Colin Craig on binding referendums

Making Citizens Initiated Referenda binding is a bottom line policy for the Conservative Party. Colin Craig has stated:

Binding Referenda is a bottom line for our party. 

If another party wishes to have our support they will need to agree to an amendment of the existing CIR legislation.

Although other parties might not like the idea much, if it is a choice between government or not I expect them to be receptive to the idea.
Unless politicians have to agree to binding CIR to be government (i.e. forced on them) it won’t happen in my view.

Craig believes implementing the policy – specifically to make Citizens Initiated Referenda binding – will only require ‘a couple of  amendment to the existing law’.

There’s no need to write new legislation, it’s already there, we just need to make a couple of amendments.

I had the chance to put a question on referenda to Craig as a part of a 3 News ‘Ask Me Anything’ online.

Question: A change to binding referenda is a major constitutional change. What are the details on how this would be implemented, and would the adoption of it be subject to a referendum?

Craig’s response:

We of course have already written into our law referendum, both those that are Government initiated and those that are citizen’s initiated, and we want to see a change to the Citizen’s Initiated Referenda.

The policy’s already there. Essentially it’s an amendment to change it to what National originally proposed. When they originally introduced that law it was going to be binding on Government.

Very optimistically, and foolishly as it turns out, at the time they decided “Ah we don’t need to make it binding because after all politicians won’t ignore a clear majority”.

Well, five out of five have been ignored. Clearly the politicians are not getting the message that the people do have a right from time to time to tell them what to do. Once every four years, we’re hardly overusing it after all.

So really all we’re looking to do is to amend it, to take it back to the original wording submitted and was an election promise of the National Party.

Now, whether or not that then needs to go to a referendum or not is an interesting question.

I think New Zealanders would support it, and because it is a change I guess to our electoral system, but not one that hasn’t  discussed or promised or voted on in an election before it may be that we end up there.

Other things about it, number one we think there needs to be a two thirds majority of those who vote to make it binding.

In other words a fifty fifty, hey let’s face it that’s what you elect politicians for, but where it’s a clear wish of the public we think politicians need to be constrained.

Other than that there’s already legislation in place about spending limits and time frames and everything else.

There’s no need to write new legislation, it’s already there, we just need to make a couple of amendments.

The last thing I’d do, is I’d make sure all questions are proposed simply. If you want to ask three questions about law and order for example lets have three different questions, not all run into one.

A video of this and answers to some other questions is here.

New Zealand has had non-binding Citizens Initiated Referenda since the passing of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993.

Citizens Initiated Referenda
Under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993, non-binding referendums can be held on any subject. There are seven steps in the process. These steps are:

  1. The Clerk advertises the proposed question. The Act allows 28 days for submissions and three months in total for the determination of the final wording of the question.
  2. The Clerk, after consulting with the promoter and any other person, determines the final wording of the question.
  3. The organiser gathers the signatures of at least ten percent of registered electors and delivers the petition to the Clerk within 12 months of the publication of the determination. The petition lapses if it is not delivered within this time.
  4. The petition is checked for compliance. If all is correct the Speaker presents the petition to the House of Representatives. If there are insufficient signatures, the Clerk certifies that the petition has lapsed. The promoter may re-submit the petition with additional signatures within two months of certification that it has lapsed.
  5. The Governor-General sets a date for the referendum within one month from the date of presentation. The referendum must be held within a year of the date of presentation unless 75% of all members of the House vote to defer it.
  6. The referendum is held and the result is declared. The result is indicative only and is not binding on the Government.

Conservative Party website: ON OUR WATCH REFERENDUMS WILL BE BINDING:

At the heart of the democratic system is the principle of the citizens initiated referendum. It’s when a single issue is thought to be so important, all voters are asked to make their opinion heard.
Pure democracy.

Getting it and keeping it – it’s why wars get started.
In New Zealand since MMP started five such referendums have been held. Each and every time the wishes of the people were crystal clear. Each and every time the results were ignored by successive Labour and National Governments.

They’ve ignored what you think on anti-smacking; on tougher penalties for criminals, and asset sales.

When an overwhelming majority of us voted to have less politicians, guess what happened? That’s right. They ignored that too. Call us old fashioned, but this sort of arrogance needs to stop.

What really worries us is this: what else are they looking to ignore?
To think they won’t is madness.

There are also a number of references to referendums in ‘Ask Colin’ on the Conservative Party website. Note that these are past comments and may not be part of the policy bottom line or may not be part of official policy.

Who governs New Zealand?
Do we have a government Of The People, By The People, For The People

We have a form of democracy in NZ but as successive governments have simply ignored referendum results I do not believe we can say it is a “healthy” or “fully functional” democracy.  The Conservative Party intends to change this so that referendum are binding where a substantial majority of votes cast are in favour of a proposal. This begins a shift back toward “for the people by the people”.

Amy Brooke has been vocal in suggesting the Conservative Party plagiarized her 100-Days campaign for binding referenda, without acknowledgement.
Can you please comment.

Firstly the “100 Day referendum” is different from “Binding Citizens Initiated referendum”.  In our Policy we support binding Citizens Initiated referendum (2/3rds binding) but not 100 days. 

Binding Citizens Initiated Referendum would enable citizens to consider the 100 days option but it would be up to the people. 

Secondly, setting aside the misunderstanding of our policy, could I also point out that “100 days” is a Swiss initiative, and they should be accorded credit for it.

I certainly encourage all campaigners for greater democracy in New Zealand. Whether or not we have the same solution, it’s still about more power to the people.

