The Labour Party has tried to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, using a Herald story about its financial woes to ask for donations.
The Herald on Monday revealed Labour had been in deficit for the past two years, forcing it to dig into its cash reserves and reducing its net assets from $270,015 to $198,642.
Party president Nigel Haworth downplayed any talk of financial strife, but yesterday sent party members an email linking to the Herald story with a large link for members to click to "Donate for Victory in 2017".
He listed the party's values and added: "I'm proud of those values but the front page of the Herald today tells the story of the challenge we face to make those values a reality.
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"Today I'm asking you to help fix that. Will you help turn our party's values into the values of our Government in 2017?"
Dr Haworth went on to say Labour was also seeking donations from those who could give larger amounts.
Labour leader Andrew Little denied the party was in financial straits. "We are not in financial crisis. We've certainly had a few years of poor financial performance but we've got money in the bank. Our fundraising activities are way below par and that is the focus of attention right now."
He said the party had "troops on the ground" for campaigning. "But we do need a much more strategic and systematic way for doing our party-wide fundraising." However, he ruled out setting up an equivalent of National's controversial "Cabinet Clubs" - electorate fundraising groups in which members pay to go to functions with ministers and MPs.