Paula Bennett and Mark Mitchell can now breathe a sigh of relief, happy in the knowledge that there’s no chance John Key will take their electorates off them. For Colin Craig has now decided that East Coast Bays is the seat for him. He’s said, “polling received this week showed my support is stronger in East Coast Bays than in Rodney. This result was an important part of my decision”.
Of course, going by Mr Craig’s previous statements that the Conservative Party is aiming for and will achieve 5% of the vote, that he isn’t seeking a deal in any seat he runs in, and that he won’t be able to beat an incumbent candidate, his personal support in East Coast Bays versus Rodney should matter not a jot. Taken at his word, he’s accepted he can’t win East Coast Bays, but that won’t matter because his party will get 5%. Why should he care whether his personal support is slightly higher in East Coast Bays than in Rodney?
However, one should never take a politician at their word. His talk of personal poll ratings is of course more code to National that he’s waiting for a deal; that he’s popular enough in East Coast Bays that he won’t lose the seat if National pulls Murray McCully. As I’ve discussed before, there’s a significant risk for Mr Craig that his very public acceptance that he can’t win on his own may have jinxed National’s ability to get right-leaning voters to play ball, even if National pull their candidate completely.
National have a big decision to make. But at least McCully has indicated that he’ll roll over if required. National’s Dark Prince has the party running through his veins. If it’s required for a third term to be achieve, McCully will take one for the team.