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Religion and the threshold

Written By: - Date published: 9:13 am, May 24th, 2019 - 59 comments
Categories: national, political alternatives, political parties, Politics, same old national, Social issues, uncategorized - Tags: ,

It has been quite amusing watching a new generation of journalists waffling on about possible religious parties maybe entering parliament as offside stooges for National. Don’t these dimwits ever look at history?

Religious party – please meet the threshold… It is 5%, or if National is feeling generous – National giving up a seat and actively campaigning against their candidate like they do in Epsom. Either way it is unlikely to work well, even for National – the most likely beneficiary.

For instance we’ve been through this performance before with the church of density. Wikipedia has a pretty good summary.

Political activities

Richard Lewis, a member of Destiny Church Auckland, formed the Destiny New Zealand political party in 2003. The party first ran candidates in 2005. Candidates from four different churches joined with candidates who came from Destiny Church. Despite Tamaki’s prediction that the church would rule New Zealand by 2008, the party’s 42 candidates gained only 0.6 percent of the vote. This fell well short of the five percent threshold required to enter Parliament without an electorate MP but proved the best performance of any party that failed to enter Parliament.[34] In 2007, City Impact Church and Destiny Church collaborated in the establishment of the “Family Party”, but the latter won just 0.35% of the party vote in New Zealand’s 2008 general election and dissolved in 2010.[35]

But if you look at the history of specifically religious parties in NZ it really is a history of abject failures, splits, mergers, and bloated egos failing to work together. Wikipedia has this classic diagram of “Chart of New Zealand Christian political history as of 2014, showing mergers, splits and renamings“. You need it to even keep track of the romantic couplings and divorces.

Of course in 2014, we had yet to see the spectacular disintegration of the new Conservative party into factionalism, faux news, innuendo, and the court actions. And the United Future died after Peter Dunne finished propping it up.

Actually the only significiant party with a religious component I can recall getting into parliament during my lifetime was United Future. That was an interesting hodge-podge of religious and special interest groups. For those who lost it in the sea of beige, the ‘Future’ bit was the religious side, while the United bit was a previous coalition of centre political careerists. But that is what it appears is required for our christian conservatives to get a religious party into parliament.

This is hardly surprising. New Zealand is quite strongly non-secular. When you look at the censuses, this becomes pretty clear. From Wikipedia again a summary of the gross religious trends from the census

Religion
2013 census[a]
2006 census
2001 census
Trend (%)
Number
%
Number
%
Number
%
2001–13
 
Christian
1,858,977
47.65
2,027,418
54.16
2,043,843
58.92
Decrease
 
Hinduism
/Hindu
89,319
2.11
64,392
1.72
39,798
1.15
Increase
 
Buddhism
/Buddhist
58,404
1.50
52,362
1.40
41,634
1.20
Increase
 
Māori
Christian
52,947
1.36
65,550
1.75
63,597
1.83
Decrease
 
Islam
/Muslim
46,149
1.18
36,072
0.96
23,631
0.68
Increase
 
Spiritualism 
and New Age
Religions
18,285
0.47
19,800
0.53
16,062
0.46
Steady
 
Judaism/Jewish
6,867
0.18
6,858
0.18
6,636
0.19
Steady
 
Other Religions
34,245
0.88
24,450
0.65
18,780
0.54
Increase
 
Total people
with at least
one religious
affiliation
2,146,167
53.64
2,271,921
60.69
2,232,564
64.36
Decrease
 
No Religion
1,635,345
41.92
1,297,104
34.65
1,028,049
29.64
Increase
 
Object to
answering
173,034
4.44
242,607
6.48
239,241
6.90
Decrease
 
Total people
stated
3,901,167
100.00
3,743,655
100.00
3,468,813
100.00
   
Not elsewhere
included[b]
347,301
 
292,974
 
287,376
     
Total 
population
4,242,048
 
4,027,947
 
3,737,277
     

And of course that doesn’t really highlight the reality of segmentation. For instance, with the Christians if you look at the wikipedia link, you’d find that the bulk are Catholic or Anglican – two religions that aren’t well known for political activism. In the 2013 census, if you got all of a single census religious grouping to agree to vote together (like that would ever happen), only the Catholics, Anglican, and the Presbyterian, Congregational and Reformed” groupings would even get to the 5% threshold.

