Stringer versus Craig continues

It’s now over a month since Colin Craig announced via a media conference that he would be taking defamation action against Cameron Slater, Jordan Williams and John Stringer. Since then Williams has countered by filing legal action against Craig, but Craig’s legal threats are yet to eventuate.

Stringer has posted at coNZervative on this: 67. Colin Craig’s Panties in a Knot Filed. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (03 Sept 2015)

It is more than 5 weeks on and Colin Craig has still not filed his melodramatic press conference threats to sue me and set the world right. The falsehoods continue. It appalls me, that, knowing what he’s covering up, he continues to allow people to support him, offer him donations, and comment on his various websites when he knows he’s a sinking wreck. What is he going to say to these people when the facts come out in court? As Dylan so rightly opines, “Be nice to the people on the way up, cos you’re gonna meet ’em all comin’ down.”

Stringer complains that Craig has been the one who has defamed through the New Zealand wide distribution of his Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas booklet.

Defamation is the publication of a statement about someone that lowers him or her in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally, where no defence (usually truth, opinion, or qualified privilege) is available. Legal minds confirm to me, that Colin has definitely done this to me in spades. His defamation of me exceeds to the power of 100, the very weak case (still not filed in court) he claims against me, where – the worst example being – I possibly hurt his feelings. Probably why he still hasn’t filed and likely won’t.

He also complains that Craig has actively prevented any response from Stringer within the Conservative Party.

I have been blocked from replying to untrue comments on Party and Colin Craig websites and FB pages (does Colin not like balance and free debate?). Critics of Colin are also banned and blocked. Party officials allow he and his wife special rights to formal communication but actively deny my wife and I, the same rights (“One Law For All” and all that?).

Duplicity and hypocrisy.  So, if anything, that aggravates his defamation because it has actively denied me any balancing defence, “no defence is available.”

To that end, after repeated formal requests to three ‘party officials slash Centurion employees’ (now all being sued) for the same rights accorded Colin and Helen more than twice (to communicate their narrative to members) but denied that same right myself, I eventually built my own personal contacts email list, with support from other party members who see through Colin Craig. I began emailing them with a factual summary update on all the issues. Just to set the record straight; get some balance; seek George Washington’s Truth; and obey the Ninth Commandment (Colin).  Maybe I’ll post that Personal Update to Members here some time so readers can be appraised.

Stringer goes on to strongly hint at the nature of some of the ‘inappropriate behaviour’ that Craig has admitted to in general.

Bingo. That Update has generated some interesting correspondence. I am in possession of original documents and copies of documents, perhaps Magically Handed me by concerned people.

He then as good as details actions that, if accurate and unwelcome, don’t reflect well on Craig at all, and in any case would be inappriopriate in a politician/employee relationship. I haven’t seen evidence so I won’t repeat the details here.

If Craig doesn’t follow through with his defamatiion threats then his reputation and the Conservative Party look to be in tatters.

Stringer fighting back – press conference today

Ex Conservative Party board member John Stringer has announced a press conference today. He claims there are “documented new accusations against Colin Craig that now involve a Police investigation” and “serious offences”.

Now launching into investigation by media?

UPDATE: It seems to boil down to this:

New allegations from John Stringer against Colin Craig – lots of them, but basically boils down to filing false info for electoral return.

.@ColinCraigNZ falsified info in at least five electorates and falsified his own return, John Stringer alleges Electoral Act breaches

Craig on underarm politics

Colin Craig has a guest post at (curiously) The Daily Blog – Colin Craig – Dirty Politics, why should we care?

He likens the alleged attacks on him to the infamous underarm cricket incident that New Zealanders have kept reminding Australians about since 1981.

I don’t think the two are similar at all. Australia played within the rules of cricket but their underarm bowl was deemed by many to be outside the spirit if cricket.

Both Craig and his current opponents claim breaches of the rules/laws of defamation.

And I don’t think the New Zealand public will be reminiscing about ‘the underCraig incident’ in 2049.

It is my view that politics matters, just as much, if not more than, sport.

I think more people care about sport than about politics. But the quality of our politics does matter.

Those in politics have a much greater ability to influence, for better or worse, the lives of others. We won’t always agree on the right mix of policies and sometimes when the debate gets heated it might well feel like a finals contest in the World Series. Despite all this, however, we should never stoop to the underarm ball.  We should be better people than that.

Underarm politics is common. It’s always been an integral part of the political game. But Craig’s problem is not about Government or about Parliament. It’s about an internal spat in a party that isn’t in Parliament.

Craig is claiming that the involvement of political blogger Cameron Slater and political activist Jordan Williams with an aim to keep the Conservative Party out of Parliament is dirty.

