Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has confirmed he
will contest Murray McCully's East Coast Bays seat in the
Mr Craig confirmed his decision at the party's campaign
launch at Rangitoto College in Auckland today.
For some months he has been weighing up his choice between
Rodney, Upper Harbour or East Coast Bays.
His own polling shows he stands no chance of making it into
Parliament without National gifting him the seat.
This afternoon Mr Craig said: "polling received this week
showed my support is stronger in East Coast Bays than in
"This result was an important part of my decision."
Mr McCully last week gave his strongest hint yet that he will
oblige, telling journalists; "If you're asking me whether I'm
going to consider stepping aside if I'm asked to -- look,
I've always said that leaders and boards of parties do make
But Mr Craig this afternoon said his campaign, launched under
the theme of Standing for Something was "all about the party
"Last time we achieved 1.7 per cent with a five week
campaign. This time we have a full campaign period and the
Conservative Party's goal is to exceed the five per cent
threshold required to enter Parliament."
Mr Craig also announced Callum Blair would contest the Upper
Harbour seat against National's Paula Bennett, and Mel Taylor
would stand for the party in Northland.
He said the selection of Mr Blair did not mean party chief
executive Christine Rankin would not be running for the party
"There are decisions still to be made, and these will be
advised in due course."
In his speech to a couple of hundred party faithful, Mr Craig
strongly pushed his party's policy for the adoption of
He pointed to previous referendums where he said voters had
spoken in favour of tougher sentences for violent crime,
against the "anti-smacking" law, against asset sales and for
a cut in the number of MPs.
However the will of the people was ignored, he said.
"'It didn't happen… none of those mattered."
Mr Craig said it was as if voters had bought "an airline
ticket with the word democracy on it, but the cabin crew and
pilots are taking us to a place we don't want to go".
He also underlined the party's other three key policy areas
-- getting rid of "discounted sentences" so that convicted
criminals served the full prison terms, getting rid of
"special rights" based on race, and the introduction of a
tax-free threshold so that all New Zealanders, rather than
just the wealthy, got a tax cut.
- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald