Speculation of a by-election in Epsom is premature as is Colin Craig’s announcement he would contest it should it happen.
Craig’s announcement is also presumptive.
His Conservative party did very well for a new one in the last election but was well short of winning an electorate.
National has been a victim of its own success and lacks potential coalition partners, but the people of Epsom have almost certainly had enough of saving small parties from electoral oblivion.
They have voted tactically in successive elections to ensure that Act has a presence in parliament.
Rodney Hide was a list MP when he targeted Epsom. He was active in the electorate and it’s possible he might have won the seat the first time without the nod and wink from National.
Whether he would have held it in successive elections without tactical votes is debatable. It is almost certain that his successor, John Banks, wouldn’t have won the seat without the very clear indication it would help National if he did.
But there is a limit to how many times voters can be expected to vote tactically, especially if the one they’re voting for isn’t a natural fit for the electorate.
It is impossible to know how many National voters held noses while splitting their votes in the past few elections but it’s time to give them a break.
If Craig wants to contest a seat and expects voters to split their votes for him, he needs to find another one and earn the support of the people in it.