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.