|It may finally be all over with the Conservative Party's Colin Craig scandal. The party board have suspended their former leader from party membership. So, what happens now?
RIP Colin Craig's political ambitions? For a while, it looked as if Craig might be able to stage a backfoot comeback. The Conservative Party Board was decimated with resignations as Brian Dobbs (the former Chair) and Laurence Day (Conservative funder) both stepped down, leaving John Stringer, the party dissident who had led the charge against the former leader, as the last person standing. Convening an emergency management board and obtaining a quorum, the new board suspended Colin Craig from membership, given alleged "Colinista" sabotage of the website so that it did not respond to Stringer's intervention, and maintaining a forum for the estranged leader and his party. For his part, Colin Craig argued that former Chair Brian Dobbs had suspended Stringer from the board pending 'disciplinary action,' although given that Dobbs subsequently resigned himself, would that 'disciplinary action' then have been null and void? One would have to consult the Conservative Party constitution to ascertain the status of Messrs Craig and Stringer in this context. Membership manager Angela Storr states that Mr Stringer has no legal status as a board member. However, Stringer has constituted his own board in this context.
So, what now? Will Craig attend the forthcoming party conference? Will there be litigation or defamation proceedings over the circumstances of his deposition and eviction from the party? Will the party elect a new leader at its forthcoming party conference? Given Craig's eviction and Day's exit, what happens to party funding? How many party branches ceased to exist and how many rank and file members left in the wake of this debacle and has party membership fallen under the five hundred required to be a registered New Zealand political party? Will there be a new "Colinista" party in the wake of his eviction, as he stated during the party's civil war over the last fortnight? Are National, ACT and United Future relieved that this apparent self-immolation means that the Conservatives weren't part of their governing coalition after last year's election? (Very probably). All of these questions remain currently unanswered after the events of the recent past.
Significantly, Family First hasn't commented on recent events and the remnants of the Christian Right outside the battlefield have ignored it. They're focusing on the committee of inquiry and David Seymour's private members bill to decriminalise voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide, as euthanasia has become the other pole of New Zealand Christian Right activism compared to the existing anti-abortion movement, displacing residual opposition to LGBT rights.
Does the Conservative Party even have a future?
Recommended: "Colin Craig has party membership suspended by Conservative Party board" TVNZ News: 27.06.2015: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/colin-craig-has-conservative-party-membership-suspended- 6347983
Stacey Kirk: "Conservative Party down to one board member in wake of Colin Craig scandal" Stuff.co.nz: 26.06.2015: http:// www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/69754406/conservative-party-down-to-one-board-member-in-wake-of-colin-craig-scandal
Phillip Matthews: "Inside the Conservative coup" Stuff: 27.06.2015: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/69658282/inside-the-conservative- coup
"Craig leaves NZ public little the wiser" New Zealand Herald: 27.06.2015: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1