It was many years ago but I remember it well. Being a candidate for a Christian political party.
The kiss of death for any aspiring politician. I don't know why Alfred Ngaro would even want to go there, set up a Christian political party. He's already a National Party list member of Parliament.
Why go to all the effort of setting up a political party to partner with National in the next election? He doesn't owe them. But National will struggle to regain the Treasury benches if they can't find anyone to partner with.
Why Ngaro and why a Christian party? I don't rate his chances of coming out of this well at all. But maybe he knows something the rest of us don't.
Has some insight into how Christian voters are feeling right now. Do they want different changes to what is being proposed by the Government? Do they think New Zealand is heading in the wrong direction? Have they lost trust in current political parties?
But more importantly, how receptive is Botany to having Ngaro as their MP?
It's a National seat they might be prepared to forego if a Christian party lead by Ngaro was willing to assist them. I hope Ngaro has done his homework. I wish I had.
I found that Christians are not a homogeneous group. They are just as varied in their opinions and views as any other political group. The difference is they believe in God and are not afraid to let it be known.
I enjoyed the robust discussions I had when out campaigning. The party leadership was another matter altogether. I suppose they were out to claim their territory and make an impact but I thought they polarised public opinion.
Members of the party told me they thought so too. The party members I met around the country were mostly thinking, caring New Zealanders.
Of course they held strong views on a number of issues, you'd expect that, but I found I could talk to them. What I discovered is they wanted a return to the family values they knew best, those they grew up with. We talked about the changing family unit, blended families, sole parents and they understood times had changed.
But they were concerned family values were being undermined and devalued by the actions of successive governments.
I never met anyone who didn't want to see families doing well. Most had a keen sense of social justice. Ordinary New Zealanders who happened to be Christian. I liked them.
In terms of the party leadership, I think they were suspicious of me. Not your typical Christian, whatever that looks like these days. I worked for "that man-hating organisation" Women's Refuge, I had gay and lesbian friends and when I socialised I enjoyed my wines.
I know what my beliefs and values are. Many of the people I met were just like me. They didn't want a preachy, finger-pointing party. They wanted a party that cared for families and made decisions that would uplift, encourage and support them.
Not judge and continue to consign them to the sideline by merely lecturing them on how to better survive on the minimum. They wanted to see families encouraged to aim high and believe in themselves.
I know in every political party there are good people. You don't have to be Christian to care for your fellow human beings. There are Christians in every political party too. They may not wear their Christian beliefs on their sleeves but you know by their actions that their beliefs underpin the way they live their lives.