||This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2012)|
|Deputy Leader||Judy Turner|
|Headquarters||Bowen House, Parliament Buildings, Wellington|
|International affiliation||Not affiliated|
|Colors||Purple and Green|
|MPs in the House of Representatives|
United Future is a New Zealand political party. With the formation of the 49th New Zealand Parliament after the 2008 election, it has a single member of the Parliament of New Zealand – party leader Peter Dunne, an electorate MP – and it has signed a confidence and supply agreement with the National Party, making it, along with ACT and the Maori Party, a support partner to the minority National government.
 Formation and early success
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United Future was formed from the merger of liberal centrist party United New Zealand and Christian-dominated conservative Future New Zealand to contest the 2002 election. United, formed as a centrist party by a group of moderate Labour and National MPs, held one seat in parliament--that of Dunne. Future New Zealand, which was not represented in parliament, was a "secularised" evolution of the Christian Democrats, following the same basic principles as the Christian Democrats, but abandoning the explicit religious connection.
United Future's first party president, Inky Tulloch, stated that "United Future isn't a Christian party – it's a political party that has a lot of Christians in it, and a lot of non-Christians." Tulloch said that the "universal principles of family, of common sense, of looking after one another, of compassion, integrity" are equally valuable to both Christians and non-Christians.
Support for United Future, which was already growing in early 2002, was boosted further by Peter Dunne's strong television debating performance and the public response to it. The uplift in United Future support during the last two weeks of the campaign caught many commentators by surprise and drew votes away from National, Labour and the Green parties, who were engaged in a public squabble over genetic engineering.
United Future made a strong showing in the 2002 election, taking 6.7 percent of the vote and eight seats--Dunne's electorate seat of Ohariu-Belmont and seven list seats. It would have been assured of getting into parliament in any event, however; under New Zealand's mixed-member proportional system, any party that wins at least one electorate seat qualifies for list seats even if it falls short of the five-percent threshold. The party faced a minor embarrassment after the election, however, when it was discovered that one of its list MPs, Kelly Chal, was not a New Zealand citizen, and thus ineligible to stand for parliament.
 Early activity
After 2002 United Future in its family law reform proposals took to heart the trauma and adverse impact on children caused by the separation of their parents. United Future MP Judy Turner made clear that then current government policies were failing in regard to keeping both parents in children's lives, and to this extent made a huge effort in promoting a Member’s Bill on mandatory mediation by means of a national roll-out of the North Shore Family Court "Children in the Middle" pilot programme.
United Future MPs exercised their individual conscience votes to oppose a Bill to enable civil unions. This provided an alternative to marriage for same-sex couples and to opposite-sex couples who choose not to marry. A civil union provides a couple with most of the same rights as married couples. However, Peter Dunne and Judy Turner both supported a companion Bill to give legal recognition to civil unions.
In mid-2004 United Future announced that it would contest the 2005 general election in partnership with Outdoor Recreation New Zealand. Cynics pointed out that here was another minor party that failed to reach the 5% threshold (Outdoor Recreation gained 1.28% of the vote in the 2002 election) seeking parliamentary representation via the security of Peter Dunne's electorate seat.
A month before the 2005 election, list MP Paul Adams quit the party to stand as an independent in the East Coast Bays electorate. His daughter Sharee Adams, also on the United Future List, also quit to assist her father in his campaign. After the general election, disgruntled right-winger and ex-United Future MP Marc Alexander also voiced repeated criticisms of his former colleagues, in his "Marc My Words" political opinion column for Scoop, a New Zealand news website.
In the 2005 election, United Future had the support of the WIN Party, which was set up to fight the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. WIN's leader, John van Buren, was United Future's candidate for Christchurch Central. This further spoke of alliances still to come. In this election, support plummeted to 2.8% and the party won only three seats. Peter Dunne retained Ohariu-Belmont, and Gordon Copeland and Judy Turner were returned on its party list.
United Future had tried to distance itself from its more assertive fundamentalist list MPs, such as Adams, Larry Baldock and Murray Smith. As Election New Zealand data revealed that the Outdoor Recreation Party still provided about 1% of the vote, 4.8% of the previous vote had gone elsewhere. During 2004-2005, the National Party had made renewed efforts to attract social conservative voters, through adoption of pro-life and anti-same-sex marriage voting records.
In March 2006 Outdoor Recreation New Zealand split with United Future, due to a dissatisfaction with what it saw as the Christian evangelism within the party. Outdoor Recreation acting chairman Phil Hoare said, "We strongly believe in the traditional bedrock values of our nation's heritage but we also affirm the separation of church and state."  In 2006 several younger centrist members also departed from the party.
United Future, like most New Zealand Parliamentary parties, was caught up in the 2005 New Zealand election funding controversy. It voted in favour of the retrospective validating legislation, which was passed through the New Zealand Parliament in October 2006.
From February to April 2007, Peter Dunne exercised his own right to a conscience vote to support Sue Bradford's private members bill against parental corporal punishment of children, while Gordon Copeland vigorously opposed it, as did Judy Turner, but on a more subtle level.
