On the Conservative Party

‘Than’ summed up the Conservative Party at Kiwiblog.

The Conservatives are not a right-wing party, at least in terms of economic policy. They opposed asset sales. They oppose land sales to foreigners. Their alternative budget and tax policy was an inconsistent mess. And Colin Craig has outright stated they would work with Labour.

The Conservatives main priority is social policy. Their economic policy is just populist – whatever they think will get them votes so they can advance their social policy goals.

There seems to be a fair degree of accuracy to that assessment.

The last post at the Conservative website prior to the election indicates their priority.

Parents Smacking Down Prime Minister 
16 September 2014

“John Key’s failure to deliver on his promise to change the anti-smacking law is costing National votes, and helping the Conservative Party,” says Colin Craig.

“Parents are smacking down John Key, and this stupid law.”

“The Conservative Party is constantly receiving messages of support, with people referencing the anti-smacking law as a primary reason for changing their vote.” 

“The Conservative Party has consistently campaigned against this damaging law.”

“The evidence is in and the anti-smacking law is a colossal failure. Bradford’s campaign against decent parents has already harmed enough families and children, as resources have been misdirected.”

Since then there has been two thank-you posts:

THANK YOU from Christine 
24 September 2014

I want to start by saying a big thank you to our faithful members and supporters.

THANK YOU from Colin 
10 November 2014

Thank you for all your support in the 2014 Election Campaign.

The last tweet from @ColinCraigNZ was a link to the second of those, oddly on November 8.

And since then only:

10 November 2014

Our office has now relocated from 26 to 5 Triton Drive, Rosedale and is staffed mostly by volunteers. If you want to visit it is best to make an appointment via office@conservativeparty.org.nz

Post-election sees Conservative steadily growing in members, donations continue to be received and this support and encouragement is greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much!

Post-election sees not very much happening as far as Craig’s Conservatives are concerned.

Poll shakeup – Conservatives jump to 4.6%

Patrick Gower has tweeted a teaser on a 3 News poll to be released in the news tonight.

3-News Reid Research poll out tonight – all the fallout from “Dirty Politics”… A real shake-up.

However the Conservative Party may have jumped the gun with their result (they quickly deleted the tweet). If they are correct it certainly hints at significant changes.

It would make their 3 News/Reid Research result over the past few polls:

  • May 2.3%
  • June 2.8%
  • July 2.7%
  • August 3-13 2.5%
  • August 19-25 4.6%

This could be a reaction to ‘dirty politics’ and it’s aftermath in part but could also be due to the extensive advertising the Conservatives have been doing.

UPDATE: 3 News has confirmed what had leaked out – in a poll to be released Conservatives are up 2.2 to 4.6%

Patrick Gower:

3 News Political Editor Patrick Gower says tonight’s poll shows Dirty Politics has given the political landscape “a real good shake”.

“Not only does it have the Conservatives nearly at five per cent – there are also significant results for some of the other parties.”

“Without giving too much away – there really has been some fallout from the Dirty Politics saga,” he says.

“A lot of people have views on what John Key should do about Judith Collins. He hasn’t acted against her – we will give the public’s view on that.”

Sounds ominous for National but not surprising considering how poorly John Key addressed the issues raised.

Currently published poll results for 3 News/Reid Research

Poll hits dirt, rewards clean

There can be many reasons for poll movements but whether by coincidence or not the parties most associated by dirty smear politics have all dropped in the latest NZ Herald poll, and parties not associated with dirt have gone up, especially the Greens.

Dirty parties:

  • National 50 (down 4.9)
  • Labour 25.2 (down 1.3)
  • NZ First 4.3 (down 0.3)

Clean parties:

  • Greens 13.7 (up 3.8)
  • Conservatives 2.6 (up 1.4)
  • Maori Party 0.7 (up 0.2)
  • Act 0.6 (up 0.6)
  • United Future 0.4 (up 0.4)


  • Mana-Internet 2.1 (down 0.1)
  • Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis (down 0.1)

Having made that point poll to poll movements are not as important as trends.

Herlad poll trends Aug14

  • National’s last poll result may have been an outlier.
  • Labour continue to trend down.
  • Greens have surged but time will tell if it is temoporary or becomes a positive trend.

