Colin Craig let a lot of NZers down by means of his poor management of the Conservative Party. His heroic one man attempt to broaden the political spectrum in NZ sadly came to grief on the rocks of scandal, lies and betrayal.
With such serious damage, it seemed the Conservative Party was done for for ever. Not so. Brave souls are trying to resurrect the party, and they deserve credit for their courage in attempting what many see as an impossible task.
The re-constituted Conservatives were asked to appear at a Auckland Debating Society event to be held at Auckland University tonight but the invitation was pulled at the last minute. The society claims an overcrowded stage as the reason.
The new party leader Leighton Baker has written a letter requesting the decision be reversed. Surprisingly the letter does not challenge the decision on grounds you would expect, such as freedom of political expression, but instead appeals on grounds underpinned by arguments pretty close to socialist ideas.
Mr Baker says their representative should take part in the debate because of his background in working with broken families, his race (Pasifika blood) his upbringing in the poor parts of Auckland, and the need for “diversity of ethnicity”.
Maybe I’m missing something here but its not the kind of argument I would expect from anyone who has any regard for the ideas of William F Buckley, Russell Kirk, or other great Conservative thinkers.
Here’s hoping the new Conservatives can rebuild the party from the ashes, but for that to happen they need to be very clear about what it is they stand for.
The full letter-
Auckland, March 4, 2017
After accepting an invitation to the University of Auckland Debating Society’s debate late last year, the Conservative Party has just been informed, less than a week before the debate, that it will no longer be allowed to participate as there have been some “late inclusions!”
Apparently, there are now nine speakers. At the last election, the Conservative Party polled fifth highest, higher than Act, higher than the Maori Party, higher than Mana/Internet, higher than United Future, all of whom have representatives in the debate, so it cannot be our policies. And Mana are not in parliament.
Our representative Elliot Ikilei has a lifetime of experience working with broken families, so it surely cannot be the quality of representation.
We immediately wrote a reply to our contact, requesting reconsideration, letting them know that Elliot represents the vulnerable and broken families, that he has lived through experiences and worked on the front line with our families far longer and more deeply than any other member on the panel; we wrote of him being forced into the public arena due to watching families becoming more and more broken from direct policies coming straight out of Wellington. We have had no reply and we have been removed from the debate scheduled for March 9.
We want you to have a look at the politicians on that list; you will find no one with Pasifika blood as Elliot has, no one who has been raised in East and South Auckland as Elliot has; and you will find no one on that list, except perhaps Whaea Marama, who have dedicated their life, professionally and personally, to the strengthening and protection of our vulnerable and at-risk youth and their families as Elliot has done.
We want to ask the University why diversity of culture is not encouraged by inviting such, or why diversity of ethnicity is not encouraged by inviting such, or why diversity of ideology is not encouraged by inviting such? Saddening, though not entirely surprising. Surely, the University should be one place that welcomes educated debates, and life experience is the best education.