But with the groups that tend to be so prevalent in the christian political circles, you tend to see 5-20 thousand in the demographics – less than 1% if they happened to all agree. For instance wikipedia says about the Destiny church

At its peak in 2003, Destiny Church had a network of 19 churches throughout New Zealand, with a total membership in excess of 5,000. By June 2012 it had 11 remaining churches, with fewer than 3000 regular attendees. Churches have closed in Porirua, Wanganui and Dunedin.[16] By June 2013, Destiny Church Wanganui was no longer listed on the main church website.[17] In addition, other branches had KaitaiaOpotikiTaumaranui, and Hawkes Bay had either closed down or merged with other church branches.[18]

Just to give that some perspective, this site routinely attracts between 3000 and 5000 unique visitors per week who read the site multiple times during the week. I’d have to look it up, but I think that we usually get close to 3000 people who read it more than 5 times per week. Of  course there are differences between our ‘congregation’ and that of the Destiny church. We’re free for a starter…

Which rather explains the poor political performances of the religious right trying to form political parties.

Moreover, any survey that asked how much religious belief played in their political support, it’d probably be very low. Which is what we see in the political votes.  

Personally I’m in that “No religion” bit. The one that has risen from 29.64% or the population in 2001 to 41.92% in 2013. I’m expecting that once the 2018 census figures finally get released, that no religion will be the majority religion. 

So what exactly are the dimwits of the press doing with puff-pieces especially in the NZ Herald about the Density church and National’s religious right MP’s political offerings? I know that mid-first-term is a dead political period with little ‘sizzle’ to write about. But this is just stupid waste of bandwidth. 

There are politicians with religious backgrounds scattered through most political parties. Offhand I know of a number that I’d personally support, not particularly because they’re religious, but because they’re people worth supporting.

I also know of a number that I can only describe a hypocritical arseholes that I’d happily do the metaphorical equivalent of tripping up whenever I get an opportunity. The Tamaki family business is definitely one of those. 

It is really just the difference between people who lead by their own example and those who appear to hide behind religion or ideology  to disguise their inherent sociopathy. 

59 comments on “Religion and the threshold”

  1. woodart 1

    correct. the religos will lose there money, and voting power with these charlatans. The other thing I take from your column, (and have had commented by others) is that the herald is doing a great job of killing itself. charging admission to a site that is full of rubbish click bait, unsubstantiated rumours and poorly researched nonsense, is such a bad bussiness decision , its worthy of trump.

  2. SPC 2

    The level of coverage

    1. this sector will spend money on advertising.

    2. they would be allies of National and thus business (other advertisers)

    3. its cultural divide clickbait (advertising).

    The bible, the security gun and mammon – the big 3 of right wing politics (and the imperial global order thereof) are so connected and the 4th estate is their ticket to ride the popular mob.

  3. alwyn 3

    The first New Zealand political party to have a strongly religious orientation was of course the Labour party in its alliance with the Ratana Church. In order for the Ratana Church supporting them Labour gave Ratana an exclusive right to have its members stand for Labour in the Maori seats that lasted for decades.

    The four Maori seats that existed in the pre-MMP era were held exclusively by Ratana Church members as follows

    Southern Maori 64 years from 1932 to 1996.

    Western Maori for 61 years starting in 1935

    Northern Maori for 42 years starting in 1938

    Eastern Maori for 20 years from 1943.

    Even after relationships became strained the Labour Party still claimed that their alliance to the Ratana Church continued as exemplified by Helen Clark who, with a 26 strong party of Labour MPs, attended the Ratana celebrations in 2005 and told the church members there.

    "Along with fellow speakers, she highlighted the 69-year bond Labour had with Ratana and said they were "in for the long haul."
    She said Labour was wedded to the vision of the prophet that "Maori and Pakeha live together in harmony. We know we are more likely to achieve our aspirations together than apart".

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10007932

    And this from a woman who claimed in all her other activities that she was an agnostic.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1

      'And this from a woman PM who claimed…'

      What are you implying, Alwyn? That's it's hypocritical for someone who claims to be an agnostic to cosy up to believers? Mind you, Clark probably had less time for the Exclusive Brethren than did the National party!

      "In 2008 Key stated that he attended church frequently with his children, but was an agnostic." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Key

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/general/key-attends-ratana-promises-movement-on-maori-issues–2010012217

      Key may have claimed he was agnostic, but why would anyone trust him, eh?

