From yesterday afternoon, via RadioLive Political Editor’s Twitter feed:
Overheard: “the media are all here asking MPs if they believe in the moon landings. Try and get our lot to say something funny”
My theory/guess is that National jumped the gun with Colin Craig. Key endorsed him about a month ago and indicated that National would give Craig a seat. But this was back when everyone thought the Electoral Commission would create a new safe blue seat in the North Shore where Craig would enjoy strong support. Instead the new seat is a marginal electorate, and Craig has spent the entire month making nutty statements about chem-trails and the moon-landing instead of talking about policy. I’m guessing that National’s polling is telling them that Craig could cost them too many swing-votes votes in the center to justify a deal. The Nats want to go into the election warning voters about the unpredictable nuttiness of a Labour-Greens government, not spending every day commenting on whatever lunatic conspiracy theory Colin Craig floats next.
Rob Hosking had a column up in the NBR the other day (subscription only) insisting that National won’t give Craig a seat. His theory is that National is talking up Craig’s chances because it wants him to take enough votes off Winston Peters to drop Peters under the 5% threshold, and if the Conservatives also fall under 5% then that will inflate National’s share of the vote and get them into government. I think this is one of the least plausible electoral strategies I’ve ever heard – are you really gonna bet the outcome of the election on Colin Craig’s ability to beat Winston Peters? – and that no one in the National Party actually believes this is viable, but that it reflects a general mood in National to distance itself from Key’s previous warmth towards the Conservatives.
Also, ACT! I heard Don Brash on RNZ this morning explaining that this party needs to exist to keep National honest, steer them to the right etc. How can ACT keep National honest, steer them the right-way and so on when ACT only exists through the grace of National granting them a seat? ACT doesn’t exist because it has a constituency anymore. It exists because there are several crackpot libertarian multi-millionaires willing to fund it and staffers willing to take their money, and because it’s useful for National to be able to pass far-right legislation by ‘making a deal’ with the ACT Party.