8 January 1968 |
Auckland, New Zealand
|Political party||Conservative Party of New Zealand|
Colin Craig (born 8 January 1968) is a New Zealand businessman and the founding leader of the Conservative Party of New Zealand. Craig is a millionaire who owns companies that manage high-rise buildings. His current company manages about $1.3 billion of assets. He is well known for his views on gay marriage, and was frequently reported in the media opposing moves to legalise it.
Born in Auckland and raised in the suburb of Howick, Craig graduated from the University of Auckland with Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts degrees before completing post-graduate study at Massey University. He has one daughter with his wife Helen. His father, Ross Craig, served as a Rodney District councillor until 2010.
Craig has stated he is not sure that "legislating morality" works well. However, he has described legalisation of same-sex marriage as "social engineering", and is also opposed to gay adoption, adolescent access to abortion, common-law marriages, and voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide. In May 2012, Craig described New Zealand's young men and women as "the most promiscuous in the world" based upon surveys such as David P. Schmitt's International Sexuality Description Project research statistics and anecdotal evidence from New Zealand gynaecologists, a statement which was dismissed by Prime Minister John Key and other political leaders like Tariana Turia and Winston Peters.
Following a series of child poverty items on current affairs show Campbell Live and a fundraising effort from the show to raise money for school lunches, Craig said children sent to school without lunch should go without. Instead, their parents should be charged the "cost of rectifying their bad behaviour".
In September 2012, Craig had 20,000 leaflets delivered to residents in the Helensville electorate, claiming locals had told him Helensville MP and Prime Minister John Key was "too gay" to be their representative in Parliament.
In April 2013 Craig sided with controversial Danish politician Marie Krarup after she called a traditional Maori greeting "grotesque". Craig said no visitors should have to face a "bare-bottomed native making threatening gestures" if they didn't want to.
Following the legalisation of same sex marriage in April 2013, Craig said "the day of reckoning" would come, that it was a "failure of democracy" and that "[it] was not a vote of the people of New Zealand," adding "If it had been, the answer would have been no."
Craig has been known to take offence at satirical articles directed at him, including a piece on the satirical website The Civilian, which he said published a story designed "to make him look ridiculous". He threatened to sue the site unless they published a retraction and paid him $500. Craig withdrew the threat the following day.
Craig first emerged as a conservative activist in 2009 when he organised and funded a "march for democracy" to protest government decisions not to adhere to three citizen's initiated referenda:
- the New Zealand MP reduction referendum, 1999, on a proposed reduction in the number of members of parliament (1999 – 81% in favour)
- the New Zealand justice referendum, 1999, re sundry suggested changes to the justice system (1999 – 92% in favour)
- the 2009 referendum concerning the repeal of the 2007 amendment of the Crimes Act, the so-called "anti-smacking" law, which removed parental corporal punishment as a defense in criminal assault cases (2009 – 87% in favour, although the wording of the referendum question received much criticism, and a low turnout (56 percent) meant that the proposal did not receive an absolute majority in support, unlike in the other two referenda).
He spent $450,000 organising the march, and it attracted 5,000 participants. In 2010, Craig contested the Auckland Mayoral election, finishing third with 42,598 votes behind Len Brown, mayor of Manukau City (237,487 votes) and John Banks (New Zealand politician and former mayor of Auckland – 171,542 votes), but ahead of incumbent North Shore City mayor Andrew Williams (3,813 votes).
In 2011 Craig announced the formation of the Conservative Party of New Zealand. The party contested the 2011 general election on a variety of issues, including the introduction of binding referenda, reducing the number of members of parliament while increasing the electoral term by one year, law and order reform (including work for prisoners), a repeal of the New Zealand emissions trading scheme, the protection of state assets (notably the foreshore and seabed), and fiscal conservatism. In September 2011, he announced he would stand in the Rodney electorate for the 2011 general election. After pre-election polling in this electorate, Craig claimed to have 47% support while the National Party candidate Mark Mitchell had 36.3%. Prime Minister and National Party leader John Key said that the Conservative Party faced a "massive hurdle" to get a seat in Parliament. According to preliminary election results, Mitchell won the seat with 52.6% of the vote, and Colin Craig came second with 21.4% of the vote. The Conservative Party also gained 2.76% of the vote nation-wide, the fifth-largest share of any party and more than four of the parties that actually won seats, but this was insufficient for any Conservatives to enter Parliament because of the 5% of the party vote or one electorate seat required by the mixed-member proportional voting system operating in New Zealand.
In 2012, Craig donated $1.6 million of his own money to the party.
Craig stood as a candidate in the East Coast Bays electorate in the 2014 general election but failed to win the electorate. His party received less than 5% of the vote meaning they did not enter parliament.
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- "Campbell Live's Lunchbox Day". 3 News NZ. 21 September 2012.
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- "Key shrugs off gay comments". 3 News NZ. 2 September 2012.
- "Powhiri 'grotesque' – Danish politician". 3 News NZ. 8 April 2013.
- "Bare bottom welcomes 'should be optional'". 3 News NZ. 8 April 2013.
- "Gay marriage bill will 'save lives'". 3 News NZ. 18 April 2013.
- "Gay marriage 'a failure of democracy' – Craig". 3 News NZ. 18 April 2013.
- Gay marriage opponents licking wounds http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/8566153/Gay-marriage-opponents-licking-wounds
- "Colin Craig threatens satirical website". 3 News NZ. 23 April 2013.
- "Colin Craig abandons defamation suit". 3 News NZ. 24 April 2013.
- VIDEO: Who is Colin Craig?. 3 News NZ. 15 November 2013.
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- New Zealand Press Association (8 August 2011). "Key won't rule out working with new party".
- "Craig gives $1.6m to Conservatives". Stuff NZ. 10 May 2013.
- Bennett, Adam (22 June 2014). "Colin Craig to contest McCully for East Coast Bays seat". The New Zealand Herald (Auckland: APN New Zealand Limited). ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has confirmed he will contest Murray McCully's East Coast Bays seat in the September election.