Conservative leader and millionaire Colin Craig will keep on
spending his savings to get into Parliament no matter what
the outcome this election.
"A three-year election cycle allows me to save three years'
worth of wages and salaries essentially to go towards the
next campaign," he said.
"That's what I've done and I'll continue to do that I
think...it's that important to me."
Mr Craig estimated his wealth at $5 million but he also earns
a good income from his property management company.
"My wife and I live our lives very simply and frugally. We
spend far less than most people I think to get by and we save
everything. We put it towards this because this is what we
do. This is our job."
Mr Craig was speaking in today's herald.co.nz Hot Seat video
interview of party leaders by Newstalk ZB host Rachel
Smalley, Herald columnists Fran O'Sullivan and Toby Manhire,
and political editor Audrey Young.
Mr Craig has given $956,000 this campaign and is thought to
be the second largest political funder this campaign, next to
Internet Mana's benefactor Kim Dotcom.
He spent $1.6 million last election in 2011 when the
Conservatives stood for the first time and got 2.65 per cent
of the party vote.
Mr Craig said he was not buying himself a voice in New
"I have never considered it to be about the money. I've
always considered it to be about the issues."
His party's number one policy is to make Citizens' Initiated
Referendum binding but he conceded that he might have to get
a referendum held on the issue of binding referenda before it
became law. And if it were rejected, so be it.
"We are not going to Parliament to become one more party that
dictates its view. "
Since announcing he would be standing in East Coast Bays, Mr
Craig has also announced two high profile candidates:
Christine Rankin in Epsom and former Sensible Sentencing
Trust advocate Garth McVicar in Napier.
Mr Craig said the decision to stand Christine Rankin in Epsom
was made before National announced its electoral assistance
only to Act, in Epsom, and United Future in Ohariu, eschewing
He had heard a suggestion the move could kill off Act in
preparation for a stronger run by the Conservatives in 2017.
"But I don't know. It's not my job to look after Act."
In a discussion about immigration, Mr Craig said "the way we
do it matters" and he favoured assimilation.
"If we are going to have, say, people who come from one
particular culture and they end up in some particular ghetto
or a particular defined area and they continue to be their
own little micro-culture and that's how they operate, we have
all missed as opportunity."
He himself employed a lot of people from difference cultures
"and they are wonderful contributors."
"I do think there is such a thing as New Zealand-ness and I
do think we should be looking for those who want to come and
live here to be part of that, not isolated."