Would you have a referendum on the death penalty and make it binding.

We intend to make Citizens Initiated Referendum binding. If enough people want the death penalty, then that is their right to hold a referendum, and we would therefore be bound by the result, whatever that may be.

What is your opinion on List mps becoming senior cabinet ministers?

This question raises the concern I think many of us have about accountability.

A list MP can get to parliament without representing a specific electorate and then become influential, perhaps making decisions that their electorate (if they had one) would never support. The real problem we have is that electorate MP’s are already doing exactly that anyway.

My view is that MPs, regardless of whether list or electorate, should not be able to by-pass the will of the people. This is the reason that we promote binding referendum as an essential part of our democracy, to stop the hijack of our great country by self-serving  (or special interest serving) politicians.

Would the Conservative Party honour the results of previous referenda, in which the vast majority of NZer’s rejected Govt. legislation, such as the homosexual law reform, civil union bill, same sex marriage legislation, the anti-smacking bill, and the decision to keep the number of MP’s at about 120?  Would our party be bold enough to reverse such iniquitous legislation imposed against the majority voice? 

Yes we would honour referendum results. Of the list you mention both the anti-smacking bill and reduction of the number of MP’s had referenda. In both cases an overwhelming number of votes supporting the proposal and were simply ignored.

This sounds like the Conservatives would “honour the results of previous referenda“. If so this is highly questionable, the people of today may think differently to the people of five or fifteen years ago. And the wording of some of the referendums has been to inadequate and vague to base any legislation changes on.

Your party is advocating binding citizen referenda. This is significant structural change to our democracy, and a policy that may have unforeseeable consequences. Do you think this is a genuinely conservative policy? Wouldn’t a more conservative approach be not to tinker with the system? I feel like the more conservative approach would be to elect conservative leaders, rather than turn decision-making over to the public. 

Conservative political thought holds dear the need for accountability and restraint of power. In most constitutional democracies this is in part achieved by an upper house and further includes in many cases binding initiatives (Referenda). Sadly New Zealand has neither. 

Binding Citizens initiated Referenda provides an easy and cost effective safeguard that is currently missing to restrain the power of NZ politicians. 

Given that referenda are already legislated for, we need only amend existing law to achieve this. It is not a significant structure change, but simply an improvement to law that we already have.

It is important to note that the threshold (to both get a referenda 5% and pass it [67%]), limits the frequency and likely success of referendum. Decision making is not taken away from government except where they do not have at least 33% support for a policy, and I am very happy ( as any conservative should be) to see government restrained in such cases.

Should Parliament return to 100 MPs, what would be the ideal proportionate amount of List MPs and Electorate MPs for the Conservatives?

I don’t think the conservative party has an ideal split of seats but in my view: Yes the parliament should consist of 99 MP’s as directed by the referendum that achieved 82% support from the public.  To make this work best we should scrap the Maori seats and list seat MP’s should be assigned to help in each region. Electorate seats probably need to be about 60% of the total so adjustment for the proportional vote doesn’t create an overhang.

A referendum to reduce the number of MPs to 99 was held along with the 1999 General Election with 81.47% voting for the proposal.

My question on CIR and your thoughts on would you push to adopt the Swiss System in this respect seems to have got binned? Disappointed.Matt Napier. 

We hold the Swiss system in high regard and the Swiss ambassador is not a guest speaker at this years conference by accident.

At this time our policy is to bring in binding Citizens Initiated referendum. With this in place we will have 2 of the 3 referendum options available to the Swiss.  The last of the 3 is the 100 days option which I like the idea and I will happily promote consideration of in the future.

As regards us taking a baby step (i.e. Binding referendum with 67% threshold) I believe we need to present policy that is achievable. Frankly I do not think that we could achieve support from other parties for referendum on a 50.1% basis. The higher threshold removes problems around the question wording and differentiates us from the one or two examples of bad referendum results. Yes there are only one or two however they are often used as a broad excuse to oppose binding referendum. The Californian spending initiative is the most commonly used example.

1. Why was a two thirds majority vote (67%) seen as a pass mark rather than a bare majority (50%    1)?
(If I don’t have the details right I apologise.)

2. Will the Conservative Party as least consider the blocking referendum method available to Swiss voters? (New legislation is put on hold for 90 -100 days and a referendum can be held to pass or block it if a certain number of voters sign up for such a referendum within the time limit.)

Surely prevention is better than cure! 

At this time our policy is to bring in binding Citizens Initiated referendum. 

With this in place we will have 2 of the 3 referendum options available to the Swiss.  The last of the 3 is the 100 days option which I like the idea of, and I will happily promote consideration of in the future.

As regards to us taking a baby step (i.e. Binding referendum with 67% threshold) I believe we need to present policy that is achievable. Frankly I do not think that we could achieve support from other parties for referendum on a 50.1% basis. The higher threshold removes problems around the question wording and differentiates us from the one or two examples of bad referendum results. Yes there are only one or two however they are often used as a broad excuse to oppose binding referendum. The Californian spending initiative is the most commonly used example.

The policy is about steps that make sense towards a much more democratic nation.

If you are elected to Parliament, and a member’s bill is put forward to ban abortion, how would you vote? If a referendum showed a majority of people were in favour of gay marriage, and a bill was put to Parliament to ban gay marriage, would you support the bill? How would you have voted on Homosexual Law Reform? 

Controversial topics here.
On the last two I would have supported a referendum. It’s my view that once you pass the decision making over to the voters then politicians have no right to overrule that decision.  
However if the people were denied the right to vote I would still have consulted my electorate and voted in accordance with their wishes. After all I am a paid representative for them so that is surely the right thing to do.

