Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere has '0800 Jacinda' hotline poached by The Opportunities Party

Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere has had his '0800 Jacinda' hotline election promise poached by The Opportunities Party (TOP).

Last month, Tamihere said he would establish the hotline for Aucklanders who see rough sleepers or beggars.

Making the announcement about the hotline, Tamihere said homelessness was a "health and welfare" issue.

But a call by Newshub to the hotline on Monday did not reveal Tamihere, nor Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"Unfortunately, John Tamihere is out just now, so is Jacinda - I think they might be out to lunch," a pre-recorded message says.

"I'm here though! I'm Geoff Simmons, the leader of TOP."

Simmons says in the message TOP would be relaunching its brand on October 3.

He says: "We got this number because we found out, as usual, our current group of politicians aren't very good at following through".

Simmons told Stuff the party wanted to show "all politicians are grandstanding". He said the party wants to show it can have fun, and be creative.

On August 12, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the hotline was a "political stunt".

He ridiculed Tamihere's plan, writing on Facebook that it demeaned the seriousness of the issue.

"We have enough social workers in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland to deal with working one-on-one," Tamihere said in a statement.

But Goff believed Tamihere was "criminalising" homelessness.

"I believe we should be providing support to our most vulnerable," Goff wrote on Facebook.

"That's what the Housing First programme has been doing. We've housed nearly 1000 people, including over 400 children."


Contact Newshub with your story tips: