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Harre confirms she is being paid by Dotcom — and how much

Internet Party leader Laila Harre reveals has revealed she is being a paid back-bench MP salary as leader of the Internet Party

A backbench MP is paid $147,800, plus perks including travel and accommodation expenses plus super.

The usuL remuneration for the leader of a minor party out of power is nothing.

"I have just agreed to a contract which is in line with the already public intention of the party to pay candidates the same as a backbench MP. But I have to say that there simply wasn’t any discussion at all about personal remuneration for me at any stage during this decision and it just was not a factor in me making up my mind," she told Lisa Owen on TV3's The Nation this morning.

Kim Dotcom, who made his fortune from Megaupload (for which he faces piracy, money laundering and racketeering charges), and sister sites including Megaporn and Megaerotic, has revealed he is bankrolling Internet Mana to the tune of $3 million.

Earlier, Internet Party CEO Vikram Kumar told NBR that other sources of funding paled next to the money being tipped into the campaign by one of Mr Dotcom's family trusts.

Ms Harre said the Internet Party is going to appeal to National and New Zealand First voters who reject the “short-term pragmatism” of this government.

"We have to expand the vote, it’s not about taking votes off other progressive parties,” she said.

The Mana-Internet Party deal was a “principled approach” to ensure Internet Party voters don’t see their votes wasted.

What do you think? Which party is most under pressure following the appointment of Laila Harre?  Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

RAW DATA:  The Nation/TV3 transcript: Lisa Owen interviews new Internet Party leader Laila Harre

Lisa Owen: You were considering standing for the Green Party weren’t you. So why didn’t you do that?

Laila Harre: I gave it some consideration but at no point did I feel like it was right thing to do or the best use of my talents and skills and experience at that time. In fact, I’d committed this year to working on the Council of Trade Unions ‘Get Out the Vote’ campaign and we’ve been setting that up since the beginning of the year, it’s going very well. And like the Greens, we are focused in the Internet Party on a change of government this year.

Well you raise that. So isn’t that the one thing that’s drawing you together with Dotcom is this desire to get rid of John Key and the National Party by any means necessary?

Well it’s not any means necessary. This is a principled approach to ensuring that those people who have already shown that they are very interested in the Internet Party and want to vote for the Internet Party don’t see their votes wasted. I think the crucial thing here is that we are focused on basically three ways of utilising the resources that we now have to change the government this year. Firstly we have to expand the vote, it’s not about taking votes off other progressive parties. We have an absolutely amazing engine room of people with the skills, the savvy and the connection to youth culture to help us to expand the vote and to turn around what’s an appalling voting record in New Zealand, of appealing to and enabling young voters to vote. Secondly we are going to appeal to National votes, those people who are really concerned about the short-term pragmatism of this government and understand as we do the opportunities that are being lost. And finally I just want to say-

On that point, at your unveiling as leader you raised the point that the National party had done this deal with SkyCity, they were selling off assets. Is it fair to say that you see that as unprincipled?

What I have said is that we have surrendered the MMP strategic advantage, the strategic MMP approach to National over the last two elections. And what that’s meant is that our power companies have been privatised, the SkyCity deal which will double the size of the Auckland casino [which] was completely outside mainstream procurement practise and disregarded the social harm that will result. Those sort of issues have been enabled by the National Party having a monopoly on MMP strategy. We are going to take back MMP and be strategic about it ourselves.

So in saying that, in order to take back MMP as you say; you’re happy to take three million dollars from a businessman who is a convicted criminal. I mean how can you preach to John Key about crony capitalism, you have just lost the moral high ground haven’t you?

Well just before I go there, I also want to say that this is about appealing to New Zealand First voters. Because while we’re on MMP strategy, there are New Zealand First voters who do actually want to put New Zealand first but are very concerned that their vote is going to end up being used to support a National Government. So yes, the bottom line here is wanting to change the government, wanting to change it because of the cost it’s doing to future generations.

But at what cost? You have accepted three million dollars from…back to my earlier question, you’ve accepted three million dollars from a multi-millionaire who’s a convicted criminal, you have lost the moral high ground haven’t you?  You have forfeited that.

