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Tuesday 12 April 2016

Comment: Conservative Party Feels the Heat

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 19th June 2015

Why did he take a seven-month break from media scrutiny?
Venturing out for the first time in several months, Colin Craig shared a sauna with TV3's David Farrier, fully clothed.

Quite why Farrier chose the Conservative Party leader, and why he agreed, is a mystery. In any case, the conversation went this way. The Conservatives 'came close', he opposes the flag referendum, he confirmed that he is a "Christian", expressed concern over the high marginal tax rate, has eliminated soft drinks from his household, and Rachel McGregor's position was jobshared. Whether Mr Craig was asked to remain fully clothed is a cause for concern, or possibly it is related to either perceptions of prudery or toughness, it is difficult to tell. Apparently, his party isn't impressed and once again, there are internal coup rumblings given that (gasp) Mr. Craig removed his shirt! God does not like saunas, it would seem.

What else has the Conservative Party been up to? After seven months of inertia, the Conservative Party website lurched back into life late last month. The Conservatives opposed the idea of a Capital Gains Tax, without elaborating how they'd fund central government health and educational services. They also announced a fundraising session in Kaikoura, on the North Canterbury coastline, and their annual party conference in September 2015. There seems to have been considerable turnover of office volunteers since the election, and one of their own is now media relations officer. He minimised the fallout over Larry Baldock's departure/expulsion from his party, as well as the resignation of Christchurch's Leighton Baker and Napier Sensible Sentencing Trust activist Garth McVicar. Moreover, Christine Rankin appears to be moving away from Auckland and seemed to play little role in the April 2015 newsletter, the first one since before the last election (January-April 2014).

In its "issues that affect us," there was an intriguing list of such concerns. The Conservatives appear to oppose changing the flag and the forthcoming referendum on the subject and opposing the Transpacific Partnership. Ah, the latter should make the National Party happy, particularly given recent headaches over US accession to that particular international agreement within the US Congress. And for all Craig's musings about marginal tax rates in his Farrier interview, I suspect that it may be the TPTP policy that attracts most National Party attention- and disapproval. As for religious social conservatives, at a time when they're anxious and concerned about David Seymour's private members bill to introduce voluntary euthanasia/physician assisted suicide, the party remains virtually silent about that particular concern, which will increase pressure from Right to Life and the anti-abortion/anti-euthanasia lobby to do so...and vocal dissatisfaction if it subordinates that increasingly core Christian Right issue to their dogma about binding citizens referenda.

David Farrier: "Sauna Session with Colin Craig" 3 News/Newsworthy: 08.06.2015: 2015060823
Conversation: The Conservative Party Newsletter: April 2015: pdf

Craig Young - 19th June 2015

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