UK Game of Thrones

July 4th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Ben Wallace, an MP who was working on Johnson’s campaign, wrote on Twitter that Gove would be like Theon Greyjoy from TV series Game of Thrones, “by the time I am finished with him”. The character was tortured in a dungeon and had his penis removed.

Extraordinary to have one MP tweet this about another in their party.

But Gove may well not make the final two. Theresa May is almost certain to be one of the final two. The Conservative caucus vote on the five candidates, and the two highest polling go forward to a full membership ballot.

Andrea Leadson may get the second highest number of votes, which would mean teh final choice would be between two women.

Craig not standing for leader – for now

November 17th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Colin Craig will not be seeking re-election as leader of the Conservative Party he founded, saying it would be “unreasonable” while there was an open police file against his name. 

But should his legal battles be cleared before the 2017 election, he would “absolutely” seek a position on the party’s list. 

Newly-elected Conservative Party board chair Leighton Baker said the party and Craig had agreed he would not go on as leader.

But there was “no hurry” to appoint a new one, as the new board looked to settle in and rebuild its membership firs

That could suggest that they will keep the role vacant until such time as Craig is cleared, if he is cleared.

He expected his legal battles would be cleared up before the next election however, and he would seek a place on the party’s list. 

“These things are a little bit difficult to be absolute on the timeframe.

“But as soon as I reach that point I would be contacting the party and saying ‘look, I’ve got all clear, I’m happy I’ve cleared it away’ – obviously the party is going to have to be happy with that but my feeling is I’d definitely put my name back in the ring,” Craig said. 

“I mean I support the party, I’m happy to stand and I got a fair few people to vote for me.”

I have to say I find it hard to see how the Conservatives can make 5% after all the damage from the infighting. But time will tell.

This is an attack ad!

September 16th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Conservatives are wasting no time.

Still fighting over a dead party

July 6th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The public stoush between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and board member John Stringer has taken a new twist, with Stringer resigning and calling for Craig to start his own party.

Stringer confirmed on Sunday that he had thrown in the towel after formally resigning to party secretary Nathaniel Heslop on Thursday. …

“I think the best outcome is that Colin goes and sets up his own Colin Craig Conservative party and he takes whatever Conservative Party members want to go with him,” Stringer said.

“The more sensible, moderate conservatives who have got political acumen will continue with the Conservative Party and rebuild it.”

Craig wasn’t ruling out a return as leader but said any role he had would be possible only if Stringer was out of the picture.

“I can’t see a possibility where he and I are involved in the leadership of the party together. The actions of Mr Stringer have made that an impossibility.”

The future of the leadership and board was now a matter for the party membership, of which Craig said he was still a part.

“I will be part of the process of electing the new board, just like any other party member.”

He said Stringer’s resignation was a good move and meant the party could get on with the process of electing a new board and leader without any clouds hanging over them.

Stringer said Craig had been an “impediment” to some people joining the party and, if all ties were cut with the former leader completely, then new members and donors would arise.

He said senior leaders in the party had asked him to step up as leader and he had not ruled out doing so.

“I haven’t publicly endorsed that, but I haven’t ruled it out either. It’s never been my motivation.

“I want to only consider the leadership options, of which there are several, once we’re outside the Colin Craig nonsense …”

Stringer wouldn’t confirm who had backed him for the leadership, or who the other “prominent New Zealanders” were that were being considered.

So both Stringer and Craig want to be leader. I don’t think they realise how much damage the fight has caused to the Conservatve brand. Before this happened, I would have given them a reasonable chance of making 5% next time. Now I think they would struggle to get even 2%.

The real victor from this is Winston and NZ First, who compete in much the same ideological space.

The rise of the ‘shy Tory’: why pollsters are missing voters on the right

May 12th, 2015 at 3:57 pm by kiwi in america

At 10pm British Daylight Time on May 7th, seconds after the polls closed, the various media outlets covering the UK General Election unveiled the results of the giant exit poll commission by a consortium of British polling companies. Anyone who watched this coverage will never forget the barely suppressed shock that the Conservatives were estimated to win 316 seats some 25 seats more than the most optimistic opinion polls published days before the ballot.  Lord Ashdown (a former Liberal Democrat MP and leader in the Commons) expressed such disbelief at the veracity of the exit poll that he said if he was wrong, he’d eat his hat! Ashdown’s disbelief in the exit poll’s numbers was vindicated but not the way he’d hoped because it too underestimated the scale of the Tories’ success. Cameron was to retain the premiership with an absolute majority and 331 seats actually increasing the Conservatives’ percentage of the vote – a result dramatically different than the one anticipated by virtually all observers of the campaign.

The English media have been awash with hand wringing analyses as to why the polls were so wrong and why Labour lost so badly. Almost all pre-election commentary revolved around likely coalition negotiations with many pundits picking a Labour/SNP/Green coalition. Milliband, on the strength of some one-eyed reports from polling stations, reportedly told his front bench late in the day to be humble in victory when interviewed by the media so convinced was he, despite the predicted Scottish SNP landslide, that Nicola Sturgeon would join him in the governing coalition.

