Election 2023: National Party leader Christopher Luxon to unveil ‘pledge card’ promise at campaign launch as Freedoms NZ plan to converge on it

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National Party leader Christopher Luxon will launch his election campaign by unveiling an old-school pledge card in Auckland today, but the big event seems set to face some disruption from Freedoms NZ supporters as Labour’s launch yesterday did.

This morning, Freedoms NZ issued a press release saying its co-leader, Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki, would lead “hundreds of fathers and their families” to the National Party’s launch venue in Manukau to call on Luxon to be more upfront about his Christian values.

“Will the real Christopher Luxon please stand up?” Tamaki said in the statement.

“Today, we call on Mr Luxon to be unequivocal about his beliefs and the leadership style he will bring to our nation.”


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Last week, Freedoms NZ candidate Karl Mokaraka interrupted Luxon’s press conference, including urging him not to shelve his anti-abortion views.

Freedoms NZ supporters had also partially blocked the entrance to Labour’s launch at the Aotea Centre yesterday, and leader Chris Hipkins’ speech was interrupted multiple times by people who had managed to get tickets into the venue, despite Labour’s attempts to check guests beforehand.

That campaign launch will kick off early afternoon and Luxon is expected to speak just before 2pm.

While Hipkins used his launch on Saturday to announce new policy – the gradual introduction of free dental care for under-30s from mid 2025 – Luxon’s is likely to focus on what he would offer as Prime Minister.


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He is set to unveil his pledge card, setting out his promises of what he would deliver as Prime Minister – an apparent attempt to try to address the question of whether voters trust him.

Pledge cards are a device used frequently in politics in the past both here and overseas – including by the British Labour Party and New Zealand’s former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who famously produced one in every election from 1999 onward.

Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark created a pledge card outlining key policies for the 1999 general election.
Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark created a pledge card outlining key policies for the 1999 general election.

In 2005, Labour got into trouble for using Parliamentary funding for its pledge card and not including it in election spending limits. Since then, the rules for the use of Parliamentary funding during an election period have been tightened significantly.

National’s campaign launch comes as it hits the campaign trail in earnest after releasing the details of its tax policy last week.

On TVNZ’s Q+A this morning, the party’s finance spokesperson Nicola Willis defended the costings around that policy, including questions about whether its proposed tax on foreign buyers and online gambling tax would raise as much revenue as the costings claimed.

Willis insisted the party had been conservative in its estimates, but would not give an answer when asked how the party would pay for the tax cuts if the expected revenue measures fell short.

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