Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Copeland to leave United Future

NB:post has been updated
Gordon Copeland is to have a media conference soon to announce he is leaving United Future. Apparently it is over the Bradford anti-smacking bill, more specifically, the fact that he doesn't agree with his leader, Peter Dunne, voting for it. Peter Dunne was responsible for getting Copeland into Parliament, and it now appears the catalyst for him leaving the party.

I find a decision to leave the party now, for the reasons given, a little strange for several reasons. United Future had a conscience vote on the Bradford Bill, Copeland and Dunne are free to use this vote. Does Copeland expect United Future to vote like Labour and be whipped for doing so? After all, Copeland is (or was) the United Future whip.

Copeland will be an independent MP, meaning he is the only MP in Parliament who is neither elected nor represented on a party list. He plans to form a party with Larry Baldock, who is organising a CIR against the bill.

But what this means is that Labour will find it even more difficult to pass legislation in the House, although thanks to the Greens abstentions, confidence and supply is safe. In any case Copeland is continuing to support the Govt on confidence and supply for the budget. The Government will be relying on the Greens and the Maori Party to pass legislation, when they have stronger agreements with NZ First and United Future.

It also means that Copeland may well be finding another job after the election, which will be a shame as he was a measured MP who had a good grasp of a great deal of issues and portfolios. Then again, he was probably not going to be back in 2008 anyway unless more people were to vote for United Future than current polls indicate.

However, United Future is no longer united, and its future is looking a bit shaky as well. Copeland is out, Turner is really pissed off and Dunne will be on his own after the next election - primarily because he voted for a contentious bill that his party and his supporters disapproved of. Serves him right.

I guess that's what happens when minor parties try to support the Government of the day when its conscience and the majority of its dwindling number of supporters, and constituents tell them otherwise.

Dunne could have kept his party together had he voted with his electorate preferences and against the anti smacking bill. It would not have made a scrap of difference to the passage of the bill, but a big difference to everything else.

United Future is split right open. Its three MPs voted three different ways in the smacking bill -Dunne for, Turner against and Copeland as a new Independent MP didn't vote at all. (update: he voted against the bill and had his vote recorded two hours late


Matthew said...

Hi Dave,

right on with your post, although in my conversations with Gordon I could detect he was really uncomfortable with his leader's stance. In that case, you either submit or leave the party, so good on him for staying true to his conscience.

I for one will not be voting again for United Future at the next election, or in the future unless its leader makes fundamental changes to his philosophy in relation to Marxism and the section 59 debate.

Chuck said...

Dave, if Copeland stayed as number three on United future’s list it is unlikely he would remain in Parliament after 2008. If enough people are unhappy enough over Bardford’s now law they have a party to vote that will have a repeal of the law high on its agenda.

I certainly will be voting for Copeland’s new party on that basis.

When the majority of MPs ignore either their electorate or those who voted for their party drastic action may be required.

Anonymous said...

I have always voted for Gordon Copeland as my constituancy MP, as I know him to be a man of integrity.
God knows this country needs them in parliament.

Last time I voted for national as my party vote.
Your write up on the waste of a vote for a minor party led to that.
Good work mate.

Dave said...

Well done Mike, its people like you who have provided the platform for a National win in 2008. If you want a National Government, along with high unemployment and stripping of the state sector, vote National. If you want the status quo, vote Labour, if you don't like either,vote someone else.

Anonymous said...

You are a funny fish somedays.

For me the bottom line is to get Helen Clark, her sisterhood and the very left liberal socialists out of power.

The best chance last time was National. Duh!

Anonymous said...


I am voting Gordon Copeland if he is in my constituancy for individual vote.

For my party vote.

ACT now! SMACK The Politicians where it hurts!
Give your PARTY VOTE to ACT!
Deny Labour and National ALL the Power.

Do the math.
If 80% of voters gave ACT their party vote that would send a message to the liars and hypocrites in the Beehive.

they could still vote for their local MP.
Best of both worlds.