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Key confirms electorate deals with ACT, UnitedFuture — Conservatives out in the cold

At his post cabinet press conference, Prime Minister John Key confirmed National would encourage its supporters to vote for ACT candidate David Seymour in Epsom and UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne in Ohariu.

As he flagged this morning, there will be no deal for Conservative leader Colin Craig, who is standing for East Coast Bays.

The PM said the only way Mr Craig could realistically win the seat would be if the incumbent Murray McCully was withdrawn from the ballot. 

That would be "a bridge too far."

The PM said there was "no chance" of him changing his mind, even if the Conservatives (currently polling between 1% and 2%) start polling over 4%.

Mr Key also reiterated that he would be prepared to work with the Conservative Party or NZ First if they are in the next Parliament.

Last week, NBR political commentator Matthew Hooton predicted National would spurn an electorate deal with the Conservatives. He cited talk of inhouse National polling that indicated a coalition with Colin Craig's party would shave 2% to 3% from National's list vote as social liberals defected. 

The Conservatives also complicated the pictured on July 19 as Mr Craig underlined that binding referenda would be a bottom line in coalition negotiations — a policy that would have caused difficulty for National with the Citizens Initiated Referendum late last year that saw a majority oppose the partial asset sale programme.

This afternoon, Mr Hooton saw Mr Key leaving himself some wiggle room, with August 26 looming as a key deadline in the PM's investment banker thought process.

What do you think? Vote in our BUSINESS PULSE poll: Should National have cut an East Coast Bays deal with Colin Craig?

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Comments and questions

Great decision JK

Well done JK. That Craig is just too loopy.

BS - media beatup, 'he just looped his way into self made wealth' -Tui

"Because making money on property in New Zealand is tough work worthy of wide respect in the electorate" - Tui

Yes, the time for 'deals' comes with necessity. Though pre-election polls have been notoriously inaccurate in the past few elections (and National's election day share is NEVER as good as the pollsters have predicted), John Key is doing the right thing to hold the Conservatives at arm's length. With NZ's economy in better shape than almost anywhere else in the world, the public are 'wised-up' now to the huge progress made by JK, Bill English and the National party front-bench. Maori too have prospered through the Maori party support for Nats and long may this continue!

The economy in good shape. Yeah right.

So National should have kept up government spending like Labour?

Well done National. I am strongly opposed to binding referendums. Now you will get my vote.

Will be voting again for JK from West Island

Key has spoken with the confidence of the NZ 7's team, prior to the gold medal final.

In reply to S.Jenkinson, that it is hardly an applicable analogy! National is not complacent, but they are polling well. They already accept, though, that the real result will be lower than these polls. Meanwhile, will Labour's polling improve with the gaffe-prone Cunliffe in charge?