Family Party level of support

The Family Party gained a low percentage of the party vote, only 0.33%. Full election results may be found here.

This would have been extremely disappointing had we gained an electorate seat. However as we did not gain an electorate seat it is not too bad, as it means few votes were wasted. So under the circumstances I am not that disappointed with the party vote result. Rather, I am disappointed with our performance in our key electorates. I will comment on those later in the week after discussing it with the team.

But how much support does the Family Party actually have around the country?

There is a lot of support for our policies around the country, from both Christians and non-Christians. I found a great level of agreement from voters while campaigning. However many people were not willing to risk their party votes on us, preferring to use them to ensure a change of government, and in most cases vote for National or Act. Going by the results however, many of these people were still willing to give our candidates their vote.

As a result, our candidates gained around 4 times as many candidate votes for themselves as they gained votes for the party. For instance, in Selwyn we received 122 party votes and 441 votes for myself.

Our candidates gained from 0.9 to 10.3% of the candidate vote in their electorates. The mean was 2.6% of the candidate vote in these electorates, but this figure may be skewed upwards due to strategic voting from people in Mangere and East Coast Bays who didn’t necessarily support our policies but wanted a change of government. The median was 1.6%, which is a more conservative measure of our support.

Therefore, if it was guaranteed that votes for us would not be wasted (if we had an electorate MP already in parliament and likely to hold their seat, like Rodney Hide and Act), I believe we would have received at least 1.6% of the vote. We would have probably received much more than this in fact, as having an MP would have given us greater media coverage and publicity than we were able to achieve, and we would have received a higher broadcasting allocation. Furthermore there are probably many people who liked our policies yet were unwilling to give us either vote.

So we do have a lot of support. People were just careful not to waste their party votes. In the end that turned out to be a good thing (less votes wasted). Hopefully we can gain an electorate seat next time round and actually represent these well-supported policies in parliament.

23 Responses to “Family Party level of support”

  1. Paul Says:

    Mate, accept, however hard it is, the narrowly focused Parties of THE LORD were slaughtered on Saturday night & particularly savaged was The Family Party. To put your massacre into context, The Family Party got 3,750 votes LESS than the piss-taking Bill & Ben Party (the modern-day equivalent of McGillicutty Serious) & 600 LESS than a bunch of closet dope-smokers. You guys need to accept New Zealanders signaled, by in large, they are not interested in erroneous issues like smacking, whether the neighbours are ‘shacked-up’ rather than married, if the lady over the back fence works as a prostitute rather than a hair-dresser & abortion is not even on their radar. Kiwi’s resoundingly wanted consensus politics, and consensus has never been in the vocabulary of Parties of THE LORD at this, or any of the previous elections. The public also wanted stable coalition government , with a sound economic & social platforms, one that didn’t involve having to pander to minor parties like Kiwi, Family etc carrying their extreme agenda’s. On Saturday, religion in New Zealand politics was publicly euthanised. The process was performed painlessly, one vote at a time. Time to call it a day, there Sam. Donate your time & money to charity. Cheers. Paul

  2. Mr Dennis Says:

    I agree we were slaughtered this time round, but I am pointing out that this does not reflect the level of public support for our policies. There is a lot of public support. The issue is how best to get these widely supported policies implemented in parliament.

    I am not surprised B&B got a few votes, there are enough people sick of politics and wanting to waste their vote to do this. I wouldn’t call ALCP “a bunch of closet dope-smokers”, their views are legitimate and held by many people, in 1996 they gained 1.7% of the vote, while the Christian Coalition gained 4.3%. The decline in their vote and that of Christian parties since that date reflects people’s awareness of MMP and desire to vote strategically, rather than a loss of support for either political viewpoint.

    Based on my experience while campaigning I know there is a lot of support for our policies, which is borne out by our electorate votes and the past results of Christian parties (such as in 1996). However to actually represent these voters, and give them the confidence to give us their party votes as well as their electorate votes, we will need to take an electorate seat, which we have failed to do this year.

  3. Sb Says:

    You will never get anywhere with Richard Lewis at the helm.

    For most NZ’s he is spoilt goods because of his association with the Destiny/party/Church/whatever…..

