Newshub Nation: Simon Shepherd talks to Freedoms NZ's Brian Tamaki, the New Conservatives' Helen Houghton, and Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis' Michael Appleby

Media coverage of elections naturally focuses on major and minor parties as they jostle for power, but they are actually outnumbered by those on the fringe of the debate.  

Those parties seemingly have little or no chance of getting elected, so who are they, and why do they bother?  

Newshub Nation's Simon Shepherd talked with a number of marginal party leaders to unearth their motivations.  

Brian Tamaki is well known across New Zealand and has chosen to undertake a disrupt campaign in 2023 because "We're starved of any media attention," he said.   

"You have to do something to get their attention."  

The recent protest he led through the streets of Wellington was nothing like last year's occupation of Parliament's grounds, but still managed to create a stir.   

While Tamaki hoped the protests would inspire an umbrella party of the marginalised and disenfranchised, in the end, the only other party to join Tamaki's Vision NZ was Sue Grey's Outdoors and Freedom Party.

"The negotiation side of getting parties to see the concept of combining our party vote took a lot of hours, time, days, weeks, months, and as we see today, didn't quite do what I hoped it would do," Tamaki said.   

Helen Houghton leads the New Conservatives Party.  

Houghton said "Our loyal supporters want us to stay on the path that we are on. In fact, some of our supporters have said if we went towards one of those other parties, they would have left us".  

The New Conservatives are not to be confused with the New Conservative party, its previous iteration which was led by Leighton Baker.  

Baker now has his own party, the Leighton Baker Party.  

Baker, like Tamaki, was at the Parliamentary protest last year.   

Another well-known New Zealander who was at the protest and went on to set up a political party is former broadcaster Liz Gunn, who now runs New Zealand Loyal.   

A bureaucratic bungle means most of her candidates aren't registered, but Gunn still believes her party could attract a record number of votes.   

She was filmed at a meeting in Palmerston North last week asking her supporters to help her account for the 1 and a half to two million votes she is expecting.    

Former National MP Matt King has also gone out on his own with the Democracy NZ Party.

Another former National MP, Alfred Ngaro, has set up the New Zeal Party.  

Another freedom rights focused party is the New Nation Party and there are also single-issue parties like the Women's Rights Party, the Animal Justice Party, and the long-running Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, started after the 1996 smoke out at Parliament.  

Co-leader of Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Michael Appleby said he was all about "Persistence, persistence, persistence.  

"We think that we will, in fact, make a difference."  

But is anyone planning on voting for any of them?  

In the most recent Newshub Reid Research Poll, all the small parties that respondents mentioned together totalled 1.1 percent.  

The New Conservatives did better, polling at 1.1 percent by themselves.

It still gives them no chance of getting into Parliament and is a far cry from when Colin Craig led them and attracted almost 4 percent in 2014.  

Houghton said "We're going to get closer, whether it's this year or 2026, we're not giving up.  

"We're a long-term party. We have a lot of advocacy work to do as well, and whatever we're doing now is not going to stop after election day."  

Appleby embodies persistence and has been the co-leader of Legalise Cannabis for 27 years.   

"We're nearly there, we're nearly there," he said  

"I think that whoever becomes the government in this particular election will have to take heed of the fact that 1.4 million people who voted yes in the referendum can't be ignored. It's hypocrisy to regard them otherwise."  

For Tamaki, it's a matter of faith, and when asked his response to polling around 0.1 percent in various major polls, he said "Hey, I believe in miracles".  

Watch the full video for more. 

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