I think that we’re in an extraordinary and unique position with a fledgling political party that’s standing up to the establishment, to have resources like that backing us and behind us. Generally we’ve seen big money in politics used to protect the interests of the establishment, to shut down change and to shut other people out of the political process. I make no apologies for utilising these resources to engage with young people, to enable people who have been excluded from politics to say and to focus absolutely on the future economic development of this country.

What about the man providing the money having a say though? You’ve got here a man who gave a 50-thousand dollar donation to John Banks, when he got locked up in jail he then picks up the phone ringing for a favour: ‘I’d like a mattress John Banks’. So that’s cash for -

That’s hardly a favour, that’s an appalling indictment on our prison system; that people don’t have a decent bed to sleep on when they’re on remand.

That’s cash for access though? Cash for access; what happens when he rings you up when you’re in Parliament asking and wants a favour?

I don’t expect that to happen for a second. Kim Dotcom has been enormously generous in enabling an already existing constituency of people who want to see us take a giant leap forward in terms of our technological savvy and the use of that in the development of New Zealand. And there is a huge amount of alignment between him and an already existing leadership of people within the internet industry, those who understand the importance of this technological revolution for our future.

How much are you getting paid to lead the Internet Party?

I have just agreed to a contract which is in line with the already public intention of the party to pay candidates the same as a backbench MP. But I have to say that there simply wasn’t any discussion at all about personal remuneration for me at any stage during this decision and it just was not a factor in me making up my mind.

But given that there’s this three million dollars being thrown into the pot by Kim Dotcom, doesn’t it look to voters like that you have created this left-wing coalition just to get a hold of the money for a fighting fund to get into Parliament? 

I think – I hope what it looks like to voters is that there are some very strong and principled people who now have the resources to make sure that we can reach out during the election campaign and make their votes count. The democratic rort over the last period of time has been the fact that the MMP threshold at five percent has made it very difficult for new movements and new parties to get a foothold in parliament. And we’ve seen that. So our Parliament is still made up of the original MMP parties. This is an opportunity to bring in quite a new style of politics and quite a new approach to economic development.

And in that new style of politics one of your most important policies is free tertiary education. Well your sponsor and party visionary has criticised this government for spending during recession times. Do you agree with that criticism because that’s how you keep policies like that afloat?

Well one of the deciding factors for me was the issue of tertiary education. As many observers I have been watching the development of the Internet Party. I was from absolutely from the side lines watching the negotiation of the agreement with the Mana movement.

But you have to spend to get that, and he has criticised It -

And right from the get go the Internet Party had made free tertiary education one of their core principles. And look, I was around in the late 1980s when Labour introduced the first student fees. At that time I made a pledge to continue the fight for free tertiary education and I’m very glad to be in a party that supports that.

I understand that but the question is Dotcom has criticised the Government for spending during recession times, that’s how you fund policies like free education. Do you agree or disagree with that?

Well the policy programme of the Internet Party is being developed and decided by the Internet Party.

So still to come? We’ll need to leave it there.

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Comments and questions

Whether you like Dotcom o the Internet Party or not you can't criticize the transparency with their funding and salaries

That can't be said about the other parties in the race

The transparency is very refreshing. The current government has a lot to learn before they get even close to this level of transparency.

Transparency is something needed by all parties. the current government is not any worse than others when you look at the facts

Any signing on bonuses? What about success fees if she gets elected?

As they say, whats good for the geese.

Arent political donations common? Perhaps all too common. I would like to see legalisation that makes them illegal, and so would most of us.

It boggles my mind how underfunded the education system is in this country...How can you argue with providing money for education...
Time for a change New Zealand!
Invest in our Future....

Something like $9Billion each and every year is a fair swag of money Jason.

Do look deeper than the bumper sticker slogans...

The fact is that NZ spends a greater percentage of GDP on education than any other OECD country. Just cos Laila hints otherwise, don't mean it's so.

It would be interesting to know your age Jason.

I went through university as an adult student in my 40s. The education system is absolutely fantastic, bordering on lavish. It has everything you could possibly need.

Underfunded...I dont think so.

You could easily say it produces students totally removed from the reality of life and financial responsibility.

Hope she gets paid!! Unlike some other of Sergeant Schultz's staff

Clearly in NZ today Politics is for SALE and want to you do want ?
Mr Dot Com

R I P NZ inc

Are you naïve enough to think this doesn't happen in all of NZ politics? Everyone with a sniff of politician is paid.