If he’s correct in his claims, if it was a political hit job to destroy a party then yes, it looks dirty, but that’s yet to be determined.

Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas

My wife and I have just published a booklet “Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas” in which we exposed the actions of 3 individuals in a recent defamatory attack against me. I am not the first to be attacked in this way but if possible I would hope to be the last.

There doesn’t seem to have been much hidden in the Slater/Stringer versus Craig conflict, apart from actual evidence from both sides.

Whether it was defamatory or not is yet to be determined. So far both sides have claimed defamation and legal threats have been made but nothing seems to have happened yet apart from public posturing.

What Happens Next?

I am fortunate enough to be in a financial position to take legal action against the parties that have defamed me. What they have done is not legal and so I will be looking to the courts to rule on the matter as a way to restore my public reputation.

Or not.

One aspect of this is power – in this case Craig’s financial power. Most people couldn’t fund defamation action so don’t attempt to legally threaten them.

Craig is fortunate to be able to finance a court ruling on what is not legal if anything.

It could be argued (and is being argued) that Craig’s actions in trying to deal with this are not helping his public reputation.

What I do know is that I am committed to playing a part in fighting for a better kind of political debate in New Zealand.

Laudable. I’ve been fighting for better political debate for years.

I remain hopeful that our nation can resist the slide into self-serving and cynical manipulation of mainstream media.  I hope instead that we might retain our values of honesty and a fair go.

I agree with those ideals – but it’s fair to point out that Craig has been working the mainstream media since this story broke, including having two controlled media conferences and numerous mainstream media interviews.

And Craig’s nationwide delivery of booklets is an unprecedented media move.

p.s. I wish to acknowledge the importance of Nicky Hagar’s book on Dirty Politics last year. His work in shining light on the practice of attack politics has been an important contribution to improving democracy in New Zealand.

I don’t recall Craig being a big supporter of Hager’s book when it was launched last year.

‘Dirty Politics’ may or may not have made “an important contribution to improving democracy’ – using illegally obtained data to inject a politically targeted book into an election campaign is not an ideal way to do democracy.

Craig appears to be trying to attach his cause to whatever populist thing he can think of. This post works on trying to liken his predicament to cricket and Hager.

But so far Craig doesn’t seem to have got the sporting and political public on his side.

He may be forced into using the courts and taking his chances there.

Oh, and Cameron Slater doesn’t usually resort to tame stuff like dribbling underarmers.

Stringer, Slater throw Bible back at Craig

John Stringer and Cameron Slater continue to jointly fight Colin Craig, throwing some Biblical references back at Craig.

Last Wednesday Colin Craig made two announcements. The first:

The first of the 2 major announcements today is the publication of a booklet that outlines the dirty politics agenda and what they have been up to in recent weeks.

The first false claim is that I have sexually harassed one or more persons. Let me be very clear I have never sexually harassed anybody and claims I have done so are false.

The second false claim being bandied about by the Dirty Politics Brigade is that I have made a pay-out (or pay-outs) to silence supposed “victims”. Again this is nonsense.

Again in a similar vein is the false allegation that I have sent sexually explicit text messages or “SEXT’s” as they are known. Once more this is not true. I have never sent a sexually explicit text message in my life.

The fourth false claim that we highlight in the booklet and that was being spread about by the Dirty Politics crowd was that of another alleged “victim” of sexual harassment.

The second announcement was that Craig would take defamation action against John Stringer, Jordan Williams and Cameron Slater:

The second announcement today is that we will be taking legal action for defamation against the Dirty Politics Brigade. It does not serve this country well to have a group of people who influence public opinion through a web of deceit and media manipulation.

We identify in the booklet 3 key people in the campaign against me. Each of these will be held to account for the lies they have told. Formal claims are being prepared and I expect these persons will have formal letters from my legal team within the next 48 hours.

The booklet distributed by Craig referred to Stringer as:

  • the ‘Judas’ within the Party.

CraigBookletCoverAmongst the claims against Stringer:

Stringer must have therefore thought it a “Godsend” when the allegations of sexual harassment against Craig began to emerge.

Two days later Stringer had a letter from a lawyer published on Whale Oil by Slater that said:

COLIN CRAIG: DEFAMATION ACTION

  1. We act for Colin Craig and have been instructed by him to prepare defamation proceedings against you.

Stringer has returned fire. Today Slater published this cartoon signed by Stringer:

unnamed

The Bible bashers continue to square off.

Both sides seem confident in their righteousness. They can’t all be right.

Legal action via media

There’s been a number of prominent examples of people using legal action in parallel with media campaigns.

This week Colin Craig launched a media blitz before even filing defamation action, and he has continued to work the media as much as he can via follow up interviews and social media promotion.