If a bill proposed a ban on abortion I would be surprised. There is an attempt to introduce such a law in Poland at the moment but even in a country that is 97% catholic it is struggling to get through.  Practically I can’t see how it can work. 
I think we can make some real changes for the better (of both woman and child) in this area and so I would probably talk with the private member and see if we couldn’t work on something a bit more practical like “free and informed consent” such as they have in Western Europe for example.

There is an article I wrote for Kiwiblog posted on this site that answers these type of questions more fully. Look here: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/03/guest_post_colin_craig_on_whether_he_would_vote_for_abortion_on_demand.html

How do you plan to have Parliament support your idea of a binding referendum, particularly on marriage equality if an overwhelming number of those in Parliament would oppose overturning the Marriage Amendment Act with a referendum. Peter’s called for a referendum and he received next to no support in Parliament.

Binding Referenda is a bottom line for our party. As you know the Conservative Party is polling exceptionally well for a party outside Parliament, and if we get the necessary support, we will be needed to help form a government at next years election. If another party wishes to have our support they will need to agree to an amendment of the existing CIR legislation.

Part of this amendment is that a referendum with a result 67% or more in favour is binding on government.

Although other parties might not like the idea much, if it is a choice between government or not I expect them to be receptive to the idea. After all  they only need 1/3 support of voters and they can continue to govern as they see fit, so we are not asking for something that is too hard really. 

Unless politicians have to agree to binding CIR to be government (i.e. forced on them) it won’t happen in my view.

In response to a general question/statement of support:

The Conservative Party has  been growing consistently since we launched just before the last election and expect to do well next year. It will depend on the voters, but with their support we will make referendums binding in future. This will enable the people to overrule the government when it gets it wrong, a sorely needed step as politicians have proven they cannot be trusted. (Law and Order, Number of MPs, Anti smacking � and the list goes on)

Hey Colin so the marriage equality bill has just passed, im guttered like many of New  Zealanders. Whats the conservative partys reaction to this and what actions are you going to take, for lack of a better word.

Firstly my reaction is anger that once again the politicians have got it wrong. If New Zealanders had voted last night the answer would have been “no”.  We have constantly seen the will of the people ignored (Law and Order, Number of MPs, Anti-smacking and so on). Many New Zealanders have a sense of anger and disappointment combined, especially those who expected the National party to focus on the economy, not social change.

In terms of our plan of action this has not changed. It is and has always been our commitment to make referenda binding, so that we the people can stop the government making decisions against our wishes. The day when New Zealanders will finally have the chance to vote is election day next year. Provided we get enough support, we will put this issue to the voters as a binding referendum.

My husband and I have been happily married for nearly 13 years, and have been blessed with two children.  Our family and our marriage covenant is very sacred and very precious to us.  This proposed law goes against what we hold precious and what we believe.  Why are we not permitted to have our say seeing as this issue is about something that affects us so deeply?  How can we get a referendum?

Dear KDH and the many many others who have contacted me about a referendum on the protection of marriage and where to from here if the bill passes.

1.       Firstly I share your frustration at not being heard on this matter. The  advocates for the redefinition of marriage have constantly claimed that the redefinition does no harm but this is simply not true. We are seeing a forced cultural change. This change is doing at least 3 things:

a      Legally affirming that homosexual “marriages” are the same as a heterosexual marriages.

b     Legally (by the change to adoption practice) recognising that a same sex couple are an equally good parenting choice as a Mum and Dad.

c.     Removing gender distinction (“bride” and “bridegroom” removed from marriage forms, “Husband” and “wife” removed from various legislation including the Adoption Act). We call this “Gender Neutralisation.”

2.       In my view recognising and celebrating the difference between men and women is both intelligent and culturally preferable. The gender balance of a man and a woman working together in marriage and in parenting is a unique and  ideal foundation on which to build society. Same sex  relationships may be entered into by a small few  but we should not pretend they are the same thing.

3.       The Conservative Party has called for a Government Initiated Referendum (GIR) on this issue, but this has been rejected by a majority of MPs. This was a somewhat cynical rejection as most of the same MPs are supporting a referendum on state asset sales – surely a double standard.

4.       The only way forward now (assuming the bill passes into law) would be a Citizens Initiated Referendum (CIR). Unfortunately CIR are not binding in this country and both National and Labour Prime Ministers have made it clear they will reject CIR outcomes. (example: Helen Clarke on Law and Order and John Key on Smacking). Until we achieve our goal of referendum being binding we have no way to force a change.

5.       Once the Conservative Party is in parliament it is our objective to make CIR binding. If we achieve this then we have an opportunity to challenge the redefinition of marriage by referendum. I would certainly support/promote such a referendum.

Should Waitangi Day be abolished and replaced with a new national day [New Zealand Day]?

I am not sure changing the name of the day helps fix that. It’s one of those things that can ideally be proposed and put to the people of the country as a referendum if there is a enough support.

Some sort of statements on the Maori Grievance Industry and the proposed new Constitution would be particularly welcome given the alarm these two issues are causing to many of us. 

We have already taken a position on Maori seats. We agree with the Royal commission on MMP and therefore there should not be separate Maori seats. They predicted that separate seats would lead to racial division.  However as any change to the electoral system requires voters mandate the correct way to change this is to hold a referendum. I doubt if this was left to politicians it would ever happen.

