Conservative Party leader Colin Craig gatecrashed an Epsom candidates' meeting last night to tell swinging voters that his was the only centre-right party that would not sell state assets.
Before a packed meeting in the blue ribbon seat at the Parnell Community Hall, Mr Craig said there were three centre-right parties contesting the election - National, Act and the Conservatives.
He asked the crowd of about 200 to remember the sale of Telecom for about $4.5 billion and that nine years later it was worth $16 billion with 80 per cent of the company overseas.
Mr Craig said National was doing the same again but saying it was only selling half of the shares in state-owned power companies and Air New Zealand, "so we only lose half as much money this time round".
The property manager-turned-politician, who is standing in Rodney and spending more than $1 million of his own money to put the Conservatives on the political map, stood in for his party's Epsom candidate, Simon Kan.
Of the other seven Epsom candidates, Act's John Banks and National's Paul Goldsmith were singing the same tune of asking voters to support a strong and stable John Key-led government, for different reasons.
Mr Banks, with the now infamous blessing of Mr Key over the teacups, is doing his best to win the electorate vote, while Mr Goldsmith is doing his best to be the non-candidate and win the party vote.
At the end of the meeting, Mr Banks refused to discuss tea matters on the grounds that the legality of a recording of the chatter was before the courts, but was "quietly confident" of winning the seat on Saturday.
"I don't think we will see a victory for Paul Goldsmith ... he will be in Parliament anyway [through the party list].
"The people of Epsom want a John Key-led government. They don't want a bar of Winston Peters and his rolling train wreck," Mr Banks said.
Labour candidate David Parker, who has questioned the scandal-ridden record of Act over the past three years, raised the stability of Act in a National-led government after the election.
He also tried to explain Labour's economic plans for a capital gains tax and compulsory KiwiSaver, only to be drowned out by boos and heckling from an Act on Campus crew and vocal National supporters.
The candidates were asked about their positions on the inner-city rail loop and the Puhoi to Wellsford highway extension.
Mr Goldsmith said he would like the rail loop "but it may be in the far distant future" and supported the motorway extension, while Mr Banks supported the rail loop and said it would be built subject to modelling and a legislative framework to fund it without incurring a credit downgrade or increasing rates.
Mr Parker said Labour would can the $1.7 billion highway and use the money to pay half the $2.4 billion cost of the rail link, while the Greens' David Hay said the party would fund 60 per cent of the rail link.