If his claims against Jordan Williams, John stringer and Cameron Slater hold up then it will have been a nasty campaign against Craig.

But why would Slater in particular make accusations he couldn’t back up knowing that Craig had a history of legal action? Slater has a lot of experience in legal actions so will have been well aware of the risks and what caution was prudent.

And the way Craig has used the media as his main form of attack questions his credibility in some ways. He seems to be more intent on fighting a PR battle using the threat of defamation as one of a number of tools.

It looks more like grandstanding than defending his integrity.

The timing may be influenced by Craig’s obvious ambition to get enough support in the Conservative Party to be reinstated as leader.

Is he playing to the party audience? To some extent that must be his aim.

But when legal action – presuming he follows through with defamation proceedings – is overwhelmed by a media blitz then it appears that legal resolution is not the main aim.

And if it gets to court the public campaigning may be taken into account in making any judgement of possible damages.

Craig has drawn more attention to what has happened and what has allegedly happened than anyone else, and he continues to do this via media.

Even if, despite all the self generated publicity, he manages to get a favourable court decision that will probably take too long for him politically.

He appears to want to be Conservative leader soon and to contest the election in 2017.

Sure if his claims are correct he has reason to feel aggrieved but his political comeback seems to be his primary focus, and legal threats look to be one of a number of means towards an intended end.

This looks very political, so that plus Craig’s media blitz must raise questions about the potential effectiveness of any threatened legal action.

Craig can reasonably be questioned what his priority is, resurrecting his political career or his personal integrity.

Is this legal action via media? Or media action with legal threats thrown in?

(Note to Craig: you have a right of reply)

Craigs’ media statement

The Craigs’ media statement on the release of their booklet about the Dirty Politics Brigade and an announcement that Colin Craig would take defamation action for a total of $1,550,000 against Jordan Williams, John Stringer and Cameron Slater.

Colin and Helen Craig Media Statement re: Dirty Politics Brigade
29 July 2015

Colin:
Thank you for coming. My wife (Helen) and I will be making statements after which I will be taking questions from the media.

It was just under 6 weeks ago that I stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party. I did so because it had become clear to me that there was a strategy (involving some characters identified in the “Dirty Politics” book) to remove me as leader of the party.

Standing down enabled me to better understand the strategy being run against me and gave me time to plan and respond. We have made good use of that time.
There is in this country a group of people who believe that they can manipulate political outcomes. They have been labelled the Dirty Politics Brigade and last year in his best selling book “Dirty Politics” author Nicky Hagar shed some light on who these people are and how they operate.

Today is a good day because this is the day we start to fight back against the Dirty Politics Brigade who have been running a defamatory strategy against me.
The first of the 2 major announcements today is the publication of a booklet that outlines the dirty politics agenda and what they have been up to in recent weeks. There is a copy here for each of you to take away after the statements today.
Although I was broadly aware of the dirty politics agenda, I have after all read Nicky Hagar’s book, I had not expected to have such close and personal attention from them.

In our booklet we reveal that there has been a campaign of defamatory lies to undermine my public standing, a campaign that in the Dirty Politics Brigades own words they describe as a “strategy that is being worked out”. I shall briefly cover some of their lies so you have a taste of what the booklet contains.

The first false claim is that I have sexually harassed one or more persons. Let me be very clear I have never sexually harassed anybody and claims I have done so are false.
The second false claim being bandied about by the Dirty Politics Brigade is that I have made a pay-out (or pay-outs) to silence supposed “victims”. Again this is nonsense. Take for example the allegations around my former press secretary. Let me be very clear, the only payment I have made to Miss Macgregor since her resignation is an amount of $16,000 which was part payment of her final invoice. It was a part payment because I disputed her account which I had every right to do. Claims of any other amounts being paid and especially the suggestions of large sums of hush money being paid are utterly wrong and seriously defamatory.

Again in a similar vein is the false allegation that I have sent sexually explicit text messages or “SEXT’s” as they are known. Once more this is not true. I have never sent a sexually explicit text message in my life.

The fourth false claim that we highlight in the booklet and that was being spread about by the Dirty Politics crowd was that of another alleged “victim” of sexual harassment.

It is here that that many of you, the media, started to get suspicious and to “smell a rat”. A number of you in private conversation with me expressed concerns about a smear campaign and doubts that the story as it was unfolding in the media was true. While I am grateful that many of you chose not to run the “other woman” story I do wish that the same good judgement had been exercised earlier with other false allegations.

[I trust that you will be co-operative in retracting and correcting false reports that you may have posted/reported.]

The second announcement today is that we will be taking legal action for defamation against the Dirty Politics Brigade. It does not serve this country well to have a group of people who influence public opinion through a web of deceit and media manipulation.

