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What drives Colin Craig?

Thu 4 Oct 2012 In: Features View at Wayback View at NDHA

Colin Craig Throughout the marriage equality debate, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has been the voice of opposition. While others have popped up here and there, he’s been the media go-to-guy, the one happy to get up and debate, and become the face of those who want marriage to remain between one man and one woman. So what is it that drives Colin Craig? What we know about Colin Craig is that he is 44-years-old and has a daughter with his wife Helen, who he met while studying at Auckland University. They live in a mansion in Fairview Heights, near Albany. He is a millionaire, thanks to his high rise building management businesses, (ironically enough named Centurion Management Services, but of course bearing no relationship to the Auckland gay sauna). While he is religious, protestant, Craig doesn’t actually go to church. In 2009 he emerged as a conservative activist when he organised and reportedly spent $450,000 on a “march for democracy” over the Government’s dismissal of three citizens’ initiated referenda; on the number of MPs, a demand for justice reforms and opposition to the “anti-smacking law”. He’s run for both Auckland Mayor, finishing third, and Parliament, after forming his Conservative Party. He stood in the Rodney electorate and came second with 21.4 per cent of the vote, while his party gained 2.76 per cent of the vote nation-wide. He'd spent $1.6 million of his own money on the campaign. Rather than giving up, Craig has bounced back into the headlines since the marriage equality debate leapt into the spotlight thanks to Labour MP Louisa Wall’s marriage bill being pulled from the ballot, and passing its first reading. Craig has stated in his many interviews along the way as the go-to anti-gay guy, that he thinks people choose to be gay. That it's not intelligent to pretend gay relationships are normal. He’s said he thinks gay people getting married and having full adoption rights is a threat to New Zealand society and its traditions. He’s also sent out flyers bearing a highlighted local’s quote that our straight Prime Minister John Key is “too gay” for his Helensville electorate because he doesn’t think marriage equality will threaten his marriage. With all that already known, we confronted Colin Craig after this week’s debate at Auckland University, where he’d likened being gay and straight to playing rugby and soccer, pulling out a pair of balls to use as props and telling the audience: "Both are games played by two teams on a green field with the team scoring the most points winning... do we call these two games the same? No." He said it is intelligent to differentiate and drew heavily on the argument that marriage is a traditional union between a man and a woman and this tradition must not be abandoned. Craig jovially threw Crunchie bars to the audience and seemed to see it all as a bit of fun, which didn’t go down with one woman at the Q partly cultural, partly religious, partly historic. It’s a tableau of reasons.” (For the record, the most recent polls show … Research New Zealand: 49% for, 32% against, 15% don’t care. One News/Colmar Brunton: 63% for, 31% against, 6% didn’t know/didn’t want to say.) Finally, on whether his or his child’s marriage will mean any less, be less important, heartfelt or rewarding, if marriage equality happens, he evaded with: “that’s not the question that I ask in considering this.” When our reporter countered with: “But that’s the question I am asking you,” he replied “ah, no. But I think it would affect the society in which I live. “And that may have downstream effects. Do I know what those are? No. “Do I think those effects will be major? On balance, probably no. “But do I think I want a society which has marriage reserved as man and woman? Yeah I do.” Jacqui Stanford and Jay Bennie - 4th October 2012    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford and Jay Bennie

First published: Thursday, 4th October 2012 - 12:10pm

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