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OPINION: Mana and Internet Party unholy alliance is an insult to all NZ ICT workers


There are over forty five thousand ICT workers in New Zealand. We are a strong industry. We have the capability to provide export values more than milk and butter in the near future. We are already billions of dollars advanced in terms of turnover. We are serious. So when an unholy alliance of hard left politics coupled with a convicted fraudster appears as a contender to politics, reportedly speaking in our name, we need to be damn careful before we take our vote and put it behind a machine that, in my opinion, is possibly one of the most aborted, mangled, and ugly conglomerates that I have ever seen.

Hone Harawira:

“Harawira lashed out at white people over criticism that he bunked off a work trip to visit Paris, accusing “white motherf****s” of “puritanical bullsh*” for expecting him to follow the rules in an email exchange.” – 3News

Kim Dotcom:

“Arrested by German police for trafficking in stolen phone calling card numbers” and “eventually convicted of 11 counts of computer fraud, 10 counts of data espionage, and an assortment of other charges” and ” announced his intention to invest €50 million in the company. The announcement caused the share value of to jump and Schmitz cashed out, making a profit of €1.5 million” and “Schmitz moved to Thailand to avoid investigation where he was subsequently arrested on behalf of German authorities” and “he allegedly pretended to kill himself online, posting a message on his website that from now on he wished to be known as “His Royal Highness King Kimble the First, Ruler of the Kimpire” and “was deported back to Germany where he pleaded guilty to embezzlement” and “was subsequently convicted for failing to disclose his shareholding to the Securities and Futures Commission” – Wikipedia

“Kim Dotcom took part in “racist day” and referred to his American crew as “my little n……” – giving them gollywogs while recording his album Good Times.” - Stuff

“3 News broke the story last night that Dotcom owns one of the rarest copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf in existence, now, a photo of Dotcom wearing a Nazi helmet has also emerged.”- 3News.

So we have a borderline racist and a convicted criminal, with arguably some very questionable judgement, that have joined forces with the glue between them being Laila Harre, and old Left agitator. So what does she have to say about it? The quotes are sourced from this interview:

“The Internet Party has grown out of an existing constituency of people who are very concerned about the lost opportunities that we’re seeing day by day with a government that’s making very short term pragmatic decisions and isn’t enabling the full potential of the internet and of the technological revolution, to play a part in our lives.”

What a load of bunk. The Internet Party is a, in my opinion, financial arrangement between Mana and Kim Dotcom that sees Harawira(s) getting a significant amount of cash (millions) in an effort of Kim Dotcom to have a go at government. Seems to me that, even though I have been a critic, our Internet access is increasingly getting better. So why do we need these guys and girls?

Let’s take another angle. The Mana Internet Party has a real focus on “tin and iron”. Building network links and the like. But you know what, that’s not actually how ICT works at all, it’s important, but it’s something that comes after what strategy you decide on. In other words, let’s decide what is important as a country and then figure out what tech we need to support that.

” I think one of the great things about this party is it represents the sort of fullness and diversity of the internet generation. At one side we have cutting edge entrepreneurs, people who really see the opportunities in an expansion of this technology for New Zealand, and there’s no question at all that we cannot get beyond our current economic malaise without a massive transformation.”

So here’s the thing lady, I’m part of the “Internet Generation” and I have to say, talking to my peer group, the chances of you getting votes from us is pretty much zip. This statement is just gibberish. What we are looking for is good ICT policy. Something that the Mana Internet Party simply does not have. In fact, National and the Right are dragging badly here as well. If you want to look for good policy then check out Labour and the Greens. Here’s hoping that National de-couples their old view of ICT policy and comes up with something solid so we have a good choice.

“A lack of quality digital internet services in this country is probably costing us about 9% of our GDP. Look I live 2 kilometres from Downtown Auckland. My internet speed is 8 megabits per second.”

This shows La La Laila’s basic ignorance of what is in place right now. I live 8 kilometres from Downtown Wellington and my internet speed is over 70 megabits per second with no data cap. It’s pretty awesome to be honest.

If you want another example, in my opinion, of the vote buying side of this unholy alliance. Here’s one:

“Internet Party leader Laila Harre wants cannabis to be decriminalised.”- TVNZ

Do I need to say more?

In my opinion, as a 45,000 strong voter base these are the things we should be looking for, instead of a vapid, disingenuous, coat tail dragging bunch of marketers:

  • What is going on with UFB? This is the most important aspect of infrastructure in New Zealand and it’s bound up in “Architecture by Contract Management”.
  • How are we going to get the next generation to actually take up ICT as an education? And retain them once trained?
  • How are we going to support New Zealand ICT industry instead of pouring billions into offshore body shops?
  • How do we implement Smart City?
  • How do we take our most incubated products and showcase them internationally?
  • How do we get back to being a world leader in ICT?
  • How do we exploit our geographic location for data storage?

