Te Tai Tonga Mana Movement candidate Georgina Beyer says she ''absconded'' from the Internet Mana roadshow last month, having formed negative views of party backer Kim Dotcom after getting to know him on the road.
On a visit to Dunedin yesterday, Ms Beyer said her campaign was badly under-funded, and was running on ''thin air''.
''You won't see any billboards with me around the place.''
Mana candidates were being treated as ''second-rate'' compared with those from the Internet Party, she believed. Internet Mana was running a three-seat strategy, which did not include Te Tai Tonga. The seat encompasses the whole South Island, Wellington and the Chatham Islands.
''The rest of us, thrown to the wind.''
She had been told to focus on the Internet Mana party vote, rather than on winning the seat.
''I objected to that, being told what to say.''
Her approach - which had been discouraged - was to share her experience of living on a benefit, which was resonating with voters, she said.
While it was a difficult ask, she was focused on trying to win the seat from Labour MP Rino Tirikatene.
Unlike the Internet Party candidates, she never expected to be paid to be a candidate, but had expected her campaign to be resourced.
Mana supporters were chipping in small amounts of money to assist, but largely she had to support the campaign herself.
When she agreed to stand, she had an open mind about the Internet-Mana alliance.
She had been impressed with Mr Dotcom's charisma at the Mana annual meeting earlier this year where the alliance was debated.
''At that time, I had no particular views on Kim Dotcom. But I've travelled with him since.
''I just have a sense that he's using his power and position to seek retribution on people who have done him wrong.
''Should our political system really be manipulated in this way?
''The most telling thing was spending three hours on the ferry crossing with him. Really, I found him to be a distant person who was always utterly consumed in his iPad.''
When approached by members of the public his demeanour changed, and he became much more open, she said.
''`I'm a girl with some street smarts from way back, and I sort of have an intuition sometimes about people ... there's something about him I just don't trust.''
Asked if she was suggesting people should not vote for Internet Mana, she said voting for any left-leaning party would help to change the government, including Internet Mana.
She said she absconded from the roadshow last month, in Queenstown, and was ''sick and tired of dancing on the head of a pin'' about her feelings about Internet Mana.
''I've had a gutsful - you've got a scoop here.''
Ms Beyer, who is on dialysis, said her health was ''fine'', and she was giving the campaign ''110%''.
''That's why I have become deflated and disappointed with feeling that I've been left to hang out to dry.''
She said Mr Dotcom was behaving like a candidate, when he should be in the background.
Ms Beyer, a former Labour MP who was the world's first transsexual MP, said her high profile had been useful to Internet Mana.
Ms Beyer, who is based in Wellington, leaves Dunedin tomorrow, and will head to Invercargill to continue her campaign.