Party leader ends Epsom rumours

STEVE HOPKINS
Last updated 07:41 19/09/2011
Colin Craig
COLIN CRAIG: The former Auckland mayoral candidate has launched a new political party.

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The leader of the Conservative Party, Colin Craig, has confirmed he will stand as the Rodney electorate candidate.

The announcement today ends speculation he would stand against John Banks in Auckland's Epsom.

Craig says he was attracted to the challenge of taking on Banks, his former mayoral campaign rival, but he's ''followed his heart by standing for the people'' of Rodney.

''I've lived in Rodney and my business involvement here has spanned more than 20 years. Many of my family live here and I'm passionate about getting things moving for everyone in the region,'' he says.

Craig's father Ross Craig was a Rodney district councillor until the Auckland super city council was formed last year.

The Conservative Party claims polling in the area shows Craig is ahead of his nearest rival.

Meanwhile, further polling by the party claims to show Banks is struggling to win over Epsom voters.

Of those who had decided who they were likely to vote for as an electoral candidate in Epsom, 35.3 per cent say they would vote for the National candidate, 31.4 per cent would tick Banks, and 27.4 per cent say they would give their vote Craig if he was on the ballot paper.

The Conservative Party expects to name its Epsom candidate in due course.

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