The failure of the mainstream pollsters to pick this win (only an 18,000 strong on-line Spider Monkey survey had picked the eventual 37/31 Conservative/Labour split) has been put down to the behaviour of the  so-called ‘shy Tory’. This term was first coined by John Heyward (now a Conservative MP) when he was John Major’s pollster in the 1992 election to explain why pre-election polls pointing to a Kinnock led Labour victory were wrong. Essentially Tory leaning voters lied to the pollsters.

In recent years, this underestimating of actual voter turnout of centre-right parties by reputable polling companies has become a recent global phenomenon. On top of the UK Election of May 2015 we can add similar polling failures in the:

  • Israel Election March 2015 (Likud got 29 seats versus a predicted 19 enabling Netanyahu to form another Likud-led coalition)
  • US mid-term elections November 2014 (most polls underestimated the size of the GOP gains in the Senate, House, Governor’s Mansions and state legislative races)
  • Scottish Referendum September 2014 (the ‘No’ vote got 55% versus the last polls predicting a narrow ‘Yes’ win)
  • NZ Election September 2014 (almost all polls pointed to NZ First holding the balance of power whereas the Key led Nats managed an election night absolute majority. Even though this was clawed back by special votes and the Northland by-election, Key, like Cameron, managed to increase National’s share of the vote from the previous election)
  • EU Elections May 2014 (polls missed the sizable swing to UKIP in the UK portion of the EU Parliament Elections)

David gave some reasons for these polling failures in his post

Some of the reasons why Tories (or supporters of right leaning parties) have become so shy with indicating their voting intentions to pollsters are:

The Left’s vitriol means conservatives are more likely to stay mum
The left believe they have the moral high ground and to oppose their policies is at best bad and inhumane and at worst, downright evil. More on the left see politics and legislative action as the most important force for good in the world – the power of the state to ensure good outcomes as they see it. More on the right see the state as far from a benign force for good and derive satisfaction outside of politics from family activity, humanitarian efforts in the community and organized religious involvements. This moral superiority the left feel they have infuses their political debating with self-righteous indignation sometimes propelling them to more nasty and personal attacks on their opponents. Opponents are more likely to be labeled with extreme epithets to discount and shut down their views (e.g. homophobe, racist, heartless, greedy, uncaring).

Many on the right quickly tire of these abusive ad hominem attacks. When you add that the left has a core of activists who are driven to the political theatre almost 24/7 and for whom warfare with the right is an article of faith and a rite of passage, it makes for a palpable ‘take no prisoners’ approach to debating their opponents. Ordinary right leaning voters who engage on social media on the issues of the day in the run up to elections are routinely subjected to vitriolic attacks often in an almost coordinated way from a myriad of well-armed and argumentative left leaning activists such that they withdraw from the battlefield and learn to keep their opinions to themselves. Fearing further opprobrium for supporting a right leaning party when asked by a pollster, voters from the right often will either lie as to their party leaning or that they are undecided when they are already a committed Tory voter. The left’s aggressive approach to political debate is one of the biggest reasons for shy Tories.

Labour in the UK claimed to have won the Twitter campaign and the social media battle but ended up losing the war that counts – the actual election not realising that the Twittersphere is not the same as swing voter land. The young are disproportionately represented on Twitter and social media debates and they are more likely to tilt left and be vocal about it BUT less likely to vote. The left have rendered open discussion in favour of a number of contentious issues such as immigration reform or against gay marriage and Islamic extremism as not appropriate opinions for citizens to hold in a modern progressive society. They have effectively driven a significant minority of the electorate out of the public square and off the debating stage. The left’s bullying has a number of perverse effects on approved speech thus silencing public dissent. These attempts don’t sway voter opinion in their favour but merely strengthen the resolve of the un-listened-to voters to get out and vote for the leaders and parties the left so despise.

The notion of what is appropriate discourse even effects the pollsters. One admitted to deciding not to poll on contentious issues of concern to right leaning voters like on excessive Muslim immigration or welfare reform for fear of the public backlash from the vocal left.

Elite opinion makers have become more disconnected from median voters
The chattering classes overwhelmingly tilt to the left. Even right leaning public commentators often hold more socially liberal views than floating voters and can be more sensitive to elite opinion when it turns on them for their more conservative views. Because the commentariat tend to mostly talk to each other, they become cut off from median voter opinion which is more right leaning and conservative. They are then shocked when majority opinion votes the opposite to them. This disconnect is manifest in a number of ways:

* Rise of militant Islam is ignored by the chattering classes but is of more concern to centrist swing voters but is a topic rarely canvassed in media panel discussions or debates for fear of offending Muslims. This sort of political correctness reached absurdity when Milliband proposed to ban Islamophobia. Where are moderate centrist voters to turn if their reasonable concerns are blatantly ignored by a major opposition party seeking power? The rise of UKIP saw the Conservatives trying to engage more on these contentious issues and thus were seen to be more likely to respond to voter concerns.

* Beltway types look past the deficiencies of the left’s standard bearer in their desperate quest to get their man across the line. Milliband was a nerdy policy wonk who came across as awkward and goofy, who decried business, refused to disavow the profligate spending of the Labour government he was a minister in and banked on dissatisfaction with the austerity measures to propel centrist voters to his more leftist vision for Britain in much the same way a more left leaning Cunliffe hoped NZ Labour would get out the so-called missing million.

