Saturday 18 November 2017
Holiday Inn, 2 Ascot Road, Airport Oaks.
Open floor speech
Thank you, Kevin, for giving me this opportunity to address the delegates.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is James Hippolite from Manurewa. I address you today to give some background to why I chose to support the Conservative Party over the past three elections, and will continue to support these same policies going forward.
Where were you in 1996, when New Zealand held our first MMP election?
- I was there, when Graham Lee, former National Party MP from Matakana, formed the Christian Democrats.
- I watched, when we went into Coalition with the Christian Heritage party.
- I was a candidate in 1996 for the Christian Coalition in Te Tai Tonga, when we achieved 4.5% of the national vote. At first, I was understandably gutted to have not achieved the 5% threshold. Later, I understood why God prevented us moving forward at that time.
- I observed in 1997 when Graeme Capill imploded and we had to disband the Coalition.
- I looked on in 1998 when Pastor Anthony Walton from the Rock Church in Wellington re-formed us into the Future New Zealand Party.
- I participated in 1999, when Future New Zealand contested, but achieved no seats.
- I cheered on in 2000, when we formed a coalition with Peter Dunne’s United New Zealand party.
- I was vindicated in 2002, when United Future contested and won 8 seats.
- I was disappointed in 2005, as an electorate committee member for Peter Dunne’s Ohariu-Belmont electorate, when United Future contested but won only 3 seats.
- I was saddened in 2007, when Peter Dunne returned to his liberal roots, to vote for Sue Bradford’s private members bill against corporal punishment of children, effectively killing my support for him.
- I was encouraged in 2007, when Gordon Copeland left United Future to form the Kiwi Party.
- I was thrilled in 2008, when my sister, Rahui Katene won Te Tai Tonga for the Maori Party.
- I was cautiously optimistic in 2011, when Gordon and Larry Baldock from Tauranga, merged the Kiwi Party into the Conservative Party, under the leadership of Colin Craig.
- I was crushed in 2014, in Elliot Ikilei’s Manurewa electorate, when the Conservative Party contested, but won only 3.97% of the party vote.
- I was not there in 2016, when Colin Craig and the Conservative Party parted ways. I have no history and no animosity with the man. I am grateful for his contribution.
- I was there this year, again in Elliot’s Manurewa electorate, this time as his Electorate Chair, when Leighton Baker courageously lead us into battle, but we won no seats.
What can we learn?
- I like how the Christian Democrats differentiated themselves as a values-based party, saying that anyone who shared the basic Christian moral outlook (whether actually Christian or not) should be able to participate.
- I like how United Future voted against socially liberal legislation in Parliament, and supported socially conservative private member bills.
- I like how the Kiwi Party advocated more direct democracy through referenda and a return to the “Judeo-Christian ethic in democracy”.
- I like how the Conservative Party advocates fiscal conservatism, social conservatism and the use of binding referenda.
Where to from here?
- Whether we change our name or not should be discussed here this weekend. I have no strong opinion either way, although I am starting to lean towards “Change is Good”. I know, there are pros and cons to keeping the name. I’ve been through a few name changes, so they don’t frighten me anymore. In addition, I work for Spark, formerly Telecom. We know a few things about changing brands!
- We are the only pro-life party in New Zealand. We must continue to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves. After all, without a right to life, none of the other rights matter.
- I want to urge the members to continue to fight the good fight. If we don’t, who will?
Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, I like to thank the team for getting us this far. We still have a long way to go. I’m still in it for the long haul. I’m hoping you will continue with me.
I roto I te ingoa o Ihu Karaiti, amene.