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.

What is Craig standing for?

As expected Colin Craig has announced he will stand in the East Coast Bays electorate and his Conservative Party promoting that “It’s time to STAND for SOMETHING”.

Stand for what? The current home page on the Conservative Party website:

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?

Come and meet the man who isn’t afraid to say ‘enough is enough’. Come and hear Colin Craig’s antidote to National’s toxic behaviour. Come and meet the man who will give our next Government some backbone.

That sounds like it is standing against something (the current National Government) rather than for something. But Craig implies that somehow he will “give our next Government some backbone”.

I’m confused about what Craig will stand for – no deal in East Coast Bays but would like National to help him there and he will will work with National even though he is highly critical of them.

There’s no new press releases on the Conservative website but four key policies are reported:

Standing for Something — Conservative Party key policies

• Referendums should become binding on Governments

• An end to policies that favour some New Zealanders on the basis of race

• No more”discounting of sentences” to ensure criminals serve their full prison terms.

• A “simplification” of the tax system including a tax free threshold that delivers everybody a tax cut.

Craig cites two examples where referendums would be allowed to overturn legislation decided on by Parliament, the ‘smacking law’ and asset sales. That would mean major changes in how effectively Parliament can operate.

What is Craig standing up for exactly? It’s far from clear, all the Conservative Party website says on their Issues page on this is:

Sovereignty:

Binding referenda and reduced size of government

For a major constitutional change that is paltry policy.

They have no policy published on No more”discounting of sentences” to ensure criminals serve their full prison terms.

They have no policy published on A “simplification” of the tax system including a tax free threshold that delivers everybody a tax cut.

The only ‘key policy” they have any detail on is An end to policies that favour some New Zealanders on the basis of race.

Under Sovereignty:

One nation, remove the Maori seats and end the treaty settlements

And they have a section that is larger than all their other ‘issues’ combined on Treaty Philosophy. Amongst other things this proposes repealing of the foreshore and seabed legislation, scrapping Maori seats and closing down the Waitangi tribunal.

Craig seems most intent on standing for red-necks.

And a very Conservative stand against constitutional review.

A cessation of all work on the Constitutional Review, including all discussions relating to the place of the Treaty in a new constitution. No further work should be done at all until it is established that the people of New Zealand wish to have their constitutional arrangements reviewed.

Craig says he wants to stand for something but seems more intent on standing:

  • Against National (except he wouldn’t mind if McCully doesn’t stand against him)
  • Against legislation decided on by Parliament
  • Against Maori and Treaty claims
  • Against our judicial system

One thing Craig is standing for is binding referendums. It would be unlikely wither National or Labour would agree to that.

Referenda could be a doubled edged sword for Conservatives. Craig would like to have overturned the smacking law and the asset sales – but may not be so keen on referenda if they supported legalising things like cannabis and euthanasia, and an alignment of abortion law with current practice.

We now know Craig is standing for East Coast Bays and also that he won’t stand for an electorate deal but he won’t stand in the way of National helping him.

Colin Craig launched his Conservative Party’s election campaign by assuming a strong moral stance — including ruling out any “bland and inspid cup of tea” electoral deal with National like the one used to keep Act in Parliament.

However, if Mr McCully and National pulled their punches to allow him to take the seat: “I won’t deny, it helps if he does.”

“People will then know it’s an absolute certainty that we get into Parliament otherwise we’ve got to get five per cent. We believe we’ll easily do that but of course any thing like a certain seat, all those things are helpful but it’s not something we’re asking for.’

“Had a guts full of National’s abandoning their principles?”

Craig won’t ask for an electorate deal but won’t say no if assisted in East Coast Bays. What sort of principle is that standing on?

Craig needs more than pay and pray

As widely expected Colin Craig has announced that he will stand in the East Coast Bays electorate. Stuff reports:

Colin Craig to face a McCully showdown

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig will contest the East Coast Bays seat at the election, pitting him against Foreign Minister Murray McCully – unless a deal is done.

During the week, Craig said he expected a deal with National to give him a free run at a seat in September’s election but that has not yet been confirmed by Prime Minister John Key.

Craig expected the Conservative Party, currently polling about 1.5 per cent and well below the threshold for seats in Parliament, would be thrown a lifeline: “I think National will stand aside somewhere.”

Greg Presland has jumped to an assumption at The Standard.