* Euroscepticism is a subject that brings out the most dismissive and arrogant tut tutting from elites who have frequently disdained the rise of UKIP and the popularity of Nigel Farrage in his call for an EU referendum. Cameron successfully neutralised the electoral fallout for the Conservatives from UKIP by promising the In/Out referendum. Shy Tories who favour Brexit again felt shouted at and ignored by beltway commentators and Labour.

New media allows those on the right to break the MSM’s monopoly on reporting
Whilst Britain has sported an ideologically varied print media for some decades now, the commentariat on TV, radio, the political scientist and the political reporting class reliably tilt to the left. The internet has shattered that monopoly and, along with You Tube and other user driven broadcast sites, enabled the growth of right wing blogs and right wing on line magazines and newspapers. This has enabled shy Tories to read more about politics from a perspective they understand and sympathise with. It reinforces their suspicion of the commenting class and of the mainstream media and journalists and adds to their shyness with pollsters.

Other factors that helped Cameron: Voter preference for stability
Incumbency often provides some advantage to the ruling party. In the UK, voters less familiar with coalition government even after five years of the Lib Dems deal with the Tories, were genuinely spooked by what the polls were pointing to – a Labour Party that would get fewer seats than the Conservatives but be able to govern with the help of the resurgent Scottish National Party. Not only would the harder left SNP tail wag Labour’s dog, the very state of the United Kingdom would be at stake a mere six months after the Scottish voted reasonably decisively to stay with England. However ambivalent voters may have felt about Cameron, they saw a Conservative led government as more stable and more likely to fight for the union.

“It’s the economy stupid”
The left made much of the Tory’s austerity programme fuelled by media stories of those effected. Middle class Brits with jobs saw an improving job market, falling unemployment, rising incomes and property values as helping their own personal financial stability and, like their Kiwi counterparts in 2014, voted for a continuation of the government that was perceived to be fiscally sounder and whose fiscal rectitude through tough times saw better economic times return. Like Cunliffe’s ‘true red Labour’ shift, Milliband was seen as appealing more to the Hampstead Fabian Society by attacking big business and seeking a return to the spendthrift days of other more left leaning Labour governments than the more successful centrist approach adopted by Blair to New Labour’s electoral advantage.

Craig demands binding referenda

July 20th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he would not form a Government with National unless it agreed to introduce binding referenda.

Mr Craig confirmed the party’s bottom line for potential coalition talks at its annual meeting in Auckland this afternoon, attended by around 120 delegates.

In his keynote speech, he said: “We are not playing a mystery game. We are being upfront with the electorate.

“The thing that we want, that will be required if a party wants our support, is that they are going to need to agree to a change whereby that the people of this country have the right on those rare occasions … to tell the government where to go and what to do.”

One can try and lay down bottom lines but it isn’t that easy. What do you do if say the Conservatives hold the balance of power and National won’t agree to binding referenda. Presumably Labour won’t agree to them either, so Colin Craig them has three choices:

  1. Make John Key Prime Minister
  2. Make David Cunliffe Prime Minister
  3. Force a new election

It is unwise for any party to try and lay down bottom lines before an election. One should indicate priorities. But what you get in any negotiation will be a factor of how many seats in Parliament you get, and whether you are necessary or just desirable for forming a Government – and if you can credibly form a Government with the other major party.

Conservative and NZ First policies

July 19th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Some of the Conservative Party’s key policies are so similar to New Zealand First that leader Colin Craig has been accused of plagiarism.

The two parties will outline their vision for New Zealand and their election plans this weekend at their annual meetings in Auckland.

The Conservatives have begun laying their election platform in a series of billboards and leaflet drops over the past month.

The four key planks of their campaign will be tougher penalties for criminals, a tax-free band below $20,000 of income, making referendums binding and scrapping Maori entitlements.

A few of their priorities so closely resembled New Zealand First’s manifesto that leader Winston Peters said they appeared to be stolen.

It is true that the Conservatives and NZ First have many similar policies – they are both competing for socially conservative and economically conservative voters. That’s not plagiarism, just a reality of where they are on the political spectrum.

Both parties want to end asset sales, stop the sale of farmland to foreigners, scrap the Emissions Trading Scheme and introduce tougher sentences for criminals.

Mr Craig told the Weekend Herald it was inevitable some of their policies would be similar because they were both competing for a similar pool of centrist voters. But he emphasised key points of difference.

Conservative is more radical on Maori issues, saying it will scrap the Maori parliamentary seats, repeal the foreshore and seabed legislation, and wind down the Waitangi Tribunal while not allowing any new claims.

New Zealand First says it is up to Maori to decide whether Maori seats remain.

Which is my policy also. Gulp.

Conservative is also more sceptical about climate change. Mr Craig has not prioritised reducing carbon emissions, while New Zealand First says it is important to switch to cleaner fuel and introduce environmental “bottom lines”

So some differences, but a lot in common. I suspect most voters will decide between them on the basis of what they think of their leaders.

Both parties are hardline on law and order issues. New Zealand First would introduce a 40-year minimum non-parole period for murder, and a “castle doctrine” law which allowed deadly use of firearms by homeowners against burglars.

40 years non parole is too much, even for me.