We have already taken a position on a new Constitution. There should be no work on, or adoption of a new constitution, without a mandate from the people of the country. There is no such mandate so tax payers money should be nowhere near this issue. Those lobbying for a new constitution should do all the work at their own cost and then propose it with  a Citizens Initiated Referendum (if they could get enough support).

The Royal Commission on the Electoral System reported on electoral reform on 1986. This was instrumental in the change to MMP in 1993 but it recommended against citizens initiated referendums.

Recommendations

  1. The Commission unanimously recommended the adoption of mixed member proportional, with a threshold of 4% and that a referendum be held before or at the 1987 election.
  2. They also recommended that the Māori seats be abolished, with Māori parties instead receiving representation if they did not pass the threshold.
  3. That the number of MPs raise to 120 (although they considered 140 would be ideal, they realised that it would receive too much public backlash).
  4. The term of Parliament be raised to four years.
  5. The Commission recommended that citizens initiated referendums not be implemented. However, they were in 1993.

 

 

Craig gets in on The Nation debate

TV3 has backed down to legal pressure from the Conservative Party and has agreed to include Colin Craig in the small party leaders’ debate on The Nation tomorrow.

TV3 to include Colin Craig in minor party leaders’ debate

TV3 has opted to include Colin Craig in the minor leaders debate, rather than hold no debate at all.

The Conservative Party leader took his case to the High Court, and has this afternoon been granted an interim injunction against the media organisation.

At court, TV3 initially opted to go ahead with no debate, rather be forced to include the politician.

But it’s now changed its mind, and Mr Craig will join tomorrow’s debate.

Good on Craig for pushing for the right to be included. Too often media organisations get away with arranging what suits them rather than what is best for fair democracy.

Brendan Horan is now trying to push for inclusion as well.

@TheNationTV3 given that I’m a current MP and the leader of the NZIC I hope to be there too.

I’m a leader of a political party that was represented in Parliament.

He might have left his claim a bit late.

What would “one law for all” be?

If we had one law for all what would that law be?  Thou shall not hurt anyone else? Thou shall not tell fibs (especially in politics)?

ACT Party

Act Party leader Jamie Whyte has stirred up a race debate by promoting one law for all.

He means that one race (Maori) shouldn’t have separate laws or privileges or Parliamentary seats to anyone else. That’s fine in theory, but very contentious and controversial in practice, as Whyte is finding out.

But it’s having the desired effect, raising Whyte’s and Act’s profile on the potential constituency that matters for them to start to make an impression in the polls. See comments at Kiwiblog in Jamie Whyte on race based law.

Conservative Party

This is also one of the Conservative Party’s key policies (from very sparse offerings).

OneLawForAll

One Law For All is one of four very brief policy statements on their Issues page.

Another is the Conservative’s ‘bottom line’ policy “On Our Watch Referendums Will Be Binding’. In the unlikely event that they have a watch in Parliament they won’t get support for this, an issue that seems inspired by Craig’s obsession with getting the ‘smacking’ law repealed.

Craig wants one law for all if it involves Maori ‘privilege’, but he wants parents to have a different law than children when it comes to being hit. One could agree with Craig that there’s some crazy thinking here.

Another of their policies is YOUR FIRST $20,000 TAX FREE THEN A FLAT TAX. Act at least have some consistency, wanting one tax rate for all instead of no tax for those earning under $20,000 and then tax whack the rest of us.

NZ First

NZ First seem to stake a claim to the ‘One Law For All’ slogan but it doesn’t stand out in their policies. Their website doesn’t have a page for ‘Winston Peters Rhetoric’ but their is plenty of that elsewhere, for example in Budget in Reply Speech – Winston Peters.

We believe in one law for all – irrespective of ethnic background.

Not the crumbs of tokenism from the Cronies Club Tables!

New Zealand First believes that we must train, skill, educate and employ our own people first.

There’s no excuse for the hiring of cheap labour from overseas when so many are on the unemployment scrap heap back here.

On the issue of foreigners speculating on housing in New Zealand – we’ve had the courage to say it for years but successive governments have refused to act.

Ok, one law for all as long as you’re one of “our own people” and not “from overseas” or a “foreigner”.

NZ First and one law for all seems to be contradictory.

One Law 4 All Party

There is also a party set up and now registered to address this issue – One Law 4 All.

To keep faith with 1Law4All supporters from across the political spectrum, we have the one bottom line – that of legal equality of all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or religion.

Should we win a position in government, 1Law4All will take a middle-of-the road position on all other issues or proposals by other parties. Should this be difficult to define or involve highly controversial legislation, we will seek a majority public consensus and vote accordingly. We will not have personal conscience votes.

Legal equality is a bottom line but on anything else majority public consensus will enable the overruling of minority rights and needs.

Several Questions For All

‘One law for all” and legal equality sound fine in theory, but life and legislation can be more complicated than that. How would the above parties answer the following questions?

  • One assault law for all or separate law for parents?
  • One tax for all or different tax rates?
  • One property law for all or ‘one of us’ versus ‘foreigners’?
  • One immigration law for all regardless of race, religion, age, skills?
  • Can anyone put flashing lights on their car and run red lights and speed?
  • No age limit for marriage, sex, voting, firearms, driving, alcohol?
  • Superannuation for all?
  • Early childhood education for all?
  • Domestic Purposes Benefit for all?

And what seems to be at the centre of all the ‘one law for all’ posturing is the Treaty of Waitangi. Should New Zealand declare all treaties invalid – one treaty for all or no treaties for anyone? There’s quite a few, for example see Treaties and International Law.

Or just selected ones?