And so on…

Instead, what we have, in my opinion, is a bunch of disaffected left wing potential racists (white or brown) that are power hunger and completely desperate to land some seats in parliament. It makes a mockery of our political system and is devalues our ICT industry.

Quite frankly, our industry deserves better than this. I’m surprised that Vikram Kumar, one of our outstanding ICT leaders, has chosen to associate himself with this movement. It would be interesting to know what his salary is.

Ian Apperley is the director at Isis Group and blogs at Whatisitwellington.

Comments and questions

"Quite frankly, our industry deserves better than this."

Sounds like you have a sense of entitlement but it is somebody else's job to deliver it.

Who might that be?

If you read my other pieces, Boris, you'd know the answer to that question. If you can't be bothered, then please, don't bother commenting.

Hey Boris, looks like you hit a raw nerve. If those 45000 ICT workers who are "strong" and "serious" can't be bothered to engage with a vehicle that has a serious chance of implementing actual policy, and, may address such questions as:
What is going on with UFB? This is the most important aspect of infrastructure in New Zealand and it’s bound up in “Architecture by Contract Management”.
• How are we going to get the next generation to actually take up ICT as an education? And retain them once trained?
• How are we going to support New Zealand ICT industry instead of pouring billions into offshore body shops?
• How do we implement Smart City?
• How do we take our most incubated products and showcase them internationally?
• How do we get back to being a world leader in ICT?
• How do we exploit our geographic location for data storage?

then they hardly have any right snivelling that " What we are looking for is good ICT policy"
Good on Vikram Kumar for standing up.

So where, Anon, in Mana Internet's "policy" can you point to those questions being answered?

The ICT industry prides itslef in looking at facts to do an objective analysis for our opinions. We do like facts getting in the way of a good story.

The answer to the great set of issues Ian has raised on behalf of the ICT industry is really very simple. ALL of those are included in some way within the Action Agenda published on the Internet Party's website

Each of the 10 high level areas are being detailed one by one, for discussion with members, and then finalised. The ones done are Cheaper, Universal Internet; Privacy and Internet Freedom; Environment; Modern Schooling; and Independence.

In keeping with our open and inclusive goals, all draft policies and members' discussions are visible to everyone at

Several of the areas you've listed are already there, others are coming, for example in the Jobs and Innovation Policy.

The fact is that the Internet Party's published policies are far more advanced and well structured than others. Also, any member can propose a new policy at any time in our Policy Incubator and many, many have already done so.

I agree the ICT industry (and New Zealand) deserves better, In my opinion, going beyond the hype and shrill shouting, the Internet Party is doing exactly that. Take a look at our policies and make up your own mind.

Thanks for the comment Vikram. It sounds to me like you are still developing policy and just using sound bites in the meantime, until that happens. I'll be more than happy to opine once that is done. Right now, my opinion is that you are way behind the eight ball.

Decriminalising cannabis? Really? Are you guys being serious? How will that motivate the youth of Aotearoa to take up a role in the ICT industry?

And then there are things like this:

Let's note that Mr Kumar has not responded about the very serious ethical issues that Ian raises, and nor is he telling us what he's being paid to promote this extraordinary blitzkrieg on our democracy.
Being breathtakingly bold is not a substitute for operating with a consistent set of ethical principles, nor for being sure that your fellow travelers do the same.

Checking if people have actually read the policy that has been developed? There is more to come but happy to debate those already published.

The Internet Party is ahead, in terms of time and detail of ICT related policies, than every other party. Hardly, way behind the eight ball.

The Internet Party is not just about the Internet. It is about everything that young New Zealanders care about and those with an interest to build an exciting future for New Zealand. The Internet is symbolic of this digital future but not just a tech focus.

Do young New Zealanders care about decriminalising cannabis? Yes. They also care about the environment, student loans, affordable first homes, etc. etc. In turn, that's what the Internet Party cares about.

Mr Kumar, as long as you remain with the internet party, then they have my vote.

"Let's note that Mr Kumar has not responded about the very serious ethical issues that Ian raises, and nor is he telling us what he's being paid to promote this extraordinary blitzkrieg on our democracy."

Will you be supporting the legalisation of cannabis Vikram? And if so, what kind of message do you think that sends to the very youth that your party purports to be acting for? Some of which, Mana has pointed out, are the most vulnerable and a lot of which, have a serious drug issue when it comes to cannabis.

How about all those parties supporting synthetic highs. What message did that send to youth.

A bad one I suspect.

