gamble for Alfred Ngaro

Alfred Ngaro is widely respected in Pasifika and Christian communities as a voice for moderate conservatism. (RNZ Photo by Rebekah Parsons-King)

For Mr Ngaro then, would the risk be worth it? The staunch National man would have to renounce his Party and its safe list spot (at 20) and venture out on his own.

Why take that gamble when National is still riding high in the polls?

Right now Camp National is most likely testing the water, sounding out public and political reaction to the idea.

That way, if the Party’s vote does slip and the environment suddenly looks more dire, Mr Ngaro will know whether such a Hail Mary gambit could be a Godsend.

Craig McCulloch is Deputy Political Editor at Radio New Zealand. The above article and pictures have been published under a Special Arrangement with www.rnz.co.nz

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