Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei admits she was "extremely nervous" about the party's billboard campaign using pictures of hungry, barefoot kids, mining scars on the landscape, gridlocked traffic and a beach clean up from the Rena oil spill.

But research on voters eased her anxiety, and she is confident that most voters will click with the images.

She and co-leader Russel Norman unveiled the party's billboards for this election this morning, along with the election slogan of Love New Zealand, and social media hashtags of #Green2014 and #LoveNZ.

Today we're launching our 2014 campaign creative. RT if you #LoveNZ

"The billboards tackle New Zealand's issues, and they tackle them head on ... The creative acknowledges that everything is not okay in Aotearoa New Zealand, but that there is an alternative," Mrs Turei said.


The images are the opposite of the Greens previous campaign "For a richer NZ", which had idyllic images of natural landscapes and smiling kids.

Mrs Turei did not think there was a danger of the billboards being misinterpreted.
"There is a conflict in the billboards. It does make you think, and that's what we want voters to do.

"It's the opposite of being cynical. It's about being real, about what voters are really thinking about ... We know many New Zealanders are really concerned about children not having shoes, and not having lunch.

"Some people might read it differently, but the majority of New Zealanders will see this for what it is, which is reflection of poverty that children today are facing."

Campaign Director Ben Youden said voters thought that a campaign that used rosy images more suitable for tourism ads was not viable.

Metiria Turei holds up one of the billboards.

"Painting a picture of too bright a future at this moment in time was seen as lacking credibility, or politically naive."

Mrs Turei said she was initially nervous about the billboards.

"Which is why we did the testing, to make sure it was going to be the right direction."


She emphasised that the Greens would push major issues and not be distracted by sideshows or personality politics, a reference to National's heavy use of images of John Key in its campaign.

"This is not a Mr New Zealand competition. This is an election," Mrs Turei said.

"One could argue that #TeamKey is internally contradictory," Dr Norman added.

Metiria Turei and Russel Norman with one of the billboards.

The party's research showed that voters considered the Greens a party of integrity and values.

"They need to see that we know what's wrong with the country," Mrs Turei said.

The billboards are meant to push the core messages of a cleaner environment, a fairer society, and a smarter economy.