Property manager-turned-politician Colin Craig has invested more than $1 million out of his own pocket in an attempt to put his Conservative Party on the political map.
The Rodney candidate and party leader said the Conservatives were pouring their biggest spend into the last week before the election through billboards and radio advertisements.
His party was looking for a similar last-minute boost in support to Mr Craig's Super City mayoral race, where he jumped from around 1 per cent in polling to 9 per cent in the eventual turnout.
Mr Craig estimated that the Conservative Party had committed around $1.5 million to its campaign, most of which came from his own income.
Campaigning at the Stanmore Bay soccer fields last night, he called the investment a "start-up cost" and crucial attention-grabber, particularly in the Rodney seat which National has held since 1946.
Asked what drove him to commit large sums of his own money to get elected, he said three issues had made him decide to enter politics - the leaky building fiasco, opposition to the anti-smacking bill and the establishment of the Super City against many fringe electorates' wishes.
"I'm a person who can't just sit inside when the country's not going the way it should be.
"I feel that I've been successful, and I don't like the fact that we're not succeeding as a country. I hate that Australia is doing better than us."
The Conservative Party, which is polling at around 1 per cent, believed it was pulling votes from disillusioned National voters and Pacific Islanders, who were attracted to the party's family values.
It is his party's Pacific Island candidates, he says, who are behind the party's "Nek Minnit ... Conservative" billboards, a take on a popular YouTube video.
Mr Craig set up the Conservative Party in August, setting himself a series of ambitious targets including attracting the necessary 500 members in just a few weeks, standing candidates in almost every electorate, winning an electorate seat, and securing at least 9 per cent of the party vote. In last year's Super City election, Mr Craig came third behind Len Brown and John Banks, spending $569,000 on his campaign.
He was said to have paid $450,000 - he said it ended up being a bit over $300,000 - to fund the March for Democracy in November 2009.
Outlining policy yesterday, Mr Craig pushed hard his desire to make the outcome of citizen-initiated referendums binding on governments.
Beyond that, the Conservatives share policies with parties across the political spectrum and Mr Craig believes there is scope for them to work with whichever party moves to form the Government this weekend.
Outlining his party's key policies yesterday, Mr Craig, who is standing in the Rodney electorate, said making citizen- initiated referendums binding, provided there was a two-thirds majority which supported clearly worded propositions, was the Conservative's top priority.
The party would also like to see the threshold to trigger that lowered to 5 per cent of voters as opposed to 10 per cent of all those registered to vote, as is the case at present.
Mr Craig says previous referendums have shown New Zealanders support repealing the Section 56 "anti smacking" law, reducing the number of MPs and tougher penalties for violent crime.
"New Zealanders have already spoken on those three issues, we're ready to change the law on those."
However, the Conservatives hoped the public would in future initiate binding referendums on the Maori seats, which the party believed should be dumped, and whether the parliamentary term should be extended to four years.
From there, the Conservatives' priority was the economy.
"We strongly support innovation, we believe we have to have new entrepreneurs and new businesses in New Zealand."
To achieve that, the Conservatives want to make research and development a tax-deductible expense and Mr Craig said Labour's policy in this area is "the right place to start".