A Report from the New Conservative meeting in Christchurch

"They are coming for your children! boomed the man on the stage. He projects his voice across the hall, he is emotional, but clear. He could be a stage actor.

It's almost frightening.

I'm not frightened of anyone coming for our nation's children. But I'm frightened for some of my friends.

I expected this topic would come up at this meeting, because I've followed this group for a while. The MC had hinted at it too:

"I'm a teacher, and I got involved because I'm very concerned about some of the stuff in the curriculum"

At that comment, one of the young men in front of me had leaned to his friend beside him and whispered "trans stuff".

Before telling the audience "they are coming for your children" the speaker had read aloud from a copy of "Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out"

The passage he read was a transgender teenager talking about some of their early sexual experiences. He sounds like an American style evangelist, except he's Polynesian.

"The book is called Beyond Magenta. On the other side is says 'central' 'Christchurch City Libraries' your rates- you fund it! it in the youth department! they are normalising paedophilia!"

The party's Facebook page had shared a photo of this page earlier this same day. In the following paragraph, after talking about their experiences with other children the same age, the writer talks about unwanted sexual attention from adults. I doubt anyone reading the full page would come away with the impression the book was supporting paedophilia.

"It took me one minute to find it" pipes up the MC from the floor.

"Our children need protection!" screams the speaker "and this type of government is making an environment that is effectively unsafe!"

He'd brought up the government earlier, claiming that changes to the Human Rights Act protecting gender identity would result in people being charged for misgendering someone.

"just as it's happening in Canada!"

I remembered this story, it made it's way around conservative news sites last year, and opposing the Canadian bill that added human rights protections for transgender people helped turn  psychologist Jordan Peterson into something of a minor celebrity.

No one has been arrested or charged for misgendering someone in Canada though. Could it happen? "Absolutely not a chance," according to University of Toronto law professor Brenda Cossman. "There is no criminalization of the misuse of pronouns." she told the Associated Press.

My stomach churned at the speakers remarks. I've heard from older people about the "gay panic" in the nineteen eighties, when politicians and religious leaders claimed homosexuals were a danger to children.

The panic has been rehashed for a twenty first century audience. And this audience, which skewed mostly male but had a bigger range of ages than most political meetings, seemed to be receptive to the speaker's fear-mongering.

I started following the New Conservative Party because they appear to have close links to the far right. They played a major role in the campaign against the UN Migration Compact in this country. That campaign was started by the far-right Austrian group Generation Identity.

Following the events of March 15 in Christchurch, where a terrorist killed 51 people in two mosques, it came to light that the shooter had previously donated to Generation Identity, he had also written "here's your migration compact" on one of his weapons.

The two speakers fudged their answers to questions about this link "the whole white extremist if you're conservative, it's just one way that the media want to label us so they can degenerate and devalue us, and we're just not going to play their game" says the leader, a middle age Pākehā man, before moving on to a less challenging question

"what is the best way we can support and grow this party"

New Conservative appear to distancing themselves from the campaign they played such a huge role in last year, but have not said being involved was a mistake.

The party still appears to be courting an alt-right audience. On April Second, the party’s Facebook page shared a video promoting Douglas Murray’s book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. The book claims European civilisation is under threat from Muslim immigration, and is a far right favourite. New Conservative described it as “A powerful understanding as to why our culture is suffering.” and noted “We absolutely agree.”

Elliot Ikilei, the Polynesian man with the booming voice, seems to have a lot of Friends on New Zealand’s far right. Speaking at a “Free Speech” rally in Auckland on August 10th, he noted that many in attendance were there to honour the memory of Jesse Anderson. “A good man who suffered trauma in his life”.

Anderson was another organiser of the campaign against the Migration Compact. His message for immigrants at one of the rallies made headlines: “Integrate, or get out!”. Anderson, who went by the handle “@extremerightboi” on Twitter, took his own life in the midst of a custody battle.

While his death is a tragedy whatever your political views (he was just twenty-four years old, and now will never have the opportunity to renounce his involvement in the alt-right scene that many young depressed white men gravitate to) it’s surprising that Ikilei brings up their friendship when speaking publicly.

But maybe not when he’s in front of this audience. When asking the crowd who has a firearms license a woman says “oh, no not me” presumably after raising her hand. “Kym has no firearms license” laughs Ikilei. 

Kym is Kym Koloni. She’s not a New Conservative member, she had been a New Zealand First candidate before getting offside with the party, and starting One Nation NZ. That party didn’t have much of a presence outside of Facebook, and now it’s not there either. The page, along with Kyms account, were removed after repeated violations of Facebook’s terms of service around fake news and graphic violence. 

One Nation NZ had shared the footage from the Christchurch shooters livestream, alleging that the victims were “crisis actors”

One of the other speakers at the Auckland Rally was Paul Davie, best known as the real estate against who was terminated for what the New Zealand Herald described as “racially charged” social media posts that disparaged Africans, Muslims, multiculturalism and Māori culture. Davie had been a candidate for the Conservative Party, before they re-branded with the “New” prefix, but these days has his own group called One New Zealand Party. Davie prattled on about Halal certification and supposed “no go zones” in the UK where “sharia law” is in force.

Also speaking was Lee Williams, who had travelled from Christchurch especially. Williams runs a YouTube channel called “Cross the Rubicon” where he promotes the idea that Jacinda Ardern is a “cultural Marxist” and “shadowy globalists” plan to “flood all western nations with mass migration from the third world”. Williams activism has attracted the attention of police, likely for it’s rhetorical similarity to the conspiracy theories that inspired the Christchurch shooter. 

At the Auckland rally Williams spoke mostly about the “lying mainstream media” in particular singling out Patrick Gower, the Newshub Journalist who did a series of stories on white supremacy in New Zealand. Williams, who was flanked by notorious white supremacist Phil Arps when speaking at a rally in Christchurch last year- a rally New Conservative leader Leighton Baker also spoke at- believes allegations of white supremacy in New Zealand are just slander by the leftist media to demonise conservatives. 

One of his YouTube videos on this theme was shared by the New Conservative Party on Facebook last month. The post described it as “an intelligent and succinct review, with a profound, poignant conclusion”

Some of those at that meeting tonight might start to read up on the New Conservatives, maybe, I hope, they’ll come to realise that the threat our world is facing today is not “transgender ideology” but the rise of the far-right, something New Conservative might know a thing or two about.

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