Colin Craig to run in East Coast Bays – McCully sacrificed

Well it is official.  In the pursuit of continued power and political expediency it appears that National will sacrifice Murray McCully so that Colin Craig and the conservatives can be in Parliament.  The particular form of sacrifice has not as yet been determined.

Both Craig and Presland seem to be thinking wishfully. Murray McCully has been quick to state his position.

@mcquillanatorz

McCully: Craig’s run in ECB “changes nothing”. Will be “campaigning strongly” to win. Stronger rhetoric than earlier in the week.

@kimbakerwilson

McCully: Craig’s announcement changes nothing. This year I will be campaigning strongly to seek electorate’s support again.

Obviously that could change if National get the jitters closer to the election but it sounds like more cold shoulder for Craig.

Bizarrely:

@mcquillanatorz

Colin Craig says he’ll “politely decline” a cuppa tea deal with John Key, because “voters didn’t like” the 2011 stitch-ups.

And:

@LIVENewsDesk

Colin Craig says he didn’t hold any conversations with the National Party about which electorate he would stand in.

Craig wants National to stand aside without being asked because voters don’t like seeing what Craig wants and needs?

He seems determined and persistent, having spent three years and millions of dollars.

But Craig must wake up to the fact that politics requires far more than paying and praying.

Keycat and Craigmouse

The cat and mouse continues over what help if any National might give Colin Craig’s Conservative Party.

Craig must be getting anxious about what electorate he should stand in with a distinct lack of any public signals from National except negative ones.

John Key remains vague, non-committal and in no apparent hurry on any possible deal with Craig From an interview with Leighton Smith yesterday:

We think we could work with the Conservatives if they make it, and we’d be prepared to have discussions with Winston Peters if he wanted to.

Obviously the particular issues are Epsom when it comes to Act, Ohariu when it comes to United, and whether we find some way of accommodation Colin Craig

Leighton Smith: It would appear as far as Colin Craig is concerned that you’ve run out of options…

John Key: Not necessarily…

Now when it comes to the Conservatives, they’re in a bit of a different position to United and Act. You’ve got to remember both of those parties won their seat in their own right at times where National pretty heavily contested those seats. That’s not the case with the Conservatives but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t find a way through but I wouldn’t necessarily guarantee that we would.

But I just wouldn’t jump to conclusions there because we’re a long way away from that position really with the Conservatives.

Stuff reports: Craig confident – just a matter of which seat

Craig is set to announce which seat in little over a week. It’s unclear whether he will have had a nod from Key before then.

Key has been careful not to tie himself to a timetable, while Craig is “awaiting the results of polling”.

Craig must be getting anxious and a tad impatient, but Key keeps playing him along.

Ask Craig, and he will say the party will break the 5 per cent threshold to make it into Parliament without an electorate seat and that it will have more than one MP and National will have to work for his vote.

Craig will have to do a lot of work before he is in a position to make National work for his vote.

In the meantime the Conservatives are running a bizarre campaign. This poster ( posted on Whale Oil) attempts to ridicule the very people in National who could decide to help Craig – or not.

Conservative back in the coop

And the Conservative Party are running this graphic on their website:

Conservative son of NationalThat has been widely ridiculed and modified, with an obvious connection being made at The Standard.

Conservatives son of god

National will no doubt be doing private polling on the potential benefits and risks of getting close to the Conservatives. Perhaps they should check these out with their focus groups.

Keycat may prefer to take risks with different mice.

 

National, Conservatives and democracy

Reposted from Politicheck.

National, Conservatives and democracy

In There Will Be No Deal in Rodney Cameron Slater details at Whale Oil what he knows about or wishes will happen with an arrangement between National and Colin Craig and the Conservative Party.

For Colin Craig though he can forget Upper Harbour, there is no way that Paula Bennett will give up that for Colin Craig. Likewise in Rodney. Mark Mitchell has stared down terrorists, thugs, drug dealers and general scum so a knock out fight is something he would relish.

He rules out any chance of helping Craig in the North Harbour or Botany electorates.

That leaves McCully, frankly he is in his last election, and if he doesn’t bail before hand with the promise of Washington then he should go list only and East Coast Bays can be gifted to the Conservatives.

While East Coast Bays could be “gifted” to Craig that would be dependent on the voters of the electorate.

And as far as democracy goes it would stink.

One comment at Whale Oil:

But if leading up to the elections and the Nats and Conservatives keep telling us how to vote, I will dig my heels and might go off in a tangent or not even vote.

