McCully’s East Coast Bays replacement

National have chosen Erica Stanford, currently working “in a senior role in McCully’s local electorate office”, to replace Murray McCully as next year’s East Coast Bays candidate.

She is likely to win the seat unless something very unexpected happens. In 2014 McCully won  with 19,951 votes, with Colin Craig coming next(4,923) beating  the Labour candidate (3,915).

Newstalk ZB: McCully’s replacement selected for East Coast Bays

A staffer in East Coast Bays MP Murray McCully’s local office has been selected to contest the seat at next year’s election.

look how far another former staffer from the electorate office of McCully went. It seems to be an incubator.

Haha, true. He’s better at picking talent than he is sites for sheep farms.

That’s funny.

Does anyone know who the other former staffer was?

Erica Stanford works in a senior role in McCully’s local electorate office and has worked overseas in export sales roles.

“Having been raised here, and now in turn raising my own kids here, I’m not exaggerating when I say I think it’s the best place to live in Auckland.

“From watching Murray up close working for him, as one of his constituents, and seeing his work for New Zealand on the world stage, I know I have big shoes to fill.”

She currently serves as chair of the Browns Bay Business Association, and has previously produced a number of local television shows.

National look to be continuing to do well at replenishing their caucus.

McCully serious

Murray McCully still has some potentially serious issues hovering over him with the still running Auditor-General’s investigation into the Saudi sheep deal. ‘Deal’ is one of the more complimentary descriptions that have been made about that. Phil Goff calls it ‘shonky’, others have been more severe.

McCully recently announced that he had made a serious decision – to not stand in the East Coast Bays electorate again next year.

He has also said he will only remain until he is no longer Foreign Minister, so if National lose next year he will leave  Parliament. He is serious about not wanting to be in opposition again.

McCully first stood for Parliament in 1975, forty one years ago, before a number of current MPs were born. He became a member of Parliament in 1987. So if his political career ends next year that will have been thirty years in Parliament.

Claire Trevett reports on an interview with McCully – ‘Black Prince’ to spin the wheel again.

I wasn’t a fan of McCully in his Black Prince days. That sort of thing has been renamed dirty politics.

McCully says health was not an issue in his decision and the doctors had given him the all-clear. “But it would be fair to say it was a wake-up call. And it makes you think about your life and perspective. I do want to do some things when I leave politics, so getting carted out with my boots on didn’t seem like a very attractive option at the time and it doesn’t seem like a very attractive option now.”

Also unattractive to McCully is being in opposition again.

“It’s a long, slow, soul-destroying grind spending nine years in Opposition and if I’d been asked at the outset to sign up for nine years of it I might have made a very different decision.”

So he’s not going there again.

Phil Goff was Foreign Minister during McCully’s dark years in opposition.

Goff was highly critical of McCully’s changes to the ministry and says it is only now starting to recover. “I think he took an organisation that was functioning well and made it dysfunctional.”

He also describes the decision to give an $11 million sheep farm to Saudi Arabian businessman Hamood Al Khalaf as “shonky”.

However, he gives McCully credit for hard work and for bringing home the campaign to get New Zealand on the Security Council, a campaign Labour started in the 2000s.

McCully’s political career seems to have begun an easing out. One of the first steps in that is easing someone else into his electorate.

He says he simply wanted to allow time for a new candidate in East Coast Bays to get established. McCully won the seat by 15,000 votes in 2014 but says that does not mean it is “safe.”

“I wouldn’t want to be in the position where after 30 years of being the local MP my legacy was to see the seat lost by my successor.”

He says he will stand on National’s list next year. A National election failure will decide his fate.

Otherwise I think he is likely to ease himself out of the Foreign Minister role, and probably out of Parliament, a year or two later.

 

Craig denies electoral errors

In response to accusations of “serious offences, illegal practices and corrupt practices” from his electorate campaign manager Colin Craig has claimed it is just more ‘Dirty Politics’ and untrue.

NZ Herald reports Craig denies election law wrongdoing.

Mr Stringer, who was the campaign manager in East Coast Bays, alleges that Mr Craig committed a number of “serious offences, illegal practices and corrupt practices” under the Electoral Act.

He alleged Mr Craig deliberately omitted invoices and under-reported the costs of publicity material.

Mr Stringer also accused Mr Craig of spending more than the electoral cap in several electorates – in one case by $2000 – and then shuffling the spending into other electorates in his election returns to conceal it.

