Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he is trying
to "raise the standard of debate" in New Zealand with his
defamation claim against Greens co-leader Russel Norman.
The millionaire property manager said the majority of Kiwi
voters take "a dim view" of the "childish" level of public
debate in this country.
Mr Craig is taking Mr Norman to court over comments he made
in a speech at the Big Gay Out festival, in which he said the
Conservatives leader believes "a woman's place is in the
kitchen and a gay man's place is in the closet".
Mr Craig said voters "deserve to know what people really
stand for, not have the fairy tale made up for them by
He said Mr Norman was "factually very wrong" in his
statements to the Big Gay Out crowd.
"I'm calling Russel Norman to task on that because I think
New Zealanders want a higher standard of debate," Mr Craig
told TV3's The Nation this morning, denying he was
being overly sensitive about the comments.
"This is galvanising the ordinary New Zealander, who is tired
of a very childish debate - the name-calling, the making up
stories as you go. I actually think the public deserve a
better quality of debate.
"I think most New Zealanders ... would like politicians to be
more honest and play the game around the issues and not the
In the same interview Mr Craig denied having ever tried
marijuana, but said he thought it was illogical to ban the
drug when artificial marijuana is legal to buy.
- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