Hamish Rutherford write at Fairfax about Colin Craig’s best hope…and it isn’t Rodney electorate.
As one National MP noted, for Colin Craig to win one of the electorates he has highlighted ‘he would virtually have to have National not stand a candidate’.
Mark Mitchell may not have meant it that way but Wednesday’s dismissal of Colin Craig may simply have said what many National Party MPs may have been thinking for some time.
The Rodney MP, a former policeman and hostage negotiator, caused a minor stir when he initially batted off questions of whether he would step aside to allow Craig a free run, as a matter for the prime minister.
Later that day, as the comment was taken as a sign of an impending deal, Mitchell had clearly grown frustrated, quoting the lovable protagonist from The Castle as he dismissed Craig’s chances of pushing him aside.
“Tell him he’s dreamin’.”
Last election Craig pushed his dodgy polls that said he was in front in Rodney, and Mark Mitchell still spanked him by 12,000 votes. The biggest supporters of Colin Craig anywhere are those who have never met him.
With Mitchell the most junior of the National candidates in the three seats, and Craig standing in Rodney in 2011, attention naturally turned initially to Mitchell. But Rodney is more likely to provide a lesson on just what is required to assist Craig into Parliament than it is to be the new Conservative headquarters.
When voters were last given the choice between the two, with Mitchell largely an unknown and Craig running an expensive campaign, the decision was emphatic. Mitchell won by more than 12,000 votes.
Although the back benches of Parliament have hardly raised Mitchell’s profile nationwide, three years on there is little to suggest that Rodney voters will be more likely to push for the Conservatives this time.
That fact may frame the thinking on a deal with Craig: a cup of tea with the prime minister may not be enough if Mitchell is on the ballot.