The Conservative Party has a new, unwilling poster child - radical Left-winger Sue Bradford.
In a week of strange political bedfellows, Colin Craig's Conservative Party has run a full-page picture of Bradford and praised her for her principled stance in leaving the Mana Party over its new alliance with Kim Dotcom.
The full-page advertisement on page B15 of today's Sunday Star-Times carries a huge picture of the veteran politician and the headline "Nice one SUE".
The text below says that while Bradford and the Conservatives "couldn't be further apart on the political spectrum", the party admires Bradford as someone who "stands up for what they believe in".
Bradford walked out of the Mana Party after it formed an alliance with the Internet Party, bankrolled by Dotcom, who faces extradition to the US on criminal copyright charges.
Last night, Craig said the advertisement was a "teaser" for the party's forthcoming campaign, to be announced in full "in due course".
The advertisement was also the first outing for a redesigned party logo and new slogan.
"It's our goal to have the most interesting election campaign - this is just something a little unexpected, hopefully."
The party's new slogan is "Stand for something", and Craig said the point of the ad was that "amidst the shambles and craziness of the Dotcom saga, someone has shown some principle - so we thought that was noteworthy".
Bradford said she had no idea that she was about to feature in a Conservative Party ad, and agreed "our politics could not be further apart at every level".
She said she could "could see the humour" in the ad, but just as she didn't like being manipulated by games played by the Left, "I don't like being manipulated by games being played by the Right, either. This is game-playing by the Right."
Craig agreed "there's a hint of humour there", but the ad's sentiment was geniune. "This is a straight-out compliment. She should take it as one."
Advertising guru John Ansell, creator of the National Party's highly effective 2005 "Iwi/Kiwi" billboard campaign, said the ad seemed like "an unusual start", and that the Conservatives might be better off talking about their own policies, such as calling for binding referenda, or reversing the anti-smacking legislation.
However, if it was just part of a broader campaign about the Conservatives being a party of principle, "that would make it a little easier to understand" .
Ansell said it was a "radical" and "original" ad which shows spirited thinking, "but it also allows the media, who have bagged Colin, to keep doing so.
"But if he has a deep war chest and has time to flesh all this out, that's fine."
- Sunday Star Times
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