Craig making it easy for National to say no deal

June 23rd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has announced he would contest the September 20 election in the East Coast Bays electorate, a National stronghold held by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully for the past 20 years.

Craig conceded at yesterday’s campaign launch, that he would lose if National did not step aside.

But he’s not prepared to accept a deal half-cooked, saying he would be grateful if National stepped aside completely, but was opposed to a situation where McCully ran but only for the party vote.

I think that makes it easy for National.

It’s one thing to stand a candidate, but to say you are comfortable with voters supporting a potential coalition partner, as that leaves the decision in the hand of the local voters.

It is quite another thing to not stand a candidate, and effectively force the decision on the electorate. It is also very unpopular with the local members.

If Colin Craig is saying he doesn’t want an “endorsement”, but a full withdrawal, then National can more easily say, “No”.

Craig standing in East Coast Bays

June 22nd, 2014 at 3:16 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

National’s potential electoral deals

June 12th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Vernon Small writes:

 In the very strange case of Colin Craig and the Conservative Party, there is little doubt that John Key and his campaign maestro Steven Joyce are reluctant suitors.

Deal or no deal?

Welcome to John Key’s nightmare – or the closest you get to a nightmare when your party’s on 50 per cent and your opposition is fractured into five parts.

The prime minister has said he will announce a job-lot of deals with potential support parties in coming weeks.

On the face of it “arrangements” with all three make sense. In a tight race why throw away a chunk of Centre-Right support on your side of the fence, especially if Internet-Mana is going to vacuum up two or three seats on the other side?


Tactical voting is nothing new. In 1999 Helen Clark told Labour voters to vote for the Jeanette Fitzsimons in Coromandel. And last election the Greens told their supporters to vote for the Labour candidates in Auckland Central and Ohariu.

In the case of UnitedFuture, it is an easy equation.

Peter Dunne is a dream ally. He won’t go with the other side, causes only the occasional headache on principle each term, and has ministerial experience.

Even if you dump him he doesn’t go feral. And the chances are his party will poll so low that he will create an overhang seat – a net gain for the Right.

If a party gets below 0.4% then it is an overhang seat.

ACT and David Seymour in Epsom are slightly more problematic.

Seymour is earnest lobby fodder for National, his party is on the spectrum – as in the Right-wing one – and if he gets over the line there is a serious chance he will bring in another MP. However, the whiff of John Banks’ exit lingers in the air and there is an outside chance that Epsom voters will return the reluctant candidate Paul Goldsmith anyway.

And they have every right to do so.

I think Epsom voters will vote tactically, as they did previously. But the choice is up to them. National may say we are only seeking the party vote in an electorate – but they still stand a candidate, giving voters the choice. Epsom voters are not controlled by National. If they don’t want to tactically vote, then they won’t. All National will be doing is saying we’re happy for people to vote for the ACT candidate, as having ACT in Parliament means you get a National-led Government.

Which brings us to the third option, and the very strange case of Colin Craig and the Conservative Party.

There is little doubt that Key and his campaign maestro Steven Joyce are reluctant suitors.

But on the experience of 2011, Craig is likely to attract more votes than the other two combined.

So will National hold its nose and cut him a deal?

Well, the Conservatives have said they don’t want a deal.

Back in the here and now, Key is playing a much more equivocal game with the Conservatives than the other two parties.

Maybe there was an element of game-playing on Key’s part, but on Tuesday he noted Craig’s enthusiasm for a deal with surprise as he harked back to earlier comments from Craig that he was not seeking an accommodation and was confident of clearing the 5 per cent hurdle.

Another Stuff story reports:

National backbencher Mark Mitchell says Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is “dreaming” if he thinks he will be gifted his seat.

Craig, who was defeated by Mitchell in Rodney by 12,222 votes in 2011, said this week he expected to be offered a deal handing him one of the Rodney, Upper Harbour or East Coast Bays seats in the September election.

Based on current polls, if Craig wins an electorate seat, he would take one or two MPs with him into Parliament, helping National gain a majority.

They could get 4 MPs. They got 2.7% last time and 2.8% gets you four MPs.

I’d be amazed if there was any deal in Rodney or North Shore. It simply would never happen.

Ultimately I imagine the decision will come down to necessity. If the polls show National, ACT and United Future likely to be able to form a Government, then why deal with the Conservatives and risk electoral damage from a deal.

But if it looks like NZ First would hold the balance of power, then I’d say Colin Craig is a far more attractive option than Winston. You can trust Craig, but not Peters.

A smart ad

June 2nd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar


The Conservative Party ran this ad full page in the Sunday newspapers. It said:

We couldn’t be futher apart on the political spectrum.

We stand for different things, but we respect any politician that stands up for what they believe in, unfortunately they’re a bit thin on the groud at the moment.

You can change all this on September 20.

I have to say that I think this as is quite brilliant. The public like a party that can praise a politician from the other side of the spectrum, and the message the Conservatives are trying to get across is that they are a party of principle, not pragmatism.

The ad also resulted in them getting the entire Page 2 of the Sunday Star-Times, which is some very useful free publicity.

