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Marama Fox - Maori Party

Marama Fox talked with Andrew about their vision for NZ, the role of the Maori party, and the role of faith and church in NZ.

 

 

Winston Peters, NZ First

Andrew Urquhart sat down with Winston Peters to talk about his vision for New Zealand, and why he is passionate about politics.

Susanna Barthow: Love the Politician

 

Jesus taught us "those that are without sin, cast the first stone." As Christ followers, we need to be careful of negative stereotypes around politicians and political parties.  You know that potted bible adage "love the sinner, hate the sin"?  Well, it kind of applies here too.  We might not agree with their politics but does that mean we should harass or discredit a politician?  Or criticise their physical appearance?

No. I recently read an article about a politician that made me lose respect for them and, when I drove past one of their signs on the roadside, I had some unsavoury names for them in my head.  But then I realised, well, God made and loves that person.  And that should be good enough for us.  And if it's still a bitter pill to swallow then at least we can remember what our grandmother taught us: "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all."

This is not to say we should avoid healthy discussion and debate; nor should we change our vote unnecessarily; and we should maintain transparency in government. 

 

But the reality of the Gospel is not about Truth OR Grace;  it's about Truth AND Grace. So while pursuing truth in these elections, let’s extend some grace while we are at it."

Susanna Barthow: God establishes authority

 

 

The Electoral Commission Report on the 2014 General Election in New Zealand found that promoting voter participation was crucial in maintaining a healthy democracy in New Zealand.  And I agree.  The Bible teaches us we must subject ourselves to those in Authority as there is no authority apart from that which God establishes.  

How hard that must be for those who are subject to authority by tyranny or by torture. For those that are subject to authority by chance of nationality. For those that are subject to authority by exclusion. Every Human has a basic right to participate in the government of their country but not every country offers its people that privilege.  

In New Zealand we are a privileged people.  We are not living in closed state, under tyranny, autocracy, or dictatorship. New Zealanders have the power to make a choice and change the authority they are subjected to.  We risk losing this privilege if we don’t take advantage of it.

As Christ followers, we are part of God’s story in establishing our government’s agenda. We can do this through voting. All votes have equal weight regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, postcode or level of education.  Every vote counts so make your voice heard.

George Wieland: Every vote a Talent

 

Christians know that they should pray for people who’ve been entrusted with political authority. Part of what it means to seek the good of the cities and communities where we live is to pray that those in positions of responsibility will govern for the good of all, with God-given wisdom and freedom from self-interest.

But, in a democracy, who is it that we are we praying for? As well as those elected to govern we are also praying for those entrusted with the authority to place them in those positions. That’s us, the voters.

In the distribution of political authority, the privilege of voting may be the only ‘talent’ handed to you or me, but Jesus had stern things to say about people who bury their one talent in the ground instead of putting it to use for him!

 

If even that small act of casting a vote can seem troublesome or even morally dubious, think of another of Jesus’ stories.  When someone lay hurt and in a mess by the side of the road, it was not the religious people who maintained their purity by just walking on by whom Jesus commended, but the foreigner who saw, accepted responsibility, and did what he could. And, for those who know the story, his two pence worth made a difference – so could yours.     

George Wieland: Psalm 72 - Good Leadership

 

 

What sort of people do we want in positions of power in our nation?

Psalm 72 in the Bible is a prayer for a ruler, a new king. But the qualities, actions and outcomes that are prayed for would characterise good leaders of any nation, including ours.

Such leaders are known for being just and right in their attitudes and actions. They genuinely care about those who are suffering and being mistreated in their society – “precious is their blood in [their] sight,” in the words of the psalm. Those who benefit from having such leaders in power are particularly the most vulnerable – poor, needy, oppressed. Those who have no one else to help them find that their rulers are looking out for them. There is protection and a way out of their distressing situation.

The outcomes of such governing include a flourishing both of the land and of its people who depend on what it produces; the peace and shared prosperity captured in the beautiful Hebrew word, shalom; and blessing not only for that one nation but for all nations.

Let that psalm guide our praying – and our voting – in this election.  

Aimee Mai: Playing My Part

 

 

Popquiz! Who said this?: “As a Rockstar, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both” [the answer]……. Bono from the pop group U2

As a Kiwi, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both!

In my everyday life I can have fun, and I can play my small part in changing the world by choosing to do the things that energise me and spend my life on the things that really matter.

