Leighton Baker, the new leader of the Conservative party

The Conservative party registered 0.5% support (up from 0.0%) in the most recent Roy Morgan.  At this stage there is no sign that this will grow to 5% or more.  There are no strong candidates, and due to Colin Craig’s presidential style of campaigning, Conservative party stalwart Leighton Baker has zero profile outside of Christchurch.

In 2011, he was 12th on the party list.

For 2014, he failed to make the Top 20, and even if the Conservative party had not suffered the Rachel MacGregor resignation, Leighton Baker would not have made it into parliament.

He wasn’t rated by Team Colin.

After the election, the party was in disarray.  Colin Craig threatened and indeed followed through on a number of lawsuits after having a very public press conference.

For someone like Leighton Baker, the party was no longer a useful place to be.  So he resigned.

He stated the reason as not being able to give the party the time it deserved.  He also, once again, denied being one of the media leaks that saw Colin Craig in political quicksand.

That’s what I would call a “not burning any bridges” kind of letter.  I doubt that the board would have believed a word of it.   But in the end, he quit the party in 2015.

After the Colin Craig loss to Jordan Williams, Baker became the party spokesperson, he rejoined the party board and more recently accepted the role as party leader.

Conservative is a brand like Green.  It will get votes simply because there are people that don’t know anything about politics or the people involved with the party, yet they want to place their vote with a party that represents their general world view.

Historically, that’s been about 2% of the vote.  So without a strong candidate standing in an electorate, the party is not expected to make it to parliament in 2017.

Some have theorised Baker is just a seat warmer until Colin Craig can square all his legal troubles away, but if you look at Baker’s history, he clearly wasn’t favoured by Team Colin.   Also, there are signs the party has continued without Colin, registering its own domain names, moving registered offices, and taking on their own membership admin.

Which is the first hurdle to cross:  Does the party still have 500+ financial members?  At its most popular, just before the 2014 election, it had approximately 2000.

Time is running out, and there is lots of work to do.   A builder that’s just getting on with rebuilding Christchurch that isn’t a full time leader in an election year simply won’t get there.  There are no signs that Leighton Baker knows how to run an election campaign, and no signs that someone with skills has been appointed.

 


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