We identify in the booklet 3 key people in the campaign against me. Each of these will be held to account for the lies they have told. Formal claims are being prepared and I expect these persons will have formal letters from my legal team within the next 48 hours. Due to the serious, deliberate and repetitive nature of the defamatory statements I will, for the first time, be seeking damages in a defamation claim.

The first defamation action is against Mr Jordan Williams. I will be seeking damages from him of $300,000.

The second defamation action is against Mr John Stringer. I will be seeking damages from him of $600,000

The third defamation action is against Mr Cameron Slater. I will be seeking damages from him of $650,000

Today the line is drawn. Either the dirty politics brigade is telling the truth or I am. The New Zealand public need certainty about the truth of these claims. This is about who is honest. Is Colin Craig telling the truth or is it the Dirty Politics Brigade. Let the courts judge this matter so we know whom to trust.

Helen:
This is about who you can trust ….. and you can trust my husband, he is a good and trustworthy man. In the nearly 28 years I have known him, Colin has proven himself to be a man of integrity and honesty, one who owns his faults and doesn’t dodge responsibility. And that is why I again choose to stand with him today and why he has, and will continue to have, my full and unwavering support.

For those of you who will wrongly assume, once again, that I have been dragged into making a media statement by Colin you are, once again, wrong. I am here today because there are important things which I want to say for myself.

Indeed, I have to say, I find it very surprising that some commentators have criticised my choice to speak out. We have good women in this country and a good woman knows how to stand with her man when he is under attack.

The last 6 weeks have been a very difficult and surreal experience for us. It has not been fun to be victimise by those responsible for a series of false allegations.

I have been astounded with each new allegation and wondered what absurd thing they could come up with next. I did not expect politics to be easy but I did hope it would centre around fair debate of the issues. Such a determined campaign of defamation was not something I ever expected and I do wonder how the Dirty Politics Brigade can sleep at night.

On a more positive note, however, there have been our many dear supporters. I did want to again say thank you for the wonderful love and care we have been shown as a family. To family, friends and the many hundreds of supporters whom have taken the time to contact us I want you to know it has made a difference and encouraged us more than words can easily say. We so appreciate you and can’t thank you enough.

That is all I have to say today and I won’t be answering questions. Thank you.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1062974263713507&id=146745782003031

3 News video of the media conference, report and a copy of the booklet: Colin Craig takes ‘Dirty Politics Brigade’ to court

Note that Craig begins with “It was just under 6 weeks ago that I stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party.”

But as posted here, Craig still acting as Conservative leader

Craig still acting as Conservative leader

To all intents and purposes Colin Craigappears to be still acting as leader of the Conservative Party, even though he resigned as leader and automatically dropped out of the party Board over a month ago.

Craig announced a press conference this afternoon on Twitter:

Press Conference
Wednesday 29 July at 2:00pm
Level One, The Spencer on Byron Hotel
9-17 Byron Avenue,Takapuna

Please be advised that Colin Craig will be holding a Press Conference at the above time and date. Colin will be making two significant announcements, and he will take questions at the end of his address.

He will also be available for interviews afterwards.

Bev Adair-Beets
Media Liaison – Colin Craig

His Facebook looks like he is still campaigning, and he still has an authorisation message.

He linked to this from his twitter account where he is still presented as “Leader of The Conservative Party of New Zealand”:

CraigRwitter28-07-15

On the Conservative Party website Craig is still listed as leader:

Head Office

Conservative Party HQ

Party Leader

Name: Colin Craig

Email: Via Press secretary

Cell phone: Via Press secretary

Press Secretary for Colin Craig

Name: Bev Adair-Beets

And that same Party press secretary is listed on the Press conference promo as “Media Liaison – Colin Craig “

It appears that Craig’s resignation as leader on June 19 made little difference to him leading the party.

xx

3 News poll: Conservatives down, but…

…we’ll have to wait until tonight for the rest of the results as Patrick Gower has just released a teaser.

He says the Conservative Party is down to 0.7% – they’re probably lucky to still have that much support – in Conservative Party support plunges to all-time low (NZH):

The 3 News-Reid Research poll has the troubled right-wing party polling at just 0.7 per cent – a collapse from its Election night high of 4.1 per cent.

Patrick Gower, 3News political editor said the result was the lowest the party had polled since appearing in the 3News poll shortly before the 2011 Election.

But Conservative support was were declining anyway, as the post election 3 New Reid Research results show:

  • 3 News Poll (9-15 September 2014): 4.9%
  • Election result (20 September 2014): 3.97%
  • 3 News Poll (20-28 January 2015): 2.7%
  • 3 News Poll (21-27 May 2015): 1.9%

But while the Conservatives look like being political there will be a lot more interest in the main party results.

