Craig 'fails to shine' after fight to join debate

Colin Craig
Colin Craig
Colin Craig has failed to shine in a televised political debate which he legally won the right to participate in.

The Conservatives leader last night won an eleventh-hour High Court scrap over his exclusion from TV3's politics show The Nation's minor leaders debate.

The show's producers were forced to include him this morning, with presenter Lisa Owen describing him as "our uninvited guest".

Mr Craig joined the Green Party's Metiria Turei, New Zealand First's Winston Peters, United Future's Peter Dunne, the Maori Party's Te Ururoa Flavell, Act's Jamie Whyte, and Mana Party's Hone Harawira on screen.

And he appeared to have found his voice again, after he reportedly lost it following yesterday's court action, with a Conservatives spokeswoman telling Newstalk ZB he was unable to comment last night because he had lost his voice.

However, he "looked like he was missing a spark plug", 3News political reporter Brook Sabin said in the analysis afterwards.

"After yesterday with the court action, he really needed to have a strong performance today to justify his presence, I don't think he did."

Mr Craig had "got some biff in against Peters", but "failed to differentiate himself" from him, Otago University political scientist Bryce Edwards said.

"He could give no reasons why someone from that voter group might vote Conservatives rather than New Zealand First."

The debate started off smoothly, which each leader given a turn to express their views on each subject, but gradually turned more heated with leaders talking over each other.

Mr Craig struggled to get his voice heard over the other leaders, with Mr Sabin saying afterwards that "his political dream is falling to bits".

During the debate the Conservatives leader laughed off the notion he was Mr Peter's "doppelganger" and that people wouldn't vote for his party.

"I think New Zealanders are ready for a change, I also think we've been very clear, not talking in double-speak, we would support the highest polling party if they have a mandate to lead, and I think we'd find more common ground than perhaps my opponent over the room would [Peters]," he replied.

"We are gaining support. I had double the turn-out to my meeting in Tauranga [than Mr Peters], which I understand is his home hunting ground."

The leaders discussed hot election issues, including foreign ownership, immigration, housing, crime, and unemployment, with Ms Turei, Mr Harawira and Mr Peters appearing to chime on many topics.

While Mr Peters remained firm on not commenting on which parties he would partner with until after the votes were in, he said "there's a place for sound environmentalism because it's good economics" when asked if he would work with the Greens.

Ms Turei said her party had "worked really well" with Mr Peters on issues in the past. She also denied she was worried about Labour's performance in the polls.

"Their fortunes are their own business, our fortunes are mine," she said.

Mr Hawawira said he was "guaranteed to get a call on the night of September 20" if the polls keep tracking the way they are for the Internet-Mana Party.

At the start of the show Ms Owen told viewers they were tuning into "the debate that almost wasn't", following Mr Craig's legal action prohibiting TV3 from airing the show without him.

"So after a frankly heroic effort by our crew last night, he's with us," she said.

Mr Craig filed urgent legal proceedings with the High Court in Auckland yesterday, with Justice Murray Gilbert siding with the Conservative Party leader saying any inconvenience to MediaWorks was outweighed by the public interest in having Mr Craig at the debate.

- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ

Biased and unprofessional

GW_Scam: It is just rude the way he's been treated , and none more obvious than the media treatment of him and this show was just another example, the comments made by the host were completely biased and unprofessional.

We may not need or want Colin Craig (even though some obviously do) but in a democracy he deserves the same rights as anyone else. His views are just as valid as anyone else even if they may not be supported by the majority (eg there's plenty of people and evidence that the video's of the moon landing's were faked, which doesn't mean they didn't go there, just that the actual video may not have been shot there). However, his views have little to do with his policies which these debates are meant to allow to be put forward.

More importantly We deserve the right to hear his and every other parties policies (especially under MMP where any minor party may end up with influence under MMP),  before we decide whether to vote him and his party or not, not just the 2 main parties with 1 or 2 minor cherry-picked ones. That is the essence of a free democracy and as informed voters we are the ones who are done a dis-service with these sort of carry ons. 

As kiwis we should be appalled. Aren't we meant to be a country that gives everyone a fair whack of the stick, a country that in the past has prided ourselves in playing hard but fair? Why should we hold our  politicans and our media to a lesser standard than our sportspeople and others?  

Brendan Horan was missing

If the criteria for being invited to this debate was that you have to have a seat in parliament then Brendan Horan should have been invited. I know it's obvious that his time in parliament will end next month and to my knowledge he isn't even trying to campaign. He seems to have accepted his fate. However if he wasn't invited, then putting that fact in front of a judge might have been what gave Colin Craig an argument that got him into this debate. Craig could simply say that the seat in parliament criteria for this debate clearly isn't being applied because Brendan Horan isn't there. That inconsistency would have been Craig's foot in the door.

Does anyone know if Horan was invited and turned it down?

The camera never whats?

What a noteworthy photograph accompanying the article.  The photographer has captured that special "something" about Colin Craig.

The Nation

The host of the minor parties political debate on Saturday morning was rude, made unnecessary comments about the 'uninvited guest' and gave Mr Craig little opportunity to speak, often interupting.
Mr Craig is more intelligent and smarter than portrayed. Why is he and his party not taken seriously? Why is he lampooned so much? Their policies are sensible and realistic, although I'd say the first $5000-$6000 of low to middle income be tax-free to be more viable than $20000.
Come on people, give the man a decent break!

The problem with Craig

The problem with Colin Craig is he just wants to be a 'somebody' with power, rather than actualy do something/anything for New Zealand.

First he wanted to be the Mayor of Auckland, and he failed.  Now he wants to be an MP, and is willing to spend millions of his own money and copy most of  NZ First's policies to try and get the 'Centre vote'.

The thing is, for anyone willing to throw their vote at his rag-tag party, how long do they honestly think he would last in Parliament if he actually did get in (which is about as much chance as me having lunch with the Pope within my lifetime - extremely unlikely!).  

Colin Craig simply does not have what it takes to be an MP.  He squeals every time someone says anything even remotely upseting about him, and runs to the courts every five minutes when he doesn't get his own way.

The last thing our Parliament needs is a Colin Craig, and the last thing Colin Craig needs, if he was honest with himself, is a place in Parliament. 

Persona non grata

Poor old Colin Craig seems to be some kind of persona non grata from John Key to everyone else. The man needs to take a trip to the moon. 

Oh the irony...

The most gumption ever displayed by Colin Craig, in my humble opinion as a voter in NZ, happened yesterday when he had his tantie in court and muscled his way into a minor leaders debate.  And, again in my humble opinion as a TV3 viewer and NZ voter, he muffed the opportunity. What was the point of stamping your foot for equal time in front of the camera and not making a meal of it?  The long shot has moved to no shot I think. The Greens did really well, and Wintston was classic Winston. Good job TV3.

Unprofessional

I'm no Colin Craig fan but jibes like  "our uninvited guest" and "the debate that almost wasn't" have got to be unprofessional and borderline prejudical. And what "heroic effort" would it take by the crew to add a podium to the set?

The comments infer that not only was he unwelcome and unwanted but that he didn't deserve to be there. As the leader of a party he deserves the air time as much as anyone else. That surely is the essence of a democracy , to be allowed to get you views out to be judged by the voters. 

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