New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

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New Zealand Democratic Party
for Social Credit
Party Leader Chris Leitch
Founded 1985; 34 years ago (1985)
Preceded by Social Credit Party
Headquarters P.O. Box 5164 Waikiwi Invercargill
Ideology Social credit
Economic democracy
Left-wing nationalism
Political position Left-wing
Colours      Green
Slogan "Here for Good"
House of Representatives
0 / 121
Local government in New Zealand
0 / 1,895

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit (shortened to Democrats for Social Credit)[1] is a small leftist political party in New Zealand whose policies are based on the ideas of social credit. The party has been known as the Social Credit Political League, the Social Credit Party and the New Zealand Democratic Party and was part of the Alliance for a time.

The party has been known as the Social Credit Party and Social Credit Political League and was for many years the largest minor party in New Zealand politics, gaining 21% of the total votes in 1981. The party's economic policy is still based on social credit theories while in social matters it takes a position similar to progressive liberal parties elsewhere. The party does not hold any seats in the New Zealand Parliament, but it held one seat from 1966 to 1969. The party also won a seat in a 1978 byelection and held two seats from 1980 to 1987. Party members also held seats when the party was part of the Alliance.


Democrats for Social Credit describes its foremost goal as being the recovery of "economic sovereignty". This will be accomplished, the party says, by "the reform of the present monetary system, which is the major cause of war, poverty, inflation and many other social problems". The reforms promoted by Democrats for Social Credit are based on the ideas of social credit. The party emphasises "economic democracy", claiming that control of New Zealand's money supply must be reclaimed from the banks.[citation needed]

Democrats for Social Credit supports taxation reform, including the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the imposition of a tax on financial transactions (a Tobin tax) and supports the introduction of a universal basic income (see external link below).

Democrats for Social Credit states that "what is physically possible and desirable for the happiness of humanity can always be financially possible".


Origins (1954–1990)

Democrats for Social Credit was established as the Social Credit Political League and contested its first election in 1954, where it gained 11.13% of the vote. Its first Member of Parliament was Vernon Cracknell, who won the seat of Hobson electorate in 1966 but lost it again in 1969. In 1978, party leader Bruce Beetham took the Rangitikei seat. In 1980, Gary Knapp won the East Coast Bays seat. At the 1981 election, the party received 21% of the vote, but due to the first past the post electoral system used at the time it only received two seats.

In 1982, Beetham argued for a simpler name and it became the Social Credit Party. The party renamed itself the New Zealand Democratic Party in 1985. At the 1987 election, the party held two seats in parliament (one was East Coast Bays, held by Garry Knapp; and the other was Pakuranga, held by Neil Morrison). The Democratic Party lost both those seats, removing them from parliament. In 1988, Knapp and a group of other Democrats were involved in a protest at parliament to highlight the Labour government's about-face on its election promise to hold a referendum on the first-past-the-post electoral system.

Alliance (1990–2002)

The Democrats, finding themselves increasingly pressured by the growth of NewLabour (founded by rebel Labour Party MP Jim Anderton) and the Greens, decided to increase cooperation with compatible parties. This resulted in the Democrats joining NewLabour, the Greens and Māori-based party Mana Motuhake in forming the Alliance, a broad left-wing coalition group.

In the 1996 election, which was conducted under the new mixed-member proportional representation electoral system, the Alliance won thirteen seats. Among the MPs elected were John Wright and Grant Gillon, both members of the Democratic Party.

However, there was considerable dissatisfaction in the Democratic Party over the Alliance's course. Many Democrats believed that their views were not being incorporated into Alliance policy, particularly as regards the core economic doctrine of social credit. The Alliance tended towards orthodox left-wing economics and was not prepared to implement the Democratic Party's somewhat unusual economic theories.

By the 1999 election, the Democrats were one of only two remaining parties in the Alliance as the Greens had left the grouping and the Liberals and NewLabour components dissolved, their members becoming members of the Alliance as a whole rather than of any specific constituent party.

Progressive Coalition and independent again (2002–present)

2004 party logo

In 2002, when tensions between the "moderate left" and the "hard left" caused a split in the Alliance, the Democrats followed Jim Anderton's moderate faction and became a part of the Progressive Coalition. In the 2002 election, Grant Gillon and John Wright were placed third and fourth on the party's list. However, the Progressives won only enough votes for two seats, thus leaving the two Democrats outside parliament.

Shortly after the election, the Democrats split from the Progressives, re-establishing themselves as an independent party. However, Gillon and Wright, both of whom opposed the split, chose not to follow the Democrats, instead remaining with the Progressives. The Progressive Coalition became the Progressive Party after the Democrats left. The Democrats chose Stephnie de Ruyter, who had been fifth on the Progressive list, as their new leader.

In 2005, the party added "for Social Credit" to its name to form its current name. The Democrats contested that year's general election as an independent party and received 0.05% of the party vote. In the 2008 general election, the party again won 0.05% of the party vote.[2]

The party did not apply for broadcasting funding for the 2011 election. During the election, it won 1,432 votes[3] and was the only party to not attract a party vote in an electorate (Mangere).[4] The party fielded thirty electorate candidates and four list only candidates in the 2014 general election but continued to fail to gain any seats in the 51st New Zealand Parliament.[5]

During the 2017 general election, the Democrats for Social Credit ran 26 candidates, namely 13 electorate candidates and 13 list only candidates.[6] The party gained 806 votes on the party vote (0.0%) and failed to win any seats in Parliament.[7]

In June 2018, the party voted to change its name back to Social Credit.[8]

Electoral results

House of Representatives
Election Candidates nominated (electorate/list) Seats won Number of votes % of popular vote
0 / 120
0 / 120
Part of the Alliance
Part of the Progressive Coalition
0 / 120
0 / 120
14 / 24
0 / 120
30 / 35
0 / 121
13 / 26
0 / 120

List of presidents

The following is a list of party presidents:

President Term
Stefan Lipa 1979–1987
Chris Leitch 1988–1993
Margaret Cook 1993–1999
Peter Kane 1999–2003
John Pemberton 2003–2005
Neville Aitchison 2005–2010
David Wilson 2010–2013
John Pemberton 2013–2015
Harry Alchin-Smith 2015–2017
Ewan Cornor 2017–present

List of parliamentary party leaders

The following is a list of parliamentary party leaders:

Leader Term
Bruce Beetham 1972–1986
Neil Morrison 1986–1988
Garry Knapp 1988–1991
John Wright 1991–2001
Grant Gillon 2001–2002
Stephnie de Ruyter 2002–2018
Chris Leitch 2018–present

Former parliamentarians

The following is a list of former parliamentarians:

Former parliamentarian Term
Garry Knapp 1985–1987
Neil Morrison 1985–1987
Grant Gillon 1996–2002
John Wright 1996–2002

See also


  1. ^ "Register of Political Parties". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  2. ^ Chief Electoral Office: Official Count Results: Overall status Archived 9 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "2011 Election Results – Overall Status". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  4. ^ Matthew Backhouse (27 November 2011). "No votes, no surprise for party leader". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  5. ^ "DSC-announces-Party-list".
  6. ^ "Democrats for Social Credit Announce Party List". Democrats for Social Credit. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b c "2017 General Election – Official Result". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Party Changes Name and Elects New Leader". Democrats for Social Credit. 17 June 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2018.

External links

  • Official website
  • Universal Basic Income description, by Keith Rankin
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