Back to Act

While Act want no legal or other privileges for Maori…

Treaty of Waitangi and Race Relations

ACT supports the vision of a free society and would seek to remove all race-based appointments in parliament or any other branch of government.

…they sound more reasonable regarding the Waitangi Tribunal:

We would work towards ensuring the Waitangi Tribunal process ends on the basis of full, fair, and final settlements.

But a quick scan through their other policies suggests they support some targeting and don’t propose universal rules for everyone.

ACC: “The one-size-fits-all compulsory, government-owned monopoly insurance provider is failing New Zealanders.” So they don’t support one insurance provider for all.

Crime and Justice: “ACT supports tough, appropriate sentencing for all offences including burglary (three strikes you’re out), livestock theft (weapon and vehicle confiscation) and murder (sentenced by degree).” Selective application of three strikes, which is targeting some offences and offenders differently to others.

One law for all, unless getting tough on (some) crime will get more votes.

‘One law for all’ is a simple political slogan in a very complex real world.

Conservative disappointment in Craig

While some Conservatives are disappointed that John Key has shut the door on an electorate deal for Colin Craig other conservatives were already disappointed in Colin Craig, who has been called a faux conservative.

In 2011 the Conservatives were excused for being under prepared because the party had only been launched a couple of months before the election.

Three years later Craig had a chance to promote himself and the party and has failed to impress all but the faithful and the blindly hopeful. He has been noticed more for his gaffes, some odd promotional photos and a lot of political naivety.

And while the Conservative Party has a slogan of “Stand For Something” it’s difficult to know what they stand for apart from supporting smacking (the single issue that seems to have driven Craig since he stepped into the political arena), an impractical bottom line on binding binding referenda and a small number of other populist policies.

The Conservative Issues web page has only four policies with scant detail.

A number of conservatives and Conservative supporters have been regulars at Kiwiblog.  Comments from National announces coalition choices sum up sentiments:

Tinshed:

I regard myself as a conservative but find I have very little, if anything, in common with Colin Craig and his Conservative Party. The right decision.

Queenstreetfarmer:

What idiots ever thought Colin Craig was “conservative” anyway, let alone a trustworthy ally for National?

iMP (who has been a prominent supporter of Craig and the Conservatives):

Well, here’s a reality check and a prediction:.

1. The polls will close and Labour will come back some, as NZers ‘re-balalnce’ a lop-sided race.
2. National will get 47-48% on polling day, much the same result as 2011, not enough to govern.
3. They will lose badly in canterbury, which will swell the PVote to Labour and some seats will change hands.
3. Having been sidelined in favour of polygamy and Cabinet leaking leaders, the Consvs will breach the threshold in their own right.
4. On 21 Sept. JK will be forced either to court Winston or Colin Craig (there simply aren’t enough vote on the C-Right).
5. CC will demand more than he would’ve otherwise, having made parl. in his own right, and build for the future whole NZF dissipates with Winnie’s health.
6. Labour will work strategically to win Ohariu and help split the vote in Epsom.

National has no friends left; the pickings on the C-R just got much leaner.

Chthoniid:

Sometimes his party really comes across less as a coherent political entity and more as a vanity project. Nailing his colours to the binding referendum issue, kind of signals he’s nursing some resentment over the failure of the 2009 smacking-referendum.

Changeiscoming:

As a supporter of the Conservative Party I am very pleased JK has made this decision. I didn’t want the party beholden to National, now it’s all on. I don’t want to hear any complaints on the 21st of Sept when the Nats find themselves a couple of percentage points short.

Georgebolwing:

Colin Craig is a looney and to endorse him in any way would have driven urban liberal votes to ACT in droves to make sure that National had enough dependable partners to govern.

Maybe, someday, someone sane will attempt to form a conservative party that isn’t just a bunch of ratbag populist christians fixated with the sexual practices of others. Such a party might offer National some support. But the CCCP is just a rich guy trying to pretend to be a politician. He should leave it to the experts. At least the other rich guy trying to buy the election has had the good sense to hire professionals.

Longknives

I’m a National/National man but can anybody tell me why Colin Craig is considered such a “looney”? He seems to have some good ideas…

ShawnLH

When the CP first got off the ground I thought “yes! finally a conservative party to vote for!” But as time went on I saw very little policy focus on areas of concern to social conservatives, and a lot of pilfering from NZF. Well, I could if inclined vote for NZF so why do I need NZF v2?

Then there was Craig himself. Early on I was happy to defend Craig and overlook his oddities, but as the whole issue of a seat came to the fore he started looking far more dicey. His “bottom line” demand when his party was only just scoring 2% in the polls was arrogant and naive.

So sadly I think JK has made the right decision. Craig would not beat McCully in a straight contest, no matter how many nods and winks ECB voters were given, and forcing them to vote for him by pulling McCully would have drawn a big fat target on National in a way that the other deals do not.

And despite Red’s fantasies Craig and the CP was never going to be the Saviour of the Right.

Craig and his Conservative Party will now have try and do it the hard way by getting to 5%.

Conservative son of NationalAttacking National hasn’t worked out very well.

 

Craig’s contradictions

Colin Craig didn’t rule out taking advantage of a helping hand from National in East Coast Bays but now John Key has ruled it out …

After weeks of speculation, Prime Minister John Key has indicated that he will not pull Mr McCully from the seat.

…as reported by NZ Herald – Craig: ‘Better for us’ if McCully stands in East Coast Bays Craig says he didn’t want Murray McCully to stand aside for him.

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he’d prefer National incumbent Murray McCully to stand in East Coast Bays, and has taken a shot at the deals National does with the Act and United Future parties.

