Christian Politics in New Zealand

This article discusses Christian politics in New Zealand, particularly socially conservative and evangelical Christian politics. Although slightly over half of New Zealand's population belong, at least nominally, to Christian denominations, debate can take place over the extent to which Christianity affects New Zealand politics.

At one end of the spectrum many dismiss the effects of Christianity, saying that New Zealand society has always had a largely secular character. At the other end of the spectrum, however, many evangelicals, fundamentalists and conservative Catholics see Christianity as underlying New Zealand's entire political system. During the nineteenth century, many church-oriented bodies sponsored and fostered several of the original European settlement-ventures in the period 1840–1850, notably the settlements of Otago (1848, Free Church of Scotland) and Canterbury (1850, Church of England). On the other hand, a notable politician of the late 19th century, Sir Robert Stout, had a considerable reputation as a freethinker.

Christianity has had a role in the major contemporary political parties, although it has never (unlike in some European countries) formed an explicit part of them. Religious elements in these parties have taken varying forms, and cannot easily be classified as a single movement. One can much more readily examine the Christian conservative strand that arose in the 1970s and 1980s, mostly in reaction to a perceived decline of social standards. This movement contributed to the founding of Christian political parties such as Christian Heritage, the Christian Democrats, the Christian Coalition and Destiny New Zealand. The political aspect of Māori Christianity, such as the Ratana movement, also merits attention.

Read more about Christian Politics In New Zealand:  Before The 1970s: Debates Over Prohibition and Capital Punishment, Christianity Within Mainstream Political Parties, Evangelical Political Activism: Anti-abortion Activism in The 1970s, Liberal Protestant Activism: 1981-2001, Evangelical Political Activism: 1985-1986: Homosexual Law Reform, Evangelical Parties, Māori Christianity

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