12 Sep 2014

Closer look at the Conservatives

10:28 am on 12 September 2014

The Conservative Party has been inching closer in recent polls to the threshold for getting into Parliament without winning an electorate seat.

In the Radio New Zealand poll of polls - an average of the four most recent polls - the party is up slightly to 3.7 support, while in one individual survey the Conservatives recorded 4.7 percent.

If the party won more than 5 percent of the vote in the general election it could have about six MPs in Parliament.

For the party's leader, Colin Craig, citizens' initiated referendums, such as on the anti-smacking law, should be binding.

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig in Radio New Zealand's Auckland studios.

Colin Craig. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

While he has been saying that's a bottom line if the Conservatives are to be part of a coalition, that stance was softened in recent days saying financial vetoes could be applied if the proposed change doesn't stack up economically. Mr Craig wants the anti-smacking law gone.

Christine Rankin

Christine Rankin Photo: SUPPLIED

Christine Rankin, former Work and Income chief executive is second on the list and standing in Epsom.

The first thing she would change if elected is the "appalling behaviour" in Parliament.

"It's a disgrace the way they treat each other in Parliament. I go in with a view that everybody is there doing their best for their own beliefs an might not agree with them and they might not agree with me but they deserve respect."

Conservative Party candidate Garth McVicar.

Conservative Party candidate Garth McVicar. Photo: SUPPLIED

Hastings-based law and order campaigner Garth McVicar, third on the party list, was prompted to stand for the Conservatives after a convicted paedophile, who had name suppression, tried to sue him for publishing his name. The case was eventually dropped.

"That's an area I'm incredibly passionate about, I know what's wrong, I know what we need to change so watch this space if I can get over that 5 percent line."

The party's North Shore candidate and fourth on the party list is Melissa Perkin, executive director of the Bar Association. Ms Perkin does not support breaking suppression orders and has other priorities.

"Something that I'd be very keen to look at is legal aid rates, I'd also be very keen to have a review of what's happening with leaky buildings."

Former police officer Callum Blair is standing in Upper Harbour and is sixth on the list. "Binding referenda is probably where I would be pushing because it will really have an effect on how our Parliament works in the future"

As for what potential coalition partner National thinks of the party, leader John Key says: "I honestly don't know them very well. "I do know Garth McVicar from his time at the Sensible Sentencing Trust and I know Christine Rankin and both of them I have respect."

Mr Key said he still would not consider helping the Conservatives win an electorate seat because they need to prove themselves first by getting 5 percent of the vote.