He said he did not expect to beat Mr McCully in East Coast Bays this election.

Yeah right. And…

And he has opened the door to Labour, especially if they are open to his bottom line of binding referenda.

But Mr Craig said he supported a third term for National, if they won the largest share of the party vote – though he could not rule out working with Labour.

If Labour agreed to the Conservative’s bottom line of binding referenda, and National did not, then “that would be a very interesting scenario, and perhaps Labour would be prepared to do that”.

He has repeated  a number of times that he’d go with the party with the largest vote, which will obviously be National.

But now he’s saying that if Labour give him what he wants on binding referenda he will consider going with them instead.

Craig seems to be trying to compete with Winston Peters in coalition horse trading stakes, albeit in a more ham fisted way.

 

Craig confirms Conservative bottom line

At the Conservative Party conference today Colin Craig confirmed that they would have a bottom line of binding referenda.

Stuff reports Craig: Make referendums binding.

If National wants Conservative Party support it will have to make referendums binding, says the party’s leader Colin Craig.

He’s used his keynote speech at the party’s annual conference this weekend to highlight the party’s policy as a “bottom line” for any coalition negotiations.

That’s an invitation to National to say “stuff off”. And Labour presumably.

Or Craig naively thinks that National (or Labour) will want his support enough to concede on this demand.

Or maybe Craig is effectively ruling any deal out, conceding that with no experience the Conservatives would be best to concentrate on establishing themselves in Parliament on the cross benches through the first term and negotiate bill by bill when it suited them.

Colin’s Centrist Conservative Party

How conservative are the Conservatives? NZ Herald: Conservatives butt heads with NZ First over lookalike policies

The Conservatives have begun laying their election platform in a series of billboards and leaflet drops over the past month.

A few of their priorities so closely resembled New Zealand First’s manifesto that leader Winston Peters said they appeared to be stolen.

“Plagiarism is what you’re talking about. He’s not got similar policies, he’s trawled through our stuff and tried to present it as being his own.”

Both parties want to end asset sales, stop the sale of farmland to foreigners…

How conservative/right wing are the Conservatives?

Mr Craig told the Weekend Herald it was inevitable some of their policies would be similar because they were both competing for a similar pool of centrist voters.

Ah, they are centrist conservatives.

Key coy on Conservative accommodations

Will John Key and Colin Craig arrange a manky marriage?

Key was pressed by Patrick Gower to give his views on Colin Craig and the Conservative Party yesterday on The Nation.

Key emphasised that if National gave Conservatives any assistance they would be “transparent with New Zealanders and up front” (later in the day he indicated it would likely be advised about the end of July).

Patrick Gower started the interview by asking, given the level of opposition, does he really want a deal with Colin Craig?

John Key: First thing I’d say is we want to be the government post 2014 election. And I think New Zealanders do understand that involves doing deals or accommodations and actually cobbling together 61 seats. So in terms of will we specifically outline a deal with the Conservatives or United or Act, well we’ll announce that in a few weeks’ time you know, some grace time.

Patrick Gower: So yes or no to the question. Do you want a deal with Colin Craig, yes or no? Because even your own voters, one in every two National voters does not want a deal with Colin Craig.

John Key: Well I truthfully can’t answer that question. I can say there’s merits for both sides of the argument and we’ll take it through a process which will obviously include the president and the sort of kitchen cabinet. And we’ll do that relatively soon. But I can’t be absolutely sure of a definitive answer, I don’t want to mislead you but – but what I can say is realistic enough to know despite the fact that we are polling well a lot can change in an election campaign and we are likely to have to do a coalition deal.

When pressed by Gower to tell him “one good thing that he’s done this year”  Key avoided the questions.

Let’s look at it this way then. Colin Craig, tell me one good thing that he’s done this year?

Well I don’t want to critique his performance because that’s just simply not my job.

No, but it’s not a critique it’s, what’s one good thing you’ve seen him do?

Well not so sure that’s really the answer that I need to look for I mean the answer is –

But it is if you want to do a deal with him you’ve got to be able to say this is – here’s something good that he’s done.

Well he has a legitimate voice for some New Zealanders. It might be a position that’s quite a far away from me when it comes to social issues but there are plenty of New Zealanders that would support his view on smacking or gay marriage or whatever it might be. It’s not where I’m at personally but I understand that position.

But you can’t actually name something that you’ve seen and then you’ve gone ‘hey that’s pretty good’.

I don’t follow everything he does but what I’m saying to you is that we live in a world where we have to put together 61 seats. Realistically could we work with him if we go into Parliament? Let’s just argue, he either wins a seat or he gets 5%, the answer is yes I think we could because we’ve worked with lots of other different parties as well.

Gower then stated “it’s not about what the Conservatives can do for New Zealand, it’s about whether they can help you win”.

Key replied:

But that’s true of every major political party.

In the end whether you’re Labour or whether you’re National, you’ve got to work out how you get that race of 61 seats. Now in putting together those groups you have to answer the obvious question, do we have enough in common or do we believe we’re malleable enough to actually work together for the betterment of New Zealand.

Because the other alternative is everybody gets stubborn and we say oh no, we don’t have 50-percent so guess what we’re going back for another election. Well New Zealanders don’t want that, that’s for sure. There’s a couple of problems in doing that.

Negotiating after the election to put together a workable Government is much different to gifting a safe National seat to the leader of another party who otherwise has little chance of getting into Parliament.

It’s not just on social issues that Craig is ” quite a far away from ” Key. His anti-asset sale stance and some of his other economic policy ideas would be quite far from National’s. As would Craig’s (anti) Treaty of Waitangi policies.