Labour will be hoping for improvement from their last result (of 30.4% in May) from the first poll fully after after their foreign ownership/Chinese surname/race card ploy.

And National will be grateful the poll will probably have been too late for much if any of the Serco/Mt Eden fiasco to emerge. The last two 3 News polls polled up until the Wednesday before publishing.

In May’s poll National were on 46.4% and Labour were on 30.4%, with Greens on 11.1% and NZ First on 8.1%.

Stringer: “some other king hits to come” against Craig

Ex Conservative board member John Stringer was interviewed on CTV News last Monday. He said there were more serious allegations yet to come out about Colin Craig and it was just a matter of time they were published by media.

…there are some other king hits to come yet and I want to send a challenge out to the people still supporting, after all the allegation, there is more to come. Colin Craig has got more to come.  It’s coming out and it will come out.

Stringer says that media already have documentary evidence but are waiting on legal issues to be dealt with.

Chris Lynch: You quit because you want to want to say more about Colin Craig. Why? Why now and what else do want to say about Colin Craig?

John Stringer: Well Colin Craig’s not being truthful. There are a number of falsehoods being perpetrated. One of the really significant things is that Colin Craig has been suspended by the party, yet is using the confidential party database to write letters to members defaming me and others. He’s done that three times now, and that will be subject to a complaint to  the privacy commission.

JohnStringerCTV

Lynch: So that’s obviously a major concern for you. What else is it about Mr Craig, because I would have thought his political career is almost over.

Stringer: Well this comes back to the central concern that the Board had right at the beginning, that Colin Craig has no political acumen or any judgement, and after all this nonsense over the last two weeks Colin Craig still thinks he can lead the Conservative Party having resigned, having come off the board and being kicked out of the party.

Craig claims the kicking out of the party is invalid.

Stringer: I mean he doesn’t seem to have any awareness that his political currency is bankrupt.

There was a discussion about the current status of the Board. Then:

Lynch: You say the reason why you resigned from the Board so you could speak out about Colin so let’s just go back to that. So he’s been using the membership database to what, to spread what?

Stringer: Well he’s written a letter about me to the entire party membership. Ah on Saturday he put a ballot out, only to select members. All the people who’ve criticised Colin have been deleted and they haven’t got a ballot saying ‘please come back Colin’. I mean that’s been distributed using the party database. Now that is absolutely wrong. It breaches both the Electoral Act and the Privacy Act.

He shouldn’t be using our intellectual property, and our our property, to perpetrate his private citizen opinions about members of the Conservative Party.

In an interview in response to this Craig said “Um, we’ve got hundreds, probably well over a thousand responses in already, um that’s giving us a flavour. Certainly the vast majority are supportive.”

And on the re-election of a Board: “…and that’s our standard process in the Conservative Party, we’re a party that believes in referendum, we’re a party that believes in the right of people to decide, that’s the way we elect our board”.

Lynch: You’re still a member of the Conservatives.

Stringer: Absolutely.

Craig claims Stringer was thrown out of the party by the Board Chairman just before resigning. Stringer disputes this.

Lynch: Surely their brand is now tarnished. Why not just take yourself off?

Stringer: Well I think we can survive once Colin Craig’s been removed. I mean there are some other king hits to come yet and I want to send a challenge out to the people still supporting, after all the allegation, there is more to come. Colin Craig has got more to come.  It’s coming out and it will come out.

The Conservative Party and the leadership and governance, look just remember, eleven of Colin’s governing officials have resigned because of his behaviour, and because we’ve seen the documented allegations about him that are still to come out.

That should send warning bells and red flags to the party membership.

Lynch: You are saying tonight there are more allegations, serious allegations against Colin Craig to come out?

Stringer: There are. Yes several of the Board members have seem those documented. That’s why they resigned. Nobody resigned from this party because I spoke out in the media following other members speaking out. Colin Craig is untenable as a political leader of anything.

Lynch: But here’s the rare thing, we’ve got a man who put his money where his mouth is, so essentially can’t you say that he was the person who started the Conservatives. So in a way, isn’t he, the Conservative Party is Colin Craig in a way isn’t it?

Stringer: I’ve never accepted that. It’s always been about, I mean Colin said at the last conference ‘I sit here as leader at the behest of Board [the Conservative Board selects their leader]. The Board suspended him from the party, and he’s been kicked out.

Lynch: But you have to accept the fact that Colin Craig and the Conservatives go hand in hand. When you think of the Conservatives you think of Colin Craig. You can’t get away from the Colin Craig.

