Bridges confirms talks on breakaway Christian party

There were reports last week that National MP Alfred Ngaro could lead a new Christian Party. With cooperation from National Ngaro would have a reasonable chance of winning an electorate, which is the only way around a prohibitive MP threshold for new parties.

The only new parties to have succeeded in getting into Parliament under MMP are those with incumbent MPs.

Yesterday National leader Simon Bridges confirmed he has talked to Ngaro about the possibility of splitting, but was vague about details. However significantly Bridges did not deny the new party being considered.

Stuff: Simon Bridges confirms he’s talked with MP about a breakaway Christian party

​National leader Simon Bridges has confirmed he’s talked with MP Alfred Ngaro about the establishment of a “values-based, religious party”.

Bridges says it’s an “alluring idea” and he’s giving Ngaro, a former National party minister, “space” to explore the idea.

But he’s being vague on who is behind the nascent party, and sending mixed messages on whether there will be an electorate deal.

“I am not setting up a religious party…I don’t think I’m giving him support or not, I’m just giving him space,” Bridges said.

Bridges would only be ‘giving him space’ if he did not oppose the idea of a split.

Bridges says Ngaro was approached by “some people” in the last few months. He claims not to know who they are.

Sounds like a deliberate ‘plausible denial’ situation.

“Look, I am not interested in electorate deals, that is certainly not something I have canvassed with Alfred or anyone else…

“I can confirm to you I have not done any deals, I have not talked about any deals and actually I am pretty unlikely to want to get into that.”

He won’t want to get into that with the media, but he hasn’t ruled anything out there.

Bridges says he spoke to Ngaro once about the fledgling party. He wouldn’t be drawn on whether the post-Christchurch political environment was the right time to be launching a party hinged on religious values.

“I’ve simply said to them ‘ok let me know how you get on’. We haven’t had other conversations on this…

“We have seen in the past, these sort of values based, religious parties can do very well and I suppose that’s why Alfred and others are exploring this…there potentially is a gap in the market for a Christian or a value-based party.”

Bridges sounds quite amenable to the proposition.

As I have already said, I think that a Christian based party with a good chance of getting into Parliament is a good idea. Doing it with a sitting MP splitting is probably the only of succeeding inn spite of the 5% threshold, which has effectively stopped any new parties getting into Parliament, unless they have an MP with an electorate seat.

I am unlikely to vote for a Christian party, but I strongly support aa party that can get a few percent of people voting for them being represented in Parliament.  That is what MMP should allow, and a number of viable smaller parties would result in better representation in Parliament. Currently the threshold effectively disenfranchises people who prefer niche parties.


Update: bridges is being about this on RNZ. He stated that National will stand an MP in the Botany electorate next election (Botany was mooted as an electorate that Ngaro could stand).

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6 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  20th May 2019

    National will stand a candidate in Botany means only that they’re putting up a candidate.

    They put up a candidate in Epsom each time too. I presume any meeting about things won’t be a famous cafe meeting out east as there was in Epsom in 2011.

    TVNZ had Bridges saying, “I am saying absolutely we are not going to do a deal on Botany.”

    That is more certain than saying there were no plans to cut an election deal with him (at the moment) and that neither he, nor anyone else from the party has been talking to Mr Ngaro further the a brief word.

    If they do a deal and Ngaro gets in and takes three others in on his coat-tails will Simon Bridges and his supporters be upset at criticism that they’re sitting on the Treasury benches as the result of a deal after saying, “We are absolutely not going to do a deal on Botany”?

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  20th May 2019

    Mr Bridges…’I’m giving him space because he’s a good guy.’

    -NZH.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  20th May 2019

      Thats what Castle thought about Folau too…these god botherers get some mighty strange ideas when they say God is talking to them …normally there are only supposed to be ‘signs’

      Reply
  3. Duker

     /  20th May 2019

    “National will stand an MP in the Botany electorate next election ”
    Well he did say as well a Christian party growing out of nationals Rib was rumour and speculation…then it wasnt.
    hes such a weasel..most likely a new electorate will be created out of Botany, which gives the best chance for the national HQ to control the selection process and not have one

    Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  20th May 2019

    Another desperate grab for ‘friends’ & power.. after the debacle of ‘Crazy Colin & the Conservatives’ (christian-right) feel down the toilet. Do Natl/bridges.. really believe that hoards of ‘Christian’ Labour voters will now defect to the Right, to join them ?

    ….wishful thinking ! 😀

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  20th May 2019

      Best solution is for Bridges to jump ship to the new boat and a better leader for Naitonal.

      Reply

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