Story: Political parties

Christian parties

Christian parties

A billboard for the Christian Heritage Party features leader Graham Capill and his wife Judith. The party, formed in 1989, had a strongly conservative moral base, and membership was restricted to avowed Christians. The Christian Coalition, formed in 1995 to contest the first MMP election in 1996, was a sometimes uneasy alliance between the Christian Heritage and Christian Democrat parties. The Christian Democrat Party, formed by Graeme Lee (a former National Party MP) in 1995, was intended to have broader appeal than the Christian Heritage Party and was open to those who might not be avowed Christians but shared Christian values.

The Christian Coalition was dominated by the Christian Heritage Party and Capill, its leader. The coalition only survived until 1997, and the Christian Democrats, renamed Future New Zealand, became part of the UnitedFuture Party in 2000. Capill's conviction in 2005 for child sexual abuse damaged the Christian Heritage Party, and in 2006, 97% of its members voted to end the party. Leader Ewen McQueen said Capill’s conviction had created ‘a legacy of negative perceptions,’ and the party could not unite the Christian vote 'under its own banner – or even under a different name'. (Quoted in 'Capill blamed as Christian Heritage closes down', New Zealand Herald, (last accessed 16 September 2011))

Using this item

Private collection
Photographs by Nigel Roberts

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Jennifer Curtin and Raymond Miller, 'Political parties - Small parties in the 1990s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 July 2024)

Story by Jennifer Curtin and Raymond Miller, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 21 Jul 2015