New Zealand Progressive Party


New Zealand Progressive Party

Infobox New Zealand Political Party
name_english = New Zealand Progressive Party
name_maori =
party_
party_wikicolourid = NZPP
leader = Jim Anderton
president =
deputy =
mps = 1
foundation = 2002
ideology = Progressivism [according to the party's own website (see [http://www.progressive.org.nz/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=157 here] )]
international = Not Affiliated
colours = Grey and Burgundy
headquarters = 296 Selwyn Street, Spreydon,
Christchurch
website = [http://www.progressive.org.nz www.progressive.org.nz]
The Progressive Party is a political party in New Zealand. It is presently the junior partner in the governing coalition, being somewhat to the left of its ally the Labour Party. It has one seat in Parliament, that of leader Jim Anderton. The party was established when Anderton and his supporters left the Alliance party, no longer represented in parliament.

Policies

The Progressive Party has a particular focus on the creation of jobs, and has said that it is committed to achieving full employment. The party also lists free education and free healthcare as policy objectives. Economically, the party is moderately left-wing, and places particular attention on economic development. Recently, the party has been promoting its proposal for four weeks of annual leave from work, an "anti-drugs" policy and cutting the corporate tax rate to 30%. It also advocates an abolition of the Goods and Services Tax in favour of a broad based financial transactions tax, and monetary policy reform. Its campaign slogan is "Get things done".

History

The Progressive Party was established by a faction of the Alliance, a left-wing party that does not presently hold seats in parliament but which was once the third largest party there. Having won ten seats in the 1999 elections, the Alliance went into coalition with Labour, forming a government with Anderton as deputy prime minister. Towards the end of the parliamentary term, tensions between different factions of the party increased. In particular, the party's parliamentary leader, Anderton, and the party's organizational leader and president, Matt McCarten, became involved in a significant dispute. The causes of the problems are debated by the various actors, but a significant factor appears to be a claim by McCarten's faction that the Alliance was giving too much away to the Labour Party. In addition, McCarten's faction claimed that Anderton's leadership style was "autocratic", and that the parliamentary wing was failing to heed the concerns of the party's membership.

Anderton rejected the criticism, claiming that criticism of the Alliance's ties to Labour were "extremist" and would nullify the party's ability to influence government policy. The conflict gradually became more and more severe until Anderton eventually demanded the resignation of the party's governing council. The party organization expelled Anderton and his supporters, with Anderton announcing his intentions of establishing a new party. However, because of an electoral law, Anderton did not officially leave the Alliance's parliamentary wing, even if he had left the party itself - doing so would have required his resignation from parliament, a step he was unwilling to take. Ironically, Anderton had supported this law as a result of the great instability caused by rampant party-switching in the previous Parliament.

As such, Anderton and his supporters remained technically a part of the Alliance's parliamentary wing until the election, when they officially established their new party. The Democrats, a component of the Alliance, broke away to join the new group. Initially, the name given to the new organization was the "Progressive Coalition", though this was widely panned because its initials were "P.C.", which also stands for politically correct (see CCRAP). Shortly before the 2002 elections, the official name was changed to "Jim Anderton's Progressive Coalition", a measure Anderton says was intended to ensure that the new party was recognized. Later, after the Democrats had departed to reestablish themselves as an independent entity, the name "Progressive Party" was adopted. The new party placed Anderton's supporters from the Alliance first on its party list. In the elections, it competed against both the Alliance (then led by Laila Harré, a supporter of McCarten) and Labour. It managed to gain 1.7% of the vote. Ordinarily, this would not be enough to gain entry into parliament, as it is below the 5% threshold for proportional representation. However, Anderton was successful in retaining his electorate seat in Wigram, where he appears to have an unbreakable hold. As such, the party gained entry to parliament despite being below the threshold, and therefore received its proportional share of seats. This enabled deputy leader Matt Robson, who had been a member of Anderton's faction of the Alliance, to enter parliament as well. The Alliance itself failed to win any seats as it received only 1.27% of the vote in the 2002 elections which meant it was blocked from winning a seat by the 5% threshold, and Laila Harré lost to Lynne Pillay in the Waitakere electorate seat despite an unusually strong showing for a minor party's candidate.

The Progressives took up the Alliance's old position as Labour's junior coalition partner. However, as the Progressives brought fewer seats to the coalition than the Alliance had, the new party's influence was not as great. Anderton retained his position as Minister of Economic Development, but lost the role of deputy prime minister to Labour's Michael Cullen, the Minister of Finance and deputy leader of Labour. Robson, who had been Minister of Corrections, Minister for Courts, Minister for Land Information, and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs in the previous government, lost his cabinet posts.

Shortly before the 2005 elections, the official name of the party was changed to "Jim Anderton's Progressive", to again facilitate voter recognition on ballot papers. In those elections, the Progressives' vote tailed off slightly to 1.2 percent, but this decline was enough to keep Robson from returning to Parliament even though Anderton easily won his seat. The indication of the New Zealand First and United Future New Zealand parties that they would support either National or Labour based on whichever received the most votes may have eroded the Progressives' potential share of the vote alongside other minor parties.

See also

*Jim Anderton's Progressive Party's Caucus and Progressives MP's responsibilities

References

External links

* [http://www.progressive.org.nz/ Progressive Party website]


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