INDEPENDENT NEWS

Q+A interview with Colin Craig

Published: Sun 7 Aug 2011 02:35 PM
Q+A interview with Colin Craig
Sunday 7th August, 2011
Points of interest from interview with Colin Craig.
Yet to decide whether he will run in Epsom; acknowledges John Banks has a lot of support, but believes he does as well
Admits to earlier discussions with Don Brash about a new right-wing party, but denies an ‘anti-ACT agenda’
Scots and Jews are “quite happy to be associated with… good money management”; PAUL “Do you think Jews are very good at that? Is that what you’re saying?” MR CRAIG “I think they are.”
Will put own money into party
Wants major decisions made by binding referendums, only 99 MPs
Would repeal the Coastal and Marine Act, anti-smacking legislation
Plans to stand Conservative Party candidates in all electorates, but ‘may miss a few’
Insists his own conservative views are separate from party policy
Doesn’t think civil unions are ‘less’ than heterosexual marriages
The interview has been transcribed below. The full length video interviews and panel discussions from this morning’s Q+A can be watched on tvnz.co.nz at, http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news
Q+A, 9-10am Sundays on TV ONE. Repeats at 9.10pm Sundays, 10.10am and 2.10pm Mondays on TVNZ 7
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COLIN CRAIG interviewed by PAUL HOLMES
PAUL Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is with us. Welcome to Q+A. Good morning.
COLIN CRAIG – Leader, Conservative Party
Thank you, Paul.
PAUL Why are you doing this?
MR CRAIG Well, I’m doing it for two reasons: number one, because I see the need for a new initiative, something different; and secondly because a lot of people have asked me to. So it comes out of a group of supporters and the request of people who have said, “Look, can you do something? Are you prepared to stand up?” Yes, I am.
PAUL Who are these people, though? Do something about what?
MR CRAIG Well, it’s supporters, really, that have come about over time. Obviously, those who...
PAUL Since your anti-smacking march?
MR CRAIG Really, yeah, since then. I mean, I do have some friends, Paul, it’s good to know. But, no, really, look, it’s supporters that I’ve gathered since then and through the mayoral campaign. You know, hundreds of people that have come forward.
PAUL Well, maybe it’s because you’ve simply developed a liking for a bit of profile, with respect.
MR CRAIG Yeah, I think that anyone who knows me well probably wouldn’t say so. I’ve always enjoyed a relatively quiet life, and profile’s never been important for me. But I am motivated by the issues, and I am motivated by people.
PAUL Are you going to stand for Epsom? Have you made that decision?
MR CRAIG No, I haven’t made that decision, and I know there’s a lot of speculation around that, but it really is a decision that’s not going be made for some weeks yet.
PAUL Well, that would split the right, wouldn’t it? And leave the way open for what?
MR CRAIG Well, look, where I stand won’t be based purely on a political analysis. It’ll be based on whom I want to represent and who wants me to represent them.
PAUL Because you would very likely get a bloody nose in Epsom, wouldn’t you? Mr Banks dealt to you very severely... OK, he was dealt to by Len Brown, but he dealt to you very severely in the last mayoral election.
MR CRAIG Oh, absolutely, and he started with a lot more profile and a bigger team. It’d be a slightly different calculation this time, but I do acknowledge that John Banks has a lot of support in Epsom. He also knows, and has said to me that he knows, I would have a lot of support in Epsom too, so it would be a good contest, but it’s certainly not a decision made.
PAUL Is part of this because you want to kill ACT off? Something happened – you were talking to Don Brash earlier this year, weren’t you, about being part of ACT?
MR CRAIG No, I haven’t talked to Don about being part of ACT, and there's no...
PAUL Well, about a new party.
MR CRAIG Yeah, well, we did talk about the need for parties in... a new party in New Zealand politics. No, there's no anti-ACT agenda, and I have nothing against anyone in ACT at all.
PAUL Alright, so just very quickly, you want to stand as many electorate candidates as you can.
MR CRAIG We do. We do.
PAUL Well, how realistic...? How many do you reckon you can get between now and, what, September? October?
MR CRAIG Yeah, I would like to think we’d be in all of them, but realistically, we may miss a few.
PAUL Where’s you money coming from?
MR CRAIG Well, it’d come from people who have made commitments to put money in the pot. I will contribute some, of course.
