While the politicians bid for votes with tax cuts, the Anglican Church is urging voters to "give it up" for a worthy cause.
The church's social justice commissioner, Dr Anthony Dancer, says the extra $12 to $28 a week in most people's pockets after Labour's October 1 tax cuts could make a big difference to groups such as Auckland's Parent Aid Central West, which survives from hand to mouth though applications to the Lottery Board and private trusts.
"For some of us, that extra $12 to $28 a week will really help to make ends meet, but many of us could get by fine without it," he said.
"If you could, our suggestion is simple - give it up."
Parent Aid Central West treasurer Sue Thirkettle is one of 14 people who have taken up Dr Dancer's invitation to post messages on his website listing the worthy causes they have chosen to donate their tax cuts to - in her case, her Avondale charity which helps parents of preschoolers.
"We are doing very practical help," she said. "We help with the washing. We give the mother time to sleep, taking out the toddler for a walk to give her sufficient time with a newborn baby.
"We help with appointments ... We fill a gap that Plunket can no longer fill because they don't have funding ... "
Others who have posted messages on the website are giving their tax cuts to Amnesty International, Forest and Bird, Oxfam, the SPCA, an animal rights group, foodbanks in Raglan and Wellington, a trust for refugee family reunion, a family in Thailand, churches in Nicaragua and a fund for "disasters that nobody cares about".
One wit, Tim M, wrote: "I might send it up to Auckland marked 'for the electrification of your rail network'."
Dr Dancer said the goal was "to celebrate and support the generous spirit that's alive and well amongst us".
"Money is easily dissipated but goodwill and good deeds are the best kind of 'money in the bank'," he said. "For those who can afford it, let's make these tax cuts go a long way!"
Parent Aid Central West is part of a network of parent support agencies including Parent Port on the North Shore, Parent Aid Waitakere and Parent Support South Auckland.
The South Auckland agency is run by the Baptist Church agency Iosis Family Solutions but its manager, Diane Crowe, said it had to drop support to the Howick-Pakuranga and Franklin areas about three years ago for lack of funding.
The Central-West agency closed until Miss Thirkettle found enough support to revive it recently. It covers only the central-west part of Auckland City, and no services are available in the rest of Auckland or elsewhere in the country.
Parent Port North Shore coordinator Linda Anstiss said she often had to turn away calls from mothers outside the area.
* Parent Aid Central-West, 09 828 3132.By Simon Collins Email Simon