Ousted longtime political party New Zealand First appears to be mounting a comeback and is appealing to its members for cash to help rebuild its war-chest.
In an email to supporters, new NZ First president – and former MP – Darroch Ball asked party faithful for their help to rebuild the party.
"We are needing funds to assist us to ensure we have the ability to continue to plan through to 2023," he said in the email.
He said the party's board has been busy over the Christmas and New Year period planning the party's future.
"We would appreciate it if you can make a donation of any amount to help us rebuild our war-chest and ensure we, as a party and as a movement, keep on making a difference in New Zealand."
The email did not, however, make any mention of NZ First founder and leader Winston Peters – who has been in charge since the party's formation in 1993.
Peters has gone to ground since the election and has made few public appearances.
And he has done next to no media interviews either – despite repeated attempts by the Herald and other outlets.
But he spoke at a farewell event in Parliament in December, where he reflected on his political career.
"It has been a personal privilege to twice serve as Foreign Minister and over a 15-year span, and sharpening our policy focus on our neighbourhood the Pacific has assumed ever greater strategic importance."
NZ First – which formed a coalition Government with Labour in the last term – won just 2.6 per cent of the total vote in the 2020 Election.
That was well short of the 5 per cent which is needed for smaller parties to get into Parliament without an electorate MP.
But Ball appears optimistic when it comes to NZ First's future prospects.
"Joining the part as a member will also give you the ability to have a voice in the shape of New Zealand First's future," he told members.
"Our membership will be playing a key role in decision making and our pathway through to the next election."
A political comeback is not without precedent for NZ First. Peters' party was knocked out of Parliament in 2008 after it won 4.07 per cent of the total vote.
But the party was back in 2011 after it won 6.59 per cent on Election Day.