    • Dukeofurl 3.2

      Ratana Mps existed before the tie in with labour

      'Following the 1935 General Election of the First Labour Government, the two Rātana MPs agreed to vote with Labour"
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratana

      • alwyn 3.2.1

        They had one MP elected in 1932. He supported Labour.

        "In 1932, Eruera Tirikātene became the first Rātana MP when he won a by-election for Southern Maori. He was instructed to support the Labour opposition. Rātana favoured the Labour Party because it had consulted his supporters when devising its Māori policy. When Labour won a landslide election victory in 1935, the Rātana movement took a second seat, Western Maori.".

        Then in 1935, shortly after the election

        "The alliance between the Rātana Church and the Labour Party was cemented at an historic meeting between Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana and Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage."

        The formal alliance was after Tirikatene was an MP but the informal link and the support from Ratana was always there.
        https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/ratana-and-labour-seal-alliance

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    “Personally I’m in that “No religion” bit. The one that has risen from 29.64% or the population in 2001 to 41.92% in 2013. I’m expecting that once the 2018 census figures finally get released, that no religion will be the majority religion. ”

    I'm in that 30% too. I expect the authorities to continue their discrimination campaign, and thus provide further evidence in the 2018 census figures that they didn't want to measure the proportion of the populace who self-identify as spiritual – not religious.

    They could justify their discrimination on the basis that religions are social categories, and spirituality is not. Such semantics seem evidence of ideological denial on their part! Since my life-long political beliefs, values, and sporadic activism, have all derived from my spirituality, I naturally still see the authorities as full of shit.

    Even in the USA my category is quite large: https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/11/10/16630178/study-spiritual-but-not-religious

  5. Poission 5

    For instance we’ve been through this performance before with the church of density.

    Not a wide enough following over the length of nz?

  6. observer 6

    I agree that the lack of historical background in the media is annoying. Some outlets do provide that (Spinoff) but in most cases the easy headline (Tamakis! Alf on abortion!) is all we get.

    So I'll step in 😉 …

    The time for this "conservative" breakthrough (I won't call it Christian) was around 2008. The so-called anti-smacking law had people revved up, for months. John Key in opposition got National to vote for it. Then as PM, he ignored the referendum.

    Whatever we think about Larry Baldock & co, getting the required signatures for a referendum is not easy (see asset sales later). A lot of names, a lot of work. There was a potential 5% base there.

    And NZ First were out of Parliament in Key's first term. So that was one less platform for conservatives/reactionaries.

    But here's the thing. They now had to oppose a National government. Not ranting about Helen, or Jacinda today. And if you look back at the language of the time, the timidity then compared with the ferocity now, you can only come to one conclusion. The "religious right" are a bunch of hypocrites.

    John Key voted for marriage equality. Outrageous! Adam and Steve! Let's march on Parliament! Enough is Enough! But … they didn't. Alf Ngaro became an MP in 2011. He then said nothing for 6 years.

    Whatever party label they have (see the Wiki diagram above), they have one thing in common. Attacking a Labour-led government is more important than standing up for values they claim to care so much about. When National are in power, those values are on hold.

    They're a fraud, so they fail. Thank, er, God.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Further to the political relevance of ecospirituality: "One fifth of the US public and a third of adults under the age of 30 are reportedly unaffiliated with any religion but identify as being spiritual in some way. Of these religiously unaffiliated Americans, 37% classify themselves as spiritual but not religious, while 68% say they do believe in God, and 58% feel a deep connection to the Earth." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_but_not_religious

  8. marty mars 8

    Nice post. I'm happy for them to dash themselves against the rocks of the threshold. I'm even a supporter of a lower threshold and I doubt they'd ever get there no matter how low – once power got close their true natures would come out and it wouldn't be pretty imo – if GoT, the episode could be called 'The Red Gods'.

    • observer 8.1

      Agree. A lower threshold (say, 3%) might get the far right into Parliament. But they would only poison any coalition partner, and probably themselves. The smaller the caucus, the more bitter the in-fighting. Remember Hide's ACT? They were an ongoing soap opera (Heather didn't like Rodney, nobody liked David, somebody we've forgotten was next on the list and opposed everyone else, etc, etc).

