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New Zealand Democratic Party

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New Zealand Democratic Party

This article is about the modern party based around the social credit theory. For the pro-business party founded in 1934, see New Zealand Democrat Party (1934).
New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit
President Neville Aitchison
Party Leader Stephnie de Ruyter
Deputy Party Leader John Pemberton
Slogan "Here For Good"
Founded 1985 (1985)
Preceded by Social Credit Party
Headquarters P.O. Box 5164
Waikiwi
Invercargill
Newspaper The Guardian
Ideology Social Credit,
Economic democracy,
Left-wing nationalism
Political position Left-wing
Colours Green
House of Representatives
Local government in New Zealand
Website
www.democrats.org.nz

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit (formerly the New Zealand Democratic Party and New Zealand Social Credit Party) is a small leftist political party in New Zealand. It is based around the ideas of Social Credit, an economic theory which also attracted some degree of support in Canada and Australia. The party does not currently hold any seats in parliament, although it has previously held two. Democratic Party members also held seats when the party was part of the Alliance. The party was formerly known as the Social Credit Party, and was for many years the largest minor party in New Zealand politics. The party's economic policy is still based on Social Credit theories, while in social matters, the party takes a position similar to progressive liberal parties elsewhere.

Policies

The Democratic Party describes its foremost goal as being the recovery of "economic sovereignty". This will be accomplished, the party says, by "the reform of the present monetary system, which is the major cause of war, poverty, inflation and many other social problems." The reforms promoted by the Democratic Party are based on the ideas of Social Credit. The party emphasises "economic democracy", claiming that New Zealand's economy must be reclaimed from the control of financiers, bankers, and money-lenders.

The Democratic Party also supports taxation reform, including the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and the imposition of a tax on financial transactions (a Tobin tax). They also support the introduction of a Universal Basic Income (see external link below).

The Democratic Party states that "what is physically possible and desirable for the happiness of humanity can always be financially possible."

History

Origins (1985–1990)

The New Zealand Democratic Party was originally established as the Social Credit Political League, and in 1953 became the Social Credit Party, contesting its first election in 1954.

File:NewZealandDemocraticPartyLogo.png

The party renamed itself to the New Zealand Democratic party in 1985. At the time they held two seats in parliament - one was East Coast Bays, held by Gary Knapp, and the other was Pakuranga, held by Neil Morrison. Two years after the new name was adopted, in the 1987 elections, the Democrats lost these two seats, removing them from parliament. In 1988, Gary Knapp and a group of other Democrats were involved in a protest at parliament, criticising the First Past the Post electoral system that prevented their success.

The Alliance (1990–2002)

The Democrats, finding themselves increasingly pressured by the growth of NewLabour (founded by rebel Labour Party MP Jim Anderton) and the Greens, opted to increase cooperation with compatible parties. This resulted in the Democrats joining NewLabour, the Greens, and Māori-based party Mana Motuhake in forming the Alliance, a broad left-wing coalition group.

In the 1996 election, which was conducted under the new Mixed member proportional representation (MMP) electoral system, the Alliance won thirteen seats. Among the MPs elected were John Wright and Grant Gillon, both members of the Democratic Party.

However, there was considerable dissatisfaction in the Democratic Party over the Alliance's course. Many Democrats believed that their views were not being incorporated into Alliance policy, particularly as regards the core economic doctrine of Social Credit. The Alliance as a whole tended towards "orthodox" left-wing economics, and was not prepared to implement the Democratic Party's somewhat unusual economic theories.

By the 1999 election, the Democrats were one of only two remaining parties in the Alliance: the Greens had left the grouping, and the Liberals and NewLabour components formally dissolved, their members becoming members of the Alliance as a whole rather than of any specific constituent party.

Progressive Coalition & independent again (2002 – present)

In 2002, when tensions between the "moderate left" and the "hard left" caused a split in the Alliance, the Democrats followed Jim Anderton's moderate faction and became a part of the Progressive Coalition. In the 2002 elections, Grant Gillon and John Wright were placed third and fourth on the party's list. The Progressives, however, won only enough votes for two seats, thus leaving the two Democrats outside parliament.

Shortly after the election, the Democrats split from the Progressives, re-establishing themselves as an independent party. However, Grant Gillon (the party's leader) and John Wright, both of whom opposed the split, chose not to follow the Democrats, instead remaining with the Progressives. The Progressive Coalition became the Progressive Party after the Democrats left. The Democrats chose Stephnie de Ruyter, who had been fifth on the Progressive list, as their new leader.

In 2005, the party added "for Social Credit" to its official name. The Democrats contested that year's general election as an independent party but only managed to receive 0.05% of the party vote. The party fared no better in the 2008 general election, again winning just 0.05% of the party vote.[1]

The party did not apply for broadcasting funding for the 2011 election. During the election, it won just 1,432 votes,[2] and was the only party to have an electorate candidate attract no votes.[3]

Electoral results

House of Representatives
Election candidates nominated (electorate/list) seats won number of votes  % of popular vote
1987
97 / 0
105,091
5.7%
1990
91 / 0
30,455
1.67%
1993 - 1999
Part of the Alliance
2002
Part of the Progressive Coalition
2005
5 / 29
1,079
0.05%
2008
14 / 31
1,208
0.05%
2011
14 / 24
1,432
0.07%

List of presidents

The following is a list of party presidents:

President Term
Stefan Lipa 1985–1987
Chris Leitch 1988–1993
Margaret Cook 1993-1999
Peter Kane 1999-2003
John Pemberton 2003-2005
Neville Aitchison 2005-2010
David Wilson 2010-2013

List of Parliamentary Party Leaders

The following is a list of Parliamentary Party Leaders:

Leader Term
Bruce Beetham 1985–1986
Neil Morrison 1986–1991
John Wright 1991-2001
Grant Gillon 2001–2002
Stephnie de Ruyter 2002-Current

Former Parliamentarians

The following is a list of Former Parliamentarians:

Former Parliamentarian Term
Gary Knapp 1985–1987
Neil Morrison 1985–1987
Grant Gillon 1996–2002
John Wright 1996–2002

See also

New Zealand portal

References

External links

  • Official web site
  • Universal Basic Income description, by Keith Rankin
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