I call total bovine excrement on Laila's fibs about her pay and employment.

Either, she was completely and wilfully breaking NZ employment law and doing so as a willing, senior and long-term Union member spending decades advocating against just that.

Which means she's been completely incompetent, ineffective and clearly has learning issues as a credible union advocate.

Or she's telling deliberate lies to further deceive all of NZ.

Where's her credibility and sense of shame?

Regardless though - she's demonstrated why NZ should not vote for her or her hybrid Omni-cluster dysfunction of a "political party" that is attempting to pervert our form of democracy.

so this stupid bint expects us to believe that she left other employment to go into this job not knowing if she would get paid or how much? Well, that surely disqualifies her as being competent to hold any public office at all. she might be better employed as a cleaner.

Maybe she is not doing it for the money and has some principles, a foreign concept to National and most politicians. She comes across as genuine, consistent in her beliefs and willing to work for them.

She came across as a mindless leftie drone on q&a this morning. Talking about all these wonderful things the party was going to do but hadn't even thought about how it was going to be funded. Tax and spend, that is their policy in a nutshell, and too bad if the economy is destroyed in the process. Heaven help NZ if these numpties get in.

She will only have employment until election day, then she will revert to a State Funded benefit I would assume.

Just like every other politician in parliament. All MP's are on a State Funded Benefit.

You mean like Hone and Winston.

hmmmm ..... In my view, Laila Harre lost any claim to 'left-wing' credentials when she was appointed to the Auckland Transition Agency (ATA) which set up the Auckland 'Supercity' - which in my considered opinion was a corrupt corporate takeover.

Please don't ask me to have a frontal lobotomy.


The Internet Party supports Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs), which once upon a time, as a member of the Alliance, Laila Harre opposed.

Of course, the Auckland Supercity, (which Laila Harre helped set up) now provides the 'economies of scale' for PPPs.

I'm sure the Committee for Auckland will be thrilled to hear of Laila Harre's appointment.

Penny every once in a while two people can agree. I agree with you today,,,,,and only this once on Harre selling out on her mantra

A social liberal party - answer to Raf Manji's challenge:

The political space is one area where change is long overdue. There has been no new serious attempt to reframe the left-right tennis match and put it into concrete policy proposals. The 2014 NZ general election offers that’s opportunity. (Raf Manji)

A caudillo like Bob Jones? New Peronists? New Zealand equivalent to Spain's Podemos which won 8% in the EP elections?

Laila has principles? The money she is so happy to spend to fund her own ego is alleged to be laundered procedes from stolen IP. Great. She can no longer hold the moral high ground. She has just proven her ethics are for sale. Rest assured Laila, Dotcom will come calling when he needs your help.

DotComs price is already well known - ministerial veto of his extradition. He knows the NZ justice system is a paid by the hour system, so the hearings will be still going by September (probably next year), and then, if the court comes up with a finding to extradite, his trained minions in the Internet Party and Green Party will veto the extradition.

I recall Harre when she stepped into the Super City setup with a principled ambition to ensure the staffing transition was well managed and that people were not harmed. This was a good ambition. However (and I was one of the thousands on the receiving end) staff got a poor outcome (not a bad outcome just poor). And it was clear that when she could not deliver her principled vision she bailed on the staff and took a plum overseas position. She abandoned her principals and gave up the fight. She left the staff to the wolves... And did so at a time that there was no chance for anyone to reasonably take over.
Given her current salary is being paid by someone else's ill-gotten gains, will she be done under the proceeds of crime legislation. Surely she is smart enough to reasonably know the money she has is tainted...

Does she care? Obviously not. But she is an Internet guru, just right for representing the Internet party. And she can facebook and tweet. We're saved.

And of course her family background is the wealthy Yock family (of Jandal fame)

Oh of course, such relevance

Laila Harre has political principles alright, and they are flapping around her ankles for all the world to see.

Is LAILA HARRE aware that a lot of Mr Dotcoms money came from the webside MEGA PORN which i am assuming is what the name suggests.Does Ms Harre support his previos income stream?

All political parties need cash. Colin Craig, Bob Jones, Clive Palmer are examples of money where their mouth is for start up political parties.
We are lucky we have a democracy so it's your vote on the day that will show who we believe will take us in to the future.