  4. Mr Dennis Says:

    That depends entirely who you talk to Sb. I have met quite a few voters specifically drawn to our party because of Richard Lewis, as they have seen through the media hype around Destiny and seen a man who is actually dedicated to working for God politically. Note that much of what people see as negative about Destiny (party or church) is because of the media using them to get some “radical fundamentalist” headlines, and most people see through this in my experience.

  5. Madeleine Says:

    My 2c worth as a seasoned political observer and campaigner. (I grew up as Gary Knapp’s niece in the East Coast Bays Electorate when he was MP so I saw how a small party did it. I was involved in Christian Heritage and stood as a candidate. I have been elected Vice-President of Waikato University despite being the most famous student on campus for being controversially pro-life and Christian. I now co-run one of NZ’s top Christian blogs on public discourse and I am married to New Zealand’s best Christian Philosopher.)

    While there is nothing inherently wrong with more than one Christian party, as in, the fact there are more than one should not be a reason to not vote for any, there is something pragmatically wrong with it when you know the Christian vote is just over 5% of the electorate.

    See the examples of the Christian Coalition and United Future for proof that a single Christian vehicle theoretically could cross the threshold.

    To succeed the vehicle needs to be broad as it cannot be the Christian version of ACT or National or UF – it has to broadly encompass what people like about those vehicles and stay off the things people do not like about them.

    Little Christian parties that represent the broad interests of a range of groups get pulled in a lot of directions. They also make the mistake of trying to have a policy on everything. Small parties are never going to govern so it is better for them to work out which of National and Labour is their preference to work with and then identify a few key points of difference they will stand for, the direction they want to pull National in (lets face it, it can’t be Labour) and then stand resolutely firm.

    I would suggest a clear biblical picture of the role of state: so a limited government that was strong on law & order, justice and defence and policies for those things and against the things that should not be present in our law.

    I would not make the party a Christian party but ensure that the founding principles were drawn from that and that overall it was classically liberal meets conservative with not negotiables on life issues, sensibly written along the line of our work on the illiberality of abortion – as that will be the only real point of difference you would hit with non-Christian supporters.

    Finally, dump every person who is too controversial or dim-witted to make a good impression and pick a leader that has mainstream appeal – so keep Richard Lewis as a high ranking list candidate because he is an exellent and intelligent guy but not as leader, the Destiny thing scares people, it scares Christians – rightly or wrongly it is a simple fact that evangelical Christiandom are never going to completely embrace that brand of Pentecostalism – I never will, I am Reformed, being Presbytarian is as much as a deviation as I will go for deeply thought out theological and experiencial considerations though I utterly respect what Destiny have done and are trying to do (though I am not most people).

    You’d want a leader like Stephen Franks or Muriel Newman or John Banks or Leighton Smith, well known, well liked by the people you are going to try to get to vote for your party (they person does not have to be liked by every kiwi) and respected well by the people outside it with good relationships with the key parties you would be likely to work with.

  6. dave Says:

    Mr Dennis, as a person who has both studied and commented on Christian politics for years, I am not surprised by your poor result. I’m surprised so many people would even vote for your party. There is no way any Christian party will win an electorate seat so I suggest you give up on that now. Just two minor parties have won 5% and an electorate seat since 2000 and a Christian party is not going to do that either any time soon. Even if the 5% threshold had been waived you wouldn’t have got in even if you had got 50% more votes – think about that. You got less than half what Destiny got in 2005 – that’s how bad your support is. Can you name one party since 1982 that has entered parliament without a former MP in that party. Time for a reality check.

  7. Sb Says:

    “at depends entirely who you talk to Sb. I have met quite a few voters specifically drawn to our party because of Richard Lewis”

    Your logic is at fault here. How would you work out how many people are repelled from you because of him? They would never talk to you and neither would they vote for you.

    The kiwi party go what twice as many votes as you? perhaps they went there.


  8. Mr Dennis Says:

    No faulty logic. I don’t know if people are on average turned away or towards the party because of him. But I do know many are turned towards the party. I also know that, based on electorate votes, the Family Party had far greater support than Kiwi in my electorate, but Kiwi gained more party votes – maybe we could conclude from this that the Kiwi voters didn’t understand MMP as well and weren’t as worried about wasting their party votes, while the Family voters were more clued-up and knew we had to win electorates? You can think yourself to whatever conclusion you like to explain the discrepancy.

    I personally just think Kiwi had better publicity and media access due to Copeland being in parliament, so more people had heard of them.