Mr Apperley,
I'm always appreciative of your view, but...
who gives a flying F about the legalisation of cannabis (personally I am against it). This is a chance to implement positive change for the ICT industry. You don't get everything you want in a party. Last time I voted National despite being against asset sales. It was the price to pay for other policy I approved. If ACT had stood up against the GCSB bill they would have my vote. They didn't. They don't.
Does the internet party not offer an opportunity for the ICT industry to positively influence Government policy? I do concur though; it is a shame the party does not contain more people like yourself instead of the left wing freaks.

Hey dog brain,

Yeah, the whole legalising dope seems to me to be a very cynical electioneering ploy. And I think it should be called out as such.

No, I don't think that at this point in time the Mana Internet Party does have a positive influence... That may change. But right now there really is zero policy.

I know I bang on about Labour and the Greens, and I am not endorsing them, because they do have a comprehensive ICT policy, whether you agree with it or not.

Thanks for your comment.

Personally, I don't support legalisation of cannabis but support decriminalisation of natural cannabis in personal quantities. I'd like to see drug use reduced in NZ but natural cannabis needs to be treated as a health issue, not criminal issue.

But, that's my own view. We are currently asking Internet Party members for their views as that's what counts.

I spent my formative years growing up in Gisborne and I can tell you that the damage that cannabis does in those communities is irrevocable and extensive. I worked for Turanganui a kiwa and can attest to its impact.

It surprises me that Mana would support any such move given they understand the impact better than I do.

The MIP purports to be all for the youth, then sends a message that smoking dope "may" be ok.

It's an interesting look.

Personally, it looks like rampant electioneering to me, and Michael Appleby is probably quaking in his boots.

PS No relation by the way.

What a fruit salad of commentary by Apperley. He wears his prejudices like a hat and I doubt those he calls his peers are as representative as he likes to believe. On the other hand Kumar has dignity and a proven record. I know which of these two I will bother listening to.

What we are seeing here is a classic case of "dog brain", a personal attack on the writer hidden behind anonymity. The word for this is cowardice. If you have something useful to say then post it under your real name.

That list of questions is a great start.

Talk to a few other ICT leaders, get a curated list of questions and get all the parties to give their policy responses.

Every business sector in NZ should do the same to help us with our voting decision.

Thanks Harvey, absolutely agree.

the internet party is nothing but hype and shrill.

the irony.

While Dotcom business ethnics are questionable, the reason the US authorities are going after him is he is both a threat to their (dubious) survellance and a competitor to their big business.

Dotcom is unlikely to stop US (Big Business) survelliance; but you never know. He is however capable of being a serious business competitor, and locally that spells jobs and taxes.

When you think about it, the finance industry is full of people who are alot more dubious than Dotcom, yet they only get slapped on the hand with a wet bus ticket. Any guesses why this would be?

Wake up and smell the roses!!

What does ICT stand for? I mean the initials, not the group(ing)

Information Communications Technology.

The most accurate part of this article is when you move from talking about "we" (being all workers in the ICT industry) to "in my opinion" (being only you).

Really? Did you read the rest of the article there Gary? Are you saying that the rest of it is incorrect?

Why don't you respond to the debate instead of playing the man, there's a good lad.

Ian - you are but one person in the ICT industry whose opinion is valid solely on whether or not you have any credibility.

The nature of your opinion and the personality you show in response to comments speaks for itself in terms of your credibility. I doubt very much whether many in the ICT industry share your views or how you express them.

Yup, that's basically pot calling the kettle black Gary.

You are anonymous so I can't tell who you are or if you, as you state, speak for the industry.

That kinds of puts us on an even footing, now doesn't it.

Fortunately it doesn't put us on the same footing Ian as I don't share your enthusiasm for hyperbole or exaggerated adjectives. It might help if you looked a little more slowly at people's comments before responding so personally and defensively. Unlike you, I have never used the term "we" to talk on behalf of the industry and have never claimed to do so (despite your statement that I have done so).

And I find it interesting that you haven't responded to Kit's questions or Vikram Kumar's comments before walking away from any further discussion. Or do you prefer to restrict discussion to your blog where you first published this opinion on Thursday?

Ian, I suspected you had a few screws loose, but this confirms it beyond all doubt.

Nobody who is serious about debating issues worries about whether the participants are anonymous or not. Instead, they are focused on the issues at hand.

In contrast you blather on about anonymity and not playing the man.

It makes no difference whether something it written by Donald Duck or Micky Mouse, but people like you get hot under the collar and use it as a smokescreen to dismiss views that do not measure up in your eyes.

Back to the issues, or at least an issue that you appear to be stuck on for some unknown reason, to the extent that other more important issues are like sideshows to you.

In consideration of whether or not any drugs should be legalised it is critical to consider the treatment under law of all substances, not just marijuana, and their history and impact on society.

