Shed a tear, if you feel inclined. United Future, the party of centralised reasonableness with a dose of common sense pragmatic practical approach to policy will be no more.
This is not a surprise. UF did well in the 2002 elections because of the crashing of National’s support under the leadership of Bill English and the strange behaviour of a televised worm. But after that its fortunes stalled. It crept back into Parliament in 2005 with three seats but since then the only MP was the coiffured one. And his future depended on National making space for him and getting its candidate to not campaign for electorate votes.
What policy wins did it achieve? Occasionally the coiffured one grew a backbone and supported progressive policies like paid parental leave. But much of the time it was the “lets kill only half of the cats” type of compromise.
And the party set up all these strange relationships with disparate groups in an effort to gain a critical mass. The Christian Future Party was an early add on. After that it entered into a rather messy defacto relationship with the shootin rootin tootin Outdoor Recreation Party. This later relationship ended when the ORP realised how corrosive the Christian influence on the party was. And the Christians drifted off after Dunne supported Sue Bradford’s anti smacking legislation leaving Dunne to be a party of one and a sock puppet for National.
So goodbye United Future. No doubt in the future a beige self styled reasonable party will appear intent on reliving United’s glory days.