A donation drive backed dollar-for-dollar by former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark and a small group of donors has earned her former party $400,000 in a week.
And in just over 24 hours since Clark announced she was part of the group of “fund-matchers”, the party raised nearly $270,000.
It is currently unclear how much Clark, who was Prime Minister from 1999 until 2008, will be contributing but if it is above $20,000 - as with any others - it will be required to be reported publicly by the party within 10 working days.
The donation drives comes as Labour is dwarved by large donations to main rival the National Party. 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.
Already this year National has received over $2 million in large donations - over $20,000 - compared to Labour at just over $450,000. In fact National has received more than Labour combined in just one donation of $500,000 from Auckland businessman Warren Lewis.
Overall National brought in $5.1m in donations last year, 10 times Labour’s total in what was also believed to be a record annual intake.
Labour typically relies on smaller donations, which are not immediately declared and won’t be until after the election.
In Clark’s donation drive, she 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 in an email.
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 would be 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.
Clark has been approached for comment.
A similar fund-matching drive in May raised $300,000 for the party - with former Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard and Les Mills International founder Phillip Mills stumping up $100,000 and $50,000 respectively to match $150,000 in smaller donations.