Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Provocative remarks central to Craig's plan

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Newly media-trained and backed by a fresh team of spin doctors, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he will continue to offer provocative views to the media and public this year, but only where it advances his cause at the ballot box.

His comment comes after his admission this week that he smacks his daughter. Political and media commentators said his comment was probably underpinned by a calculated strategy - unlike his moon landing and chemtrail comments last year that were widely seen as gaffes.

Mr Craig yesterday said that last year, with a deliberate approach of being provocative, he had said "a lot of interesting things that weren't core to the message".

This year, while saying he would continue to be provocative, he and a newly appointed team of political and media advisers would take a different tack.

"The key thing is it's an election year so in terms of our media strategy we want to make sure that every New Zealander knows exactly what a vote for the Conservative Party means.

"That will mean there will be some people who go to the polling booth absolutely clear they're not voting for us. We accept that but we also believe there's that constituency that will choose to vote for us and we think that's a very good-sized constituency."

He said he did not prepare an answer on the specific question about whether he physically disciplined his daughter with his advisers.

Nevertheless, "we have thought about how we present on this and I think I just need to be the typical New Zealand parent on this which I pretty much am".

Mr Craig said the party had employed extra communications and media advisers late last year with this year's election in mind.

He would simply refuse to answer questions where there was no upside for his party at the polling booth.

National Party-aligned blogger and pollster David Farrar said Mr Craig's comment about physically disciplining his daughter appeared to demonstrate some political savvy.

"It's a pretty good way of getting it out there because it turns it from a boring policy debate to, 'Oh my God, how dare he. He's breaking the law, someone should call the police."'

Media trainer Brian Edwards said he was not sure Mr Craig's work to improve his presentation would help him much.

"If you've got insane views and say insane things, probably media training will not do you much good."

Colin Craig: The gift of the gaffe

* When asked about the moon landing conspiracy theory he said: "I don't have a belief or a non-belief in these things, I just don't know."

* Said he had "no idea" whether moa are still alive in remote parts of New Zealand.

* During last year's marriage equality debate he said homosexuality was a choice and society was right to discriminate against gay relationships.

* In 2012 he said Kiwi women were the most promiscuous in the world and the taxpayer should not pay for their contraception.

- NZ Herald

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