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Internet Party, Mana merge

The Internet Party and Mana have signed a partnership that will see the two parties enter the September 20 election with a combined list.

Mana will have first, third and fourth positions on the list, with the Internet Party taking second, fifth and sixth spots (founder Kim Dotcom cannot stand as he is not an NZ citizen. He also faces the complication of his extradition trial, due to begin in July).

The Internet Party is in the process of selecting candidates. 170 members have put their names forward. A popular vote will whittle the list down to 20 before the final selections are made by the party's executive over Queen's Birthday weekend.

The combined party will be known as Internet Mana. It will have to collect 500 paying members before it can register with the Electoral Commission.

The focus will now be on how Mana leader's Hone Harawira's key lieutenants — the Dotcom-dubious John Minto, Annette Sykes and Sue Bradford — react to making way for Internet Party candidates. Ms Bradford has been openly hostile to Mr Dotcom, whom before aligning with the hard-left Mana described himself as business-friendly and donated $50,000 to conservative Auckland Mayoral candidate John Banks. [UPDATE: Ms Bradford resigned within half an hour of the merger being announced.]

The spotlight will also be on how voters in Hone Harawira's Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) Maori electorate react to the alliance.

A Te Karere-Digipoll poll late last year found Mr Harawira in a close race with Labour's Kelvin Davis, with Mr Davis nudging ahead.

Purely in terms of electoral strategy, this is a savvy play by Mr Dotcom and Internet Party CEO Vikram Kumar.

If Mr Harawira holds his seat, and the combined party's list vote tops 2.5%, an Internet Party candidate will get into the Beehive on his coat-tails unde the rules of MMP (TVNZ and TV3 polls Monday showed the combined vote still well under that mark). 

But for the Mana leader it's more of a gamble. How will Mr Dotcom — described as a "fat rich white prick" by one of Mr Harwira's staff — go down in hardscrabble Te Tai Tokerau, where issues like unemployment are more front-of-mind than the GCSB?

Mr Harawira will be hoping Northland voters look past Mr Dotcom's Mercedes-loving image to Internet Party policies that include a boost for education, and subsidised internet.

And the erstwhile Mana leader will also get access to some rich party funding. Earlier, Mr Kumar told NBR that a Dotcom family trust would tip $2 million into establishing the Internet Party — cash that will presumably be on tap for the combined Internet Mana. So far, Mr Dotcom has donated $250,000 to his own party.

As ever in politics money will help — but there are limits, as the $1.5 million spending Colin Craig discovered at the 2011 election.

For now, the blunt reality of MMP is that the Mana-Internet Party alliance will likely benefit National, chipping 1 or 2% from the Labour-Green bloc's total.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz


RAW DATA: Internet Party statement

INTERNET PARTY-MANA PARTNERSHIP A WIN FOR DIGITAL GENERATION

The Internet Party has hailed its partnership with the MANA movement as a win for young New Zealanders.

The deal – brokered by Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom, party chief executive Vikram Kumar and MANA officials including leader Hone Harawira – has been formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the two parties submit a combined list of candidates to contest the party vote in the 2014 General Election.

While both parties will retain their separate identities, a new political party called Internet MANA will be formed.

“Our ambition has always been to get the voice of young New Zealanders – the digital generation – heard in Parliament,” said Mr Kumar.

“Every vote for Internet MANA will effectively strengthen the momentum for change and hope in New Zealand.

“For a new party, achieving the 5% party vote threshold is incredibly tough because the system is loaded in favour of the incumbent parties. This is one of the reasons why we have come to an agreement for an alliance with the MANA movement. Together we are stronger. Together we will be able to achieve our ambition of building a better, fairer and more inclusive New Zealand, as well as advancing our party-specific principles and policies.

“The Internet Party’s vision and mission remain the same. People who believe in us can vote Internet MANA in the knowledge their vote will make a difference.”

Internet MANA will submit a combined list to contest the party vote, with candidates drawn from the Internet Party and MANA movement as component parties. The combined list will be finalised following the conclusion of the Internet Party’s candidate selection process.

MANA will have first, third and fourth positions on the list, with the Internet Party taking second, fifth and sixth spots. The Internet Party will also announce its leader this week, and its candidate selection process will culminate at Queen's Birthday weekend with final presentations by applicants to party members.

Both parties will retain separate identities to contest electorate seats – MANA in the Maori seats and the Internet Party in selected electorates. The parties will not compete against one another in any electorate.

“The Internet Party will be in Parliament after the 2014 General Election,” said Mr Kumar. “A party vote for Internet MANA means we will be a position to advance our policies and effect the change our members want and that New Zealand desperately needs. Every vote will make a difference.”