PAUL But it’s unrealistic coming up towards the middle of August with an election looming in November to think that this brand new party can a) get 500 member and it can then mount electorate candidates in pretty near all the electorates, isn’t it?
MR CRAIG I think...
PAUL It’s unrealistic.
MR CRAIG That’s the challenge, and let’s see if we can deliver on it. I think what you’ll see is that we will get 500 members, we will contest most electorates, and we will have a campaign that starts when campaigning starts at the end of the month and runs all three months, and I think it will be a good campaign.
PAUL Right, you have formed a Conservative Party. What are your main planks? What do you believe? Who are you? Should we be able to smack kids?
MR CRAIG The short answer is I think parents should be able to, as long as it’s reasonable. Our planks are democracy, referendum – binding referendum – and taking on board each time New Zealanders have got together and said, by a vast majority, “We want this, we want this, we want this.” They deserve to have those things. So we will be campaigning that there should only be 99 MPs.
PAUL Homosexuality is wrong, is it?
MR CRAIG Um, that’s not a statement that I’m making. I know that people get quite interested in my own conservative views and my personal beliefs. It’s certainly not a policy of the party and it’s not something I would say.
PAUL Has the party got any policies?
MR CRAIG The party does have policies, but none on anything like that.
PAUL Binding referendum.
MR CRAIG Absolutely, binding referendum’s one of those.
PAUL We’ve had that before. It goes nowhere, doesn’t it?
MR CRAIG Well...
PAUL It goes nowhere, Mr Craig.
MR CRAIG Well, most countries – I should say democratic countries. Most democratic countries have some form of binding referendum. We believe we need one.
PAUL Go back to homosexuality.
MR CRAIG Sure.
PAUL Do you regard a homosexual relationship as less than a heterosexual one, really, in your heart?
MR CRAIG It’s.. For me, personally – obviously I made a choice for marriage. I recognise they’re going to make their own choice, and they’ll base that on their own sort of factors and decisions, not me.
PAUL Well, they opt for marriage as well. We just call is civil union.
MR CRAIG Yeah, that’s right.
PAUL Is that a bit less than a real marriage, man and a woman, though?
MR CRAIG Um, I don’t think so. I mean, it’s a different thing, isn’t it, under the law in New Zealand? It’s not something I have any policy or sort of thoughts...
PAUL Would you campaign on it?
MR CRAIG No.
PAUL Would you like to see the repeal of the Civil Union Act?
MR CRAIG No, I wouldn’t campaign on that, Paul. The policy we have is there for improving New Zealand as a whole, and I think every New Zealander, no matter what their personal views are, should know and will see that those policies are good for the country and therefore good for them.
PAUL In an interview you did, I think with the New Zealand Herald, last year when you were standing for the mayoralty, you described yourself as miserly.
MR CRAIG I am a bit, yes.
PAUL And you said that was because you’ve got Scots in you and your wife’s got Scots and Jewish in her.
MR CRAIG (laughs) I think it has a factor.
PAUL Do you think that’s rational? Do you think Scots people are mean, is that what you’re saying?
MR CRAIG No, I think...
PAUL You think Jews are tight, is that what you’re saying?
MR CRAIG If I look at my own heritage, my grandmother was Scotch. She was brought up in the slums of Edinburgh.
PAUL Yeah, but is that why you’re miserly? Cos she’s a tight old Scot?
MR CRAIG Well, she was, God rest her soul. She’s in the grave now, but she passed onto me certain values, and making the most of every dollar certainly was one of those values, yeah.
PAUL But don’t you see that explaining your thrift in terms of your Scots and your wife’s Jewish heritage might upset the Scottish lobby and the Jewish lobby?
MR CRAIG I think good money management is probably a core principle that they’re quite happy to be associated with.
PAUL Do you think Jews are very good at that? Is that what you’re saying?
MR CRAIG I think they are.
PAUL Mm-hm.
MR CRAIG Mm.
PAUL Would you repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act?
MR CRAIG Yes, Foreshore... Sorry, Marine and Coastal Act – yes, I would.
PAUL Mr Craig, in the end, you are a pimple on the backside of New Zealand politics. What can you really achieve?
MR CRAIG (laughs) Well, let’s wait and see. I believe I can achieve a lot. I believe that we can make a difference, and that will be some good policy, some good contribution and representing a group of New Zealanders who know that government is not doing what they want.
PAUL Mr Colin Craig, then, of the Conservative Party, thank you very much for your time.

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