Christine Rankin to stand for Conservatives in Epsom

By Derek Cheng

The Conservative Party leader Colin Craig with CEO Christine Rankin at the launch of the Conservative Party 2014 election campaign. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The Conservative Party leader Colin Craig with CEO Christine Rankin at the launch of the Conservative Party 2014 election campaign. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The Conservative Party has confirmed that Christine Rankin will stand in the high-profile seat of Epsom this election.

Mrs Rankin is the party's chief executive, and former Families Commissioner and former head of Work and Income NZ.

It is a move designed to get the Conservative Party more oxygen as the media spotlight shines on Epsom, and to potentially rock the National-Act deal.

Epsom is an important seat and lifeline to the Act Party, because Prime Minister John Key has asked National voters to give their electorate vote to Act candidate David Seymour.

Mr Key has ruled out a deal with the Conservatives, meaning it would have to gain at least 5 per cent of the party vote to enter Parliament - a feat that Act does not have to achieve.

Mrs Rankin suggested that a vote for her would be just as much a vote for a National-led Government as a vote for Mr Seymour.

"Epsom needs a strong voice, and National needs the Conservatives to give them a backbone, and keep them on a short leash."

She added: "My objective is to let the people of Epsom make up their own minds about who represents them and to give them some real choice for once."

Since the lack of a National-Conservative deal was disclosed this week, party leader Colin Craig has come out swinging against electorate deals.

Mr Craig said electing Mrs Rankin could provide stable National-led Government.

"We have polled the electorate, and ACT has no chance of winning. By standing Christine, we give the people of Epsom the chance to elect a centre-right government with Conservative values."

- NZ Herald

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