Bennett v Rankin

December 15th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Colin Espiner reports:

The Conservative Party is poised to stand its high-profile chief executive Christine Rankin against National’s Paula Bennett in Upper Harbour, setting up a potential battle of the former solo mums next election.

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig confirmed to the Sunday Star-Times that the party’s board had formally asked the controversial former boss of Work and Income New Zealand to stand in next year’s general election. …

Bennett and Rankin have similar back stories; both grew up in households without much money, had children at a young age and raised them alone on the domestic purposes benefit. Both ended up in charge of their former paymaster; Rankin as chief executive of Work and Income New Zealand and Bennett as Minister of Social Development.

It will be an interesting contest. I suspect both women will agree on a lot of stuff around welfare reforms but perhaps disagree in other areas.

Polling had indicated Rankin would do well in the proposed electorate that would wrap around the north and west of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. …

Independent polling by Research Solutions for the Conservatives obtained by the Star-Times shows Rankin has 24 per cent support in Upper Harbour, with 20 per cent opting for “another candidate” and a large 56 per cent undecided.

I’ve blogged on this before, but a poll which names only one candidate has little value in predicting the outcome of an election. A poll should either be totally unprompted (Which candidate or party’s candidate would you vote for) or totally prompted (Which of the following candidates would you vote for). A poll which just asks “Would you vote for Candidate A or some other candidate” has relatively little value.

Colin Craig needs to stick to the real issues

November 29th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by Jadis

I’ll put it upfront that I am unlikely ever to be a Conservatives voter.  I am far too right wing economically and am a social liberal (most of the time).  However I will take it upon myself to assist the wider public and ask Colin Craig to please get some discipline.  The man who fronted so much of the pro-smacking brigade has a real problem with discipline himself.

The latest is an interview this morning with Sean Plunket Sean asks a simple question about Chem Trails and Colin gives a pretty poor answer:

“I don’t know and when I don’t know I am quite happy to say I don’t know – and apparently this is not the standard Party line that you are expected to know an have a definite view on this.

“I feel it is very honest to say I don’t.”

I don’t have a huge issue with this response.  When he was leader of the Nats Don Brash was well known for saying he wasn’t sure on an issue and that he would get back to a journalist.

The difficulty is Colin then answered Sean’s question about the Twin Towers and said

“it may be more possible (that terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers instead of a government conspiracy)”.

Interesting that he entertains the possibility of a US government conspiracy to kill thousands of Americans.

Colin then goes on to say:

“the real issue if we are talking Monsanto and other very large food corporates is that there is a real issue about food supply, about food labelling about renewable resources about food. I have some concerns about bioengineering, modification of food – I’m not absolutely opposed to it but I think it is a risky track to go down.”  I do not think our food industry should be controlled by one or two big players.”

My issue with Colin is this.  Stop talking about this fluff.  Start talking about the real Conservatives policies, learn to move a question away from the sensational to the sensible.  Please, please start looking credible.  There is a range of issues and policies that Colin should and could be talking about. Here, Colin, I will help out – try this link to the Conservative Party’s web page

And please don’t get all snippy and think Liberals (even fiscal conservatives and social libs like me) are picking on you.  We’re not… you have created all of this all by yourself.  You actually have some important stories to tell and issues to highlight but you keep missing them because, like a magpie, you keep going for the flashy stuff.

Ignore the silly fluff and focus!  You should be challenging Winston.  Instead Winston is biding his time and has no need to comment at all because you are creating vacuums and filling them with stuff that is so, so unnecessary.  When was the last time you even touched an issue that crosses over Winston’s territory?  You simply haven’t because you are asleep at the wheel.

A friend overheard an interesting comment from a neighbouring table in a café the other day “If there’s ever a time to make me vote National, it’s Colin Craig. We need to make sure Nats get 50%”

That sort of comment above  is being said not because the electorate cant take you seriously but because you don’t take yourself seriously.  Time to look like a leader and focus on the real issues, Colin.


* this post is written by Jadis so please don’t lynch poor DPF



Colin Craig’s strategy revealed

November 28th, 2013 at 7:00 am by Jadis

I was a bit perplexed as to why Colin Craig continues to come out with support for what seems like rather extreme views.  Yes, he is a minority party leader however drip feeding his views on how wonderful Sarah Palin is, that man-made climate change doesn’t exist and now that Chemtrails could exist takes him to a whole new level.  So what is his strategy behind it?  There must be some science and reasoning as to why Colin Craig would be willing to make such public statements – and it isn’t just because he wants Ken Ring as a List candidate for the Conservatives.

I can reveal that a piece of research conducted by UMR Research in 2011 is the likely source of Colin Craig’s vote chasing and strategic planning

UMR polled 1000 New Zealanders and found the following:

  1. 61% of respondents believe there is a God or universal spirit
  2. 55% of respondents believed some people had psychic powers
  3. 33% of respondents believed aliens had visited the earth
  4. 24% of respondents believed that astrology can predict a person’s future

Colin has the first point covered.  We know that he has expressed his own belief in God, his chief executive is apparently a Buddhist and the Conservatives list from last election is peppered with committed and open Christian politicians.  61% of the population suggests to Craig that the Conservatives have an extensive pool to reach into to get to the magical 5% threshold.  That 61% starts to get really interesting when we use math in only a way Craig would know how and add 1, 2, 3 and 4 to each other – that is a potential pool of voters of 173% of New Zealanders.  Colin is on to a winner.