  9. Anne 9

    The historical diagram is interesting. I had no idea there were as many identifiable religious-based parties. For instance, the Kiwi Party. That one passed me by altogether. That none of them survived shows how insignificant and ineffectual they have been. So:

    why indeed are the dimwits of the press doing with puff-pieces especially in the NZ Herald about the Density church and National’s religious right MP’s political offerings?

    I would say it is because certain elites who have undue influence are desperate to find a new party – or an eventual amalgamation of a couple of them – that would provide National with enough 'friends' to give them a fighting chance in 2020.

    My pick is: these religious based groupings have been quietly encouraged to enter the political fray for some time now, and it is considered the right time to present them to the public.

    Over the next 18 months we can expect to see a plethora of articles plus interviews galore… with the intention of building a false image of their effectiveness and even their suitability for parliamentary representation. I use the word 'suitability' because some of these types are quite mad and they have narcissistic tendencies – eg. Brian Tamaki.

    • Dukeofurl 9.1

      Yes . I think it was Morrisons win in Australia which they are seeing as a 'sign'.

      They forget that Abbott and Rudd were Christians too

      • Anne 9.1.1

        They forget that Abbott and Rudd were Christians too.

        Yes, and one was narcissistic and the other a nutbar. 😀

  10. SPC 10

    Brian Tamaki's attention to the detail (doing the paperwork) when applying for government funding has been in the news. Given that …

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/05/pranksters-buy-coalition-party-websites-before-brian-and-hannah-tamaki-can.html

  11. greywarshark 11

    I am picking that the sudden decision to go forward with the Destiny-led political party is connected to the anti-abortion tsunami in USA. Brian Tamaki's spiritual advisor in the USA was Bishop Eddie Long (died 2017) from Atlanta Georgia which is one of the states that has introduced a control on abortion that uses the 'heartbeat' (6 week) measure to decide whether it is permitted or not.

    Destiny Church had a close relationship with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, USA, the church of Bishop Eddie Long.[23] In his autobiography Tamaki described meeting Long, "my spiritual father" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny_Church_(New_Zealand)#Origins

    Tamaki may well feel that this is a tipping point for his church to go forward into the political realm again. He and his wife Hannah have decided that she will be the frontperson this time, probably to ensure that his reputation is not sullied by the political process. Atlanta is in a furore over it, and no doubt Tamaki feels obliged to make some public move to bolster moral values.

    The good news is that Attorneys are saying they won't take actions under the law. https://www.ajc.com/news/local/local-das-say-they-won-prosecute-women-under-heartbeat-abortion-law/hxaZuVoBODQBBZfSb8kLoK/

    Film companies are taking business away from Georgia prompting the Governor to go on site to appear to care.

    While thinking of churches, strict adherence and conservatism about sexuality etc. I looked up Israel Folau and find that he comes from a Mormon background and is now with the Assemblies of God which has USA affiliation. This church has quite a large congregation.

    The Assemblies of God in New Zealand is a Pentecostal denomination in New Zealand and a member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, the world's largest Pentecostal denomination. In 2007, the denomination had nearly 200 congregations and preaching points and 30,000 members and adherents, mostly in the North Island, and it sends missionaries to South Asia and Oceania. In 2016, the largest congregation was the Harbourside Church A/G in Takapuna, founded in the 1950s, with a weekly attendance of 1,500 people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assemblies_of_God_in_New_Zealand

  12. Dennis Frank 12

    One media report noted that the Tamaki's have different views on whether the new party is christian or not: he said it was, she said it wasn't. I suspect this is an inadvertent use of both/and logic, but it's still clever:

    "Newsroom understands Tamaki has a plan to help get in the door, in the form of a Mana-Coalition mash-up. Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira has long had his heart set on winning back his Tai Tokerau seat in the north. Like the Tamakis, Harawira has been critical of Labour deputy Kelvin Davis in recent weeks, following a heated exchange over Destiny Church’s Man Up programme. Harawira says Davis’ comments about Man Up, and unwillingness to allow the programme into prisons, failed to properly serve Māori. Harawira believes he should be the man in the north. He has also posted an endorsement for Hannah Tamaki’s plans in a Facebook post on the Mana Movement page: “When Parliament doesn’t listen – time to go into Parliament,” he wrote."

    "If Harawira can win back the Tai Tokerau seat, Tamaki wouldn’t need to clear the 5 percent threshold to gain a seat in Parliament." Does rather put the cat amongst the pigeons, eh?

