Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says his party could pull up to 10 per cent of voters at this year's election.
Craig told a crowd of about 100 supporters at a town hall meeting in Orewa tonight the party was on track to pass the 5 per cent threshold.
“We, very potentially, will be in a balance of power and in a position to make a difference,” he said.
“If we can get more than five per cent, and we think we can get close to double digits, we can implement change.”
Fliers handed out on the night detailed the party’s “call to action” while Craig urged those present to spread the word on Conservative values: “Tell your colleagues, tell your family, your neighbours.”
The theme of Craig’s speech - "five things we shouldn't be afraid to say" - acted as a launching pad for his concerns about becoming a nanny state and his push to remove bureaucracy and legislation, such as the anti-smacking law.
He singled out special interest groups and the unemployed, and said it “was about time people got off their bottoms and do something”.
In question time Craig was taken to task over his defamation case against Green Party co-leader Russel Norman and asked how he would handle the public slanging involved in daily political life.
“If it’s a question of am I tough enough, I come from a commercial background and you don’t survive unless you’re tough,” Craig responded.
“I think it’s time to challenge politicians; to raise the standard of debate.”
He was also asked when he would nominate which electorate he would run in, and when other candidates would be announced, but he failed to answer.
“The candidates will be announced a few at a time – there’s media reasons for that and strategic decisions about that timing,” he said.
During the talk a belly dancing class could be overheard in the next room of Orewa’s Community Hall. The Conservative meeting seemed a bit subdued in comparison, mostly involving people sitting and nodding.
The five things Craig said we shouldn’t be afraid to say were, in summary:
1. Say no to drugs, special interest groups, and don’t give added significance to Maori spirituality
2. Say yes to business opportunities, freeing up land particularly
3. Take responsibility – make people work for the dole, make prisoners work
4. Let people decide – more consultation with the public, such as referendums, particularly over issues such as the anti-smacking law, which he is opposed to
5. Don’t be afraid to be politically active – i.e tell your friends and family to vote Conservative
- Fairfax Media
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