Amberley meeting misses star guest Craig

TIM FULTON
Last updated 06:46 29/08/2014
 Colin Craig
FAIRFAX NZ
COLIN CRAIG: The Conservative Party leader pulled out of an Amberley meeting due to media calls and schedule needs.

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Conservative Party leader Colin Craig left three people at a North Canterbury town hall meeting hanging after dropping out to capitalise on a potentially ground-breaking poll result.

Craig was expected at the meeting hosted by 19th-ranked candidate Howard Hudson in Amberley yesterday but pulled out late on Tuesday night.

Media calls beckoned in Auckland and Craig could not make a 6am flight to keep his date at the southern end of the Kaikoura electorate.

His party is within reach of the 5 per cent threshold for entry to Parliament, with a 3 News/Reid Research poll showing the Conservative Party at 4.6 per cent.

Regardless, three people showed at the meeting.

Hudson, a sergeant with the Royal New Zealand Air Force at Woodbourne near Blenheim, said he had no way of letting people know Craig could not make it.

Craig said he had a tight schedule until election day but had been visiting places like Gore and Lumsden, and hoped he could make it back to North Canterbury.

One of the three attendees, Amberley resident Brian Leslie, said he had been keen to talk to Craig because he liked some Conservative policies.

He had noticed the party had polled at nearly 5 per cent but asked Hudson what impact the party could make in Parliament.

"I said to him, 'How much muscle are guys going to have?' That sort of floors them a bit," Leslie said.

The retired businessman felt the Conservatives were "probably a bit idealistic" but he agreed with most of their thinking.

Craig said the poll result followed an upward trend in the past fortnight and "makes us more relevant to those who are undecided".

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