To have fun with and play my small part in changing the world in this election – I have to engage with the conversation, learn what is on offer from each party, debate with friends, question my bias and world view, stay light hearted and be willing to learn, take the time to hear from God – and spend my vote on the things that really matter.

Aimee Mai: Speak Up

 

 

‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of the destitute, speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy’ A mothers wise words as advice to her son King Lemuel in Proverbs 31.

I’ve heard it said that in the West today the majority of us live like little kings, living on choice food and wine - and in the democracy we live in we have some power - in our vote!

24% or our population are under the age of 18 therefore unable to vote.  1 in 4 children live in poverty. 1 in 7 households live in poverty. In Aotearoa – in OUR nation!  And I would bet on the fact that those living in poverty are the least likely to vote.

Through conversations with our clients at Christians Against Poverty - Clients who are struggling in the miserable grip of poverty in our nation I know that isolation is a reality and that the pressures of poverty take so much brain bandwidth that thinking about things like voting just aren’t on the agenda. How can it be, when you have no idea where your childrens next meal is coming from?

 

Will you use your power well this election? Will you speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves?

Aimee Mai: Motivations

 

 

When you think about how you will vote this year – what are your motivations?

When I think of my vote, of course I think about what will benefit me. But as a follower of Jesus I also think of what will benefit my neighbour who is in need. I’m challenged by the second greatest commandment as Jesus says in the gospel of Mark: ‘To love your neighbour as yourself’ and the explanation of who showed themselves to be a neighbour in Luke 10 “the one who has mercy” on the downtrodden, on the poor and needy, on the one who could do with my help, on the one who could do with my vote.

So as I consider my vote and assess the various political parties, - their character, promises and policies – I want to assess not just for myself but for all people in Aotearoa – and most importantly for my neighbours in need, in need of my love and mercy.

 

Will you love your neighbour as yourself and show love and mercy by considering them on the 23rd September this year?

Lisa Woolley: Poverty & Housing

 

 

As New Zealand moves towards the elections, housing and poverty need to be top of the political agenda. These two issues are inextricably linked.  If people can live in safe, healthy and affordable housing, then we know that families will have money for food, education and health costs.  

Housing is a basic human right and needs to be a key pillar of our social system alongside health and education, ensuring that people in our communities thrive and have hope for a better future. 

We cannot continue to see families sleeping in cars and in overcrowded situations. As a parent, could you sleep at night knowing that you would be putting your child to sleep in the back of the car on an empty stomach? 

With more than 42,000 people in New Zealand in ‘severe housing depravation’ or homelessness, we know something must change. It is why we are asking the Government to have a comprehensive national housing strategy that addresses the whole housing system, ensuring that those in the greatest need have a healthy and affordable house to call home. 

 

There are many ways that believers can work to end homelessness in New Zealand. One key point is making sure we vote with intention around this issue.

Peter Jelleyman: The Kingdom of God

 

 

When Jesus taught that the Kingdom-of-God was “like a mustard seed” he was describing potential abundance: life, growth, nourishment, and beauty.  This was for everyone to share in, especially on a national scale.

So, when stories of: privatisation, unfairness, violence, sickness, and death dominate our daily news, what conclusions should we draw?  We might conclude, for instance, that something has gone wrong with our country; that we are not experiencing together what God really intended. 

Irrespective of where you were born, the community's health where you live right now is most important.  A theologian named Jürgen Moltmann once urged his fellow citizens: politicians, trade- unionists, entrepreneurs, and consumers – all to “play [their] part in God’s kingdom.”   And his words challenged people's apparent failure to act, when they knew they really should.

Moltmann’s next statement, “let the re-birth of all things become visible....” raised the issue, that some aspects of God’s Kingdom progress quietly; are even hidden. 

This kingdom is, in a way, stealthy - goodness breaks in to the neighbourhood. 

Our big project is to live in that Kingdom now (not just in the future).  And that makes this a great time to be alive!

Peter Jelleyman: Babel

 

 

 

The story of Babel is about a business which God ends with confusion!!  At first glance, the Babel story seems to portray a mean-spirited God.  But a larger picture may be about working with God, not apart from him.  It is a view framed by accounts of two men (Noah and Abraham) who pleased God by trusting him completely.  And the contrast of such a bright frame only deepens the shades of the picture itself.