Herald poll trends small Aug14

  • Winston Peters has been struggling to sustain a profile in a very competitive media.
  • Conservatives will be hoping they are on the rise but 5% is a long way up from there.
  • Internet-Mana climbed initially but may be leveling off.
  • Maori, Act and United Future will be grateful for any scraps they can get.

The poll of 750 respondents was conducted between August 14 and 20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent. On the party vote questions 12.5 per cent were undecided.

Source: Greens spring in polls as National takes hit

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.


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.


  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.



Small party priorities post election

Small party (and Green) leaders were asked in a The Nation debate what their priority policy would be in post election negotiations.


  • United Future: Flexi-Super
  • Maori Party: Whanau Ora
  • Mana Party: the elimination of child poverty within the first five years
  • Act Party: economic growth
  • Conservative Party: binding referenda
  • NZ First: non-committal
  • Green Party: expect to have a very comprehensive coalition agreement that meets a whole range of objectives


United Future

Right, I wanna talk about relationships in MMP, and I’m coming to Mr Dunne. I want to know that if you get into a confidence-in-supply agreement with the next government, what would be the one thing you would be pushing for in return?

Dunne: I think probably top of our list would be to make progress on our flexi-super proposal, which would see people being able to take a reduced rate of super from the earlier age of 60 or an enhanced rate if they deferred to 70, and with the standard age remaining 65. I think that would be the one thing we’d wanna push most strongly.

That’s a repeat of last election.Dunne negotiated a discussion paper on Flexi-Super with National after the 2011 election and that which was released last year but National are luke-warm on doing anything on it

UnitedFuture’s plan which would allow people to take a reduced rate of New Zealand superannuation from the age of 60, or an enhanced rate if they deferred uptake until 70. The rationale was to give people more choice over retirement income and to recognise that for some people 60 was the age to leave the paid workforce, but that they were currently unable to do so for financial reasons.

Māori Party

Te Ururoa, you say that you could go with either Labour or National, so what would be your top priority as a policy to get?

Flavell: …the major platform that the Maori party has always been on about is final order. We say that if we’re able to consolidate, not only just social—the MSD-

So you would be pushing that if you were with the next government, you’d be pushing to keep–?

Flavell: It’s an absolute must from our perspective that final order will be at the centre of our platform, our policy. It is right now, and it will be.

‘Final order’ is a mistake in the transcript, it should read ‘Whānau Ora’ which is the Māori Party’s flagship policy.

Whānau-ora: restoring the essence of who we are; putting the vibrant traditions from our people at the heart of our whānau

Whānau Ora begins with you. Whānau is the heart of our people, it is the foundation on which our country thrives. It is about reaffirming a sense of self-belief.

Mana Party

All right. Mr Harawira, Mr Cunliffe says that you’re not gonna be part of his government. But you say he’ll pick up the phone if he needs you. So if he rings and says, ‘Hone, I’m offering you confidence in supply, that’s it, no ministers’, what do you want from him?

Do you think he has the vision to lead this country?

Harawira: What I know is this – if the polls keep trending the way that John Armstrong of the NZ Herald says and hit 5% even before the campaign starts for Internet Mana, I’m guaranteed to get a call on the night of September the 20th. And if he asks us, is there one policy, if there’s one thing that we would want to see changed, it would be this – the elimination of child poverty within the first five years.

The ‘elimination of child poverty’ seems idealistic, especially when it is usually a statistical figure based on families below the median income and on that basis there will always be some ‘in poverty’ – below the arbitrary line.

I can’t find a reference to the five year target on the Mana website but they have a range of policy points addressing “economic justice’, for example:

Work towards implementing a Universal Basic Income where everyone in Aotearoa aged 18 and over would receive a minimum, liveable, tax free income after which progressive tax would kick in. This would eliminate the huge costs involved in administering the current shame and blame WINZ system, and do much to end poverty and address growing inequality.

Act Party

Jamie Whyte, if you had a confidence and supply agreement, what would you be after as your top priority policy?

Whyte: Well, almost all problems, practical problems, are remedied by becoming wealthier. And so economic growth is by far our priority. And so the policies that we’ve been promoting on – cutting taxes and reducing the regulatory burden, which would promote economic growth, those would be our priorities in a negotiation with the National party.

That’s straightforward.