In all seriousness though, Colin Craig and the Conservatives have a huge opportunity.  Espousing these sorts of fringe views means that the serious positioning of the Conservatives goes to waste.  There is a real space for the Conservatives as the Muldoonists of the future and social conservatives.  As a fiscal conservative and social liberal they aren’t my people but there are a swag of voters that Craig should be reaching out to.  Those voters are in the provinces, in the cities, in Grey Power and on school boards BUT do they really want to be associated with a man who can’t shut his trap on such things as Chemtrails?  Time for Colin Craig to get some discipline.


* This post is written by Jadis – so don’t freak out that DPF would be so mean!

Young on boundaries

October 24th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes in NZ Herald:

The electoral gods could well be shining on Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.

One of the two biggest areas of growth in Auckland has been in his own backyard on the North Shore and that means a new electorate seat could be created virtually around him.

If National stood a low-profile candidate rather than a heavyweight like List MP Steven Joyce, and Prime Minister John Key gave voters a steer in the right directions, Craig could be well-placed to take a new seat.

That would provide National with a new potential support partner to replace or supplement the ones that have been self-destructing since the last election: Act whose leader John Banks resigned as a minister last week, United Future whose leader Peter Dunne was forced to resign in June, and the Maori Party.

As I have said before National have five potential support partners – ACT,, United Future, Maori Party, Conservatives and NZ First. What we don’t know is how many of them will make it, how many can actually work with National, and how many will National need to be in the running to form a third term Government.

Key this week dismissed New Zealand First leader Winston Peters as someone who talked in more riddles than the Mad Hatter. Hardly the behaviour of a Prime Minister who expects to be propped up by Peters after next year’s election.

Key called it straight. It is far from certain that National will change its stance on NZ First. I’m not saying they won’t change – just that it is dangerous to make that assumption at this stage. I expect a decision would be made around the middle of 2014.

There will definitely be one new electorate created in Auckland after the census figures were announced last month and Craig told the Herald yesterday that he would most likely stand in the seat if it is in his patch – he lives on the border of East Coast Bays and Rodney.

“It would be very, very nice for us. We know it’s a good area for us. It would be very nice if the seat ended up here,” he said.

“If it works out that they go for the electorate that has grown the largest, which is Upper Harbour, and put a new electorate in there, I’m going to be living in it so it’s going to be all very convenient.”

If the Conservatives are polling enough to get four or more MPs, then centre-right voters in a new seat could well vote tactically.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, too, is known to be considering standing in an Auckland seat – and the new seat would have to be a possibility or a vacancy if Murray McCully were to shift to the list from East Coast Bays – a repeated rumour.

When asked to comment on the Conservatives and the new seat Peters said: “Elephants don’t run round the forest stomping on ants.”

Peters was too chicken to stand in a seat in 2011, so I don’t expect he will risk failure.

National pollster and Kiwiblog commentator David Farrar says things are looking good for the Conservatives.

“Even before you get into any political deals, the way the census has happened, actually, is very happy for the Conservatives, assuming that’s where the new seat is.”

Farrar also believes there is no need for the “cup of tea” photo opportunity to send signals to voters.

“Generally voters, if they want a centre-right or centre-left Government, can work out what’s the smart thing to do. So if there was a seat and Colin Craig was standing for it and they are polling 3 per cent in the polls and the candidate for National is a worthy but low-profile person, you could well see Conservatives do very well there without needing any sort of arrangement.”

Centre-right voters tend to be pretty intelligent. They don’t want a Government that will tax and spend, borrow more, nationalise companies etc. They will vote for minor party candidates if that helps stop a Labour/Green/Mana Government.

Farrar believes that if Banks lost his judicial review against going to trial and then lost the trial as well, he would not only be kicked out of Parliament as required under the law, it would finally destroy Act as well.

“I think the brand would be too damaged.”

A party can not survive its leader and sole MP losing his seat due to a conviction over electoral matters. Note I am not saying I think Banks will lose. Andrew Geddis has a very useful blog post on this issue which is worth reading. The key para for me:

I can’t for the life of me see why Banks would have sat down and thought something along the lines of “Dotcom and Sky City have given me all this money, but I don’t want anyone to know that they did and so I’ll deliberately lie about where it came from in my return even though I know that it is completely illegal to do so.” He was, after all, the losing candidate  in the mayoral race. Why would anyone have cared who gave him money, and why would he feel the need to make a decision to hide its source after the campaign was over? So any sort of claim that Banks deliberately or maliciously sought to evade the requirements of the Local Electoral Act strikes me as deeply implausible.

This is key – Banks had lost. There was little, if any gain, in not declaring the donations.


Where to for ACT

October 18th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Does ACT have a future after its leader was committed to trial over his 2010 Mayoral election return?

Well firstly it depends on the outcome of the court case. If he loses, and is convicted, then his seat in Parliament is automatically vacated. That means a by-election in Epsom, and unless ACT stood an incredibly popular candidate (such as Cameron Brewer) then they would not win the by-election and be out of Parliament. I think that would be the end of the party, which would dissolve. That may create an opportunity for a new party in time, but probably not until 2017 at the earliest.