In its time Babel used the most advanced technology to build an impressive tower:

Genesis 11 - ‘[The builders] said to each other, “Let’s build a city and a tower for ourselves, whose top will reach high into the sky.  We will become famous.”’

Their speech indicated their great self-reliance as they grasped at the benefits of city-living.  And the final crunch came, when God was pushed out to the margins.

Pieter Bruegel’s painting, of an unfinished Babel, shows large gaps in its architecture; gaps which might well symbolise an imperfect society, or else, unfinished business.  The Hebrew word Babel suggests confusion – over-inflated plans that begin well but end in chaos.

And over the centuries too, the Alexanders, Napoleons, and Stalins seem to have come nearest to completing Babel-type unity – but at enormous human cost.  

…What if this Babel story in fact pointed, to good government, and one which originates not in a perfect ideology but in people co‑operating with a good God?

 

Peter Jelleyman: Every Vote Counts - Gratitude

 

 

Elections give people in Aotearoa/New Zealand an opportunity to cast their own vote – to stand up and be counted!  This is a privilege many people in the world simply don’t have, but privilege carries certain responsibility.  Now the word “responsibility” is generally associated with duty and commitment, and it doesn’t excite many of us.  But should we let the opportunity simply slip through our fingers?

The Bible doesn’t tell us how to cast our votes, nor does it debate different forms of government out there.  However, Paul the Apostle, throws open his windows and takes in a different view – as he writes to the Christians at Rome…

From Romans 13 - “ Pay to all what is due them
—taxes to whom taxes are due,
revenue to whom revenue is due,
respect to whom respect is due,
honor to whom honor is due.

Paul gives the gospel space to breathe.  He is generous towards a form of government which was often brutal with its own citizens.  And he promotes a spirit of gratefulness. 

The neurologist, Oliver Sachs, when dying from cancer, echoed a similar gratitude saying “I have been given much, and I have given something in return.” – such accountability is a breath of fresh air. 

So, exercising your vote on Election Day could be an act of gratefulness (and honour.)  Then who knows where that vote might really count!

Vic Francis: What I look for in a leader

 

 

Leadership is a key factor when we decide who gets our vote.

For me, leadership comes down to three key things – calling, competence and moral compass. A good leader – of a church or a country – needs all three.

I want a leader with a sense of call to the role, who is willing make the sacrifices necessary, to keep the big picture in mind and to lead for the people and not for themselves.

I want a leader who’s competent – who can inspire a team and indeed a nation, who has the skills to do the job.

And I want a leader with a moral compass – a person of integrity, compassion and heart.

Calling, competence and moral compass. I can follow a leader with those qualities.

And if I can find them in one of my electorate candidates or among any of the parties in the race, they’ll get my vote this election.

Vic Francis: Seeing a bigger picture

 

 

I want to be part of the answer, not part of the problem.

And that’s why, for me, voting thoughtfully, wisely and prayerfully at this election is important.

It’s easy to find flaws in any and every political party. It’s easy to despair over New Zealand’s direction as a country. It’s easy to wonder whether one small vote can make a difference.

But that’s being part of the problem.

Instead, I will vote believing that what I’m doing counts.

My vote says yes to democracy. My vote recognises the privilege I have as a New Zealander. My vote helps decide the government my country deserves.

And, maybe most importantly of all, my vote helps preserve that right for generations to come.

I’m looking forward to being part of the answer on September the 23rd.

Lyndon Drake: Economy

 

A couple of years ago, an English politician praised rioters in London. His desire for violence was partly in response to widespread discontent about economic injustice. But his language of violence reinforces the idea that in our economy, it's a war for limited resources.

I think the Bible offers us a better story. As the New York pastor Tim Keller often says, the Bible's story goes from a garden towards a great city. It's a story of growth, where one person flourishing doesn't have to mean another person losing.

Because I know how the story ends, I like policies that encourage economic growth and flourishing, as well as policies which fight injustice. For me, the more New Zealand's *economy* heads towards the hope at the end of the Bible's story, the more chances I have to help New Zealand's *people* find their own place in the story.

 

I want my Kiwi friends to catch a glimpse now of how amazing Jesus' rule will be: to point them not just to the end of injustice, but to the hope of greatness. And I want them to find the hope I have of being in that great city, the temple of God, with all God's people forever.

