Rankin doesn't have a dog show: Key
Conservative Party chief executive Christine Rankin "doesn't have a dog show" of winning Epsom in the coming election, Prime Minister John Key says.
Rankin confirmed yesterday she would stand in the Auckland seat, joining the race alongside ACT's David Seymour, National's Paul Goldsmith and Labour's Michael Wood.
"Epsom needs a strong voice, and National needs the Conservatives to give them a backbone, and keep them on a short leash," she said.
Party leader Colin Craig was confident she would do well.
"We have polled the electorate and ACT has no chance of winning," Craig said.
"By standing Christine, we give the people of Epsom the chance to elect a centre-Right government with Conservative values."
But the prime minister today laughed off the suggestion the seat would go to anyone but Seymour.
Key signalled an electorate deal with ACT in Epsom last week, saying supporters should give Seymour their electorate vote, while keeping their party votes for National.
At the same time, Key ruled out an accommodation for Craig in the East Coast Bays seat.
"I like Christine, she's a really good lady, I've known her over the years and she's a sensible person," Key said this morning on Breakfast.
"But at the end, she doesn't have a dog show in Epsom.
"We poll there, and what I can tell you is that our polling shows about 70 per cent of Epsom voters are going to give their party vote to National.
"A fair few of them I suspect will give their electorate vote to David Seymour in ACT because they want to vote tactically and see the return of a National-led government."
Key said it was in the interests of small parties to stand in high-profile electorates like Epsom, because it meant more publicity for them.