Conservative Party of New Zealand

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This article is about the party founded in 2011. For the party of the 1990s, see New Zealand Conservative Party.
Conservative Party of New Zealand
Leader Colin Craig
President Christine Rankin[1]
Founded August 2011
Headquarters 5 Triton Drive, Albany, Auckland
Ideology Conservativism
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
International affiliation (Not affiliated)
Colours Light blue
Politics of New Zealand
Political parties

The Conservative Party of New Zealand, a political party in New Zealand, dates from August 2011. It advocates fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, the repeal of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and of the child discipline law, and the use of binding referenda.[2] Colin Craig, who polled third (with about 8.7% of the vote) in the 2010 Auckland mayoral election,[3] leads the party.


Craig announced the formation of the party on 3 August 2011[4] at a media event in Newmarket, Auckland.[5][6] It gained the 500 members required for registration within a month of its founding,[7] and the Electoral Commission formally registered it on 6 October 2011, allowing it to contest the party vote in the 2011 general election.[8] Its party logo was registered at the same time. [9]

While the Conservative Party is not overtly Christian, many leading members of the Kiwi Party joined it, indicated by the change in colour here.


The party advocates fiscal conservatism and social conservatism. Key policies include:

  • the repeal of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme,
  • upholding the right to self defence and defence of one's property,
  • repeal of the child discipline law,
  • crown (state) ownership of the foreshore and seabed as opposed to iwi ownership,
  • stronger regulation of alcohol including raising the purchasing age for alcohol back to 21,
  • opposition to state asset sales
  • the use of binding referenda.[2]
  • opposition to same-sex marriage

2011 election[edit]

In September 2011 Craig announced he would stand in the Rodney electorate.[10]

On 14 October The Kiwi Party announced that it would not stand any candidates in the election, and that its leader Larry Baldock and other members would stand as Conservative candidates.[11] On 18 October the Conservative Party announced a similar alliance with the New Citizen Party.[12] On 1 November 2011 the party released its list, containing 52 candidates. Craig headed the list, with Baldock listed third and former New Citizen Botany candidate Paul Young at number 11.[13]

During the campaign the party portrayed itself as able to work with either of the two main parties, National and Labour.[14] It highlighted its socially conservative policies of raising the drinking age to 21, parental notification for abortions, and repeal of the "anti-smacking" law.[14] It also announced its opposition to selling state assets.[15]

The party gained 2.65% of the party vote (59,237 votes) in the 2011 general election, but failed to win any seats in Parliament.[16] In the overall vote it polled the fifth highest of all parties, higher than United Future, ACT New Zealand, the Māori Party or the Mana Party,[16] but as it fell below the 5% threshold, the party did not gain representation. Craig came second in Rodney, gaining 8,031 votes - 12,222 votes behind first-time New Zealand National Party candidate Mark Mitchell, who polled 20,253 votes in all.[17]

The Electoral Commission awarded the Conservative Party $20,800.00 in its 2011 broadcasting allocation. This compares with $1,179,600.00 each for the Labour and National Parties.[18] New Zealand electoral law bans broadcasting during the election outside this allocation. The Conservative Party spent NZ$1.88 million on non broadcasting aspects of its campaign, the second-highest of any party and more than the Labour Party,[19] with most of the money coming from Craig himself.[20] It spent more than $31 per party-vote gained, a higher rate than other parties.[19] As the Conservatives are not in parliament they received no taxpayer funding from parliamentary services.

In April 2013 the Electoral Commission announced it had referred Conservative candidate Larry Baldock to the police for filing a false expenses return and for exceeding the $25,000 cap on election expenses.[21]

In May 2013, it was announced that former Work and Income New Zealand chief executive Christine Rankin, also associated with other social conservative organisations such as For the Sake of Our Children Trust, had become the Conservative Party's new chief executive [22]

2013 local elections[edit]

On 7 August 2013 the party announced that it would be standing candidates at the 2013 local authority elections in Auckland.[23] Some 22 candidates stood under the conservative banner in the Auckland region, although Colin Craig did not stand for mayor of Auckland in 2013. Fiscal conservatism was a platform supported by the Conservatives local election candidates.