  9. Sam Says:

    So join up with Kiwi!! Two parties is ridiculous!!

  10. Ian Says:

    Agree regarding Kiwi Party having more publicity etc. but the real issue facing Christians is that having to have “party loyalty” without that party being constitutionally loyal to Christ will always undermine a determined Christian stance. Christian values are imposible to maintain in Politics if they are not constitutionally grounded and proclaimed as consistent with Christ centred teaching. That was the downside of the Kiwi Party from its inception, no distinguishable difference to United Future or the many Christian Politiciaans whose loyalty is to serve either side of the House.

  11. Mr Dennis Says:

    Sam, we tried to do that last year. Kiwi wouldn’t play ball. Go talk to Baldock about it, if you can persuade him to join up with us for the next election that would be great.

    Ian, you’re dead right. That is the biggest strength of the Family Party, the fact that we are actually grounded in Christ.

  12. Paul Says:

    Haa Haa haaa, get the Christian Parties to join together, good one (rolls on the floor in fits of laughter) The whole history of Christian Politics in this country is littered with in-house fighting, party jumping, back-stabbing, the sleaziest sex scandal involving a political leader, and schisms big enough to engulf Stewart Island. It would be like suggesting Elim join with the Methodists & Catholic Church comes in behind Destiny (tears begin to roll down his cheeks, in amusement at the proposition) You guys must have the memory of a gold-fish. It was only 10 days ago, Larry Baldock used the Pro-Smacking Petition signatures gathered up by Family Party, ACT members etc – to promote his own selfish interests and hunger for power. Who the hell would trust him or F.P’s Copeland for that matter?? Put your energies into charity work guys, you’ll feel better for it and achieve more good for society. Ahh nothing like a good laugh to start the day. Paul.

  13. Chuck Bird Says:

    Mr Dennis, congratulations on having a blog and being willing to discuss issues.

    Madeleine makes some very good points I hope you consider some of them.

    There are a lot of conservative votes out their and they are not all Christian and certainly not all fundamentalist Christian.

    I believe that conservatives have much more in common than they have differences.

    I think any party that expects all its members to agree on everything is doomed to failure.

    Madeleine makes a very good point below

    Small parties are never going to govern so it is better for them to work out which of National and Labour is their preference to work with and then identify a few key points of difference they will stand for, the direction they want to pull National in (lets face it, it can’t be Labour) and then stand resolutely firm.

    If somehow the Kiwi Party made it into Parliament would John Key even considered a $15 minimum wage? Would they have considered the Family Party’s policy on withdrawing from Kyoto?

    I could add more but I watch with interest for you view and comment.

  14. Mr Dennis Says:

    I have certainly been considering Madeleine’s points. You are right about not all conservative votes being Christian. And no-one will ever agree with everything in a party’s policy – if they do they have stopped thinking for themselves.

    John Key would not have considered a $15 minimum wage. But he may have considered repealing the ETS (withdrawing from Kyoto is more questionable) because both the Family Party and Act would have been pushing it.

    I agree that we should have minimal government, and you can argue for this biblically. But then you immediately hit a big snag – many Christians don’t agree (whether they are right or wrong is not the issue). Rightly or wrongly, many Christians believe the best way to care for the disadvantaged is through State welfare.

    So I roughly agree with Madeleine’s point you have quoted, and I feel this is roughly what we were doing this election (picking National). However just by picking National you immediately risk turning away many Christians who have traditionally supported Labour and, rightly or wrongly, believe in their brand of socialism. This may well have been part of the reason we actually failed to take Mangere this year. So it can work against you too.

    The reason to have Christianity in the constitution is because Labour, National, United Future and probably others too all used to be conservative. But they have become more liberal over the years because they have no anchor in their constitution to keep them conservative. Putting Christianity into the constitution simply means the party will always follow Christian principles, however the leadership changes. It means we can stand “resolutely firm”, without slipping as we have seen United Future do. If marketed correctly, this should appeal to non-Christian conservatives too, as it doesn’t mean we would ram Christianity down anyone’s throat (that is certainly not the role of the State), just that we have a firm foundation for our policies. But it has to be marketed correctly, otherwise it can scare people away.