Lyndon Drake: Voting responsibly

 

 

It's a privilege to vote. For most of history, power was confined to an elite. Now we all get to share in it. Only God will know which box you tick in the voting booth, but I think he cares that you do it, and he cares who you vote for.

But when I vote, my political loyalty will always be divided. The theologian Andrew Wilson says that the left warns against idolatry of money and war, while the right warns against idolatry of sex and the earth. It's important to vote, and to vote for the politician who best represents loyalty to God's pattern. But neither side can completely win my heart.

So I won't just vote: I'll go to church. It's the most politically subversive act I can do.

On Saturday the 23rd of September, I will vote, giving partial allegiance to a politician. But on Sunday the 24th, I will once again give my undivided loyalty to my crucified king, hear the gospel preached, and remember Jesus' death.

As Saturday night ends, I hope I'll see the dawn of a better New Zealand. But as long as the darkness of this world's night lasts, I hope far more for the breaking of a better dawn: I'm longing for my king to come.

Lyndon Drake: Poverty

 

 

When I tell you that my kids go to a decile 1 school, you know that child poverty isn't abstract to me: it's part of my community. But should poverty really be the measure of economic progress?

When I worked for a bank, I measured my work by more than just profits, but never less. As a student, I measured my studies by more than just grades, but never less.

I love what the Bible says about economic growth, about wealth, and economic structures. When God measures a nations progress, he cares about more than just poverty. But he never cares about less.

It's not just about money, God cares about the dignity of work, about structures of family and community life that keep people out of poverty, and about everyone including the poor following God's ways.

But Ohio governor John Kasich once said, "at the gates of heaven, you're going to be asked what you did for the poor: you better have a good answer."

I think my vote should be part of my own answer to God, and my vote should paint a picture of Jesus, who "though he was rich, for our sake became poor."  I'd love us paint that picture in society, and tell that story to our nation's people.

Lyndon Drake: Work and Flourishing

 

 

The writer Oscar Wilde once said, "work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do." Many New Zealanders buy a lottery ticket each week, hoping to win a lifetime supply of "nothing better to do." I sympathise: I've often found work frustrating.

But I also love the Bible's story, that starts with God working. We are in the image of God; to flourish, we need to work in the home, or as volunteers, or in paid employment. Jesus showed us this image of God in his work as a carpenter.

I want other people to find the dignity and purpose this story has given me, and so I support policies which help people find work not just to escape poverty, but so they flourish as human beings.

We see that flourishing best when Christians work towards Jesus' kingdom in society: as Martin Luther once put it, Christians are God's hands and feet in the world.

As people find work we can tell them how this story explains both their desire to work and work's frustration. We can share how their work can be transformed by Jesus. And we can help friends find a new identity in God's story: a story that began with work in the garden, and ends with the work of human hands being brought into the city of God.

Lyndon Drake: Immigration

 

The TV host David Letterman jokes that if you ask a Native American how many illegal immigrants there are in the US, they'll say it's about three hundred million. Just like in the US, immigration has a long and mixed history in New Zealand. Right now people are unsure whether more immigration is good for New Zealand or not.

Now the Bible doesn't tell us how much immigration we should allow into our country, but it does tell us how to treat those who come here.

We are told to show hospitality to immigrants, to include immigrants in our families & households, and to protect immigrants from oppression.

I've been an immigrant in the UK, and I know what it's like to be treated differently because of the way I look and speak. And I also know how wonderful it is when Christians showed hospitality and kindness to me. In New Zealand, one of my friends recently told me the story of a refugee from a closed country who has opened his heart to Jesus because of this.

 

Jesus travelled far from his home to rescue us, at great cost to himself. Whatever policy we support around immigration numbers, my hope is that we will show refugee and immigrant people generous hospitality which mirrors our love for Jesus, even if it comes at a cost to us.

Lyndon Drake: Good government - what should it look like

 

 

I reckon all of us have seen those pictures titled, "you only had one job” the kind where road workers have stuck a lamp post right in the middle of a driveway.

In the Old Testament law, the king had just one job: to study the law of God. The theologian John Barton says it's difficult to imagine anyone wanting a job with such limited power, and Israel's kings didn't really stick to the law.

