[Winston Peters] hinted this week that he may stand in an electorate this year, something he didn’t do in 2011. Although he did not name the seat, the hint was it could be East Coast Bays, where there are persistent rumours that long time local MP Murray McCully could stand aside, with National not fielding a candidate, in a bid to gift the seat to Conservative leader Colin Craig.
“We have the firepower to hit it on the ground with all the hoardings and the full hundred yards if that’s the case.”
Okay. So a possible outcome of National pulling Murray McCully from the ballot in East Coast Bays and ‘gifting’ it to Colin Craig is that:
- National loses votes in the centre from voters who don’t like deals, and/or don’t like Colin Craig
- National loses votes on the right to the Conservative Party
- Peters wins and National loses a safe seat to Winston Peters
- Craig doesn’t get a seat so all the votes going to the Conservative Party get lost because they’re under the 5% threshold.
I don’t know how probable all that is. New Zealand First got more votes than the Conservatives in East Coast Bays in 2011, but not a whole lot more. Winston Peters is a phenomenal campaigner though, and he’d be a tempting protest vote for people who don’t like electorate deals who can still party vote National.
Do Key and Joyce want to bet on Colin Craig against Peters? That seems like a really bad bet. I’m guessing that ‘Peters beats Craig’ scenario is so catastrophic that National’s strategists won’t give Craig this seat.