The fact the Solictor-General is looking at taking over the prosecution is somewhat ominous.

If Banks wins, then he remains in Parliament, and becomes a Minister again. However that does not mean plain sailing.

Banks defence is basically that he signed a legal declaration of his election expenses and donations, but didn’t read it. That may mean he legally didn’t willfully break the law, but it’s an awful look.  If his non-reading had occurred as a parliamentary candidate, that would be fatal. He is slightly saved by the fact that when he signed the return he though his political career was over. But regardless of timing, it looks bad. As I said previously, it is bad to be personally involved in receiving two donations and then sign a return saying he doesn’t know who his donors were. It may be legal (as Len’s trusts were), but is the public concerned just about legality?

Even if Banks wins, it is hard to see him winning Epsom again. Having said that ACT have won it three elections in a row, when almost no one thought they would or could.

If there is a by-election, then I would expect National to win it easily. Epsom voters are not going to vote for giving the Maori Party the balance of power or worse a Labour-Greens Government. Paul Goldsmith would become the MP for Epsom and Jo Hayes would become a List MP.

So I don’t see big issues for the Government before the general election, except for a possible distracting by-election campaign.

The bigger challenge is the next general election. National has five potential coalition partners, and none of them are ideal – and probably more than one of them will be needed. The five potential partners are:

  1. ACT – very reliable in a voting sense and pushes National into areas most of its supporters want. But not likely to be back.
  2. United Future – also a reliable and stable partner, even though more inclined to vote independently on non-core issues. But will Dunne stand again, and would he win?
  3. Maori Party. They will be back with at least one seat, probably two. A third is possible – a list seat if they get over 2% party vote. However they have never had to choose between a National and Labour led Government. They could well choose to go with Labour. And if they do choose National, their policy demands could be unpopular.
  4. Conservatives. It is hard to see them making 5% but they could well make 2.8% and get four seats if they win an electorate. If a new Auckland seat is in an area where they have some strong support, then the lak of an incumbent National MP could see centre-right tactical voting to get them in. The downside is that if this looks likely it might scare some socially liberal voters to Labour. Against that, most of the core issues for the Conservatives are conscience issues and not something likely to be part of any coalition agreement (except maybe to agree to no further law changes in certain areas). I can’t see any possibility of repealing same sex marriage, prostitution, abortion laws etc. Maybe the anti-smacking law could go as a policy victory for them?
  5. NZ First. Winston hates John Key and wants utu on him, The jury is out on whether the bigger utu is to sack John Key or make him subservient to him. Either option is rather unpleasant to contemplate. But you can’t rule out a deal if a National-NZ First majority is possible and a centre-left Government is only possible if the Greens are part of it.

So National does have options if ACT goes, but they are not great options. But politics is the art of the possible!

That poll which shows Colin Craig ahead in Rodney, revealed

November 8th, 2011 at 9:20 am by David Farrar

Colin Craig’s Conservative Party has been claiming they will win Rodney, on the basis of this poll report, which is on their website. The key extract is:

47.2% of those who had decided who they were likely to vote for as an electorate candidate would vote for Craig.

This would position Craig in first place in the electorate, ahead of ‘The National Party Candidate/Mark Mitchell/Lockwood Smith (36.3%).

The polling was done by Research First. Whale recently revealed their director is a candidate for the Conservative Party. I commented at the time:

This does not mean that the poll results are or are not valid. As I said, validity is based on knowing the question asked and the methodology. You can poll for an organisation you are involved with. For example, Curia does an annual poll for the Republican Movement on whether people want NZ to become a republic when the Queen dies. Now I am on the Council of the Movement, but this doesn’t influence the results. The key thing is I have publicly disclosed my involvement.

Now in response to a request from Whale, Research First have released details of the questions they asked. It is good they have done so, because as I said the exact questions asked are often vital to interpreting a poll’s results. Their response says:

 Relevant questions included the following, in order of being asked:

1 For your party vote, have you decided who you will be voting for in the election?

2 Which party do you currently intend to vote for?

3 Have you heard of the Conservative Party?

4 Have you heard of Colin Craig?

Participants were read a brief preamble to provide context: ‘Colin Craig is the leader of the Conservative Party of New Zealand. In the Auckland mayoral election, Colin came third with over 40,000 votes’. Then asked…

5 If Colin were to stand in as a candidate in your electorate, what would be the likelihood that you would vote for Colin to be your member of parliament (on a scale of 1 = definitely; 2 = likely; 3 = neutral; 4 = unlikely and 5 = very unlikely)?

Those who identified they were neutral or unlikely to vote for Craig were asked:

6 Who do you intend to vote for?

Okay, let’s take this step by step. The first two questions are pretty standard. Then there are two specific question asking awareness of the Conservative Party and Colin Craig. Then a statement was read out which puts Craig in a positive light (mentioning his votes in the Auckland Mayoral election), and then they ask people how likely it is they will vote for Craig, and only if they say they are neutral or unlikely to they even ask you who else you will vote for.

