Note from Mark: After my previous blog concerning the dilemma of who to vote for a Christian who does not want to be named sent me this and asked me to consider promoting it. While the views in it are not my own, I feel it is worth sharing as an option for consideration as we go to the polls with so much uncertainty about who to vote for. It is one genuine possibility among a few others. Unlike other more prominent bloggers, I received no money for posting this.
Have you made up your mind yet on how you will vote? This is an important privilege we share and a right we should exercise. Unfortunately voter turnout by those who identify themselves as religious or having a strong faith in the past decade has generally been lower than the National average.
Perhaps that is because it can be so hard to know what candidates and Parties you can really trust. Since no one is perfect and certainly there is probably no political party that you agree with 100%, sometimes we are only left with the option of voting for the Party or candidate that offends us the least!
It is not the intention of this open letter to tell you who to vote for, but rather to suggest an option that you may not have considered thus far in your deliberations.
Have you considered voting for the Maori Party? Did you know that you can give them you Party Vote even though you are not on the Maori roll?
Here are a few reasons why the writer believes this is worth considering.
Much is being discussed about who will be ‘Kingmaker’ and who will hold the ‘balance of power?’
Some parties want to remove Maori seats, and dispense with anything based on the Treaty of Waitangi.
All this at a time when many churches across the country are becoming involved in some way this year and next in observing and celebrating the bi-centennial of the first preaching of the gospel by Samuel Marsden on Christmas Day 1814.
We have been discovering, or re-discovering in a deeper way the amazing history of the gospel in New Zealand and in particular, the way in which Maori embraced Christianity in large numbers between the late 1830’s and early 1860’s. The gospel transformed individual lives and Maori societies as outstanding Maori evangelists, teachers and preachers passed on what they had learnt from the early missionaries all across Aotearoa.
Recently published books by Keith Newman have been very helpful in this regard.
‘The Bible and the Treaty,’ ‘Beyond Betrayal’ and Get over it or get on with it, unfinished business in our own backyard,’ and ‘Ratana the Prophet.’
The role of the early Missionaries in encouraging Maori to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 was described in a sermon on Waitangi Day this year at a church service at Waitangi as that of the midwife of the Nation as they acted between the Crown and Maori to bring about the Birth of our nation.
It has been further suggested that perhaps we have suffered at various times in the past 174 years as a Nation when Christians’ individually and the Church collectively have not continued a role in the ongoing birthing of our Nation.
For the past six years the Maori Party has provided support for stable government of our country while pursuing policies, programs and legislation that has improved the lives of Maori and our Nation as a whole.
With the retirement of the Founding co-leaders this year, there are some new faces in the Maori Party under the leadership of Te Ururoa Flavell as he begins his 3rd Parliamentary term.
A recent poll put the Party at 2% and other polls have all-but confirmed the Waiariki Maori seat will be won by the Maori Party Leader to give the party 3 MPs.
In some election result scenarios it could only take a further rise of 1.5 – 1.7% to add two more MPs and give the Maori Party a stronger place in determining not only the next Government but also many individual decisions over the next three years.
At number 4 & 5 on the Maori party list are two Christians that could be very influential in our next parliamentary term, at a time when it looks like some controversial legislative changes may be promoted that could further undermine the Christian foundations of New Zealand.
At number Four. Te Hira Paenga is currently the Assistant Principal at Hato Petera College, Assistant Curate at the Auckland Anglican Māori Mission and holds senior leadership and governance roles at Hoani Waititi Marae. Te Hira is a father if five and has earned tertiary and post-graduate degrees from Auckland University, Waikato University, Auckland College of Education, Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo and The College of Saint John the Evangelist.
At number Five. Ngaire Button is now mother of six children and has been married for 23 years. She’s been a successful small business owner for 18 years and contributed to her local community on school boards, the Neighbourhood Trust and church ministry. Ngaire, who was a former Christchurch City Councilor for 9 years and deputy Mayor for three years has much to offer at a national level.
Perhaps this information gives you one new possibility of how you may responsibly cast your vote this year.
A concerned Christian Voter.