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Q+A: Transcript of Colin Craig

Published: 2:24PM Sunday May 13, 2012 Source: Q+A

  • Conservative Party leader Colin Craig (Source: Q+A)
    Conservative Party leader Colin Craig - Source: Q+A

PAUL HOLMES
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is with me. Good morning.

COLIN CRAIG
Good morning, Paul.

PAUL 
Do you still believe that young New Zealand women are the most promiscuous in the world, or amongst the most promiscuous in the world?

COLIN 
Yes, and I did say that based on the evidence that I have.

PAUL 
What is the evidence?

COLIN 
They evidence is the International Sexuality Description Project. 100 scientists cooperating around the world. A one poll survey done for Marie Claire - nearly 100,000 respondents - and what doctors and front line gynaecologists are telling.

PAUL 
Did you use the Durex survey on the internet?

COLIN 
No, I didn't, and people have been quoting it, but if someone has a copy and wants to send it to me, that would be great.

PAUL 
See, these are opinions, though, aren't they? Is it your experience that New Zealand women are amongst the most promiscuous in the world?

COLIN 
Well, I can't say that it's my experience, obviously. I think most people know I'm a married man, and I've made my choice to live a certain way.

PAUL
What does promiscuous mean?

COLIN 
Well, if I use what the scientists say it means, it means sex outside of a committed relationship.

PAUL
I think if you go on to the Wikipedia, you read the expression 'one night stand' when you look up promiscuous as well.

COLIN 
I guess that could be, yeah, another way of describing it.

PAUL
But, see, the disturbing thing about what you said is we all know what promiscuous means. It means you're putting it about, you're sleeping around, and the common word, really, for promiscuous is slut. Are you saying that New Zealand women are amongst the sluttiest in the world?

COLIN 
Well, I think the problem with that word is you've immediately made it just about the women.

PAUL 
What the hell is the difference between sluttiest and promiscuous?

COLIN 
Well, if you look at what I've said both on radio and what I've released, I've made sure that I've talked about the men's responsibility as well. Because this is a discussion about personal responsibility. And I think the men, as I've said, are just as much, if not more, to blame when we come to look at lifestyles of young people.

PAUL 
Well, we're saying that now, aren't we, but that wasn't the first thing you said. You said that New Zealand women are amongst the most promiscuous in the world.

COLIN 
And I did say that in the context of a discussion around contraception for women, but the very next sentence I said on radio was clearly about men and their responsibility.

PAUL 
Well, what about men and their promiscuity? Because if women are being promiscuous, men, on the whole, have to be as well, don't they?

COLIN 
Sure. And, look, as a party, we're about personal responsibility. We've got 13,000 fathers who have skipped to Australia, putting absolutely zero dollars towards supporting their kids, and the good, hard-working people of New Zealand are stepping in, and that's where we see a problem.

PAUL  
Well, what are you going to do about that?

COLIN 
Well, I think we need to start tracking them down. We've got tax agreements with Australia. Let's broaden it to include child support.

PAUL
You're a very strong and committed Christian, I know. Are you OK with women having sex before marriage? Can I just clear that up? And if they do-?

COLIN 
According to some, I've a very strong, committed Christian. I'm not a church-goer. I would call myself a Christian.

PAUL 
You've got the prayers in the office.

COLIN 
Well, once a week. I thought it was quite interesting, actually. John Key says, 'We won't do that in Parliament', but, of course, Parliament opens with a prayer. My view is and the party view is simply that people are free to make their choices. That's about individual freedom, but they're also free to pay the cost of their own choices, and that's about personal responsibility.

PAUL
There are also matters of supporting people who are vulnerable. Isn't that an important point as well?

COLIN 
Yeah, I think it is an important point. But around this welfare debate, we're saying personal responsibility has to come front and centre or we're actually not going to change the situation.

PAUL 
Can I just clear that up? Are you OK with women having sex before marriage? And if they have sex before marriage, does that make you think they're probably a bit promiscuous?

COLIN 
It's their choice to decide. I'm very committed to that. See, I'm not anybody's judge and jury for their lifestyle. I don't want to be. I don't think I'd be the best person for it. But I am also very clear about the fact that I do think people need to be responsible for their own lives. And when we're coming to discussion around welfare reform, and the government's proposing spending $520 million over the next four years, I think we are asking a question, 'Hey, where is the personal responsibility?'