    I agree there are enough potential votes out there to hit 5%. But I think after voters have been put off Christian parties by no-one making it in yet, and by the Capill affair, it will be difficult to gain these votes, even with one united vehicle. Practically, we either need to take an electorate or have the threshold removed. And it would be a big call to get the threshold removed.

    There is a lot to do over the next 3 years as we decide how to approach the next election. I certainly do appreciate all the feedback.

  15. Mr Dennis Says:

    Paul, sadly, there is a lot of truth in what you say. The greatest opposition to anything you do always comes from within the church, not outside it. Satan knows that there are so many of us he cannot let us be united, so he does his best to cause division – and he is very good at it.

  16. Chuck Bird Says:

    Mr Dennis, this blog is one marked difference between the Family Party and the Kiwi Party. I would hope that the Family Party would consider altering policy and/or tactics if there was a logical argument for change.

    I see you have science degree. I am sure you are right about the Global Warming Swindle. John Key almost had a religious conversion on this issue. That is because it could affect New Zealand trade. Rodney is very qualified on environmental science yet I doubt if National will change its policy no matter what logical argument puts up.

    I think the fact that you being number six on list and have not been discouraged from stating your views by the Family Party Board is in marked contrast to the Kiwi Party. I hope that Richard Lewis would also comment on this blog. I am sure he could do so without determining policy on the fly.

    I think the party has time to consider policy. It is far too early to decide on whether to go for an electorate or the threshold. There is going to be a binding referendum or two on the voting system. Would it not be better concentrate on building up membership?

    What is you view about encouraging non Christian members and even non Christians on the Board?

    Do you think there are not a lot of common views between conservative non Christians and moderately conservative Christians?

    I do not know that much about comparative religion. However, I would think Jews would have a lot of common values. On the other hand Moslems support polygamy so I would think their definition of family would rule them out of being members of the Family Party. What is you view of this and other religions?

    I congratulate you again on this blog and having unmonitored. I assume you would not blog any Kiwi Party members or Board members contributing to this blog.

  17. Chuck Bird Says:


    I assume you would not bar any Kiwi Party members or Board members contributing to this blog.

  18. Mr Dennis Says:

    Chuck, this isn’t a party blog, just my personal one. I am glad to hear you like it. I have generally been encouraged in my blogging by those on the board I have spoken to about it, which is great. As a personal blog, I am the only one that has contributed to it so far, but if anyone else wanted to submit a guest post they can feel free to contact me, I’ll consider it. I certainly wouldn’t block anyone from commenting unless they were being particularly abusive!

    The point of having it as a Christian party is to ensure we don’t slip from our founding principles, as others have done in the past. To ensure this it is essential that the board and candidates actually agree with these principles. It would be inappropriate therefore to have a non-Christian on the board or as a candidate, to avoid the possibility of weakening our stance.

    However the principles we support are supported by many non-Christians, and by Jews, so we would certainly welcome support from anyone who feels we can represent their views. Furthermore, many people who may not agree with the strength of our conservative position, but still want politics to be less liberal, may wish to support us to provide balance. There is no restriction on who can sign up to be a member of the party, anyone can do so here:

  19. Chuck Bird Says:

    Samuel, I realise it is a personal blog but it identifies you as a Family Party candidate. I doubt if the Kiwi Party Board would approve of a number 6 candidate blogging as you are.

    You say

    The point of having it as a Christian party is to ensure we don’t slip from our founding principles, as others have done in the past.

    Which others are you referring to?

    I might have got the terminology wrong when I referred to post. I meant comment. I assume you would be happy for Larry to respond to “Kiwi Party enabling theft”.

    I would be interested to know if the Family Party Board has gone back to first principles and asked questions like

    What do we what to we want and hope to achieve in the way of legislative change?

    Are these aims realistically achievable?

    Would more be achieved if we took a slightly more moderate approach?

    As Madeleine points out abortion will be a real point of difference with non Christians. I believe that it also would be with moderate Christians. That is unless you define anyone with different views on abortion than say evangelistic and Catholic Christians as not being real Christians. Having said that I do not think too many non Christians supporters would support abortion on demand.

    One thing that is almost certain is that there will not be a law change that only allows abortions for saving the life of the mother, rape or incest. What realistic change to abortion law do you think is achievable?

    I have bought a few cars and properties in my lifetime. In my experience coming in with too low an offer can often mean no agreement is reached.

