New Conservative Party launched

The Conservative Party was Colin Craig’s party. It was seriously damaged when Craig hit problems with ex-staff and multiple defamation actions, and Craig dropped his political ambitions.

The party has been repackaged and relaunched:


NEW CONSERVATIVE – BUILDING THE RIGHT BRIDGES

“New Zealand needs a viable coalition option before the 2020 election,” says Leader Leighton Baker at the launch of New Conservative.

Immediately following the 2017 election result, the impact of MMP politics and coalition governments highlighted the vulnerability for the major parties. The 1 News Colmar Brunton poll of 28 May 2018 again raised this question for the National Party.

“We recognise the importance to New Zealand of presenting real options for voters,” observes Baker.

“With several months to evaluate the political landscape, we appreciated how important the Conservative Party was for New Zealand, but we owed it to our members to build on our foundation with new energy and so New Conservative was born,” says Baker.

Established only six weeks before the 2011 election, the Conservative Party achieved over 2% and was well on track for the 5% threshold for the 2014 election before the well reported public fall out for the then party leader Colin Craig, who resigned from the party in 2016, and a rebuilding process began.

“Time worked against us for the 2017 election,” recalls Baker, “but we could not ignore the members who remain committed to the core values of the party.”

With sound policy, and a leadership with extensive experience in the areas that present most challenge for New Zealand, there is fertile ground for New Conservative.

“Our re-launch as New Conservative retains our connection to the solid foundation of our party values while allowing us to disconnect from a history that has nothing to do with who we are,” concludes Baker.


From their website:

WE STAND FOR

A belief in loyalty to a sovereign and united New Zealand, the supremacy of democratic parliamentary institutions and the rule of law.

A belief in the institutions of Parliament and the right of citizens to direct government by the democratic process including binding citizens initiated referenda.

A belief in the equality of all New Zealanders and that all citizens, regardless of race, gender or religion, have equal rights and privileges.

A belief in a decent society that values life, individual privacy, the freedom of the individual (including freedom of speech, conscience, faith and assembly), the right to defend one’s self and property and the importance of family.

A belief that it is the responsibility of individuals to provide for themselves, their families and their dependents, while recognizing that government must respond to those who require assistance and compassion.

It will be difficult for the New Conservatives to get media attention let alone anywhere near sufficient support to look like a viable option.

Via email:

On a wild and rainy Monday we managed to gather around 50 members and supporters for the launch of our new name, New Conservative.

It was an excellent time enjoyed by all and we left inspired that hope remains and that we are the Party that focuses on fixing the causes of the challenges we face as a nation, rather than throwing money or legislation at the problems.

The whole meeting was shown on Facebook Live and you can view the just over one hour long session here. After welcome and introductions, Elliot Ikilei spoke, followed by Leighton Baker.

The 5% threshold hasn’t been beaten by any new party yet under MMP. Craig’s millions and his quirkiness that attracted media coverage was not enough.

However there could be an opportunity in a changing party environment – voters may react against the move towards a virtual two party contest.

Conservatives pick very poor fight

The Conservative Party need to try to attract attention, but using war and Anzac Day to do it very poor.

ConservativesAnzacDisgrace

Leighton, this is crappy. Some will see it as disrespectful, even disgraceful.

Conservative Party Leader Leighton Baker, an ANZAC message to New Zealand.

“The Conservative Party is still here, and we are still continuing the fight. People ask what we are fighting for, well we are actually fighting for exactly the same things that our soldiers fought for in WW1 and WW2 and other wars.  We are fighting for our families, we are fighting for our freedom, and we are fighting for democracy.

Years ago in WW1 and 2, our soldiers went offshore and they fought for freedom, democracy and their families. There is another war and that’s going on right here in New Zealand, right now.  We are losing our democracy.  In all the citizens initiated referenda we’ve had, no Government, on either side – left or right, had ever listened to or ever acted on the results.

Life is important to all New Zealanders. From birth, through to the grave, we’ve got to value life. That’s part of who we are as New Zealanders.  We have always done that and that’s what we fought for.