It’s also likely the Conservative binding referendum bottom line is quite far away from what National would agree to.

Key hasn’t given any reason how National and Conservatives would be compatible.

The Conservative web page highlights:

It’s Time To Stand for Something

Had a guts full of National’s abandoning their principles? Had enough of their arrogance? Had enough of them ignoring referendums; like the one on asset sales and the one on anti-smacking? Had enough of Bill English’s borrowing habits? Had enough of the two waka Government?

Aggressively attacking National and highlighting major policy differences doesn’t sound like it’s standing for anything positive.

National and Conservatives colluding in an electorate jack-up and colluding in coalition with such significant differences would be very cynical politics. It would look like an arranged love-less marriage between incompatible religions.

Will voters stand for this?

An interesting scenario – if Craig gets voted into Parliament after being gifted a safe electorate, but National don’t need Conservatives to make up the numbers, would Key still include Conservatives in a coalition and make Craig a Minister?

And would Craig abandon his principles and stand for nothing except getting into Government?

What do Conservatives stand for?

Supporters of the Conservative Party frequently comment at Kiwiblog, often defending Colin Craig and his party, and often attacking anyone deemed critical. They even jump on attempts to just discuss the Conservative Party.

Yesterday on General Debate I posted:

The Conservative Party slogan is “Stand for Something”. Stand for what?

A genuine question for Conservative supporters – what do you thing the New Zealand Conservative Party stands for?

That comment was voted 13 down, 8 up. Simply asking questions about the Conservatives is seen as negative.

An early response from ‘Harriett':

What National USED to stand for!

No details with that.

There was ensuing discussion through the day but with little addressing of the question. I’ve skipped the attacks on Conservatives and looked for comments in support or defence plus reasonable criticism.

‘Colville’ said:

I quite like this bit of policy from the Conservatives.

The return to a single voter roll in New Zealand.
• There needs to be an end to the division of the voter roll on the basis of race. As this is a change to the way the people are represented we believe a binding referendum should be held to ratify this proposal.

‘Changeiscoming’ add to this:

Colville – Winston has the same position but he has had years to do something about it and he hasn’t. He is just talk and bluster.

‘Paulus':

Why are so many people here viciously against Colin Craig ?
What are they so afraid of ?
Colin Craig is not a queer, but is a married family orientated male. We know that this frowned upon today thanks to the social engineering of Helen Clark. Not what she wants for New Zealand. Must be female, homosexual, party and union members, public service employees, and TV entertainers, and never had to work for a living, but have been brought up on the public purse
The media are equally simplistic but that is par for the course.

Nigel Kearney:

The Conservative’s opposition to foreign investment makes them impossible for reasonable people to vote for. Not because it’s a bad policy, though it is an awful one. The problem is that it reveals their socialist mindset.

If a foreign investor buys assets and takes the resulting profits offshore, we haven’t lost anything because we have the money they used to buy the asset and can use that to create more wealth, in addition to the benefit of any jobs and taxes from the asset they now own.

We don’t want a party in Parliament that can’t understand basic economics and puts wealth redistribution ahead of wealth creation. There’s too much risk of them turning into another NZ First.

‘Manolo’ is a regular attacker of anything directed aty Conservatives and posted a typical diversionary diss:

Q: What do you think UnitedFuture stands for?
A: The highest bidder.

He claims to have no involvement with Conservatives but is a frequent defender or counter-attacker.

Judith:

I am against Colin Craig and afraid that his whacky sense of politics will harm this country should he get the ability to influence any decisions.

That is not based on him being weird, we are all weird in our own little way because each of us is unique – but because he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.

For example, his criticism of the two referendums on smacking and assets sales. To make it clear I was against asset sales, but in favour of the antismacking legislation, but think it needs to be clearly defined, as at present it is not.

Colin Craig however critiques Key and the government for not listening to the two referendums on these issues and states he would alter the laws to suite them.

Both those referendums were poorly worded and poorly constructed, including questionable processes. John Key was perfectly right in rejecting and refusing to accept either of them.

And that is the difference. John Key probably doesn’t know the first thing about a well worded referendum but is astute enough to take advice, listen to it, and not be influenced by emotion. Colin Craig on the other hand is influenced by emotion, and prepared to act on a poorly worded documents, to change legislation. The implications of that sort of inefficiency, if he was allowed to influence our politics could be tremendous. I’m sure he’s a lovely man – but lovely men tend not to make good politicians.

Most critical comments were significantly down voted, with an exception from Chthoniid:

I’m not against Craig. I don’t intend voting for him (and as a voter in ECB I have that option)- but if he runs a successful electoral campaign to win 5% of the vote, or a seat, then good on him. He can be in Parliament.

What I object to is an inept campaign of petty manipulation, to try to get a free run at the ECB seat. I object to the assumption I’d vote for him when he’s made no effort to earn that vote. And if the Nats give in to that strategy, then that lack of principle will cost them my vote. I survived 9 years of Helengrad. I can survive 3 years of an squabbling, paralysed coalition of the left.

‘dirty harry':

“I am against Colin Craig and afraid that his whacky sense of politics will harm this country should he get the ability to influence any decisions.”

What about the racist maori party ? You would rather them than Colin Craig saddle up next to the Nats? The racist party has done more harm than good to NZ. The brown mafia is alive and well in NZ. We need to biff the brown party in favour of the Conservatives. Colin will bring us back over to the right where the Nats should be. Thats the biggest mistake Key has made..taking the Nats to the centre left..absolute disaster.

