Conservative leader and millionaire Colin Craig will keep on spending his savings to get into Parliament no matter what the outcome this election.

"A three-year election cycle allows me to save three years' worth of wages and salaries essentially to go towards the next campaign," he said.

"That's what I've done and I'll continue to do that I's that important to me."

Mr Craig estimated his wealth at $5 million but he also earns a good income from his property management company.


"My wife and I live our lives very simply and frugally. We spend far less than most people I think to get by and we save everything. We put it towards this because this is what we do. This is our job."

Mr Craig was speaking in today's Hot Seat video interview of party leaders by Newstalk ZB host Rachel Smalley, Herald columnists Fran O'Sullivan and Toby Manhire, and political editor Audrey Young.

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Mr Craig has given $956,000 this campaign and is thought to be the second largest political funder this campaign, next to Internet Mana's benefactor Kim Dotcom.

He spent $1.6 million last election in 2011 when the Conservatives stood for the first time and got 2.65 per cent of the party vote.

Mr Craig said he was not buying himself a voice in New Zealand politics.

"I have never considered it to be about the money. I've always considered it to be about the issues."

His party's number one policy is to make Citizens' Initiated Referendum binding but he conceded that he might have to get a referendum held on the issue of binding referenda before it became law. And it were rejected, so be it.


"We are not going to Parliament to become one more party that dictates its view. "

Since announcing he would be standing in East Coast Bays, Mr Craig has also announced two high profile candidates: Christine Rankin in Epsom and former Sensible Sentencing Trust advocate Garth McVicar in Napier.

Mr Craig said the decision to stand Christine Rankin in Epsom was made before National announced its electoral assistance only to Act, in Epsom, and United Future in Ohariu, eschewing the Conservatives.

He had heard a suggestion the move could kill off Act in preparation for a stronger run by the Conservatives in 2017.

"But I don't know. It's not my job to look after Act."

In a discussion about immigration, Mr Craig said "the way we do it matters" and he favoured assimilation.

"If we are going to have, say, people who come from one particular culture and they end up in some particular ghetto or a particular defined area and they continue to be their own little micro-culture and that's how they operate, we have all missed as opportunity."

He himself employed a lot of people from difference cultures "and they are wonderful contributors."

"I do think there is such a thing as New Zealand-ness and I do think we should be looking for those who want to come and live here to be part of that, not isolated."

YESTERDAY: Internet Mana's Hone Harawira and Laila Harre
TOMORROW: Act's Jamie Whyte.

* The Colin Craig interview took place on Thursday August 7, 2014.