The Conservatives are still well below the 5% threshold and would be reliant on an electorate gifted by National. Colin Craig, Conservative Party Leader, seems like a likeable chap. Contrary to some conspiracy theorists I do not see him as a “fundamentalist zealot” wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The more important question, however, is whether the policies espoused by his party are credible and whether they will make a positive difference on the issues that matter for this country. For example their commitment to Citizen Referenda sounds admirable but would its MPs agree to abide by the results of binding referenda – even where it directly contradicted the party’s own policies?
It’s opposition to Privatisation is interesting but frankly one must question how meaningful such a policy will be by early 2015. Most of the saleable public assets will have been sold down to 51% by then. Even if National still has one or two more assets to sell (or wanted to sell the remaining 51% of shares in mixed ownership companies) – are the Conservatives really saying they would bring down the government over such issues?
As for environmental protection the Conservatives seem to be in the “development is always good” camp – even if that means overturning environmental safeguards. It favours weakening the Resource Management laws in favour of development – especially in Auckland. The most important question is what are the top three “non-negotiable” policies for the Conservative Party and how different are they from the National Party view? The answer to that question reveals what is truly important to this party.