Former Prime Minister Helen Clark is trying to rally donors to the Labour Party, pledging to match anything people donate with a donation of her own.
In an email to Labour supporters, Clark harked back to her 2005 victory over the Don Brash-led National Party.
“We won in 2005 after a razor-close race because we had the resources to turn out the vote. We can do it again this year, but it will take all of us chipping in what we can,” Clark wrote.
“I was a Labour PM for nine years and a Labour leader for nearly 15, so I’ve been involved in a campaign or two in my time. I know better than anyone that the only way we win is if everyone pitches in together,” she wrote.
Clark said a donation would protect the “Labour legacy” including things like Working for Families, an initiative introduced by the Clark government.
“Chris has great Labour values, which New Zealand needs more than ever right now. He’ll protect the Labour legacy by extending Working For Families and supporting our social security and health and education systems. That matters a lot to me,” she wrote.
When the donation drive is over, Labour will declare Clark’s contribution if it is over $20,000, as it has to do under current rules.
It is the first large donation made by Clark to Labour since she was leader and prime minister.
Clark has not made a contribution over the new $20,000 declaration threshold for large donations this year.
Electoral Commission records show she has not made a donation over the previous $30,000 declaration threshold when that existed between 2011 and 2022.
Clark reportedly made a nearly $30,000 donation in 2008, as she and other Labour MPs then fronted up with money after the Auditor-General found the party had misused about $800,000 of taxpayer funds at the 2005 election.
Labour has been thoroughly beaten in fundraising terms this year, with National and Act bagging big donations.
Smaller donations of the kind Labour relies on are not immediately declared, but National and Act are far ahead in terms of large donations of over $20,000, which must be declared within 10 working days.
In the first three weeks of this month alone, National has declared in $217,000 in donations, with no large donations going to Labour. It is behind even NZ First, which has declared $180,000 in donations in August.
Clark has been approached for comment.