Craig: Make referendums binding

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 16:00 19/07/2014
Colin Craig
DAVID WHITE/Fairfax NZ
AMBITIOUS: Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.

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If National wants Conservative Party support it will have to make referendums binding, says the party's leader Colin Craig.

He's used his keynote speech at the party's annual conference this weekend to highlight the party's policy as a "bottom line" for any coalition negotiations.

Speaking to about 120 of the party's rank and file, Craig said National was running a "nanny state", that had grown "too big and too proud".

"It's time the government was smaller, it's time the government was more efficient and it's time the government was beholden to the people who voted them in. 

"It's time they were put on a leash, and made to be a public service ," he said.

The party's policies for tougher sentences, binding referendums, smaller government and less tax, were received by the party faithful with cheers and applause.  

Talking referendums, Craig said more people voted against the smacking law than ever voted for John Key to be Prime Minister. 

"Over 87 per cent is not a suggestion Mr Key, it's as clear as it gets." 

The Prime Minister was contemplating a potential deal with the Conservatives, which would likely see East Coast Bays MP Murray McCully pulled from the ballot to make was for Craig to take the seat. 

McCully, one of National's most senior MPs, has held the seat since 1987. It's not a deal Key would do lightly, and its expected the Conservatives would have to poll above 3 per cent before National would consider it. 

In the latest Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll, Conservatives pulled 1.3 per cent support - that was up from 0.9 per cent in June. In a recently released Roy Morgan poll, the party registered one per cent.

Speaking to Fairfax, Conservatives Chief executive Christine Rankin said the party's own internal polling was hitting the 3.8 per cent mark.

Craig told the conference he was confident the party would get there. We have more support than half the parties in parliament. 

"We've become a grassroots movement," Craig said.

"I couldn't even buy stationary at the shop this morning, without giving the man behind the counter a signed autograph."

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