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Is Conservative party leader Colin Craig a creationist?

The leader of the ascendant party of the New Zealand right seems not to accept the theory of evolution.

Is Colin Craig a creationist?

In the Nine to Noon left-right fisticuffs slot a moment ago, former Labour president Mike Williams said he understands that the Conservative leader does indeed believe that God created the universe in the manner outlined in the Bible.

The salient exchange ...

Matthew Hooton: There’s probably 5% of the population that are creationists. I'm not suggesting Colin Craig is a creationist or anything.

Mike Williams: Actually he is.

Hooton: Sorry?

Williams: Well I met Colin Craig at a radio station end-of-year party ... [and] I took this up with Colin, and I said would you classify yourself as a Darwinist? And he said, “no.” And I said, well there’s two alternatives: creationism or intelligent design. Which do you favour? And he said, “Oh, the jury’s still out on those two.” So I think there’s some water to go under the bridge. I think he’s a bit weirder than he looks.

Kathryn Ryan: Oh, “weirder”, come on, that was the belief of many Christian traditions over many years ... He’s entitled to whatever views he has. Doesn’t rule him out as a party leader.

Does it matter?

Yes. The well-resourced Conservative party is emerging as a genuine prospect. The burst of publicity surrounding Craig’s “promiscuity” remarks is unlikely to be the last before the next election. Aided by the apparent implosion of the ACT party, there is a genuine possibility that Colin Craig and co could be a, or the, crucial coalition prop to National party in the future.

No one needs reminding how important the debate has become in the US, where the teaching of intelligent design in schools became a crucial battleground.

In a 2007 UMR survey, 24% of New Zealand respondents agreed with the statement "God created human beings in their present form exactly the way the Bible describes it". That compared with slightly more than 50% in the US.

I had a look at the Conservative party’s website, and its “How Conservative are you” online test. No mention of creationism or evolution, indeed God and religion don’t get a look in at all.

So I called the Conservative party seeking a better steer on the leader’s position.

CC himself wasn’t around, but party secretary Kevin Stitt says: “He is a Christian, so I daresay he does believe that God began it all. In that sense he’s a creationist.”

Yes, but there are plenty of people who define themselves as Christian, and many of them – particularly, I’d guess, those who like Craig aren’t regular church-goers (see this PDF for his articulation on that point) – also believe in evolution and science.

Could he check with the boss (Colin, not the boss upstairs) and get a clarification on the precise position for me? He’ll “try to get hold of him”. But “he’s a busy man”, so it won’t be easy.

“Call back tomorrow.” And with that he is gone.