Liz Gunn wanted two million pre-election declarations of support for her NZ Loyal Party and got 26,000 votes or 1.3 percent of that request.
Brian Tamaki called on the nation to rise up for ‘freedoms’, but even after throwing four parties together under one umbrella, he secured just 7031 votes on election night, a little over three times the listed membership of his Destiny Church.
All up, those two outfits plus the other four fringe parties that one way or another had been spawned out of rebellion against the Covid-19 restrictions, mandates and vaccines achieved 1.98 percent of the vote.
NZ Loyal, while well short of the two million signature challenge set its leader and former TV presenter Gunn in a speech captured on video in the final weeks of the campaign, dominated the fringe party results. Its 26,141 amounted to 1.15 percent of the preliminary vote, before special votes which represent about 20 percent of the total votes cast, are counted and declared by November 3.
Gunn called for the pre-election declarations of support to counter what she feared would be vote-rigging using electoral counting machines which are not used in this country.
NZ Loyal’s total vote was more than all the other five freedom-cause parties – Freedoms NZ (7031), Democracy NZ led by former National MP Matt King (5544), New Conservatives (3587), the Leighton Baker Party (1814) and New Nation (1288) – put together.
The fringe parties’ totals were part of a grand total of 5.97 percent of the vote on election night that was ‘wasted’ under the MMP 5 percent threshold system because the parties did not meet that cut.
But all was not lost.
New Zealand First, which took up the cause of vaccine injury and a wider remit for a royal commission into the country’s Covid response, crossed the threshold with 6.46 percent and will carry candidate Tanya Unkovich into Parliament. Ranked eighth on the party list, she last year joined a social media channel focused on identifying people to face military tribunals for ‘crimes against humanity’.
The NZ Herald reported it had seen a screenshot that appeared to show Unkovich, in February 2022, joining the Telegram channel nuremberg.nz, which is dedicated to “identifying New Zealand politicians, bureaucrats, mainstream media and academic personalities who must face military tribunals under international law for crimes against humanity”.
A second controversial NZ First candidate, 11th-ranked Kirsten Murfitt, a Tauranga lawyer, would not be elected on preliminary results. Stuff reported Murfitt had been a vocal critic of the pandemic response, expressing her views through open letters to authority figures. She was part of a group called New Zealand Lawyers Speaking Out with Science (NZLSOS) alongside Sue Grey of Freedoms NZ.
Ryan Hamilton, who has won the Hamilton East electorate for National, has a history of social media opposition to fluoridation of water, views he renounced after publicity during the campaign.
Of all the minor parties that didn’t make the cut, former National MP Alfred Ngaro’s Christian-values New Zeal was third best performer behind TOP and NZ Loyal. Ngaro’s vehicle increased its vote from 8000 in 2020 under the name ONE Party to 12,701.