Stringer: I accept that point yes, but there’s a future for a Conservative Party without Colin Craig, and that’s what I’m trying to achieve.

Lynch: Is there?

Stringer: I think there is, yeah

Lynch: Why do you say that with such certainty given everything that’s happened?

Stringer: Well because our constituency is consistent. We got almost four percent in the last election, we got a very good result in the first election in 2011 when we’d only been going a couple of weeks, I mean that shows that there is a hard core Conservative constituency in the New Zealand electoral spectrum, and that won’t go away because of Colin Craig. They’re committed to the principles and values of our party.

Lynch: All right John you say there’s more serious allegations to come out. Who will make those allegations then, and how will we, when will they come out?

Stringer: Well, I know that the media have got them and they’re waiting to release them. However we’re trying to resolve the legal issues around the confidentiality.

Colin Craig wants to lift the confidentiality. Why hasn’t he lifted it? What is he hiding?

If he wants it lifted it, he’s already breached that confidentiality with Rachel MacGregor, so my challenge to Colin Craig tonight is Colin, just release all the information.

If you’re innocent of all these claims, you’ve got nothing to hide. You’ve breached it already. There’s nothing to be lost.

Craig has done an interview in response to this – see Craig still trying to rescue the Conservative Partyand claims:

I am in a position where I can’t talk openly and freely about all the allegations that have been made. Ah we have requested the ability to do that. Um and it would be great to be able to do that. But that’s what we’ve asked for but we haven’t got agreement from the other party to do that so until we have that ah we are a little bit hamstrung in terms of what we can actually respond to.

So Craig blames MacGregor – but has been doing a lot of responding anyway through the media, absent any specific details.

It appears to be tied up by lawyers. Craig seems to be betting on the lawyers keeping it quiet.

There have been indications by other media that there’s more.

Cameron Slater keeps threatening more damning revelations, and not just related to MacGregor – are other issues involving Craig also legally gagged?

Both sides seem to be playing games with this both in the media and with lawyers – high stakes games when the future of Craig’s political career in particular is concerned, but also the for the future of the Conservative Party which must be badly damaged by all of this.

It’s hard to see the Conservatives with Craig recovering anywhere enough to match last year’s election result again, let alone achieve the essential 5% under MMP.

It’s also very hard to see the Conservatives without Craig recovering.

And they continue wrecking the Conservative carriages while the party train wreck is already off the rails.

CTV News Story – John Stringer Interview – Conservative Party:

Craig still trying to rescue the Conservative Party

Colin Craig is still trying to resurrect what’s left of the Conservative Party. He has travelled to Christchurch to respond on CTV News (Canterbury Television) to an interview by the now resigned board member John Stringer.

Craig promoted this interview via Twitter and Facebook so he must think it does his cause some good.That’s very debatable.

The interview introduction:

On Monday you may remember we spoke to former Conservative Party Chair John Stringer. He made some extraordinary claims Colin Craig’s got more to hide.

Stringer: I think we can survive once Colin Craig’s removed.

After all the allegations there is more to come.

There’s more Christmases to come to, and at least we can rely on them happening.

Just remember, eleven of Colin’s governing officials have resigned because of his behaviour.

Colin Craig is untenable as a political leader.

In the meantime Craig is trying to ignore the allegations and promises of more revelations and continues to try to patch up the damage.

Interviewer: And Colin Craig is with us now to defend those allegations. Welcome to the program. Thanks for your time.  “Colin Craig is untenable in anything”. What’s your response to that?

Craig: Well Mr Stringer’s got his own opinion. Um. I don’t think that’s a very valid opinion. Ah it’s not for him to decide. Of course at the end of the day ah for the Conservative Party decided by the Board and the members.

CraigCTV

Interviewer: John Stringer said to me there are more king hits to come, there are more serious allegations to come. Do you have any idea of what he may be on about?

Craig: No not at all, and I think um that’s just game playing. He’s been very public and outspoken about his criticisms of me, I’m sure if he had anything else to say he could say it.

Stringer is not the only one to claim concerns about more details and other ex-board members have apparently been shown more. And he’s not the only one to threaten there will be more revelations.

Interviewer: There are many in the media circles and both on the the left and the right who are saying your political career is completely gone. What’s your response to that, because they’re right to a certain degree aren’t they?

Craig: Well I don’t think they are. It’s not for them to decide, and naturally I haven’t made it for me to decide either. Ah we’re going through a process where we’re consulting with members and supporters and they’re giving us feedback as to what they think.

Um, we’ve got hundreds, probably well over a thousand responses in already, um that’s giving us a flavour. Certainly the vast majority are supportive. How that works out is still to be decided.

There’s a notable change in his language here – “We’re going through the process”, “we’re consulting”, “giving us feedback”, “we’ve got hundreds…”.

