Rachel MacGregor quitting days before the 2014 election all but ensured that the Conservative Party did not get its coveted 5%. It certainly looked possible up to that point. Of course, in hindsight, Ms MacGregor did New Zealand a huge favour by exposing what Colin Craig was like.
Mr Craig was hoping to clear his name in time for the 2017 election so he could lead what has been ostensibly his party to the election win he feels he deserved. But a number of public court case results and a number of still active cases have not put him in a position to be a viable political candidate for the 2017 election.
Whaleoil has kept an eye on the Conservative Party because until recently it was fair to say that Colin and the Conservative Party were one and the same thing. They shared the same offices, computer systems and some staff.
At some point, those with some ambition for the party, had to cut Colin loose. They left it too late, but it appears the genesis of the split started late last year, around the time Colin Craig lost to Jordan Williams in the very public defamation case.
In truth, Whaleoil didn’t believe the split was real. After all, money talks, and Colin was holding all the purse strings, with the exception of some spare change that Laurence Day would chuck into the kitty. So when new leader Leighton Baker was announced, he very much felt like a seat warmer because at the time, everything else still seemed to point at Colin owning the party infrastructure.
This week has seen the first public sign of a genuine breakup between the party and Mr Craig. They mentioned their party web site in a public press release. Instead of conservartive.org.nz, it is now nzconservative.com.
Also, authorisation statements now point at Kevin Stitt’s home address in South Auckland instead of the Castle in Triton Drive on Auckland’s North Shore.
This indicates that Colin has refused to release control of certain aspects of the party infrastructure, and the rebel Conservatives in the party have had to be pragmatic and just grab another web site name.
Also of interest has been the sudden promotion of the Conservative party by Ian Wishart of Investigate fame. He was asked to stand for the party for the 2014 election, but that didn’t work out. He does seem more heavily involved now, even to the point where the Investigate web site and the new Conservative party web site look the same.
The Conservative party have recently run an Internet-only poll which was promoted to Investigate website readers. The party are now distributing the results as if it was a genuine poll carried out by an independent and professional company.
In this poll, the Conservatives had 4.9% support, which forms the basis for their self-fuelled confidence that they are, once more, in the running for 2017.
I’ll cover this poll in more detail tomorrow.