Conservative Party leader Colin Craig will contest the East Coast Bays seat at the election, pitting him against Foreign Minister Murray McCully – unless a deal is done.
Today’s announcement came at the party’s campaign launch, which took place at Rangitoto College’s auditorium – on the edge of the East Coast Bays and North Shore electorates.
The decision comes as no surprise after recent rumours.
During the week, Craig said he expected a deal with National to give him a free run at a seat in September’s election but that has not yet been confirmed by Prime Minister John Key.
Craig expected the Conservative Party, currently polling about 1.5 per cent and well below the threshold for seats in Parliament, would be thrown a lifeline: “I think National will stand aside somewhere.”
In 2011, Craig was defeated by National backbencher Mark Mitchell in Rodney by more than 8000 votes.
I think whether National does a deal will come down to two fairly simple things.
- Do they need to do one? If the answer is no, then they won’t. But you can in theory lose the election eve if you’re on say 48% and Labour is on 25% if the Greens, Winston and Kim Dotcom team up.
- Are the Consrvatives likely to win enough seats to make it worthwhile to do.
The party also listed four key issues it would push: All referendums to be binding, tougher penalties for criminals, no more separate Maori seats and a flat tax after the first $20,000 would be tax free.
How many of those they would get, will depend on how many votes they get. The more votes you get, the more of your agenda you can get through.