Craig was reported to have sent out a “personal letter” to about 10,000 party members but he is obviously doing this with others and with access to the party member’s database. (NZ Herald Colin Craig asks for forgiveness)

CTV Interviewer: Well here’s the deal. The Conservative Party doesn’t effectively have a leader, it doesn’t really have a board, you are rudderless and leaderless, there ain’t no party Colin.

Craig: Well I think that’s an over-exaggeration. The reality is that ah…

Interviewer: Hang on, do you have a leader?

Craig: No well obviously not…

Interviewer: Do you have a board?

Craig: Ah no but we’re in the process of…

Interviewer: So that’s not an over-exaggeration…

Craig: …but we are in the process of electing one…

Craig resigned as leader and is no longer on the board, but still refers to “we are in the process”.

Craig: …and that’s our standard process in the Conservative Party, we’re a party that believes in referendum, we’re a party that believes in the right of people to decide, that’s the way we elect our board.

With no board in place they will have to elect a new board. But when a board is in place their constitution gives the board  considerable power over who can subsequently stand for the board – they control nominations – and the board selects the party leader, not the members.

Craig: Sure we’ve had to bring it forward by about two months, but the reality is it’s a process we’ve gone through before, it’s a process we go through again. It’s just not that big a drama.

It’s surely a major drama if the party leader resigns and the whole board resigns. And it’s not a process they have gone through before. When Craig first started the party he appointed an interim board that then appointed him as leader. They then presumably set up their constitution that gives the board substantial power.

Interviewer: I want to bring you back to the press conference you held a few weeks ago now. It was bizarre. Do you look back it now and think you could have done it better.

It looked bizarre, and I’ll tell you why, because you stood there, well you were sitting down, and you essentially said you were sort of sorry but we didn’t really know what you were sorry for, because you were saying there were those serious allegations but you had to say sorry because there was inappropriate behaviour.

So what I’m trying to get from you tonight is, the spectrum, and that line, where is that line and where did you cross it?

Craig: Well look I think that’s an obvious question that people want to ask. I am in a position where I can’t talk openly and freely about all the allegations that have been made.

Ah we have requested the ability to do that. Um and it would be great to be able to do that. But that’s what we’ve asked for but we haven’t got agreement from the other party to do that…

But he had a media conference about it, and he has continued to talk to media about it, allowing himself to defend himself but remaining legally constrained (according to him) about detailing what he’d actually done wrong.

…so until we have that ah we are a little bit hamstrung in terms of what we can actually respond to.

But he has continued getting whatever media coverage he can get and has written to all party members asking for forgiveness – with no details able to be given about what he did.

What we did respond to was the big, the mischievous allegations that were out there. Those had to be sorted out.

They are far from being sorted out.

“We” again. He responded by resigning as leader. He also admitted inappropriate behaviour – but also implied that his party secretary was also behaving inappropriately, which she couldn’t address due to the confidentiality agreement that Craig admits he broke.

The whole party board resigned over the following week, with some of them citing evidence of the inappropriate as a reason for that.

And then Craig wrote to party members vaguely admitting being imperfect and seeking forgiveness for ‘something’.

Interviewer: Well talking about mischievous, I guess you would say that John Stringer continues to make allegations but at the same time doesn’t. Have you spoken to him since the interview on CTV news, and if not why not?

Craig: No look I haven’t. Um I don’t have any ongoing correspondence with Mr Stringer at the moment. Ah my last correspondence with him was formal. It was simply saying look, you’ve made a lot of allegations, you need to retract those, they’re baseless. Um he hasn’t come back to me formally in any way on that.

That sounds like a letter from Craig’s lawyer. What baseless allegations? plenty of vague statements from both Craig and Stringer with scant specifics.

Interviewer: You’ve sent out a letter ah to current members.

Craig: And supporters.

Interviewer: Asking for forgiveness. Forgiveness from what though?

Craig: Well look um, I’m not claiming to be a perfect leader, and there are some things that people have raised, and some of those criticisms that people have raised along the way.  Some of the way, maybe my answers in interviews.

Has he forgotten about the inappropriate behaviour? Has no one raised that at all? Apart from the board that resigned, at least two members claiming that Craig had falsely claimed that no one had raised his behaviour before he resigned.

Um, there’s always this thing of can your leader in a political party be perfect. Um I wanted to make it very clear to the membership and to supporters, I’m not a hundred per cent perfect person, and I don’t want them to think I am.

I want to know that they’ll support me, ah in who I am, whether I make the odd mistake or not. No I’m new to politics. I only started this three and a half years ago.

Four years ago (since August 2011 publicly). He also stood for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010, five years ago. He has contested three major elections since 2010.

