The Internet Party and Mana will re-affirm their union as the former's leader is announced around 2pm today.
But a curious element of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the final clause, which says their partnership only extends as far as six weeks after the election.
27. Unless terminated as per section 25, this agreement will remain in force until at least six weeks after the 2014 General Election polling day. The component parties will meet together within five weeks of the 2014 General Election to review the agreement.
Cynics will say it's now looking a bit like a marriage of convenience. Mana gets access to the $2 million in family trust money that Kim Dotcom has pledged to the campaign, and a barrage of publicity; The Internet Party stands to get an MP or two into Parliament on his coat-tails if the Internet Mana vote can be nudged north of 1.4%.
Internet Mana is being pitched as an umbrella alliance, but in legal terms it will have to register with the Electoral Commission as a new party — not that that's much hinderance to post-election break-ups and defections, as we've seen over the past few years with various re-coagulation of list MPs elected under the NZ First banner.
I asked Internet Party CEO Vikram Kumar if section 27 was a break up clause. He replied:
"More accurately, it is a review point of the arrangements agreed to in the MOU.
"Right now, the MOU's terms and arrangements are based on a number of assumptions.
"The point of the last clause in the MOU is to have both the Internet Party and Mana movement to review how — not if — the alliance via Internet Mana will continue after the elections and to impose a timeframe on that happening as the assumptions would be clear at that time."