These days, our situation is more like the New Testament, where Christians can participate in politics but are part of a mixed society. So Paul instructs Timothy to pray that those in government would allow Christian believers to live "peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

In New Zealand, we mostly have that privilege, so we can call attention to the other issues we know God cares about: the protection of life, especially of unborn children and the elderly; provision for the poor in society, including the homeless; caring for people, including those with mental illness; and ensuring justice, especially for the powerless and oppressed.

We'll never see these completely in this life. But we can also tell people about our own king, the Lord Jesus. And I want people to know that the church stands for the same ideas as our coming king.

Richard Waugh: Key Issues in NZ identified by Christian Social Services

 

Christian leaders and churches throughout New Zealand often work together in ways people don’t know about.

The social service organisations of six of the main churches – Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army – deliver a huge portion of social services throughout our nation.

The heads of churches, with the social service agencies, do much together, especially in their advocacy work to Government. Three current topics – in this election year - are of prayerful concern; housing, immigration and social investment.

Proper housing is essential for good family health and community wellbeing. Pray for all political parties to be active in having policies and processes that help families get into affordable and healthy housing.

Churches have long been involved advocating for a culture of welcome and hospitality, including helping refugees from overseas resettle here. We Christians advocate for right and proper immigration policies.

The recent creation of the Social Investment Agency gives the churches an opportunity to work with Government so that poverty and abuse can be eradicated in New Zealand. Christians affirm every person has dignity as a valuable child of God. We follow the teaching from Jesus of loving our neighbour. The Prophet Amos, said it so well, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (Amos 5:24).                        

Subcategories

For the two weeks leading up to the Election we will be publishing regular interviews from various party leaders. Please check back regularly to see new interviews.


 A Faith Perspective

 

Aimee Mai

CEO Christians Against Poverty NZ

 

http://www.capnz.org/

Articles

Aimee Mai: Motivations

Aimee Mai: Playing My Part

Aimee Mai: Speak Up

 

 

 
 

Dr George Wieland

Director of Mission Research and Training - Carey Baptist College

 

http://carey.ac.nz/

Articles

George Wieland: Every vote a Talent

George Wieland: Psalm 72 Good Leadership

 

 

 

Rev Dr Lyndon Drake

Theology, finance, & artificial intelligence. Anglican minister (Te Tai Tokerau) & research student. Former finance VP.

 

www.arotau.com

Articles

Lyndon Drake: Economy

Lyndon Drake: Good government - what should it look like

Lyndon Drake: Immigration

Lyndon Drake: Poverty

Lyndon Drake: Voting responsibly

Lyndon Drake: Work and Flourishing

 

 

 

 
 

Peter Jelleyman

Rhema Media Team member

 

www.RhemaMedia.co.nz

Articles

Peter Jelleyman: Every Vote Counts - Gratitude

Peter Jelleyman: The Kingdom of God

Peter Jelleyman: Babel

 

 

 

 

Rev Dr Richard Waugh

National Superintendent of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand

 

http://www.wesleyan.org.nz/

Articles

Richard Waugh: Being Salt & Light

Richard Waugh: Christian way to evaluate politicians and their policies

Richard Waugh: Christianity in New Zealand today – integral part of our society

Richard Waugh: Key Issues in NZ identified by Christian Social Services

 

 

 

 

Dr Roshan Allpress

National Principal/CEO of Laidlaw College

 

https://www.laidlaw.ac.nz/#

Articles

Roshan Allpress: Good Government

Roshan Allpress: Governing Authorities

Roshan Allpress: Every vote counts

 

 

 

Dr Stephen Garner

Head of School – Theology - Laidlaw College

 

https://www.laidlaw.ac.nz/#

 

 

Articles

Stephen Garner: Good leaders

 

  

 

Susanna Barthow

Writer, Relationships Manager, Referee, Chauffeur, and Home Manager

Articles

Susanna Barthow: God establishes authority

Susanna Barthow: Love the Politician

 

 

 

Dr Tim Meadowcroft

Senior Lecturer – School of Theology - Laidlaw College

 

https://www.laidlaw.ac.nz/#

Articles

Tim Meadowcroft: Praying for our leaders and nation

 

 

 

Vic Francis

Senior Pastor Shore Vineyard Church

 

http://shorevineyards.org.nz/

Articles

Vic Francis: Seeing a bigger picture

Vic Francis: What i look for in a leader

 

 

 

Lisa Woolley

CEO  VisionWest Community Trust

 

http://www.visionwest.org.nz/

Articles

Lisa Woolley: Poverty & Housing