Colin will sort it. Go Colin. All power to you.

Manolo supported this with “Well said, dirty harry.”

Redbaiter made a number of comments starting with:

Clintonoid- “I’m not against Craig.”

Bullshit.

Like so many others who flock to this forum you identify yourself by your obsessive atheism and your hatred and intolerance of anyone who dares to be a Christian or advocate for Christianity.

Craig is proud to be Christian and that means he’ll never get your vote, no matter how he campaigns or what policies he promotes.

Be honest about it you horrible bigot. You’ll white ant Craig as much as you can because of you’re obsession with atheism.

‘mikenmild':

Colin Craig’s principles are a strange mish-mash of left wing conservatism (much like NZ First), mixed up with a bit of Maori bashing and some god nuttery.

I’m expecting Colin Craig to attract some support from the fringe, but not enough to threaten the threshold or win an electorate. People considering voting for the conservatives should really consider NZ First instead, they have very similar policies and are much more likely to be actually in Parliament after the election.

Redbaiter responded:

You’re not getting the issue. NZF have been there for decades and are part of the system that has gradually lead us into totaliarian socialism. Yes, if you want to tell the current bunch of pollies that you’re happy with the socialist status quo then of course, vote for one of the regular parties.

However if you want to give the traditional parties and politicians a kick in the arse, you vote Conservative.

60,000 votes last election. That’s more than parties who have seats in parliament. They’ll get more this time.

Again- Saying CP party supporters should rather vote NZF is just missing the whole point.

He posted a several more times with a similar theme of ‘give the traditional parties and politicians a kick in the arse’ without promoting any positives for the Conservatives.

You’ve seen Flipper’s comments here. Other Nat supporters comments. You see they won’t fight the left. Many others see their lack of fight. Their groveling to what they call the middle, really an illusion manufactured by the left and their media propagandists.

Other people not similarly afflicted by this cowardice see the need to break out of this condition and they see the newcomer Craig as the most effective way (and possibly the only way) of telling the Nats they’ve had enough of their capitulation and the current progressive political condition of NZ.

He is anti-everything currently in politics and media and thinks/hopes Colin Craig will start his revolution.

Scott Chris:

The fact that National haven’t ruled a deal out makes it seem likely that if the poll numbers are close come election time then McCully will quietly step aside. Still might back-fire with a big no vote rebellion but I expect enough National voters will be willing to hold their collective noses and vote pragmatically.

In which case Colin Craig will have become John Key’s bitch.

It’s unknown how Craig might negotiate in politics, he claims to have made no attempt to talk to National so far.

Also from Scott Chris, referring to Redbaiter’s Conservative support:

And with the likes of Dirty Harriet, igm, kowtow, imp, D4j and dime also throwing their lot in with the Cons gives you an idea of the calibre of person Craig appeals to.

If you add Manolo to that list you get a collection who think National is a traitor to the right, who are anti-Maori and pro-Christian/anti-atheist. Types who supported the Tea Party and Sarah Palin simply because they thought they would drag politics to the far right in the US.

It is difficult to get any idea of what supporters think the Conservative Party stands for, they just see a glimmer of hope that Craig will be anti what they don’t like.

While Kiwiblog participants won’t represent the whole support base for the Conservatives they are significant in the social media fight for Craig.

If Conservatives make it into Parliament and are in a position to negotiate concessions it’s unknown what they will demand and hold out for. Whatever they might manage it will most likely be a disappointment to the hard righties. Colin Craig may pander to their social frustrations and prejudices but he seems far from right wing on economic policy.

But Craig’s vague policy positions allow the politically disaffected to imagine what he might achieve for them.

Conservatives should “bloody well earn” votes

David Farrar continues a soft approach to whether National should or shouldn’t help Colin Craig in East Coast Bays – see Craig making it easy for National to say no deal.

A commenter at Kiwiblog is far more forthright, albeit from more of an ACT perspective.

This really boils my blood.

I was part of the Epsom campaign in 2005 (as were hundreds of others, and expertly run and managed by John Boscawen) that Rodney Hide won. We worked bloody hard for every vote.

The National Party were writing to their supporters telling them to vote for Richard Worth. We had to convince the public that Rodney was the best candidate, and by voting for Rodney you not only got him and a few other Act MPs (which would help National), but you also got Richard Worth. We had to sell that message week after week, day after day.

I knocked on so many doors my knuckles practically bled. Act worked bloody hard that year to survive; and a week out from polling day the Herald ran an article saying we couldn’t win and it was all over. There were so many things against Act in 2005, yet we earned every bloody vote we got. As we should have.

Fast forward to now. Craig has suggested he could win Rodney, Pakuranga, Epsom, Upper Harbour and North Shore. But he decides to stand in ECB. Then he says he doesn’t want a deal, but National could give him if they choose. Then he says he can’t win without one (in other words “I need one, help”!)

Votes are earned at elections. They are not given away. His party needs to campaign like nothing before and bloody well earn them.

It’s that simple. David Seymour (Act) has been knocking on doors and campaigning in Epsom for four months . It’s time for Craig to do the hard yards as well instead on bleating and moaning in the media like a hungry cat.

Kiwiblog has a small vocal number of keen Conservative supporters but they seem to have as much practical knowledge of political reality as Craig.

And there’s a much bigger number at Kiwiblog who would b every unhappy if Craig was given an easy ride by National.

Hide was widely admired for how he won Epsom through hard work and perseverance despite the odds and media coverage stacked against him.

So far Craig has paid much but earned little in political credit.

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