Former Green co-leader Metiria Turei will not discourage people from voting for her as the candidate in the Te Tai Tonga electorate, saying it would be "a privilege" if voters gave her two ticks.
Turei stood down as Green co-leader and pulled herself from the party list earlier this month in the fallout from her admission of welfare fraud as a young solo mother, but opted to stay on as the Te Tai Tonga candidate saying she wanted to help lift the Greens' party vote.
The seat is now the only chance she has to return to Parliament and this week she confirmed she would take up that seat and return if she won the electorate.
"It would be a great honour."
Asked if she would be actively campaigning for the candidate vote, Turei said the party vote was the most important because that would ensure as many Green MPs as possible were in Parliament.
"And it would be a real privilege if voters gave me their electorate vote as well."
It is effectively a signal to voters that she wants the candidate vote - and that could hurt Labour's candidate and incumbent Rino Tirikatene. It is a shift from the past when the Green Party candidates have made it clear they only want the party vote.
Maria Bargh, Victoria University's head of Maori Studies, pointed out the Green Party could be fighting for its survival as Labour leader Jacinda Ardern hoovered up the vote.
She said the incentive for Turei would be trying to secure an electorate seat for the Green Party as security if it was still polling around the five per cent threshold required to get back into Parliament. She did not believe it was an impossible ask given the support for Turei voiced by many who believed she had been hard done by over her handling of the welfare fraud issue.
Tirikatene could benefit from the rising level of support for Labour under new leader Jacinda Ardern.
"There's that base level of support for the Labour Party and in some electorates that overflows to the candidate but there is some dissatisfaction with Rino's invisibility. So things are always possible."
Maori broadcaster Ngahuia Wade said she did not believe Turei would get enough to win the seat but it would take votes off Tirikatene. "[Maori Party candidate] Mei Taare-Reedy will come through the middle if Metiria can harness enough support. She's a bureaucrat and there are many Ngati Porou in the civil service who love her parents."
Sarah Helm, the Green Party campaign director, said while Nelson was the only electorate the Green Party was actively trying to win, it was taking a different approach to its candidates this election and would not endorse any other party's candidates.
"We will be asking primarily for the party vote and then our messaging is 'if I'm the best candidate to represent you, then feel free to give me your candidate vote as well. We are not going hard to win the Maori electorates but it's really important our candidates connect with the voters. Voters vote for people, not parties so that shift is important in people's minds."
In the past, the Green Party candidates have made it clear they only wanted the party vote.
She said the party vote in Te Tai Tonga had always been quite high - in 2014 it got 3400 party votes (16 per cent) and its candidate Dora Roimata Langsbury got 3173 candidate votes - well behind Tirikatene's 8445.
Labour's Maori campaign director Willie Jackson had initially wanted the Green Party not to stand in some electorates to give Labour a better chance. However, he said that had now changed.
"Obviously we want to see them do reasonably well, so that is something now we are not even looking at because they've been to hell and back haven't they, and they're natural partners for us."