    • Cinny 12.1

      Say's it's not a christian party, yet when his wife was interviewed on garners show this morning she kept referring for christianity.

      I feel very sorry for hannah tamaki, she is obviously nothing but a puppet fully controlled by her husband and is well out of her depth re politics. See for yourselves…

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/05/pranksters-buy-coalition-party-websites-before-brian-and-hannah-tamaki-can.html

      • Dennis Frank 12.1.1

        Well, it suggested to me that she's cleverer than him. Apparently usage of coalition as brand was to signal that the christians would use the party as a vehicle for forming a coalition (as per the coalition govt, but by design rather than electoral outcome).

        Unless Hone decides to join Destiny, announcing his conversion to christianity. No sign of that – yet he is acknowledging common ground with them, and many will read that as the prospect of them working together.

        Could be Brian is less keen than she is, but she made it a precondition, and he was obliged to agree. If so, she's cleverer.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 12.1.1.1

          Agreed – Hannah is the real power behind the 'throne'. Don't be fooled

    • greywarshark 12.2

      Harawira not showing good political nous about the ManUp program in prisons. I don't think there are sufficient keen voters to get him into Parliament. Can Harawira win Tai Tokerau back – he lost in 2011, 2014, and 2017. He has lost votes at each election compared to the previous one.

      Hone Harawira personal vote % from 2008 (rounded) was 62, 43, 40, and 33 for 2017 when he got 1455 party votes, (in 2014 he got no party votes).
      Mana party vote trend: in 2008 was 6,204, 4.844. – 1,455.

      Kelvin Davis has gained popularity personally – from 2008 was 29, 37, 44, and 52 in 2017.
      Labour Party votes trend (rounded) from 2008 9,200. 6.900. 8,000. and 14,446 (exact) in 2017. (The drop in Labour vote in 2011 – there was a by-election that year which changed patterns.)

      Here is a link with explanation of the by-election from wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Te_Tai_Tokerau_by-election

      I can't see that Hone Harawira will be able to gain Tai Tokerau and port Brian Tamariki into Parliament.

      • greywarshark 12.2.1

        Forgot to put the Tai Tokerau election figures link.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Tai_Tokerau

        • Dennis Frank 12.2.1.1

          So Kelvin got half the votes in 2017, Hone got a third of them. Not an unsurmountable gap. Kelvin has not distinguished himself as Labour deputy leader, and it wouldn't surprise me if those who swung to him have been underwhelmed by his performance.

      • Dennis Frank 12.2.2

        I think you may be discounting Hone's capacity for learning from experience. I bet he's smart enough to see how being on the extreme left has reduced his electoral support base – just as it has marginalised the Greens.

        Sensible politicians win support in the centre. I suspect he has realised that now. It depends how many Maori voters are pragmatic enough to tolerate diversity, eh?

        It also depends if he can frame his view of the coalition credibly to the electorate. I also wouldn't rule out advice from his mother being a factor in that too!

    • michelle 12.3

      I use to vote for Hone because he always genuinely fought for our Maori people like many others i did not want him to join with d -com because i knew he would lose.

      Now he is thinking of joining another lot has he not learned his lesson

  13. George 13

    Matthew Hooten's opinion piece in the herald about this is on point. This conjuring of a political Ally from out of the Christian right.. in similar fashion to loaves and fishes (but more about votes and wishes) are unauthentic and the public can see it a mile away. They think they are gaming the MMP system but essentially they are stuck in an FPP mindset because these conjured parties are merely a sidecars strapped to the side of the moped known as National putting along the back roads….

    • sumsuch 13.1

      The Right doesne have ideals, it has money. What would a Rightist ideal look like? Though money is a good position. When they float ideals ….belly and mind laughter.

    • greywarshark 13.2

      'Loaves and fishes > votes and wishes". Neat and nice.

  14. Unicus 14

    I'm confused already about Brian's current identity

    He seems to have become bored with the self gifted "His Grace The Bishop " -recently favouring the leather mobster look complete with five chest stars – redolent of Patton , Mc Arthur or perhaps Goering .

    Brian's blackshirts won't mind a bit as long as they have his fatherly visage to swoon over

    Watch this space folks the Bish could be lining up for a five star Generalship even Felid Marshal – I've never seen him photographed in a boat so Admiral is probably not in the frame –

    Today's pic in has him in a Prime Ministerial suit it's all a bit bewildering – someone should let him know " Your Exelency " is the favoured title most wanna – be dictators use – at least evryone would know what his fantasys actually mean.

