Nats deal with Conservatives unlikely

MICHAEL FOX AND STACEY KIRK
Last updated 08:17 28/07/2014

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The Prime Minister has all but ruled out a deal with Colin Craig's Conservative Party in the electorate of East Coast Bays.

John Key will reveal this afternoon who National will do election deals with, while the party's newly-released list indicates they are likely in Epsom and Ohariu.

But he confirmed this morning the party would not be pulling Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully from standing in the electorate he's held since 1987.

National's list, released yesterday, included a big promotion for Epsom candidate Paul Goldsmith, from 39 to 30, and a high ranking for newcomer and Ohariu candidate Brett Hudson, debuting at 39 and the highest-ranked non-MP.

Those placings are a hint that National will again signal to its supporters to back ACT in Epsom with their candidate votes, where David Seymour is standing, as well as United Future's Peter Dunne in his Ohariu stronghold.

"They [the placings] are pretty generous if you think about where [those MPs] are at," Key said on Breakfast.

"But in essence you might see a situation where we're a bit more sympathetic there if someone wants to for instance give their electorate vote to David Seymour and their party vote to National, we'll be comfortable.

"In essence, obviously if we're going to get to a point where potentially it might make sense for someone to vote tactically, we don't want on the ground efforts to be counterproductive to those arguments.

McCully is ranked 11, and listed as standing in East Coast Bays. Craig had sought an accommodation to allow him to enter Parliament without crossing the five per cent threshold, but a deal is unlikely to work without McCully standing aside completely.

Key confirmed this morning that that would not be happening.

"We're certainly going to run a candidate there, which is Murray McCully of course," he said.

Craig said yesterday he had not held discussions about a deal with National and was not expecting them to announce one.

A deal was unlikely to be worth it for Key, if the Conservatives were not polling over 3.5 per cent.

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.

In yesterday's One News/Colmar Brunton poll, the party was at 2 per cent.

"I've always said it's up to National so I don't know whether to expect anything or not. We've certainly not requested anything," Craig said.

"We didn't stand in East Coast Bays on the expectation that McCully would stand aside so I don't think we're necessarily expecting anything."

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ACT leader Jamie Whyte said they had not had word on an accommodation, but were heartened by Goldsmith's ranking.

Whyte said that National would get more than the 38 per cent of the party vote to ensure Goldsmith a seat, therefore Epsom voters could safely give their candidate vote to Seymour.

"We are pleased to see that obviously because we [didn't] want a situation where Paul Goldsmith's fortunes were in competition with David's."

National Party president Peter Goodfellow declined to comment on the deals ahead of Key's announcement.

"The prime minister has made it pretty clear that he'll be making a statement this coming week about accommodations and I don't want to pre-empt that announcement.

"We have left our options open there on the list but I think we've also identified the need to make sure that we need to have better representation in the Wellington area."

This had seen Hudson and Hutt South candidate Chris Bishop, ranked at 49, given relatively high rankings.

The list showed the party was rejuvenating and if National polled the same as the last election it would bring in 13 new faces alongside 46 returning MPs, he said.

Education Minister Hekia Parata was promoted from her 2011 ranking of 18 to seven while Hamilton West candidate Tim Macindoe went from 50 to 28 and Jami-Lee Ross up from 54 to 29.

- Stuff

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