31 Jul 2017

Labour's plea for campaign funding as election looms

8:48 am on 31 July 2017

As the Labour Party languishes in the polls, it is desperately calling on supporters to open their wallets to help them reach more voters.

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Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson (left) and leader Andrew Little, at the party's launch of its budget plan. Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

Labour sent out an email to its supporters over the weekend saying it was short of meeting its online fundraising target for July.

It warned that it might have to cut its advertising campaign, which would put its chances of winning September's election at risk.

"We won't be able to reach all of our target voters with the number of ads we think we need to win. Scaling back this important part of our campaign could put the election at risk."

But despite that, Labour's campaign manager Andrew Kirton said the party had three times more in the kitty than it did two months out from the 2014 elections.

"One of the decision we made early open is we wanted to be open about our strategy.

"We've given ourselves really quite stretched targets in terms of the income we want and where we're not meeting the targets we are getting out there and saying hey we're not quite there can you chuck in another $3... another $50 to help us out and get us over the line."

Earlier Labour sent an email to its supporters seeking donations to pay for election signs - from $8.50 for a small hoarding to $54 for two large ones.

It's not the only party putting out its hand for small dollar sums - National also sent out an email seeking $3 donations.

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New Zealand First leader Winston Peters . Photo: RNZ

In the past week the New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has also made a request via video.

"Election campaigns are very expensive... in this campaign we know we are the underdogs.

"We rely upon people, everyday kiwis, just like you."

Political commentator Bryce Edwards said parties were going to all sorts of lengths to raise money.

"They use the tricks from the private sector, from the NGO sector, whereby they try to get across to their members and supporters that they just need a few more dollars.

"Sometimes they will plead poverty... lots of different psychological tricks."

But Dr Edwards said it was not exactly honest.

"They are playing on people's emotions and trying to get them to believe that they should just give a wee bit more money."