The history of banning various substances is well-known. The price rises, criminals, sensing significant profits, get involves, and corruption slowly spreads throughout society, with hypocrisy and abuse rife at all levels of society. The high prices, directly due to the criminalisation of the substances concerned, drive a small group of people to relatively destructive activities. Destructive of themselves, their families, and their communities.

So prohibition was, has always been, and always will be, a failure on all levels except if one is at relatively high level in criminal organisations that ultimately end up controlling the manufacture, distribution and use of these substances. Further, a while array of related crimes, especially and most commonly those involving the abuse and exploitation of women (many of them young, or desperate for a variety of reasons) is enabled, expanding the criminal's business even further.

However, where there is money to be made through addition, it is re-framed as an "acceptable vice". Examples include alcohol and cigarettes, both of which are directly responsible for widespread impact of individuals, families and the social fabric of society. In effect, the businesses that profit from the targeting of these drugs at (especially) the young and vulnerable is not only supported but sanctioned and subsidised through the policies of the National, Labour, United Future and ACT parties. Indeed, the National and ACT parties contain individuals (example - Prebble) who have first-hand experience in those "industries". It is corrupt in the sense that the profits of this heavy-handed advertising and marketing to young people, are the companies concerned (their shareholders). However, those who bear the actual cost of the damage is you and I - society as whole (well, those who pay tax).

Sorry for the lengthy response, but I do find your approach ignorant and facile. I would not mind a bit if your argument was reasoned and rational, but it is far from that.

If you are lucky, I might even tackle the main topic of discussion here, but other contributions here have sufficiently laid your ignorance and generally idiotic approach bare.

Putting aside all your strong views about Kim Dotcom etc, your questions are very valid ones. Have you put them to any other political party? What answers did you get? Or is this just a personal crusade against Kim Dotcom?

I'm not much interested in wasting any more of my afternoon debating with a bunch of anonymous faces firing pot shots from the dark. Thanks to those of you who have made some good points and actually looked at the debate.

In closing, here is the published policy for Mana Internet as I could find it on the website.

- Cheaper unlimited Internet. Doesn't say how this will be achieved. I note that we are already seeing cheaper and unlimited internet month on month.

- Spying and Digital Rights. Wants to stop mass surveillance and wants a digital bill of rights. Labour beat them on this policy.

- Says their policies about the digital economy will increase jobs. Doesn't say what their policies are that will achieve this.

- Policy not to sign the TPP. Like everyone but the right.

- Introduce a digital currency. When we already have several in the market.

Actually, I just noted with all of these things and the next half a dozen that "Policy details will be in our upcoming manifesto."

Which means there is no policy.

Here are a few of their other policies:

- Drugs. Would like to see cannabis decrimanilised but notes this is not policy.

- Health. Nothing.

- Law and Order. Nothing.

- Economy in General. Nothing.

- Pacific and Maori People's. Nothing.

- Immigration. Nothing.

- Elderly. Nothing.

- Transport. Nothing.

- Rebuilding Christchurch. Nothing.

- Local area Government. Nothing.

- Taxation. Nothing.

- Work and Employment. Nothing.

- Agriculture. Nothing.

- Research and Science. Nothing.

- Tourism. Nothing.

- Energy. Nothing.

- Natural Resources. Nothing.

- Arts, culture, and heritage. Nothing.

- Social Welfare. Nothing.

- Broadcasting. Nothing.

- Education. Nothing.

- Families and Communities. Nothing.

- Housing. Nothing.

- Defence. Nothing.

- Foreign Affairs. Nothing.

- Government. Nothing.

I'll check back on the "party" in a month and we'll see if anything has changed. In the meantime my OPINION stands.

Right now, they got nothing.

Yup, no comments on this one!

And still no response I see from you to Kit's questions.

And tell me, why do you ever expect any political party to have detailed policy manifestos out for every policy area at this stage? You (and I) might like them to, but they don't and never have. So why the big fuss?

And isn't the fact that the Internet Party is consulting with its members before finalising policy the sort of democratic action that you should be applauding rather than criticising?

The only reason this type of electoral activity is happening is because we persist with MMP. Enough time has gone to show this does not better New Zealand but unfortunately National needs MMP to survive and as such won't act on the referendum to drop it. Until we vote the necessary government change we are stuck funding radical ideals and bad politics.

For someone with a not very impressive tech background you're certainly eager to set yourself up as the guiding light of the NZ ICT industry. Perhaps that comes from having a column in a right wing publication. Your views certainly aren't representative of the people I know in NZ ICT.

I'm an ICT worker and I'm supporting Internet-Mana, sure they don't speak for all of us, but neither do you Ian