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
Founded 3 August 2011
Headquarters 5 Triton Drive, Albany, Auckland
Student wing Young Conservatives
Ideology Conservatism
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
Political position Right-wing
International affiliation None
Colours Light blue
MPs in the House of Representatives
0 / 121
Auckland Local Board Members
2 / 146
Politics of New Zealand
Political parties

The Conservative Party of New Zealand is a fiscally and social conservative political party in New Zealand that dates from August 2011. It was founded and is led by Colin Craig. It has contested the 2011 and 2014 general elections, without winning any seats.

Philosophy and policies[edit]

The Conservative Party advocates fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, and the use of binding referenda.[1]

Policies include:




Colin Craig had stood in the 2010 Auckland mayoral election, polling third (with about 8.7% of the vote) behind Len Brown and John Banks.[8] He announced the formation of the Conservative Party on 3 August 2011[9] at a media event in Newmarket, Auckland.[10][11] It gained the 500 members required for registration within a month of its founding,[12] and the Electoral Commission formally registered it on 6 October 2011, allowing it to contest the party vote in the 2011 general election.[13] Its party logo was registered at the same time.[14]

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

2011 election[edit]

The Conservatives contested the November 2011 general election, with Craig standing in the Rodney electorate.[15] In October 2011 they announced electoral alliances with The Kiwi Party and New Citizen Party, which saw their candidates standing instead as Conservatives.[16][17] The party ran a list of 52 candidates, including Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock and former New Citizen Botany candidate Paul Young.[18]

During the campaign the party portrayed itself as able to work with either of the two main parties, National and Labour.[19] It highlighted its socially conservative policies of raising the drinking age to 21, parental notification for abortions, and repeal of the "anti-smacking" law.[19] It announced its opposition to National's policy of selling state assets.[19]

The party gained 2.65% of the party vote (59,237 votes), but failed to win any seats in Parliament.[20] Craig came second in Rodney, gaining 8,031 votes – 12,222 votes behind first-time National Party candidate Mark Mitchell.[21] The party spent NZ$1.88 million on its campaign, the second-highest of any party,[22] with most of the money coming from Craig himself.[23]

Following the election, Conservative candidates Larry Baldock and Peter Redman were referred to police for filing a false expenses return and for exceeding the $25,000 cap on election expenses.[24] Colin Craig stated that if the Police found any impropriety neither Larry Baldock nor Peter Redman would be allowed to stand as Conservative candidates.[25] The police subsequently declined to lay charges in the matter.[citation needed]

2011 to 2013[edit]

In May 2013, the party appointed high profile former Work and Income New Zealand chief executive Christine Rankin as its chief executive.[26]

The party contested the 2013 Christchurch East by-election, with candidate Leighton Baker polling 487 votes (or 3.65%) in the preliminary count.[27]

The party also contested the New Zealand local elections, 2013, fielding 27 candidates in Auckland.[28][29] The party gained 50,218 votes overall, and two candidates (Christine Rankin and Callum Blair) were elected to the Upper Harbour Local Board.[30]

2014 election[edit]

In November 2013 speculation arose in the New Zealand news media[31] about a possible electoral accommodation between the Conservatives and the National Party for the 2014 general election. This followed comments by Prime Minister and National Party leader John Key that appeared to hold out the possibility of the Conservatives becoming a coalition partner for National following the election. Speculation suggested that the National Party might not run a candidate in a constituency on Auckland's North Shore, such as Rodney, or East Coast Bays.[32] The Electoral Commission announced on 21 November 2013 the proposed formation of a new electorate on the North Shore named Upper Harbour,[33] however senior National Cabinet Minister 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, giving Colin Craig a chance to win the seat. If Craig won an electorate, the Conservatives would not need to pass the 5% threshold for representation in the New Zealand parliament, potentially allowing one or more Conservative Party list MPs into the House of Representatives. However, McCully subsequently confirmed that he would stand in East Coast Bays as its incumbent National Party electorate MP. After some indecision,[34]Craig also elected to stand in the East Coast Bays electorate.[35] John Key announced on 28 July 2014 that McCully would not step aside to assist the Conservatives into parliament, nor would National urge its members to vote for Craig, thus ending speculation about an electoral deal in East Coast Bays.[36]

On 3 August 2014 Colin Craig announced that party chief executive Christine Rankin would stand in the Epsom electorate.[37] On 7 August 2014 the party announced that Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar would stand,[38] with it subsequently announced that this would be in the Napier electorate. On 13 September a TVNZ Colmar Brunton Poll showed McVicar polling 22% in the Napier electorate, behind Labour and National candidates.[39] National Party leader John Key ruled out endorsing McVicar.[40]

The Conservative Party announced the top five positions for its party list on 22 August 2014. The top five were leader (1) Colin Craig, (2) Epsom candidate Christine Rankin, (3) Garth McVicar (4) Melissa Perkin (5) Mangere candidate Edward Saafi.[41]

