Wednesday, 16 May 2007

United Future MP quits as party abandons principles

United Future MP Gordon Copeland has quit the party, in protest at its support of Sue Bradford's intrusive anti-smacking bill.

United Future was originally formed in 2002, with the merger of United New Zealand and conservative Christian party Future New Zealand.

(United has a habit of absorbing other parties during the MMP era, with leader and constituent MP Peter Dunne "merging" with mini-minor parties unable to crack New Zealand's high 5% party threshold).

However United Future has largely abandoned its philosophies in a bid to be part of the Labour-led minority coalition government, and voted in support of Labour's long programme of social engineering.

Copeland will now re-form the Future New Zealand Party, with former colleague Larry Baldock, who has been campaigning against the Bradford bill.

The controversial anti-smacking/anti-parenting bill is expected to be passed tonight, after National leader John Key caved in and ordered his MPs to support Green MP Sue Bradford's bill, following a minor amendment aimed at trying to appease opponents.
In reality, the amendment changes little, and will still allow Police to use the law as an excuse to arrest good parents for giving their children a light smack for correction.

ACT leader Rodney Hide recently moved National MP Chester Burrows' former amendment, but was supported by only a handful of MPs (including Gordon Copeland), and not by any National MPs including Burrows himself. Only 7 MPs voted against the bill this evening (Copeland wasn't one of them).

Copeland will remain in Parliament as an Independent MP, but will contest the next election under the Future New Zealand banner. His departure means the Labour-led Government can only rely on 59 votes out of the 121 seat Parliament.

* NZ Herald: United Future MP quits party over smacking bill

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