Hooton asks “Where is Colin Craig?”

Matthew Hooton in his NBR column asks where is Colin Craig?

The country?s going to hell in a handbasket.

Prime Minister John Key has again been photographed being kissed by drag queens.

Police commissioner Mike Bush has allowed uniformed officers to march in the annual Pride parade.

Same-sex marriage continues with gay abandon.

Schools are teaching students as young as five the correct names of body parts and what kinds of personal interaction is allowed and not allowed, rather than leaving them to work it out in the playground as they did in the good old days.

Parents are still not allowed to smack their kids.

God is displeased, sending drought to the South Island and plague to Auckland?s Sodom and Gomorrah, Grey Lynn.

The conditions are ripe for a conservative backlash.? So where is Colin Craig?

If Matthew Hooton is asking that question it shows how out of the political loop he is these days.

From May 2012, Mr Craig invested an enormous amount of time and at least $3,354,600 in his Conservative Party.? For his efforts, the party scored a credible 95,598 party votes last year, 3.97% of the total.? It was up on the 59,237 votes the party won in its first outing 2011, 2.65% of those cast.

Like all party leaders, Mr Craig had a rough time through the election campaign.? He was mocked mercilessly by the liberal establishment, who considered him a greater threat than he turned out to be. His own party plastered an unflattering mug shot of him on hoardings across the country.? Worst of all, his press secretary resigned mysteriously two days before the election, slamming him as? ?manipulative.? Mr Craig denied any ?unchristian? or ?untoward? behaviour.

I should think that refusing to send someones qualifications certificates back to them would count as “unchristian” or “untoward”…I mean why would you do that to someone?

Colin Craig deserved his mocking, because despite his millions and his appearance of running a democratic party the truth is far from all of that. The man is a political retard.

Since then, except for a brief thank you note, there has been nothing from Mr Craig on the Conservative Party website, despite him remaining the party?s leader.

Nor has he been much in the news.? It was announced in October he had dropped a defamation action against Green co-leader Russel Norman.? In November, the party announced its head office had been moved to Rosedale to be staffed, it said, ?mostly by volunteers.?? Perhaps inevitably, its support has halved in the polls.? Mr Craig told TV3 three weeks ago he may run in the Northland byelection but there has been nothing since, despite nominations closing on Tuesday.? Has Mr Craig lost his appetite?

More like he is losing his party…mass resignations, a board filled with sycophants, infighting, senior people leaving…Colin Craig is fighting for the party’s political survival and it will all burst forth shortly, including the legal proceedings I understand are underway.

There are witch hunts going on from the castle in Albany. Rumours are that the hidden apartment atop the castle is getting a real work out.

With nearly 100,000 votes potentially up for grabs, the vultures are circling.

There are at least three theories about where the Conservatives? votes come from.

The first is that they are mainly religious nutters who would otherwise not vote and are therefore not available to anyone else Although there may be some in this category, the people I met at their conference last year, where I was a paid speaker, were more mainstream.

Second is the theory they regard John Key as an economic wet and may have heard about Mr Craig?s proposal for a 25% flat tax for incomes above $20,000.? When they see the name ?conservative? on the ballot paper, they interpret it as code for high-Thatcherism.? If so, there?s maybe meat on the carcass for Act.

Third, it?s argued the votes might come from grumpy oldies, bewildered by the social changes they see around them and therefore ripe for the picking by Winston Peters.

There is a fourth group of people…those who have shopped around almost every other party clutching at the hems of the latest “political saviour”…they idolise leaders, are generally single issue types and Colin was their man…until they find out the truth. The party and Colin Craig are conservative in name only.

Realistically, to have achieved nearly 100,000 votes, Mr Craig must have appealed to at least some people from all three groups.? If Mr Craig winds down his party, Act becomes the only party supporting flat taxes and NZ First the closest to Mr Craig?s voters on social and cultural issues.? Expect a scrap over the next two and a half years between the septuagenarian Mr Peters and Act?s new 30-something leader David Seymour.? Even a fair chunk of 100,000 votes makes all the difference to either.? Which way those votes go could determine whether or not there is a fourth term for John Key, whose re-election last year was so close that his government is currently unable to command a majority in Parliament on deploying trainers to Iraq after Mike Sabin?s sudden resignation.

The scrap will come sooner rather than later.

The bust up of the Conservatives is coming and Craig’s opponents are so far playing clean…the same cannot be said of Colin Craig though.