The party reached 4.6% in a 3 News Reid Research poll released in late August 2014, suggesting that it might break the 5% threshold.[42][43] However, on September 20, 2014, the Conservatives polled 3.97%, not enough to enter Parliament without also winning an electorate seat.[44]

On 1 August 2014 Colin Craig revealed that China-based firm Shanghai Pengxin was purchasing Lochinver Station, a large dairy farm, and said that the Conservatives were opposed to the deal.[6] Craig won a High Court injunction on 8 August 2014 to prevent TV3 from excluding him from a minor leader's debate that was to have included lower polling parties such as ACT New Zealand and United Future. The televised debate subsequently included the Conservative Party leader.[45]

The Electoral Commission awarded the Conservatives $60,000 in advertising funding for the 2014 general election, three times the $20,800 allocation it made to the Conservatives in 2011.[46]

Election results[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

Election Candidates nominated Seats won Votes Vote share % Position[A] Conservatives in
Electorate List
2011 52 30
0 / 121
59,237 2.65% 9th Not in Parliament
2014 64 20
0 / 121
95,598 3.97% 7th Not in Parliament

Auckland local boards[edit]

Auckland local boards
Election year Candidates # of total votes # of seats won
2013 27/146 67,106
2 / 146

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Principles". Conservative Party of New Zealand. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 
  2. ^ a b Rebecca Savory (2014-08-08). "Craig reveals two candidates". Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  3. ^ Isaac Davison (2014-07-19). "Colin Craig reveals Conservative Party's bottom line". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  4. ^ Audrey Young (2013-12-13). "Conservatives would seek repeal of anti-smacking law, says Craig". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Isaac Davison (2014-08-01). "Crafar farms buyers in new $70 million land deal". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "Colin Craig announces new Conservative Party". The New Zealand Herald. 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  10. ^ "Colin Craig launches Conservative Party of NZ". 3 News NZ. 3 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "New Conservative Party for next election". NZ Herald. 3 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Bennett, Adam (30 August 2011). "New party in time for election". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Registration of Conservative Party". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  14. ^ "Registration of Conservative Party logo". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  15. ^ "Colin Craig won't go up against John Banks". The New Zealand Herald. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  16. ^ "No Kiwi Party candidates in this year's election". The New Zealand Herald. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  17. ^ Danya Levy (2011-10-18). "New Citizens Party joins with Conservatives". Stuff. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  18. ^ "Conservative list released". Press Release: Conservative Party (via 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  19. ^ a b c "Conservative Party still working on major policies". The New Zealand Herald. 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  20. ^ "Official count results -- overall status". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  21. ^ "Official count results -- Rodney". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  22. ^ Young, Audrey (24 March 2012). "Conservatives got least bang for buck". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  23. ^ "Election 2011: Craig spends $1 million to push his new party's plans". New Zealand Herald. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  24. ^ "Referral to the Police 16 April 2013". New Zealand Electoral Commission. 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Conservative Party's new CEO Christine Rankin". Conservative Party. 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  27. ^ "Christchurch East By-election Preliminary Vote Results". Electoral Commission. 30 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Local boards final results" (PDF). Auckland Council. 17 October 2013. 
  29. ^ "Conservative Party to contest Auckland elections". Radio New Zealand. 7 August 2013. 
  30. ^ "Auckland Council - Upper Harbour Local Board". Local Government Online. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  31. ^ Edwards, Bryce (27 November 2013). "Bryce Edwards: Political roundup: Winning at the 2014 general election". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  32. ^ Hooton, Matthew (2013-11-22). "National Must Gift East Coast Bays to Colin Craig". Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  33. ^ "Changes Proposed to Electorate Boundaries". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  34. ^ "Colin Craig undecided on electorate". 3 News. 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  35. ^ Bennett, Adam (2014-06-22). "Colin Craig to contest McCully for East Coast Bays seat". The New Zealand Herald (Auckland: APN New Zealand Limited). ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2014-07-18. Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has confirmed he will contest Murray McCully's East Coast Bays seat in the September election. 
  36. ^ Derek Cheng, Claire Trevett (2014-07-28). "PM: No clear run for Conservatives". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  37. ^ Derek Cheng (2014-08-03). "Christine Rankin to stand for Conservatives in Epsom". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  38. ^ Isaac Davison (2014-08-07). "Garth McVicar to stand for Conservative Party". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  39. ^ "Labour's Nash in the lead: poll". Hawke's Bay Today. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  40. ^ Trevett, Claire (13 September 2014). "Key rules out last minute deal in Napier". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  41. ^ Stacey Kirk (2014-08-22). "Conservative Party list 'balanced'". Stuff. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  42. ^ "Conservatives close to Parliament in new poll". 3 News. 2014-08-27. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  43. ^ Derek Cheng (2014-08-27). "National, Labour fall, minor parties rise in poll". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  44. ^ "Election Results 2014". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  45. ^ Rob Kidd (2014-08-08). "Colin Craig wins court scrap over TV3 debate". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  46. ^ "Advertising funding down for Nats, Labour; up for Greens, NZ First". New Zealand Herald. 2014-06-07. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 

External links[edit]