“He has taken greater amounts from electorates which pushed them over the electoral cap of $25,700 … and allocated lesser costs to other electorates, thereby misleading the Electoral Commission.”

These claims seem minor at the most. Stringer seems to have oversold and scandal and under-delivered.

And unsurprisingly:

Mr Craig dismissed the allegations yesterday, saying it was a continuation of a smear campaign by Mr Stringer, blogger Cameron Slater and lawyer Jordan Williams.

“The claims are not true, and I’d be very happy to talk to the Electoral Commission and answer any questions they have.”

Notably, while Cameron Slater has continued Craig attacks in posts at Whale Oil – an hour before yesterday’s Stringer press conference he posted GUEST POST: COLIN CRAIG – DIRTY POLITICS, WHY SHOULD WE CARE? in which he said:

It shows that even now, after getting it wrong in his booklet, and being told so, Colin Craig still isn’t a details man.  He gets the most basic things wrong.  Even in a small blog post he still manages to make it a dog’s breakfast.

Colin just can’t cope playing politics with the big boys, and now wants to lash out with his money.

I am on record as saying politics is a dirty, despicable game, played by dirty despicable people.

(Only some who play politics are dirty despicable people Cam).

And I love every minute of it.  Colin is a strategist who plays the game himself.  What he can’t cope with is that he was outplayed, and instead of retiring hurt and going back to making money in business, he’s gone all surly and wants to damage me and others.

Colin, by all means, let’s go to court and discuss, item by item, in beautiful detail, what is and what isn’t a lie.   But even then, defamation is a civil action, not a criminal one.   So you might want to stop adding fuel to your own fire by claiming I have acted criminally.   Sounds defamatory to me, just quietly.

Despite strong words like this yesterday, after Slater and Whale Oil being a significant and sometimes breaking source of Stringer claims and cartoons over the past month, Whale Oil has no coverage of Stringer’s claims from yesterday (to date).

This attempt by Stringer looks minor at the most, and most likely a fizzer.

Conservatives should “bloody well earn” votes

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

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

This really boils my blood.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Craig standing for?

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

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

time to stand for something

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

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

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

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

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

Standing for Something — Conservative Party key policies

• Referendums should become binding on Governments

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

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

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

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

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

Sovereignty:

Binding referenda and reduced size of government

For a major constitutional change that is paltry policy.

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

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

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

Under Sovereignty:

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

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

Craig seems most intent on standing for red-necks.

And a very Conservative stand against constitutional review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Craig needs more than pay and pray

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

Colin Craig to face a McCully showdown

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

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

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

Greg Presland has jumped to an assumption at The Standard.

Colin Craig to run in East Coast Bays – McCully sacrificed

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

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

@mcquillanatorz

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

@kimbakerwilson

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

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

Bizarrely:

@mcquillanatorz

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

And:

@LIVENewsDesk

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

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

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

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

National, Conservatives and democracy

Reposted from Politicheck.

National, Conservatives and democracy

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

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

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

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

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

And as far as democracy goes it would stink.

One comment at Whale Oil:

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

Another:

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

And another:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It would be an outrageous abuse of democracy.

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

Pete George

Were National ever going to help Craig?

Has Colin Craig been talking up his chances of getting helped into an electorate seat by National without knowing what National might do?

He talked up his chances in the newly formed Upper Harbour electorate – until Paula Bennett staked a claim to it as her Waitakere electorate will be carved up and will probably be un-winnable for her.

Craig conceded that ruled him out of contention. Then he started to talk about National giving him the nod and wink to contest the East Coast Bay electorate, with incumbent MP Murray McCully shifting to contest the list only.

I never saw any indication from National that this was a possibility.

Now McCully is saying that he has no intention of giving up East Coast Bays. Radio NZ report McCully unwilling to give up seat:

Mr McCully, the Foreign Affairs Minister, said on Tuesday he has made it clear to his electorate and Mr Key that he wants to contest his seat again at this year’s election.

“I spend most of my time on planes trying to represent New Zealand the best way I can overseas, and it’s always amusing to read these tales.

“It’s very interesting to wake up in some tough place on the other side of the world and find from the newspapers that people are trying to give your seat to Colin Craig and your portfolio to Winston Peters. I wonder what I’m doing wrong some days.

Has Craig been trying to talk himself into a seat that he never had any chance of getting? That would be being very cheeky. Craig has fibbed about his chances before.

And is this why Craig has launched into a publicity campaign via legal action against Russel Norman, to try and push up his party support because he doesn’t look like getting any help from National?