A digital activist group has used crowdfunding to pay for a full-page ad in the Northern Advocate urging NZ First leader Winston Peters to form a coalition with Labour and the Greens rather than National.
The campaign is being run by ActionStation, an organisation that claims 180,000 supporters and describes itself as a digital community connecting like-minded people, "providing opportunities to take collective action ... and hold political and corporate interests to account".
The $2500-plus required for a full-page Saturday ad, which will take the form of a letter addressed to Mr Peters and members of NZ First, was raised from 116 donors in less 48 hours.
The group wants it to run on Saturday because Mr Peters will be "right in the middle of negotiations". He is due to announce his choice of coalition partner four days later.
ActionStation said it chose the Advocate because it covers the electorate where Mr Peters lives.
The letter lists four objectives - a well-funded public health system, world-class education and training for youth, trade deals that put New Zealanders first, and "making media and public broadcasting great again" - which were all policies or election promises made by Labour, the Greens and NZ First, but were not, according to the group, a top priority for National.
Campaign director Laura O'Connell Rapira (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa) said the group normally campaigned for policies, not parties, so made sure it had a mandate from its members before running the ad.
Immediately after the election the group surveyed its recently active members about which party or parties Mr Peters should go into coalition with. Of the 4000 responses received 92 per cent wanted a Labour-Green-NZ First coalition, she said.
Ms O'Connell Rapira conceded that an ad on its own would not be enough to sway Mr Peters. The group was also asking the 11 per cent of its members who had voted NZ First to contact the party directly and express their views.
Mr Peters, whose party holds the balance of power, has been coy about his preferred choice of coalition partner.
He has also stated he won't start negotiations in earnest until the final election results are released this Saturday. The results so far do not include special votes cast overseas or by people who enrolled on the day they voted.
The election night results give National 58 seats, Labour 45, NZ First 9, Greens 7 and Act 1, though those numbers could still change. A minimum of 61 is needed to form a government.
Mr Peters declined to comment on the ad.
Other ActionStation campaigns in the past year include calling for an inquiry into mental health services, equal pay for female workers, an increased refugee quota, an end to tax-dodging by multinational firms, and an investigation of the Saudi sheep deal.