    • Stuart Munro. 14.1

      A boat is not required:

      Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
      If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
      If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool,
      Be careful to be guided by this golden rule.

      Be careful to be guided by this golden rule.

      Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
      And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee!

      All he needs is the proverbial "pocket borough into Parliament"

  15. Ad 15

    Agree re the Tamaki family. Cruel and rich off the backs of the poor.

    Destiny have been offering social programs so weak they are regularly rejected by the public sector. Brian is the very definition of Supply-Side Jesus.

    Labour had truly Christian roots and their leadership were open about it.

    After Christchurch I'm pretty confident Labour are the natural home for Muslims as well: support the weak and hurt against the powerful and the culture of death.

  16. woodart 16

    if you look at recent history, the only times the main churches have intruded on politics has been when the natz have been kicking the poor, and the churches have come out in protest. REAL christians(the ones that help people, not help themselves to peoples money)are mostly socialist, and if the late JC came back to earth, he would probably be identified as a long haired green voter……sandals and all.

  17. swordfish 17

    Maybe the aim's simply to push NZF below that 5% threshold. Nothing more.

    • Pat 17.1

      but is there anything to indicate that there is a significant cohort of NZFirst voters who would switch….i.e. a religious bent rather than straight conservative, or is it a case of every little bit helps?

      • swordfish 17.1.1

        Mostly the latter … together with a whole heap of wishful thinking.

        Mind you, the voting-base of almost all political parties (with the notable exception of the Greens) includes a sizeable minority segment of morally conservative christians. (indeed a majority segment in the case of the 2011 / 2014 Conservatives).

        If … as a kind of rough proxy for overall religiously-informed moral conservatism* … you look at responses to the 2014 NZES statement: "Abortion is always wrong" … you get the following:

        Conservative Party voters 49%

        Maori Party voters 37%

        NZF voters 25%

        Non-Vote 23%

        Labour voters 22%

        National voters 17%

        IMP 16%

        Green 11%

        Extrapolating a wee bit from the NZES … I’d say:

        Among Labour voters … they’re particularly likely to be Pasifikas.

        Among NZF voters … they’re particularly likely to be Maori.
        __________________________________________________________________________________

        * The NZES regression model suggested Regular (Weekly) Church Attendance was by far the most important factor associated with staunch opposition to Abortion.

        ___________________________________________________________________________________

        I couldn't help but notice Hannah Tamaki openly admiring Winston & Jonesy in her RNZ interview (possibly with an eye on NZF voters).

        Can’t see NZF con-christian voters (or anyone else) taking the bait, though.

        • Pat 17.1.1.1

          Looking at those numbers it is just as well there's religion involved then as whomever is proposing such a strategy would appear to be operating on a wing and a prayer

  18. sumsuch 18

    Lprent, looking back through my comments here I saw where I said a Rightist Green party was ridiculous and they might as well turn to Christian bollocks. Sure enough. Bollocks in so many ways. In order to get away from the clods these parties regularly burp up they really need American insincere types with brains (the Republican Party). Delightful, in our much molested country, none of us take Bishop Tamaki seriously.

    Putting the poor first would send a battalion of bats away.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      sumsuch Do you copy all your comments? Keep a file on them. For a long time there has been no way to search and list them on here.

      • sumsuch 18.1.1

        I'm not computer literate, greywarshark. Just happy if my comment appears first time, and appreciative of the best computer skill-ist on the (pretty hopeless, at least Left) political blogs, Lprent. Even if best intent is sometimes shadowed by incomplete accomplishment. The best article on the matter of weapenising Christianity for the friends of the Right in NZ I've seen. These people are in my family so I'm scared.

  19. Rae 19

    Here is my idea for a threshold for religious parties – 400%

  20. Darran Clarke 20

    Have refuges fleeing wartorn countrys that get given sanctuary in the uk being given softer treatment when it comes to the law because no one wants to be seen insulting there religion or culture Im all for political correctness but when do there crimes become so serious there citizenship should be removed?

    Is it right that Islamic extremists from Somalia like YASSEEN+HASSAN or Pakistanis like CHOWDARY can hide behind EU Laws to avoid deportation?

    Im sure the UK public would be interested in how many extremists are here carrying on their activities because the govt lacks the will to deport them?

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