Another:

If National offer a deal to Craig, I am unlikely to vote for either.

And another:

Gifting a seat is not giving democracy a chance, its a cynical manipulation of a flawed MMP system. Being told to vote for a party I don’t support in order to play the system is not democracy

Despite debate and expert recommendations National have chosen to not change the way our MMP works. This leaves in place a 5% threshold that favours large established parties and makes it extremely difficult for small and new parties to get representation. The initial recommendation in 1986 was to have a 4% threshold. That was increased by politicians. Last year’s recommendation was to put it at 4% and that has been ignored by National.

(I believe for fair representation the threshold should be much lower or removed altogether.)

National also chose to leave the coat-tailing provision in place.

The Conservative Party failed to make the 5% threshold last election so failed to get representation for those who voted for them.

A gifted seat would (if voters allow) give them representation that in itself would seem fair to voters – but only Conservative voters. Other small parties who fail to win an electorate and fail to make the 5% threshold would be unfairly excluded.

It would be reprehensible if through self interest National gifted an electorate seat to a selected party to avoid the threshold and enable coat tailing when they have left in place a very high hurdle for other parties.

It would be an outrageous abuse of democracy.

I hope John Key and the National Party will rule out giving themselves a blatantly unfair advantage in the upcoming election.

Pete George

Craig’s Conservatives cold shouldered

While Colin Craig is still hopeful National will help him win an Auckland electorate there’s no sign of it happening. National will be wary of an electorate deal after last election’s cup of tea debacle, and they will be wary of potentially negative effects of an association with Craig.

Radio NZ report that Craig is still sending out hopeful signals in Craig expects National will stand aside.

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he expects the National Party will stand aside for him in a seat in Auckland’s North Shore.

The National Party itself has not said it will, but Mr Craig said on past record it is likely National will reach an accommodation with him.

The Conservative Party has been touted as a likely coalition partner with National, if ACT can’t make it over the line following the resignation of John Banks.

Touted by Craig but there hasn’t been much sign of touting from National, in fact the opposite, all they seem to be showing is a cold shoulder.

Stuff reports that John Key has deliberately avoided being seen near Craig in PM’s wife to blame for Fieldays no-show.

Prime Minister John Key says a late change to his schedule meaning he will miss Fieldays at Mystery Creek in Hamilton on Friday was under the orders of his wife, Bronagh. Key was to visit Fieldays on the same day as Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. Things could have got awkward if Key and Craig had spent the day dodging each other rather than risk sending the wrong signals about their [political] relationship. 

Despite Craig waving frantically trying to attract their attention Key and National continue to avoid any sign of interest.

Conservatives really need some indication they can be seen as a serious contender in the election. They are not making any impression.

But National are obviously not in any hurry. And they need to be cautious.

So the Key cold shoulder continues to cool Conservative ambitions.

UPDATE: From Steve’ link in comments:

The Prime Minister could find himself hosting a tea party in the coming weeks – revealing he plans to name all the support partners that National wants to work with, in a single day.

John Key’s already indicated ACT, the Maori Party and the Conservative Party are the likely partners.

But instead of individual cup-of-tea-style deals, he’s planning one big announcement of who’s in and who’s out.

“Id like to be a bit more transparent about that because I think that maturity is now there in the New Zealand public that they think it’s better to know.

“We’d like to deal with them all at one time.”

That’s non-committal regarding helping the Conservatives in an electorate (although it doesn’t rule that out). ACT and the Maori Party have had seats this term and have established electorate presences, something the Conservative Party doesn’t have.

It sounds little more than has been said before, that National could work with Conservatives if they get any MPs into Parliament.

“In the coming weeks” could be leaving it very late for Conservatives to set up an electorate campaign. It’s now less than fifteen weeks until the election and Craig’s electorate options are still appear to be in limbo.

More from NBR in Coat-tail deals ‘a few weeks away’, says Key.

“Whether we do any, all or none of them, is a few weeks away,” said Key of the potential deals, which he only offer meaningfully for Act, United Future and the Conservatives as National is weak in the Maori electorate of Waiariki where the Maori Party leader, Te Uruora Flavell, must win.

Asked whether he was willing still to do an electorate deal for Craig, Key said “he hasn’t approached me”, but believed Craig was not seeking such an arrangement, citing public comments earlier this year. 

That is not sounding very hopeful for Craig.

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