PAUL 
They're spending 1 million bucks to help vulnerable people avoid having more children.

COLIN 
You're picking at one small part-

PAUL 
That's one part of making people responsible for themselves, isn't it? Just helping them.

COLIN 
Well,& I noticed that this discussion, it's always about the little thing - this is right, this is right, this is right. We're talking about a total spend of $520 million over four years on welfare. It is, like all things-

PAUL 
Which part of welfare?

COLIN 
Well, it's across a broad section. That's what the National Party have released.

PAUL 
All right. Let's not get into the numbers. Can I just move on. Do you want to apologise to New Zealand women for any misconception about what you said?

COLIN 
I don't wish to apologise, but I do wish to remind everyone that I said men were just as, if not more, responsible for their behaviour. I believe that very deeply.

PAUL 
What you said was young New Zealand women are amongst the most promiscuous in the world.

COLIN 
I did say that, and I believe that to be true.

PAUL
Right-oh. Let's move on. The politics: I wonder, did you let yourself down last week? You're going well all week. Suddenly Mr Banks is very vulnerable. He's up the river in a cabbage boat, or down the river in a cabbage boat. Things are going well for you. You're on the news every night. Suddenly people say you're very visible, and then suddenly you're denouncing a sincere attempt to discourage pregnancy amongst the most vulnerable women with the assertion that New Zealand women are promiscuous. And the Prime Minister flicked you off, dismissed it, rolled his eyes. Paula Bennett flicked it off. You were flicked off like a flake. Did that discourage you in terms of any political ambitions you might have with the Nats?

COLIN 
Yeah, not at all. The only sad thing about that was I wish that they would look at the research. I think they need to understand the people of this country, and I think what we've got here is political correctness. I suspect they actually know that it might be so, but they just don't wish to acknowledge it.

PAUL 
Or is it something one doesn't say. Maybe it's right round the world, maybe it's been going on for generations. People have sex.

COLIN 
Well, they absolutely do. But the point I'm saying is we're going to have a welfare debate, and we are. We're talking about welfare reform, and if the government's going to involve itself in the bedroom of the people of this country, then I actually think you do need to know the stats and figures and what's going on.

PAUL 
Well, let's just finish that off, though, because what she's actually trying to do is she's actually trying to curb further pregnancies through the use of a welfare tool.

COLIN 
Yes, that is, as I understand that particular point.

PAUL 
Anyway, the perception, I think, is that you blew it with that one bizarre comment.

COLIN 
Well, look, I'm always going to be speaking my mind. As I say, I think it was a true comment. If people want a politically correct conservative party, then they're not going to find it in the Conservative Party.

PAUL 
Do you think the time may come where the Nats will have to deal with you?

COLIN 
I think it will.

PAUL
And when do you think that might be?

COLIN 
Well, I mean, we would hope next election. But let's be realistic. We're only seven months old as a party. We've made phenomenal progress, but it's a long haul, and we're going to build it over time.

PAUL 
You've called the National Party, however- I mean, I wonder how well disposed they're going to be to you, because you've called them in one of your election flyers 'muddling, dodgy, having contempt for the voters'. Talked about back-room deals. Do you still think all of that applies to the Nats?

COLIN 
Yeah, as long as those are read in context, I believe all those comments.

PAUL 
What context?

COLIN 
Well, for example, around the economy. I actually think they are muddling through, and I don't expect to really see any bold, new initiative in this Budget, and I think that's a shame.

PAUL
 Quick reaction to gay marriage. Obama openly backs it. Mr Shearer and Mr Key do as well. Could you?

COLIN 
Yeah, no, I couldn't. I actually don't think the majority of New Zealanders want to redefine marriage. We have civil unions. We have addressed the issue in this country, come up with what I think is a satisfactory conclusion.

PAUL 
Yes. If two people love each other, no matter what sex they are, and they want to be together and they want to marry, why shouldn't they? Can I ask you, do you think God really minds?

COLIN 
(CHUCKLES) Well, why don't we ask a theologian that? You're talking to a politician. Does the Conservative Party really mind about personal choice? No. Does the Conservative Party care about the definition of marriage? We believe the people of New Zealand would rather have the status quo.

PAUL 
Mr Craig, thank you very much for coming on the programme.

COLIN 
Thank you, Paul.

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