The full Memorandum of Understanding between the Internet Party and the MANA movement can be found HERE.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions
37

So will Key have a cup of tea with Kelvin Davis?

Even the Maori Party should consider having a cup of tea with Kelvin.

Hollywood here we come!

Plain nuts.

It doesn't matter how much this chips off labour as you suggest. It's another party to add into and strengthen the left block coalition; although it's probably the final straw to stop Winston first joining the block .

Why not add the two other so called parties to form the Future United Conservative Internet Mana Party?

I see from a recent declaration that Dotcom gave $250,000 to the Internet party. How can that be? Kumar said the money would come from the Dotcom family trust, which is not the same as Dotcom himself. There are restraining orders on Dotcom's property and he has to go to the Court for income. So if the money went to the party from the trust, the declaration is false. And if the money went from the trust to Dotcom and then to the party, a restraining order may have been breached. Which is it?

I'm sure the haters will be looking at those details.

Anonymous was so silly. Who expects dot com to abide by the rules. Rules are made to be broken.

Dumb + Dumber = Dumbest

Where Boss Hogg meets Billy the Kid.

Dotcom's already taken over the Mana Party, how dumb is Hone, he will be dropped like a hot potato.

That can't happen Hone will hold the only seat. They'll get a few in come the election, but the arrangement is destined to end in tears. National will be rubbing their hands in glee. Nothing could effectively split the left block than this Mickey Mouse Mana interweb mob.

When Mana / Internet party get into power we will deal to those rich pricks.

I wonder if Hone will claim the Mana party back as a treaty of waitangi settlement when he is dropped?

"If Mr Harawira holds his seat, and the combined party's list vote tops 2.5%, an Internet Party candidate will get into the Beehive on his coat-tails"

There is a world of difference between getting into Parliament, which is what you should have stated, and getting into the Beehive (i.e. Government).

I wonder what colour Mercedes Hone will pick .... your bros gonna be proud of you boi ...

It used to be blankets. Now it's a Mercedes. Hone is leading the way.

Given Dot Com is a German National...and Mana is a Socialist Workers Party...does this new political synthesis plan on re-branding as the National Socialist German Workers Party - might explain the fascination with ratbag Third Reich memorabilia!

Wow, all this says to me is Hone Harawira doesn't care what it takes to get money and power. Mana? More like Na.

Given Dot Com is a German National...and Mana is a Socialist Workers Party...does this new political synthesis plan on re-branding as the National Socialist German Workers Party - might explain the fascination with ratbag Third Reich memorabilia!

So a white man thinks he can buy some Mana for $250k. Mana has to be earned, and it is hard to see if either side had any to sell...

Virtual-mana?

Inter-maniac ?

I can see a movie coming called ' dumb and dumber ' Oh that's right it's already been done maybe dumb and dumber #2 then?

Time to get rid of the Maori electoral seats as they aren't being used to serve Maori anymore - referendum time.

Cheque book politics in the extreme!

One sold their soul and the other brought no Mana at all.

I don't think the word mana means what I thought it did.

I would not normally support Sue Bradford but well done you Sue
Mana sells its sole for 30 pieces of silver

The only person coming out of this with any integrity is Sue Bradford. Whatever one thinks of her politics, she is a person of principle

This is MMP in action, folks - get used to it.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Sue Bradford has risen hugely in my estimation, a woman of principals and character. Well done Sue you can see the Maori emperor has no clothes.

Dotcom tried wooing Act, Labour and maybe the Greens. Finally he bribed the lowest hanging rotten fruit, Mana. He doesn't care. As the PM said, so long as he makes it harder to be extradited by US authorities. Germany are welcome to take him back. And yes, this makes a farce of MMP, a reprehensible system.

This is a genuine enquiry. Can someone tell me anything that Hone has actually done for his cause? Any legislation he has influenced or introduced that has had a positive affect for his constituents? Seriously, I am just trying to get an idea of why he is constantly voted in.

The main problem with this is for Labour and Green. If MIP gets enough votes to negotiate, he'll be an almost impossible coalition partner.

This farcical adventure made me feel pity for Harawira whom I respect and admiration for Sue Bradford who dislike, never thought I would see such a weird marriage of convenience this in NZ politics

I think it's a very cool alliance. You have a guy with libertarian values supporting a party that wants to attack a system that promotes unequal wealth accumulation. It makes a lot of sense, because markets are currently not being allowed to operate, creating bubbles all over that benefit a select few.

Top of their agenda should be demanding a market rate of interest be applied. (They won't get it, but people desperately need education and awareness of this matter.)