When a sexual harassment accusation against the Conservative Party leader, Colin Craig, arose just before the 2017 election it tore the party apart. But some members rose again to form the New Conservative Party and lawyer Warren Butterworth is its Wairarapa candidate.
Butterworth is staunchly anti-socialist. He and the party are pro-capitalism, against climate-change mitigation and legislation, but pro-environmental protection. They support farming, private enterprise and family values.
In his mid-70s Butterworth has had an extensive career in law, practising in both criminal and civil courts, with a focus lately on commercial law. He is married to Karen, an artist and former art lecturer. They have three children and five grandchildren, and live in Auckland.
But Butterworth has a strong Wairarapa connection through Martinborough vineyard, Julicher Estate.
He owns the fully certified sustainable vineyard, with his famous sailor cousin, Brad Butterworth.
Brad won and defended the New Zealand America’s Cup team for Team New Zealand and then for the Swiss team Alinghi.
Butterworth said Wairarapa will suffer significantly under carbon-zero legislation and is disappointed National voted for it. He said National is drifting to the ‘left’ and have forgotten its traditional farming roots.
“A Masterton man told me the other week that nine Wairarapa farms had been sold in the last six months, with some of them going to overseas buyers looking to plant pines to reduce their carbon tax obligations,” Butterworth said.
“Cattle and sheep are the backbone of this country and a good living can be made from it.
“But planting pines will mean job cuts and rural communities depopulating.”
Should the New Conservatives reach the five per cent party vote [they are sitting around one per cent], the threshold to gain a seat in Parliament or, win an electorate seat bringing in an MP or two, they would push for New Zealand to pull out of the climate change emission reduction agreements of Kyoto and Paris.
Butterworth doesn’t believe in ‘man-made’ climate change.
But he does believe in conservation and protection of waterways and the environment. He is involved in the Tongariro River Charitable Trust that is focused on restoring the health of the waterways.
Butterworth has a small cattle farm in the Kaipara Harbour region. He owns land his pioneering great-grandfather, William Henry Heathcote Jackman had, where he started a vineyard.
He has come from four generations of farmers in Northland.
Wairarapa has similarities to Northland and Butterworth said he identifies with the region’s issues.
Another business interest is a small Auckland-based clothes manufacturing company.
Being pro-capitalism he argues that this election is a landmark election because the country is at a political crossroads.
“The election will decide whether the country is taken in a highly taxed and socialist direction with mounting debt, or back to a capitalist and business enterprise direction with lower taxes and a growing economy that stands on its own feet,” he said.
“Taxes need to go down as the best way to support businesses to expand and then employ more staff.
“Fair pay is important to keep staff and hold families together but over-taxing and giving handouts does not help anyone in the long run.”
The New Conservatives catchphrase is, ‘Let’s fix this’.