15 Sep 2014

Conservatives confident in Napier

10:28 am on 15 September 2014

The Conservative Party is confident its support in the Napier seat is growing and cites internal polling showing about a quarter of the electorate support its candidate, Garth McVicar.

Conservative Party candidate Garth McVicar.

Conservative Party candidate Garth McVicar. Photo: SUPPLIED

Conservatives' leader Colin Craig says he's thrown about a $1 million of his own money behind the party's campaign and the party has spent another $25,000 - the maximum allowed - on its campaign in Napier.

Labour Party candidate Stuart Nash.

Labour Party MP Stuart Nash. Photo: SUPPLIED

He said the electorate was one of six seats the party identified where it could make a strong challenge, and believes some people will be feeling nervous about the party's momentum.

Radio New Zealand's Poll of Polls, an average of the four most recent opinion surveys , has the Conservative Party at 4.1 percent.

National Party leader John Key has ruled out helping the Conservatives win an electorate seat, saying the party needs to prove itself first by getting 5 percent of the vote.

Garth McVicar, well known as the former head of the justice lobby group the Sensible Sentencing Trust, said over the years he had been approached to stand for all political parties bar the Greens and Internet Mana, but the Conservatives were the best fit.

Despite throwing his hat in the ring only six weeks ago, Mr McVicar is very confident of getting the seat.

Labour's candidate Stuart Nash said he took every candidate seriously and that Mr McVicar may well take some votes off him.

Wayne Walford.

National Party candidate Wayne Walford. Photo: SUPPLIED

Mr Nash, who is not on Labour's list, said the Conservatives' entry has changed the dynamics of the campaign for Napier.

In 2011 National's Chris Tremain held the seat with a majority of 3,701. He is stepping down at this election, replaced by relatively unknown, Wayne Walford.

Mr Walford said the handover process had been going well and he was reasonably confident, although he said it does depend on how voters see the Conservatives.

The National candidate said the region needed growth, and he represented jobs and economic development.

Napier candidates

  • Barry Pulford - Democrats for Social Credit
  • Garth McVicar - Conservative Party
  • Mary O'Neill -Alliance
  • Paul Bailey - Green Party
  • Stuart Nash - Labour Party
  • Wayne Walford - National Party

Follow Kate Gudsell on Twitter @rnzgallerykate

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