Our families are being destroyed.  We are seeing more and more crime,  suicides and addictions. And why is that? Because there is a disconnect within our families.  That’s where we believe, as the Conservative Party, we need to focus.  We have to focus on families survival.

I would encourage you to get behind the Conservative Party, because our policies are practical, they’re addressing the real issues, and they are real solutions that are not just ‘throw money at it’.

The Conservative Party is a party for all people that want to see a decent society, where we can bring up our children, and our grandchildren, now and into the future”.

War and remembrance of those who have died through Anzac Day should be off limits to tacky political promoters.

The Conservative Party needs support. This is more likely to lose it.

Craig comeback as likely as second coming

Colin Craig is talking about being open to political comeback. Is he that out of touch with reality?

Barry Soper at NZH: Colin Craig open to a political comeback

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has taken a hammering over the past week but if he is feeling the heat, he is not letting on – and is even considering a possible comeback.

“My concern has always been about conservative causes and serving conservative people. That’s something that matters to me … nothing has changed in that respect.

“If I got a chance to serve people, I’d be very happy to do that.”

Craig said the legal issues surrounding the defamation appeal will be considered before next year’s election and a comeback is possible.

Sounding chipper, he said if he can work with the party he founded, but spectacularly fell out with, he would be very happy to.

“My wife and I poured years of savings and time and energy into it and our love for the party and love for the members and supporters hasn’t changed.”

Earth to Colin: It. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Craig’s political career is in non-resurrectable  tatters. This is in large part due to his own actions, but willingly aided and abetted by Jordan Williams and Whale Oil, who have made sure there is no chance of any comeback.

Leighton Baker, acting spokesman for the Conservatives, was last night cold on the idea Craig might get back into politics with the party.

“The Conservative Party aren’t offering Colin any positions. He’s never made any request to us for a position … and he does not hold a position with us, so no.”

When asked if Craig had damaged the Conservative Party brand, Baker said there was no doubt he had.

“It’s a struggle. The focus is on personalities and Colin Craig rather than the policies we stand for. So that’s a bit sad,” he said.

“Am I feeling positive? I’m not terribly encouraged today to tell you the truth, it’s been a rough day. But we’re Kiwis, we never say die, we’ll hang on for the next breath so we’ll keep on going.”

The Conservative Party can’t take back Craig, nor can they take any more of Craig’s money, without looking even worse than they are now.

Craig is finished in politics.

The Conservative Party currently appear to have no chance of coming back from this debacle, unless they inherit another rich ambitious person who doesn’t have the baggage or risks that Craig has.

A proper Conservative Party could establish a sizeable niche in New Zealand’s political mix.

An improper Colin Craig conservative party has crashed, burned and all that’s possible now is residual smouldering.

UPDATE: Newshub – Conservative Party doesn’t want Colin Craig back

“It’s not happening.”

With those words, the Conservative Party has perhaps dealt a blow to what remains of Colin Craig’s political ambitions.

The party’s founder and former leader hasn’t ruled out returning to politics once the dust from his legal battles settles. But it probably won’t be with the party he spent millions of dollars bringing to life.

“Colin Craig is not a member of the party, he has no position in the party, he hasn’t been offered a position in the party and he hasn’t asked for one, so it’s not happening,” board chairman Leighton Baker told Paul Henry on Tuesday.

“Colin resigned as a member of the party, so he’s got nothing to do with the party anymore.”

The party is struggling and may need to rebrand.

There’s a chance when the next election rolls around, they won’t even be calling themselves the Conservative Party anymore, the brand is so damaged.

“A lot of people have put that to us in the last couple of days, and as a board we’ll sit down and definitely have a look at that,” says Mr Baker.

“But at the end of the day New Zealand still needs a conservative voice, and at this stage we’re going to be it.”

With the election only about a year away, Mr Baker admits there’s even a chance they may not contest it.

“We haven’t sat down as a team yet and discussed it.”

Potential candidates are also a bit thin on the ground, with Mr Baker saying only a “few” of the 50 who stood in 2014 have expressed an interest in having another go.

Not surprising there is a lack of interest.