National | Elections

The Green Party leads rally to end poverty

Green Party faithful turned out in force at a rally in South Auckland calling for an end poverty. It's the party's last big campaign push ahead of Election Day this Saturday.

No one in New Zealand should live in poverty is a core campaign issue for the Greens.

"Whenever we go in New Zealand, women, men, the elderly and children support Metiria and our party's stance to end poverty as our main campaign issue," said Greens MP Marama Davidson.

Under their Mending the Safety Net policy, the Greens promise to tackle poverty by:

-  Increasing all core benefits by 20%

-  Raise the minimum wage to $17.75 in the first year and keep raising it until it's 66% of the average wage

-  A new top tax rate of 40% on income over $150,000 per year.

"Our policy will raise 360 odd thousand whānau above the poverty line," says Greens MP Metiria Turei,

"It's the first step there is still more that needs to happen, but we can end poverty in the first term of a new government as long as the Greens are strong in that government."

"Unless you've actually lived that life and understand the true hardships of what that is, you will never understand why the compassion to reach out and help these people and tax them much higher is really important to people at grass roots level," says Otara resident Tina Barnett.

Since July, the Greens have been plummeting in the polls following former co-leader Metiria Turei's admission of lying while collecting a benefit and electoral registration details. However, latest polls have the Greens hovering around the 5% threshold necessary to make it into Parliament.

"Despite dipping for a bit, is that more and more whānau are saying yes ending poverty is our priority," says Turei.

"Give us their party vote so we can eliminate poverty," says Davidson.

With just six days to go until elections, we'll know whether the party has done enough to retain their core support to remain in Parliament.