Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has stood down as leader so that the party can review the position.

In a press conference in Auckland this afternoon, Mr Craig said he supported the review of the party's leadership.

Mr Craig called the press conference after reports emerged of a leadership challenge to occur at a board meeting tonight.

He said there had been many rumours, "ranging from the intriguing to the ridiculous" about the meeting, which has now been postponed.


Mr Craig said that some board members felt that a leadership discussion should be held.
"I am fully supportive of the call for a review," he said.

He said he had offered to stand down as leader "to enable the board to consider the leadership role".

Mr Craig would also work with the party secretary to forgive any outstanding loans between him and the party.

Party chairman Brian Dobbs said there "was is a desire to engage in a discussion around leadership".

He said he was grateful to Mr Craig for standing down to allow the board "to explore all possible leadership options going forward".

The potential leadership coup was believed to be prompted by a recent appearance by Mr Craig on TV3's late night show Newsworthy, where he was interviewed in a sauna with journalist David Farrier.

Mr Craig had said this morning he wanted to hold a press conference to clear up "wild speculation" that his leadership was under threat.

"I just want to advise the media that this speculation is not reflective of where the majority of the board are at."


Mr Craig said the board meeting might no longer take place. A discussion about the party's leadership would still occur, but possibly at a later date.

He confirmed that there were "discussions" within the board about his performance as leader, and he said he had "no problem with this".

This contrasted with comments he made last night, when he said that no one on the board had expressed any unhappiness about his leadership to him.

The potential leadership challenge was believed to have been prompted by Mr Craig's appearance on TV3's late night show Newsworthy.

TV3 quoted an insider saying that it was the "last straw" and it was "crazy Colin all over again".

Mr Craig said today he did not regret the TV appearance, but that he was "big enough" to see that other members of his party had different perspectives on it.

Some members are believed to want former Conservative candidate Garth McVicar to take over the leadership role. Mr McVicar has said he has no interest in replacing Mr Craig.

After failing to get elected in the Napier seat, Mr McVicar returned to his job at the hardline law and order reform group the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Rumours of a leadership spilled arose in March when Mr McVicar was invited to a board meeting, despite leaving the party after the election.

Mr McVicar turned down the invitation to attend the meeting.

Mr Craig, a wealthy property manager, has invested close to $4 million in the party since founding it in 2011.

But despite that investment, and a high profile election campaign including well-known candidates Christine Rankin and Mr McVicar, the party won no seats in September's general election.

Mr Craig said that if the party decided to elect a new leader, he was likely to remain a member and continue investing his money in the Conservatives.