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Dotcom a neoliberal millionaire who sounds like John Key - Mana's Sue Bradford

UPDATE / April 14: Dotcom might want to usher in a new type of politics, but he has old fashioned barney on his hands.

The Internet Party leader did not manage to seal an alliance with Mana when he visited the party's AGM on Saturday (although talks will continue). And his charm seems to have singularly failed to win over one of Mana leader Hone Harawira's key lieutenants, Sue Bradford.

Instead, Bradford hardened her opposition, and walked out of the meeting before the key vote - creating a schism Mana can ill-afford given Labour candidate Kelvin Davis is polling ahead in Harawira's Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) seat.

"Getting into bed with a neoliberal millionaire who’s facing legal challenges is quite a curious proposal for a party like Mana that has stood so strongly and staunchly on its reputation for fighting for those who have less … and for standing up against the neoliberal agenda that John Key that others are running," Ms Bradford told Firstline this morning.

"It’s not compatible and undermines everything Mana has achieved over the past three years ... When I heard him speaking on Saturday, it was like listening to John Key," Ms Bradford said.

She said she supported some Internet Party policies, such as its total opposition to the TPPA, and cheaper and more accessible broadband for all. However, Ms Bradford noted other parties, including the Greens, had similar policies. If Mana was going to ally with anyone, discussions with the Greens would make sense.

She said debate about the Internet Party was heated before the unanimous vote to continue talks, adding "I don't think it's a done deal." 

Free education, kickbacks for those who buy online
Meanwhile, Kim Dotcom, staged an Internet Party picnic and pool party at his $25 million rented mansion in Coatesville on Sunday, attended by around 700.

The Internet Party leader floated two new policies: "free education for all" and "financial kickbacks" for those who buy online.

He said some students left university with a loan "the size of a mortgage".

However, he did not offer any policy detail, or costings, or take questions from media.

This morning, Internet Party CEO Vikram Kumar said this was part of the political startup's "transparent" policy-making process. An idea is put forward, then party members or other experts would put forward ideas to help shape it. Part of this process will include a "Wiki" website, where members will colloborate on and edit policy - though who has the final say on "edits" is still up in the air.


No decision on alliance ... talks to continue

UPDATE / April 13: With uncharacteristic waffle, Mana leader Hone Harawira says his party has decided .... to hold further negotiations with the Internet Party about a possible alliance.

Neither party has put forward any bottom lines yet, he told TVNZ's Q+A.

Harawira said the decision to pursue further talks was unanimous, with all reps from all seven Maori electorates and the youth wing voting in favour. Sue Bradford left before the vote, the Mana leader said.

Dotcom faces hostile response from Harawira's lieutenants

April 12: Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom will speak to the Mana Party's annual conference in Rotorua at midday today.

It's clear how a Mana-Internet Party alliance will benefit Dotcom. His party would have decent shot at a presence in Parliament after September 20, even if it polls well under 5%.

But what's in it for Mana? In part, money, which can buy profile, and maybe nudge the party over the 1.5% of the vote mark (which would get the party a second seat in Parliament under MMP's coat-tail rule). But is that, along with some liberal policies around broadband and surveillance, enough to overcome the cringe factor involved in getting into bed with what one Mana staffer called the 'Fat rich white pr**k'?

Dotcom has already found a degree of common ground with Mana's leader and sole MP, Hone Harawira.

Harawira says while he wants to see policy detail, he supports the Internet Party's broad stance to offer cheaper internet access for all, and to peel back GCSB powers.

And although Harawira says he's not wedded to the idea of an alliance), the pair a have a shared love of being seen as outsiders, sticking it to The Man and poltiical theatre. It's easy to see them bonding (though also tricky to see either giving up his alpha dog status in a partnership).

I can also see Dotcom making a decent fist of his speech today, and perhaps winning over some Mana members. He knows how to work an audience, and some National-baiting will go down well.

Close fight with Labour
But it's still hard to see Dotcom's mansion-lifestyle, and (ahead of his arrest), pro-business politics going down well with votes in Harawira's Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) electorate.

Bear in mind that recent poll showed Labour ahead in a close race; Mr Harawira can't afford any backlash.

Top lieutenants not onboard
And as the Mana leader admitted on Maori TV's Native Affairs last week, two of his top lieutenants - John Minto, Annette Sykes - have expressed wariness about Dotcom, while a third, Sue Bradford. is outright hostile. Bradford says she'll quit the party if there's a hookup with Dotcom - and she'll take some of the party's white liberal faction with her. We're note talking big numbers here, but the context is to push from 1.08% of the list vote (the mark Mana hit at the 2011 election) to 1.5%.

I can't see Minto stomaching Dotcom, either. Minto is a true believer who has fought all his life for left wing causes. He's not going to hold any truck with a fairweather friend who, in the recent past, donated $50,000 to John Banks.

Will Sykes give up no. 2 place on list?
Harawira can probably live with a few Pakeha defections - he might even make hay from it. But I suspect Annette Sykes' thinking is starting to crystalise, too.