Christine Rankin was elected to the Upper Harbour Local Board of the Auckland Council with 7101 votes. In all 50,218 votes were cast for one or another candidate fielded by the Conservatives.

Christchurch East by-election 2013[edit]

The party stood Leighton Baker in the Christchurch East by-election held on 30 November 2013. Mr Baker polled 487 votes (or 3.65%) in the preliminary count,[24] making the Conservative party's candidate poll result the fourth highest of the participating parties.

Speculation on an electoral deal with National[edit]

In November 2013 speculation arose in the New Zealand media[25] about a possible electoral accommodation between the Conservatives and the National Party of New Zealand. This followed comments by Prime Minister (and National Party leader) John Key that appeared to hold out the possibility of the Conservatives being a potential coalition partner for National following the next general elections in New Zealand due in 2014. There is speculation that the National Party might not run a candidate in a constituency on Auckland's North Shore such as Rodney, or East Coast Bays.[26] The Electoral Commission (New Zealand) announced on 21 November 2013 the proposed formation of a new electorate on Auckland's North Shore to be called Upper Harbour,[27] however National's Paula Bennett promptly announced her intention to stand in the new electorate. Nevertheless, speculation continued that National MP Murray McCully might vacate his East Coast Bays seat to become a list only MP, allowing Colin Craig to stand there. If Colin Craig won an electorate, the Conservatives would not need to pass the 5% threshold for representation in the New Zealand parliament, allowing list MPs to be elected for the conservatives as well. However, Murray McCully has since confirmed that he will stand for East Coast Bays as its incumbent National Party MP. At present, Colin Craig is undecided about whether or not he will stand for an electorate seat at the forthcoming New Zealand election, and if so, where.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Conservative Party's New CEO Christine Rankin
  2. ^ a b "Find Out More". Conservative Party of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  3. ^ Craig received 42,598 votes behind Len Brown (237,487 votes) and John Banks (171,542 votes): "Mayor (1) final results". Auckland Council. Auckland Council. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  4. ^ "Colin Craig announces new Conservative Party". The New Zealand Herald. 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  5. ^ "Colin Craig launches Conservative Party of NZ". 3 News NZ. 3 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "New Conservative Party for next election". NZ Herald. 3 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Bennett, Adam (30 August 2011). "New party in time for election". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Registration of Conservative Party". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  9. ^ "Registration of Conservative Party logo". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  10. ^ "Colin Craig won't go up against John Banks". The New Zealand Herald. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  11. ^ "No Kiwi Party candidates in this year's election". The New Zealand Herald. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  12. ^ Danya Levy (2011-10-18). "New Citizens Party joins with Conservatives". Stuff. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  13. ^ "Conservative list released". Press Release: Conservative Party (via 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  14. ^ a b "Conservative Party still working on major policies". The New Zealand Herald. 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  15. ^ "Conservative Party: Asset sales will lose money". TVNZ. 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  16. ^ a b "Official count results -- overall status". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Official count results -- Rodney". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "2011 Broadcasting Allocation". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Young, Audrey (24 March 2012). "Conservatives got least bang for buck". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  20. ^ "Election 2011: Craig spends $1 million to push his new party's plans". New Zealand Herald. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  21. ^ "Referral to the Police 16 April 2013". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Conservative Party to contest Auckland elections". Radio New Zealand. 7 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Christchurch East By-election Preliminary Vote Results". Electoral Commission. 30 November 2013. 
  25. ^ Edwards, Bryce (27 November 2013). "Bryce Edwards Political Roundups". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  26. ^ Hooton, Matthew. "National Must Gift East Coast Bays to Colin CraIG". Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "Changes Proposed to Electorate Boundaries". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Colin Craig undecided on electorate". 3 News. 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 

External links[edit]