The new Conservative Party will contest seats at the general election later this year.

Former Auckland mayoral candidate Colin Craig launched the party in Auckland today and told NZPA he hoped to have a candidate in every electorate although that would be "a hard ask" with only three months until the election.

Mr Craig is considering standing in the Epsom electorate against Act Party candidate and former Auckland mayor John Banks, Labour's David Parker and National's Paul Goldsmith, but said he had yet to make a final decision.

He rejected suggestions he had left it too late to launch the new party.


"I don't believe most New Zealanders are going to make up their minds on this election until probably the last month.

"Once the (rugby) World Cup is done I think New Zealanders might switch into political mode."

There was a need for a new party and he had a lot of support, he said.

"What is really lacking is one coherent, long-term vision for the country and I am not particularly thrilled with politics which can ignore or move away from a referendum issue.

"There is a significant support out there for something that is new."

He said the new party would challenge both National and Labour and neither could expect an easy ride.

His key policies included binding citizens' initiated referenda, reducing the size of Parliament, repealing the marine and coastal legislation and emissions trading scheme, and making people work for their benefits.

His party would also raise the drinking age to 20.

Act Party MP John Boscawen said he wished Mr Craig well.

"It's very hard to establish a party and campaign, believe me I've been involved in that."

But he added that he believed Mr Banks would win the Epsom seat "and win it well".

Mr Banks had experience and had got more than 70 per cent of the Auckland mayoral vote at Epsom polling stations.

Mr Boscawen said the Act Party was not dependent on Epsom and it would get more than 5 per cent at election.

He expected the party to return with "a record number of MPs".