    I spent a lot of time collecting signatures opposing Bradford’s anti-smacking law. I not only opposed it because it undermined parental authority but went against the wishes of 80% of voters. That is very undemocratic.

    I would like to see some changes to abortion law. However, I hate to see a small militant group impose abortion laws that were strongly opposed by over 80% of the population.

    In a civilised democratic society it is important that the all law are respected my thevast majority of the population.

  20. Mr Dennis Says:

    Others = National, Labour and United Future, all of which were conservative when first formed. United Future still is to a degree. Labour certainly isn’t any more.

    I’d love Larry to respond to “Kiwi party enabling theft”, especially if he could personally assure me that the party hadn’t given my details to someone without my permission.

    Realistically, we can hope at least initially to bring abortion laws, and all laws, back to a moderate place where everyone can live with them. Obviously those of us who see abortion as murder would desire far better than that, and hopefully we can achieve better. But at the moment we have some parties (Green and Labour) pushing extremely liberal views. If you come in saying you support a moderate approach, and have to compromise, you will end up with liberal laws. If you have a conservative approach, and have to compromise with liberals, you’ll end up with moderate laws.

    Politics is like a seesaw. At the moment we have National in the middle, Labour to the left, and the Greens way on the left end of it. However much weight we put in the middle of the seesaw (moderate parties), it will always tilt left. The only way to level it off is to either get rid of the Greens and drag Labour back to the centre, or to get a conservative party on the right end of it.

    I agree that law needs to be respected by the vast majority of the population. To do that everyone’s views need to be represented. And there are many people who would like far less abortion than we see at present – this view must be represented, and at present no-one is representing it.

    Democracy works by representing all views, and Parliament then agreeing on a compromise position. It does not work by everyone adopting what they see as a compromise view before even starting negotiations.

  21. Chuck Bird Says:

    Samuel, I believe a Christian Party particularly a fundamentalist Christian Party will never succeed. The Kiwi Party I believe falls into the category of a fundamentalist Christian Party. I do not know about the Family Party. Would a fundamentalist Christian Party be a fair assessment?

    The problem lies not with disagreement over policy but over who is in charge and who makes public statements. This was evident in the inability of the Family Party and the Kiwi Party to reach agreement.

    With respect I think your approach to negotiation and public relations can be counterproductive. When one wants to buy a car, house or negotiate a business agreement one obviously does not start with the offer they hope to end up with.
    On the other hand if one does not start with a reasonable offer, negotiations can often quickly break down.

    I was member of the ACT Party for about three years. I was never in position to sit in on policy negotiations but I did know the MPs and many party officials. I know there were some heated disagreements behind closed doors. This is normal for most political parties. It is also healthy for a party to have this heated debates. I am sure National and Labour have had plenty heated internal debates.

    As far as I can see exclusively Christian Parties lack these sort of internal debates. You may have a different more informed view. This can mean that if they get into a position of negotiating with a major party they will lack the negotiating skills and negotiations will break down. The second downside is that policies that are not thoroughly debated will not be that good. If somehow they manage to get implemented there will be many unintended consequences.

    You refer to abortion being murder. You may see things that way as probably the majority of members of Christian parties do. You like everyone are entitled to hold this view. However, I am sure that if a party states such a view it is counter productive.

    I am sure you are aware how many abortions there have been. That involves a lot of women. In the case of young woman if most cases family would have been involved. If abortion is murder you are saying all these women are murderers. You are saying a lot of people’s sisters and daughter are murders. This is not how to win friends and influence people.

    I can think of a number of ways the number of abortions can be reduced other than introducing unpopular and largely unenforceable laws.

    I must email Madeleine, Andy and some others. It would be interesting to get others view.

  22. Mr Dennis Says:

    I can assure you there is debate within Christian parties too!

    I’ll just remind you that abortion is still technically illegal in NZ. It is allowed only for a few narrow reasons. There is just a legal loophole that effectively allows abortion-on-demand for “mental health” reasons. Even if the current law was actually enforced, without changing the law AT ALL, we would have very little abortion in NZ. So there is no need to introduce “unpopular and largely unenforceable laws”, we just need to ensure our current laws are actually obeyed. Most abortion in NZ may already actually be illegal (as per a recent court ruling that is currently being appealed by the Crown).

    I’ll start a new thread to discuss this though, sometime in the next couple of days – it is a big issue.

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