On Native Affairs, Harawira said "Annette thinks it's worth a look."

Yet the outspoken Maori lawyer is at the sharp end of things. 

Harawira refused to say if a shared Mana-Internet Party list would go Mana, Internet Party, Mana, Internet Party, Mana as candidates from both camps were evenly interweaved. 

But that's the only outcome the Internet Party could be pushing for. And it would mean Sykes - currently number two on Mana's list - would have to agree to demotion to third to make way for an Internet Party candidate at number two.

Good luck with that one, Kim.

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Comments and questions

don't underestimate the stupidity of the smartphone addict, one click and you are a member of a political party run by an international crook and a Maori who will do anything to gain power.! This is a dangerous precedent that takes advantage of our flawed MMP system.

Those are just the sort of over-the-top insults that Dotcom and Harawira feed off.
The Internet Party smartphone app helped it to sign 1000 members within days, at $1.29 a pop. 
Any party should be pleased at 1000 quickfire signups.
But bear in mind the Internet Party - or a Mana-Internet Party alliance - will need around 110,000 list votes to make the 5% threshold if turnout is similar to 2011 (when 2.26 million voted). Mana got 24,168 list votes at the last election.
And while Dotcom's party will have appeal among some of the cyber-savvy  crowd, it's unlikely that would be enough to drive it to 5%.
So it will need to ally with Mana, and for Hone Harawira to hold his Te Tai Tokerau seat. To pull back Labour's lead over him in polls in the Maori electorate, I suspect Harawira will have to focus more on meat-and-potato social issues than the GCSB. Dotcom's more likely to harm that help him there.

Excellent rebuttal Chris.
I'm thoroughly enjoying the game at play for some of us nerds are refugees from the main parties and we have seen years of ineptness and deceit in central and especially local government. Jaded, I suppose and many are saying we now have the political system the country deserves. Should be fun watching the usual pr spinners working harder to whitewash their paymasters.

At the moment, the Internet Party is almost all spin. It's yet to release a manifesto, reveal candidates or decide who it allies with. Still, let's see what they come up with.

I think there are a lot of younger, internet-savvy people who are disillusioned with politics as usual. I'm not so sure they'll necessarily see Dotcom as the real-deal, however,

With his endless promises that he'll release scandalous information about John Key ... sometime ... Dotcom reminds me of nothing more than Winston Peters.

Looking at it i think Sue Bradford would be smart to jump from that sinking ship before she goes down with it.

So what party would Sue join next? She's fast running out of options. There's no more room left on the "hard left" for yet another party, so she and Minto will have to try and hijack some other existing one - perhaps Euthenics - aren't they the people that believe in levitation!

As much as I loathe her, Sue Bradford's walkout of the AGM shows she will stick to her principles. Hone'$ principle$ are not a$ cry$tal clear.

What a laugh! Dotcom's mob has no policy, no profile apart from DC himself and nothing else. A party led by a dodgy non citizen foreigner who has been here for five minutes and wants to change the govt. because he doesn't like John Key. Hard to believe any party at all, even the hapless Mana mob would entertain the idea of holding hands with him. Yes-siree, wonderful thing that MMP.

Not to forget the chats that the Greens and Labour had with him.

Correction: John Key and his American Masters don't like KDC. A lot of voters remember being appalled at the over the top American style invasion of KDC's mansion. Many were sickened by the realisation that NZ politics had become so murky.

John Key and his American Masters and the majority of Kiwi's I know don't like Kim Schmitz, Kim Tim Jim Vestor, Kim Dotcom or convicted criminals that come to NZ and cost taxpayers millions of dollars relating to matters which have nothing to do with NZ. If the afore mentioned individuals are so innocent, why don't they voluntarily go to the USA and use their ill-gotten resources to defend themselves and save the NZ taxpayer a whole lot more money?

KDC being right or wrong, the invasion showed us all exactly which country is NZ's puppet master and I don't know anyone who was impressed by that.

Sounds like Sue Bradford doesn't like wealthy people fullstop

A Mana - Internet party vote is a protest and speaks volumes about voters discontent with main stream parties, I fear however this is a fad and may leave those in Mana who put their faith in Dot Com on the back foot.

but lets see the manifest

Look at Palmer in Australia - Money = Votes
Don't underestimate DotCom
The worst thing is MMP favours the minos and gives them greater power

I have great faith in our youth, those who will vote (i.e turn up at the polling booth) will not be voting for KDC. These kids are savy, they see how KDC has extracted millions from the Establishment, and will be able to put two and two together to understand the he will (if allowed) extract millions from their country and their efforts.

There is no such thing as a free lunch when you align with KDC, look at the size of the man, he needs serious feeding, and that will all come out of someone else's pockets. The quicker KDC gets to avail himself of Air New Zealands hospitality on the AUK-LAX service the better. I will happily chip in the cost of Hone's ticket if he agrees to never come back to NZ as well.