The results are no surprise, once you realise this is the questions that were asked, and in what order. You have a number of factors here influencing the responses, namely:

  • The mention of the Conservative Party and Colin Craig first
  • The description of Colin Craig provided to respondents
  • The question only asked about voting for Colin Craig, with no mention of anyone else
  • Only if you say you are neutral or unlikely to vote Craig, do you even get asked whom else you might vote for
  • The other candidates are unprompted, so you are comparing unprompted results vs a prompted result.

I am surprised that Research First did not insist on these questions being included in their report, as in my opinion they are quite vital to it. I also think it is unwise to compare answers to a prompted question to answers to an unprompted question.

If I was wanting to poll that seat, and get a result which was fairly trying to ascertain support, the questions I would use are either:

Which candidate, or party’s candidate are you likely to vote for with your electorate vote?


The candidates for Rodney are Colin Craig, Conservative; Beth Houlbrooke, ACT; tracey Martin, New Zealand First; Mark Mitchell, National; Terea Moore, Green and Christine Rose, Labour. Which candidate are you likely to vote for with your electorate vote?

One might also have a follow up lean question for those undecided. I very strongly suspect that the results to the questions above would be vastly different to the results of the poll commissioned by the Conservative Party.

There is never any 100% correct version of a question, and rarely 100% incorrect version. In terms of ascertaining potential support for Colin Craig, those questions may be legitimate if commissioned for internal use only. But what I think was wrong was to have them publicly reported as Craig being “in first place”. The questions should have been reported.

The lesson for media here, is to always ask for the questions. Those media who reported the poll, should be wary of doing so in future without checking.

Conservatives now registered

October 9th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has announced that the Conservative Party is now registered and able to contest the election.

There are now 16 registered parties being:

  • ACT
  • ALCP
  • Progressive
  • Conservative
  • Libertarianz
  • Mana
  • Maori
  • New Citizen
  • Winston First
  • Labour
  • Alliance
  • Greens
  • Kiwi
  • Democrats/Social Credit
  • National
  • United

I suspect Progressive and Kiwi will not actually contest the election and urge people to vote Labour and Conservative respectively.

A sensible decision

September 19th, 2011 at 8:58 am by David Farrar

Steve Hopkins at Stuff reports:

The leader of the Conservative Party, Colin Craig, has confirmed he will stand as the Rodney electorate candidate.

The announcement today ends speculation he would stand against John Banks in Auckland’s Epsom.

Craig says he was attracted to the challenge of taking on Banks, his former mayoral campaign rival, but he’s ”followed his heart by standing for the people” of Rodney.

”I’ve lived in Rodney and my business involvement here has spanned more than 20 years. Many of my family live here and I’m passionate about getting things moving for everyone in the region,” he says.

Craig’s father Ross Craig was a Rodney district councillor until the Auckland super city council was formed last year.

This is a much more sensible decision, than standing in Epsom would have been. Standing in Epsom would only have benefited Labour.

Craig appears to be seeking the same sort of voters as NZ First – socially conservative, and economically centrist. If NZ First does not make it back in, then in 2014 Craig has the possibility of picking up many of his voters. In 2011, it will be harder.

The Conservative Party claims polling in the area shows Craig is ahead of his nearest rival.

Meanwhile, further polling by the party claims to show Banks is struggling to win over Epsom voters.

Of those who had decided who they were likely to vote for as an electoral candidate in Epsom, 35.3 per cent say they would vote for the National candidate, 31.4 per cent would tick Banks, and 27.4 per cent say they would give their vote Craig if he was on the ballot paper.

So the Conservative Party claims it is ahead in Rodney? I’d love to see the name of the polling company they use for these polls, and what he exact questions were.

UPDATE: Act on Campus point out Craig was polling against the retiring MP, not the actual National candidate. He must literally have money to waste.

Personally I’m even more doubtful of a poll that says Craig would beat Lockwood if he was standing again.

UK Labour routed at by-election

May 25th, 2008 at 1:49 pm by David Farrar

A couple of days old now, but have to mention the by-election for Crewe and Nantwich (don’t you love English place names).

In 2005 Labour won the seat by over 7,000 votes – 49% to 32%.

In the by-election, the Conservatives won by almost 8,000 votes – 49.5% to 30.5%. So that is a 17% swing to the Conservatives. In 1997 Labour won it by 31% – 58% to 27%.

The highlight for me was the candidate for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, a Mr “The Flying Brick” – and yes that is his legal name. He is their Shadow Minister for the Abolition of Gravity.

In nationwide polls, the Conservatives are 14% ahead of Labour, which would give them a 76 seat majority.

UK Labour thrashed in local elections

May 3rd, 2008 at 9:25 am by David Farrar

The results are yet to be announced for the London Mayoralty (Zimbabwe is almost faster with its results) but the expectation is that Boris Johnson has won it off Ken Livingstone, as Labour have been mauled across the board.

Pundits said a loss of more than 200 seats would be very bad for Labour. Well they have lost a staggering 331 seats – a once in a generation annihilation. In fact Labour only came third in the popular vote with 24% behind Lib Dems on 25% and Conservatives on 44%.

It is now being openly speculated that Prime Minister Gordon Brown may be rolled before the election. He is lucky in that there is no general election needed for two years, but unlucky in that that gives lots of time for discontent to simmer.

Congrats to all my friends in the Conservatives – must have been a good night of celebrations.