The final election results are in and so is my decision to hang up my coat. I planned to stay and build up the New Conservatives into the next few elections, but after the total collapse of our vote down to 0.15% that is no longer something I have the will or energy for. I am stepping away from the project. There are likely some new people who will come onboard the scene who are eager to put in the hard work required, so I wish them the best of luck and will continue to support them from the outside. If not, then I shall follow our voters to NZ First for the foreseeable future.
While I still believe it's possible to build a traditionally conservative party, the time and energy involved in making that happen is beyond my ability to help.
One of the failures endlessly highlighted is the number of micro factions on the socially conservative right, which I believe is massively overstated. You will always have oddball characters doing their own thing. If you can't rise above the inevitable competition, you can't succeed.
To apply that more personally to myself: if you can't rise above the dross, you are the dross.
While the definition of "conservative" used by others is often very broad and includes genuine nutcase and liberal micro parties, I will give it the proper narrow focus it should have: New Conservatives, Vision (via Freedoms NZ), NewZeal (formerly ONE), and the Leighton Baker Party.
All together, we clocked up about 1.1% (32,000) of the 2023 party vote. In the 2020 election, there were three such factions and we clocked in at around 1.8% (55,000 votes). That's a big step backwards when taken together and there is no meaningful voter base for anyone that can be built on. To put things into perspective, there were also 32,000 informal votes and spoiled ballots this election.
There's still a lot of talk about bringing these factions together, but this is nonsense talk. There's no project that can be taken seriously with Brian and Hannah Tamaki publicly involved. Alfred Ngaro and his people are inseparably tied to unsettling Charismatic religious expressions. Leighton Baker only takes bad political advice from people close to him. They're all good people and I'm trying to be as positive as I can: whatever it is they're trying to do can't ever work. You can't mash that into a clown car and drive it to Parliament. The only thing that would be useful would be their total retirement from any involvement in politics, focusing on things they're good at instead, and providing background support for a conservative political project.
I get requests from people to ask Bob McCroskrie to mediate some kind of intervention between this crowd, and he fans the flames of this a bit with his videos. I know Bob well enough to know he's not crazy enough to believe this is possible, or to attempt it, and he's much too kind to openly tell them all to take a hike.
The propaganda focused on "my values are with you, but we need to get rid of Labour so I voted for Nats/NZF." If we look back at this election, what if 4% of National voters had shifted to NC and wasted their votes? We'd still have a Nat-Act-NZFirst government. What if 4% had wasted their votes on us in 2020? We'd still have had an absolute majority Labour government. What about in 2017? We'd still have had a Labour-Green-NZFirst government. I could go on, but you get the picture.
Both the "wasted vote" and "get rid of Labour" lines are lies, but the product of effective propaganda. There's this promise of "maybe next time" from many voters that never comes. We have no effective counter propaganda channels to break these voters over. Raw money was used in 2014 and 2011, but that is not sustainable. A consolidation of social conservative factions would help fill the lack of talent, patronage, energy, and grassroots issues—but I don't see that on the cards as long as Winston Peters lives. Nor would it be enough without influencer, alternative media, lobby group, and conservative activist backing.
I'm going to park my roadmap plans for conservative politics and enjoy a good break. I'll focus on expanding my commentary in written, audio, and video formats next year so stay tuned. I'll keep advocating for a total right-wing victory and I will remain as partisan as ever.
I'm optimistic about the future, but this particular chapter has come to a natural end for me, for now.