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UPDATED: Colin Craig wins invite to TV3's minor parties debate

UPDATE: The show will go on, as TV3 works out how to fit Colin Craig into tomorrow's minor party debate.

A High Court judge has ruled MediaWorks must include the Conservative Party leader in The Nation's minor party debate tomorrow.

TV3 head of news and current affairs Mark Jennings told NBR ONLINE outside court that the show will go on.

MediaWorks will figure out how to include Mr Craig, he says, as per the court's order. (see the judgment attached)

The Nation producer Tim Watkin signalled to NBR ONLINE that he was unavailable to comment, saying Brendan Horan was on the phone.

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UPDATE: Colin Craig has won an interim injunction against MediaWorks current affairs show The Nation.

After hearing an urgent application in the High Court at Auckland, Justice Murray Gilbert has ruled that MediaWorks cannot televise the debate as planned without including the Conservative Party leader.

MediaWorks had argued that including Mr Craig requires shifting to an external location as its studios do not have enough podiums and six leaders do not fit in a wide shot.

Justice Gilbert ruled that any inconvenience was outweighed by harm that would be caused by excluding Mr Craig.

There was a public interest overall in Mr Craig's inclusion.

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Colin Craig takes urgent High Court action against MediaWorks over exclusion from debate 

EARLIER: The Conservative Party has taken legal action against MediaWorks for being excluded from a TV debate involving minor political parties.

The debate is due to take place tomorrow morning on current affairs show The Nation and includes the Green Party, New Zealand First, the Maori Party, ACT, Mana and United Future.

The Nation producer Tim Watkin says MediaWorks lawyers will defend the hearing, expected to take place this afternoon at the High Court at Auckland.

Mr Watkin says the Conversative Party had contacted MediaWorks on Tuesday complaining about Mr Craig's exclusion.

Although the producers had been in talks with Mr Craig, they have now been served with legal papers, he says. 

Mr Watkin was not sure of the legal grounds Mr Craig had for his argument, but it is understood Mr Craig wants a injunction stopping MediaWorks from airing the debate without him. 

The TV producer told NBR ONLINE the line has to be drawn somewhere, and the debate was to feature party leaders who had been in Parliament before. 

“We have to fit in as many voices as we can in a fair and reasonable way and had to make a call on who is in and who is out,” Mr Watkin says.

Mr Craig told Fairfax that ACT should not be included given that it has no MPs in Parliament. ACT had one MP, John Banks, who resigned after being found guilty of knowingly transmitting false electoral return.

"We've set out on the basis that we're the fifth highest polling party in New Zealand, we have maintained that position all the way through, we've got more members and supporters than virtually any other party obviously not National and Labour," he said.

vyoung@nbr.co.nz

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Comments and questions
11

Good on MediaWorks

Stick to your guns - if the loony Conservative party is involved then so should the Legalise Cannabis party and any independent party

The Conservatives have no rights until the voters give them that right at the polls and they enter parliament.

The decision not to include TCP can hardly be seen as fair and reasonable.

The Conservative Party have raised significant issues of social and political importance, are polling relative to the other minor parties and with a strong membership base and donations.

Colin is ratings gold. How could any broadcaster leave him out?

Because he doesn't fit in with their progressive agenda?

Colin was due to come on Duncan Garners Radiolive show in the last half hour, but didn't front 'due to losing his voice'.

Maybe this whole thing will only be academic now anyway......

I see Laila Harre and the Internet Party aren't represented there either, nor is the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party or Ben Uffendil and the Civilian Party. None of the above are in Parliament either. Nor are Democrats for Social Credit.

But the Act party were included, despite having the same number of MPs as the Conservatives.

Oh yes they are. Mana is represented and they're the same party now for a month or so. Or not. In the strangest move ever Mana are giving away every second seat to Internet, with an agreement to separate back into two separate parties when the new parliament convenes. Good stuff this MMP - eh!

Oh, like the Christian Coalition back in 1996 was going to, you mean- Christian Heritage and the Christian Democrats? The latter of which is the direct ancestor of Colin Craig's present day personality cult?

What! Don't have enough podiums? Six won't fit in a wide shot? Pretty pathetic excuse. Shuffle them a bit closer and knock up another podium...

If Conservatives are allowed on the show all parties should have been represented. Just shows, money talks.