I haven’t always got it right, and I think it’s very transparent to go back to people and say “What do you think?”

Without them knowing key information that is pertinent to him in relation to the Conservative Party. There’s only one fact that’s publicly known, his party press secretary suddenly quit her job two days before the 2014 election saying that Craig was a manipulative man. And last month Craig admitted “inappropriate behaviour” with her.

But after having arranged legal confidentiality he’s acting as if his vague admissions and vague denials are now being transparent.

I’m not in this for myself, I’m in this to represent people. If they feel I can do that I’m happy to put my hand up.

He’s doing far more than putting his hand up. He appears to be doing all he can to continue with his political ambitions.

He’s not a messiah but he has been a naughty boy.

Interviewer: The trouble is, the brand Conservative Party is Colin Craig. Colin Craig and the Conservative Party many would argue is now tarnished because the Conservative Party builds it’s reputation on family values. The allegations are, what we do know so far, you know there’s a former press secretary, nice female blond, inappropriate behaviour.

It doesn’t set the best example for a party that relies on the family values brand though does it.

Craig: Look and I understand that concern and people are raising that ad they’re saying well look, this is something that, you know, that makes you untenable. And some people are thinking like that. Not the majority um but obviously it’s a concern and I recognise that.

He’s talking about a claimed majority of a claimed approximately a thousand members – out of a claimed membership of ten thousand. A majority of about 10% is not a majority.

And I think that’s the importance of going out to members and going well, I’m not saying I’ve been a hundred right or perfect at all times.  “Do you still support me or not?” And I think that’s a very transparent and honest process. It’s what I agreed that I would do with the previous board, um and when we get that feedback it will be up to the board to consider.

The only board member that he appears to have been dealing with at that stage was the Chairman. Stringer claimed that Craig wouldn’t meet with the available board members – in fact it was claimed that while Craig was having his media conference there were board members expecting him to be at a meeting with them at about the same time.

In the interests of transparency will Craig advise how much of the previous board agreed with him that he should do what he is now doing?

“When we get that feedback it will be up to the board to consider” – “we” again. Also in the interests of transparency will Craig advise what involvement he will have in seeking candidates for the new board and what influence he might have in who is allowed to stand for election?

Interviewer: Do you feel embarrassed at all about the fact that the majority of your board said ‘see you Colin Craig, we don’t want anything to do with you’?

Craig: Well I think you’ve got to remember that I had stood, no one resigned prior to me standing down. Once I stood down the board needed to take it forward. A number of those board members have talked to me about why they resigned. It’s more complicated than Mr Stringer would have you believe.

That became a very hostile and very open environment where you weren’t safe from, you know, disclosure of anything you might have written. That’s a hard environment to operate in.

He hasn’t taken any responsibility at all for the whole board resigning. He has implied that it was the fault of others after he stood down.

His degree of denial of responsibility is incredible.

Interviewer: In a way though you’ve lost one of your greatest and most outspoken and highly publicised members, Christine Rankin.

Craig: Mm.

Interviewer: Does that hurt you?

Craig: Well I think, it does matter to me, of course it matters to me, and ah there’s a discussion that I want to have with her at some stage about that.

“I gave my brand to Colin Craig … I feel very let down,” she told Radio NZ. She said there was no future for the party if Mr Craig remained on board.

She had lost confidence in Mr Craig “a while ago” and challenged him after hearing about his conduct three weeks ago (reported by NZH on June 23).

The interview then closed.

It appears to me that Craig may have sought this interview as a right of reply, and in any case he travelled to Christchurch to do it.

He advised twice by Twitter that he was doing the interview:

Colin in Christchurch. Meeting with members and supporters and for an interview at CTV. Thanks for the wonderful…

And also on Facebook including a photo of him at the interview.

Colin in Christchurch. Meeting with members and supporters and for an interview at CTV. Thanks for the wonderful support shown today. Christchurch has always been to good to us and we know it will continue to be in the future.

The following afternoon (yesterday) he tweeted a link to the interview.

Colin’s Interview on VTV .. Christchurch ..

So Craig seems to think this interview was good for him. How out of touch with reality or in denial can a person be?

Here’s the interview on Youtube:

Postscript: I had no idea who the interviewer was and didn’t think that was important through the interview, his questions and Craig’s responses were what mattered. It was a useful interview and is worth having on record, especially if Craig manages to revive his train wreck party.

Afterwards I checked out the CTV site and identified the interviewer:

Chris Lynch is the host of NewstalkZB’s morning show, currently rated number one in the Canterbury market. Chris also writes a column for the Christchurch Star and is anchor of CTV’s First at Five daily news programme.

Good one Chris.

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