Short to medium term goals should include reducing the level of government expenditure below 28 per cent of GDP and lowering the top tax rate to 24 cents.  ACT’s Regulatory Responsibility Bill should be passed.

Conservative Party

Mr Craig, your policies are almost the same as NZ First. You’re the doppelganger in this room, so why would people vote for you when we’ve got the real thing right here.

What would be your top policy that you’d be after?

Craig: We’ve said publicly that we think governments should not be able to ignore overwhelming vote in referenda. The anti-smacking law, tough on law and order, reducing the MPs, all right quite rightly should have been implemented by government, because there is a point at which people need to know they control this nation. It’s their country.

Craig has already stated a bottom line on binding referenda.


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.

No specifics are given on exactly what this would entail, Conservative ‘Issues’ or policies are brief and vague.

New Zealand First

Mr Peters, your bottom lines or things that you really don’t wanna budge on are no foreign land sales, no race-based parties, buy-back assets and keep the super age at 65. You’re gonna be on the cross-benches, aren’t you, with that list?

Peters talked about a range of policies but was typically evasive and vague.

Peters: Your assumption is that at six weeks out from the election, we’re gonna make decisions now and tell the public, ‘Forget about you, doesn’t matter what happens in six weeks’. Behind close room deals. Now, I’m gonna leave it to the public to decide who’s gonna be standing there at the election, and it won’t include some parties standing here right now.

Many alluded to but no bottom lines revealed before the election.

Green Party

All right, let’s go to Metiria Turei there. (asked about working with NZ First)

Turei: The Green party in government will be a very large part of that government, and we will have significant influence. We will expect to have a very comprehensive coalition agreement that meets a whole range of objectives – a cleaner environment, a fairer society and a smarter economy. And we will have—we won’t settle like other parties might for a single achievement. We want to see our whole plan, our whole agenda being rolled out.

Turei wasn’t asked specifically about a priority but her answer was more befitting of a medium sized party with potentially a significant influence in a coalition.

Greens are excluded from major party debates despite the chances of them getting half the votes of Labour, and they could be a quarter to a third of a left wing coalition so could reasonably expect to include a number of their key policies in negotiations.

Source: TV3 The Nation – Debate: Multi-party election campaign debate

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).


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


Polls and election prospects

A number of recent polls have given pointers to where the parties stand with less than two months to go until the election.


National have been polling in the high forties through to mid fifties but are expected to drop back a few percent in the final count. They are aware of this and are trying to minimise that drop by playing as safe a game as possible.

They have had some hiccups with embarrassments through Claudia Hauiti (now withdrawn from candidacy) and Gerry Brownlee’s airport security slip-up. Hauiti was National’s lowest ranked MP so she won’t be a loss, and Brownlee has front footed the damage control with what appears to be genuine contriteness.

National have just announced their list with no real surprises. They will say this week what other parties they will be prepared to work with and give a nod to some potential support parties in electorates.

They have yet to reveal much about policies. There main plank seems to be more of the same, steady sensible management of the economy.

That will be enough to win the most seats by far but they are not expected to get enough to rule on their own so their fortunes may be dictated by small parties. They will be hoping Winston Peters isn’t the main dictator.

Likely result range 45-50%.


The polls have not been good for Labour with the last twelve results being in the twenties, as low as 23%.

David Cunliffe continues to fail to impress as leader. He says his string of apologies are behind him but he is dropping in preferred Prime Minister polls, the latest having him on 8%. Some hope he will show his mettle in leader’s debates but it’s unlikely he will do enough to shine over the seasoned Key.

Media are writing Labour off and talking more about how low they might go instead of how much they might get. There’s good reason for this, they look divided and disorganised.

Labour’s best hope seems to limit the damage and not get any lower than their record low in 2011 of 27.28%. A more common hope is probably that their vote doesn’t collapse.

Likely result range 20-29%.

Green Party

The Greens bounce around in the polls, usually in the 10-15% range.

They look to be the best organised party by a long shot, and seem determined to finally get into Government. They deserve it on their own efforts but they are relying on Labour who will be worrying and disappointing them.

Without Labour improving substantially Greens look like at best competing for attention and influence amongst a mish mash coalition but more likely being denied by Labour’s failure.

Many voters are happy to see Greens in the mix but one negative is there is a wariness (and in some cases fear) of Greens getting to much influence, especially on economic matters. Some Green good, too much Green scary is a common sentiment.

