Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Greens plead poor as support grows

Russell Norman. Photo / APN
Russell Norman. Photo / APN

The Green Party's support is on the rise in the polls, but their coffers are yet to follow suit, a begging letter to potential donors reveals.

An email from the Greens' campaign manager Megan Salole to supporters asks for donations, saying they are only halfway to their $1.2 million funding goal for the election.

At the last election in 2008, the Green Party spent $1.5 million.

The email says the party is organised for the campaign "but one vital element needs attention and that is our financial support. We need you to donate to the campaign now."

It says money is needed to make its ideas a reality. The campaign funding goal is $1.2 million and the party had raised almost $600,000 so far.

Raising money is even more important than it has been for parties this election because of the new ban on using Parliamentary funded material to set out their policies.

In 2008, the Green Party listed $187,000 of Parliamentary Service funded advertising in its return.

Green co-leader Russel Norman said the Greens were always fairly open about their finances. He was pleased with fundraising progress and confident a strong campaign would be run.

The email coincided with two further polls - by the Herald and Digipoll and Fairfax Media Research International - showing the Greens making significant ground in public support at the expense of Labour.

The Greens went up to 9.8 per cent in the Herald-Digipoll survey this week and up to 11 per cent in the Fairfax poll. Labour slipped in both polls. Dr Norman believed the time had come to top the elusive 10 per cent.

There was an increasing trend in polls showing their vote was on the rise.

"I think we can get over 10 per cent. We've been a pretty stable force in New Zealand politics and have achieved a lot so a lot of people are coming to see the Greens as a viable option."

New Zealand First has also had a slight boost from Labour's misfortunes - and party leader Winston Peters had a further vote of confidence - more than one third of voters believed his return to Parliament would be good for New Zealand, despite Prime Minister John Key saying he would not work with Mr Peters.

When asked whether the return of Mr Peters would be positive or negative for the country, 56 per cent in the Herald DigiPoll survey said negative and 36 per cent said positive. About 8 per cent did not know.

There was also a significant increase in support for Mr Peters as preferred Prime Minister - from 2.9 per cent to 5.2 per cent. He outdid Labour leader Phil Goff among older voters - 14 per cent of those aged over 65 years named Mr Peters compared to 13.2 per cent for Mr Goff.

NZ First's party vote rose from 0.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent, much of it support from older voters leaving Labour.

Although NZ First remained below the 5 per cent threshold to make it back into Parliament, the number who believed his return would be positive and signs the party is benefiting from Labour's drop in support indicate there is potential to make up ground.

Yesterday Mr Peters said he did not want to comment on the polls.

He said the annual conference last month was well attended with great enthusiasm among delegates. He expected to make final decisions about whether he would stand in an electorate seat soon.

- NZ Herald

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