On 16 May 2007, Copeland resigned from the party due to his dissatisfaction with Dunne's support for the aforementioned private members bill, although Turner did not follow suit. Copeland was subsequently part of forming the socially conservative Kiwi Party. Some other United Future members resigned in sympathy with Copeland.
On 13 August 2007 the party unveiled a new logo which Dunne said was a revitalisation of the party before the 2008 election. The re-branding of the party was taken further on 3 September 2007 when Peter Dunne announced that United Future was rebranding itself as a sensible, moderate centre party after the break with its Christian faction. Speaking of the departure of the Christian faction Dunne stated "I think it's taken a bit of a monkey off our back, frankly."
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United Future adopted the following mission statement in early 2007:
"United Future is a modern centre party, focused on New Zealand's best interests. We promote strong families and vibrant communities. We seek a fair, and open society, free from poverty, ignorance and prejudice, and based on innovation, self-reliance, justice and integrity in business and personal dealings. We promote a sustainable environment, and a competitive economy which encourages growth, prosperity, ownership and opportunity through market policies where possible, and government where necessary. We want all New Zealanders, whatever their background, race or creed, to have the chance to enjoy everything that is good in our country."
In 2007 the party had a number of policy successes, including:
- Bringing about the first cut in the business tax rate in 20 years;
- Making all personal and corporate donations to charity tax deductible;
- Extending summer daylight saving hours by three weeks;
- Introducing legislation to increase the minimum driving age to 16 years;
- Leading the campaign for a code of conduct for MPs;
- Playing a leading role in getting the government to back down on planned new rules for financing elections, and proposed restrictions on birth, death and marriage data for historical and genealogical research purposes;
- Establishing a special government task force to look at using deer, chamois and tahr as a recreational hunting resource.
 2008 election
In 2008 the United Future Party named candidates for 51 seats. Policies included tax cuts and various initiatives aimed at supporting parents, such as the extension of paid parental leave to 12 months; the option of income splitting for parents with dependent children and couples in which one partner relies on the other for financial support; and the promotion of shared parenting. There were also a number of healthcare policies including granting everyone one free health check per year.
The election resulted in Peter Dunne's re-election as United Future's only surviving Member of Parliament. He retained his own parliamentary seat of Ohariu-Belmont, but United Future itself did not poll sufficiently highly to bring additional caucus members into Parliament alongside him. It is unknown how many former Future New Zealand members defected from United Future to establish The Kiwi Party, which was unsuccessful in retaining parliamentary representation after the election.
The National Party won the most seats overall and formed a minority government with support from United Future as well as the Maori Party and ACT New Zealand. Dunne retained his portfolios as Minister of Revenue and Associate Minister for Health.
 2011 election
Peter Dunne retained the electorate of Ōhariu electorate, formerly Ohariu-Belmont. The Labour candidate Charles Chauvel accused Dunne and the National Party of an "unprincipled political deal" which encouraged National voters to give their electorate vote to Dunne to ensure his survival as an MP.
As in 2008, the National Party won the most seats overall and formed a minority government with support from United Future as well as the Maori Party and ACT New Zealand. Together with his previous Revenue and Associate Health portfolios, Dunne became Associate Minister of Conservation. The agreement also included provisions barring the sale of Kiwibank or Radio New Zealand, and public consultation on United Future's flexible superannuation policy.
 Electoral results (2002-2011)
|Election||candidates nominated (electorate/list)||seats won||party votes||popular vote|
|2002||63 / 60||8||135,918||6.69%|
|2005||62 / 57||3||60,860||2.67%|
|2008||51 / 30||1||20,497||0.87%|
|2011||20 / 17||1||13,443||0.60%|
 Former MPs
- Paul Adams, in 2008, Family Party candidate for East Coast Bays
- Marc Alexander, in 2008, National Party candidate for Wigram
- Larry Baldock, in 2008, Kiwi Party candidate for Tauranga
- Bernie Ogilvy, Kiwi Party secretary (did not stand for election)
- Murray Smith, in 2008, United Future candidate for Hutt South
- Gordon Copeland, in 2008, Kiwi Party candidate for Rongotai
- Judy Turner, in 2008, United Future candidate for East Coast; in 2009, United Future candidate for Mount Albert electorate by-election.
 See also
- "Outdoor Recreation splits from United Future". The New Zealand Herald. 27 March 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Section 59 Crimes Act Repeal
- Tait, Maggie (16 May 2007). "United Future MP quits party over smacking bill". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- UnitedFuture unveils new logo
- "Dunne rebrands United Future after Christian faction split". The New Zealand Herald. 3 September 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- "UnitedFuture unveils new logo". Scoop.co.nz. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- Dominion Post. 15 April 2008 page A2
- "Key's Government". The New Zealand Herald. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- "Economically Right, socially Left". The Press. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- "Key gives Dunne clear run at Ohariu". The Dominion Post (Wellington). 22 August 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- "Dunne does deal to fight RNZ sale". The Dominion Post (Wellington). 5 December 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2011.