Colin Craig and his Conservative Party have been cleverly played and tricked and trapped by National. Whatever promises and flirtations Key made with Craig last year have eventuated into nothing. National’s internal polling shows that Colin Craig and his flakey weird religious conservatism will see urban voters run screaming from National and the risk is simply too great.
The NZ Herald might want to believe Colin Craig and his religious band of followers will pierce the 5% threshold but there is simply no chance of that now Colin has been locked out of East Coast Bays, the reason Internet MANA has momentum is because voters know a Party vote for them isn’t wasted with Hone winning TTT, Conservative voters have no such guarantee and won’t gain any further momentum, all they can do now is damage NZ First’s vote.
So the question now becomes, is a vote for NZ First a vote for National? Previously there was the possibility of Greens and Labour working with NZ First by giving Winston a legacy project like a universal super fund that buys back NZs state assets. That scenario could have worked, however the rise of Internet MANA will be too frightening to Winston and the quiet chats between National and NZ First have been occurring to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Matthew Hooton has been telling audiences in private meetings that the next Government will be NZ First and National, which suggests to me that discussions between the two of them are far further down the track than publicly acknowledged.
Curwen Rolinson argues NZ First will make it past the 5%, the question becomes who will Winston back?
Winston could sit on the cross benches, but I doubt he, Key or the voting public have much patience for that.
Best case scenario for progressives is that Colin Craig damages NZ First vote enough to keep them under 5% while also imploding his own Conservative Party vote, worst case scenario for progressives is NZ First either props up National and keeps Key in power or Winston props up Labour and keeps the Greens and Internet MANA out of power.