New Conservatives defend Western culture as 'greatest in the world', warn NZ 'sliding toward socialism'

Their voices are loud; as they decry "the very democracy, the very conscience, our families, our very children's ideas, being taken away and replaced by a vicious ideology". 

The words come not from the United States - but a member of New Zealand's own conservative right-wing; New Conservative NZ deputy leader Elliot Ikilei. 

The conservative vein that gave rise to Donald Trump's presidency; Brexit and the growth of far-right nationalism across Europe is here. 

And it has found a home within the New Conservative Party. 

The party - which emerged from Colin Craig's Conservatives - wants a full repeal of the post-Christchurch terror attack gun-laws. Its rhetoric has drawn comparisons to white nationalism. 

Canterbury man Lee Williams has spoken out at rallies against what he sees as the infiltration of the West by people of colour. 

"A New Zealand is going down the exact same path of importing in an alien culture that refuses to integrate," he is heard at a recent free-speech rally.  

He has given his full backing to the New Conservative Party in another video on his page. 

Auckland University senior lecturer in politics and international relations Dr Chris Wilson says such rhetoric can be dangerous. 

"They focus on the importance and superiority of white civilization and the protection of white cultures and homelands in the West," he says. "These ideas are actually very dangerous; and they are motivating a number of people around the world, young white men in some of the most extreme cases to attack people of colour."

But New Conservative NZ party leader Leighton Baker rejects any suggestion his party is on the extreme right of the spectrum. 

The farmer and businessman says he is "centrist", someone who believes in human rights. 

"I'm a worker, I am a taxpayer, I am a father, I'm a grandfather...I don't believe that is extreme in any way." 

When questioned over the fact there seems to be growing support from the far-right for the party he says it is beyond his control. 

"We can't control what people are like...we've been really clear about what we are saying, so we can not actually control what other people say." 

Baker is concerned New Zealand is losing its grip on democracy. 

"It's a sliding step toward socialism," he says of the current political system. "If you had to choose between North Korea and South Korea most people wouldn't choose between North Korea. 

"Now that's a bit extreme I get that, but it seems we are moving in that way." 

His deputy, Elliot Ikilei, believes Western society is the one that affords people the greatest freedom. 

"The greatest culture in the world is Western culture," he told a group of supporters at a recent public event in Wellington. "It is the one culture where freedom of speech is the cornerstone of that culture."

Ikilei has been a regular guest at free speech rallies. He's tough on crime and against race-based policies. 

"We would get rid of Māori seats. We would get rid of anything that changes Māori to something special and high up," he says. 

Among the party's other 22 candidates is right-wing activist -  Dieuwe de Boer, who is standing in Botany. 

The Conservative Christian made headlines in January when police raided his home in search of illegal firearms. 

In 2019 he tried to find an alternative venue for alt-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux. 

He has said declining Western populations are being replenished by migrants - a theory that Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant referred to in his manifesto.

But he condemns the shooter's final act of terror, despite defending his right to air his views.

"I have been very outspoken against firearm amendment bills and outspoken for freedom of speech," he is heard saying in a recent Facebook video

A play on the slogan popularised by Trump and an indication of the type of country the New Conservatives want.  

New Conservatives defend Western culture as 'greatest in the world', warn NZ 'sliding toward socialism'
Photo credit: Newshub Nation.

Family - in the form of a traditional mum-and-dad unit - is core to the party's vision.

One of its policies states the best place for a solo mother with a baby is with her immediate family; failing that a home with an experienced couple. 

The party says it's a chance for single mothers to get educated, supported, learn budgeting skills -  sleepovers would not be allowed. 

Leighton Baker acknowledged it wouldn't be a solution for everyone. 

"But this is for those young solo mums to put a network around them." 

The party is also anti-abortion with the deputy leader drawing on tragedy to make his point.

"Black Lives Matter do not care about Black Lives...if they did they would be running to abortion clinics which kill black babies by the thousands." 

The party also believes transgender people are suffering from a mental illness and is opposed to it being discussed in schools.

Massey University Professor Paul Spoonley says the New Conservative members likely felt they were in a war around identity. 

"They tend to be deeply sceptical of a lot of mainstream institutions and at times you'll see conspiracy theories coming through," he says. "For example you will see online, that some of the members believe that the Prime Minister is a Marxist and is a puppet of, let's say, a Chinese communism."

He says the party is as far right as New Zealand gets in terms of mainstream political parties. 

The latest Newshub Reid Research polling put New Conservative support at one per cent. That's short of the five per cent required to enter Parliament. 

But Dr Chris Wilson says a growth to four per cent - as the party's predecessor achieved - would indicate a swing to the right. 

"And very quickly we may see New Zealand politics taking the same kind of road seen in Europe."