East Coast Bays covers a very conservative area, and on paper the seat is very safe for Foreign Minister Murray McCully, who has sat as a National MP representing the area since 1987.
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is running in East Coast Bays, and is aiming to win the seat to make the party eligible to win list seats. Craig was hoping to organise a deal with the National Party whereby McCully would withdraw from the East Coast Bays ballot to clear the way for the Conservative Party to win, and bring in a number of other right-wing MPs to strengthen the National Party’s position after the election.
While the National Party is effectively “running dead” to support the ACT candidate in Epsom, and the sitting United Future MP in Ōhariu, but in both cases a National candidate remains on the ballot.
The Conservative Party has gained ground in recent polls, but is still unlikely to poll over 5%. If Craig doesn’t pull off an unlikely win in East Coast Bays, a substantial chunk of the right-wing vote could go to waste.