Likely result range 10-15%.

NZ First

NZ First have been polling from a bit under to a bit over the magic 5%.

Most expect them to lift a bit in the run up to voting as happened last year but National will be taking as much care as possible not to hand Winston Peters another opportunity like the cup of tea debacle.

Peters is a seasoned campaigner and the media help his cause because he is good for stories, but time will tell whether there is too much seasoning in the old warrior and too little substance in the rest of the party as the other MPs have failed to impress.

One thing that may make it harder is direct competition for attention  and votes with the Conservative Party.

Likely result range 4-6%.

Maori Party

Poll results have been low for the Maori Party. That doesn’t usually matter because in all elections they have contested so far they have got more electorate seats than their party vote would give them so it has been unnecessary. Last election they got 1.43%.

It’s tougher for them in electorates this time with Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retiring. It will be challenging for them to retain their current three seats, with some suggesting they might lose most or all of them.

There will be strong competition from the Dotcom financed MANA Party, but they may be helped by Labour’s woes.

For the first time the party vote may matter to the Maori Party, especially if they only hold one electorate seat.

Likely result range 1-2%.

Conservative Party

Polls have been in the 1-3% range. It’s now looking unlikely National will help Colin Craig in an electorate so they may have to get 5% to make it. That will be difficult, especially if Winston Peters competes openly with them.

Formed just before the last election the Conservatives got 2.65% and hope to improve on that. They have had much more exposure but that may have lost as much support as it has gained. Craig still seems politically naive. He has tried to turn the ‘Crazy Colin’ meme to his advantage but that’s a risky strategy.

Conservative fortunes are relying on National’s decision this week but it’s not looking positive for them.

UPDATE: John Key has just stated that National won’t help Craig in East Coast Bays so Conservatives only hope is getting 5%, which looks a big hurdle.

Likely result range 2-3%.

ACT Party

Act has been polling poorly, often under 1%.

Act were in turmoil last election with a very Brash takeover and installing John Banks as Epsom candidate. Banks won to save Act but has had a troubled term.

Act have made a concerted effort to rebuild over two elections. They have split responsibilities between Jamie Whyte as party leader and David Seymour in Epsom. Seymour looks a good bet in Epsom but the political jury is still out on Whyte and Act.

Much could come down to how Whyte looks in the minor party debates. He is intelligent and has good political knowledge but can look to serious and too polite – he hasn’t been forceful enough in interviews.

Act may benefit from being an alternative to giving National sole charge.

Likely result range 1-3%.

United Future

UnitedFuture has been languishing in polls, as often on 0% as slightly above.

More than ever UF hopes seem to rest solely on Peter Dunne in Ohariu. His chances are reasonable there. He has held the seat for thirty years so is very well known. He hasn’t had the best of terms but seems determined to rebuild his credibility.

Dunne looks to have been helped by all the major parties:

  • National have a new candidate who looks likely to campaign for the aprty vote only and has been given an almost certain list position.
  • Labour’s Charles Chauvel resigned mid term and has been replaced by a relative unknown.
  • Green’s Gareth Hughes has withdrawn from the electorate to promote youth and party vote and has been replaced by someone.

Like last election voters are likely to return Dunne and ignore the party. The party seems to be virtually ignoring the party.

Likely result range 0.3-0.7%.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

ALCP rarely feature in opinion polls, but they manage to get votes in elections. In 2011 they got 0.52%.

They are under new management this time and are likely to get some stoner and protest votes but 5% is just too high a hurdle for the influential media to pay them any attention.

Likely result range 0.4-0.8%.

Internet Mana Party

As a newly formed combo IMP have been polling 1-2%. They have a huge budget so will feature in the attention seeking stakes.

And while Kim Dotcom can’t stand as a candidate his attention seeking will keep him to the forefront of party success or failure.

Dotcom is promising a town hall circus five days before election day – he thinks this will destroy John Key and National but it could just as easily backfire.

His personal crusade is to oust the National Government. He is more likley to fracture the left wing vote and scare people off a Labour let government.

IMP’s monetary might will gain them some party votes but may fail in the ultimate aim.

Likely result range 2-4%.


IMP could be pivotal in the final result but it looks most likely to be a failure for them and a win for National with a few small allies.


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