Mana wants two electorate deals from Labour

July 31, 2014

Internet Mana candidate Annette Sykes says Labour’s done a secret Epsom-style electorate deal with Hone Harawira.

She’s also calling on Labour to do a deal for her – in the Maori seat of Waiariki.

Labour is denying the claim however, saying all seat deals are off.

Internet Mana is an unusual political beast, but whether you think it’s a roadshow or sideshow – it’s Parliament-bound on Mr Harawira’s coattails.

His lieutenant, Ms Sykes, says Labour’s done a deal which will help ensure he wins Te Tai Tokerau.

“I think it’s already happening there,” says Ms Sykes.”It’s been informally signalled.”

The Veteran, at No Minister, says Labour’s conspicuous by its absence in Te Tai Tokerau, indicating it’s conceded the seat to sitting MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

David Cunliffe’s refusal to rule Internet-Mana out of a government he leads has  torpedoed Kelvin Davis’s chances of winning Te Tai Tokerau.

Whether or not there’s a formal deal, that is effectively an electoral accommodation Harawira.

Sykes can’t be blamed for asking for a deal in Waiariki too, if only because asking is getting her publicity she’d otherwise struggle for.

 

 

 


Who cares about the regions?

July 14, 2014

The regions are a foreign country to most opposition MPs.

They visit occasionally, grab a headline about how bad things are and pop back to the safety of a city.

While there they try to show they care, but their policies give the lie to that:

There would be a bleak future for New Zealand’s regions if a Labour/Greens/Internet/Mana Party coalition became Government after the next election, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“A number of election policies released in the last couple of days show that the regions would be in for a dramatic and long term slowdown if there was to be a change in Government after September 20,” Mr Joyce says.

“Cartoon-like policies from the Greens and the Internet Mana Party against fresh water usage and oil and gas exploration and in favour of big new carbon taxes show how little they understand what drives most jobs and incomes in regional New Zealand. Thirteen of our 16 regions have a big stake in industries based on our natural resources and there would be thousands and thousands of job losses if their policies came to pass.

“The Greens and Internet Mana want the regions to sacrifice most of their livelihoods for holier-than-thou policies that would achieve little except making New Zealanders a lot poorer. The worrying part is that these sort of attitudes would drive any post-election Labour coalition.

“On top of that, the Labour Party mounted a very lukewarm and half-hearted defence of the oil and gas industry on Saturday. Either David Shearer is being controlled by the left wing of the Labour Caucus or he knows it’s all a bit pointless because any left wing coalition energy policy would be run by the Greens with help from Laila Harre and Hone Harawira.”

Mr Joyce says regional New Zealand knows how to balance the environment and the economy to ensure sustainable economic growth.

“This government is working with the regions to lift economic growth and job opportunities while improving environmental outcomes,” Mr Joyce says. “The left talks about the regions but promotes policies that would do real damage to them.

“The stark reminder we have received this weekend is that regional New Zealand would be completely nailed by a Labour/Greens/Internet/Mana coalition.”

 Labour and the GIMPs would take New Zealand backwards.

All primary industries would face more regulation, more restrictions, higher costs and more and higher taxes.

That would result in less production, fewer jobs, lower profits and as a result of that the tax take from them would be lower even though the tax rates would be higher.

One of the reasons New Zealand has survived the global financial crisis and is beginning to prosper is the strength of primary industries.

Any progress would be reversed if Labour and the GIMPs were in government.

They only care about the regions for show.

National by contrast has MPs in all but a couple of provincial seats, knows the regions, understand their issues and governs for all New Zealand – not just the urban liberals to whom Labour and the GIMPs are targeting their policies.


What they’ll need to do

July 12, 2014

Vernon Small muses on one of MMP’s downsides – the need for coalition partners:

. . . In Cunliffe’s case, he can be relatively certain Internet-Mana will be there.

His bigger concern is the political Centre’s negative views of Harawira, his Left-wing allies and Internet founder Kim Dotcom – and more generally about the increasingly fractured Centre-Left vote.

Labour’s vote softened measurably after the Internet-Mana deal became known. It believes that was not because the new party took Labour votes but more because it was a bridge too far for floating voters to contemplate a four or five-way alternative government.

And Labour knows – because it has already started – that National will use that against it.

It is a difficult line for Cunliffe to walk. He needs to emphasise the stability of a three-way deal with the Greens and NZ First – both of which have the advantage of being parties that win in their own right and will, if in Parliament, have achieved more than 5 per cent support. He can contrast that with National’s vassal parties, there only at Key’s favour.

Voters could choose a weak Labour Party propped up by the Green and NZ First parties with the added frightener of Internet Mana or a strong National Party with two or three very small coalition partners.

That’s a choice between instability, uncertainty and backwards policies from the left or stability, certainty and forward momentum from the centre right.

But strategising at the party’s weekend Congress pointed up the problem. Labour was stacking up its potential pluses just to get over the line.

It could push up to about 30, with a good ground game and organisation, the Greens bring about 12 per cent, NZ First would add another 5-6 per cent and Internet-Mana would add the final cherry on top. Presto, 51 per cent.

Over at the National conference the previous week, the mirror-image argument was being played out by its strategists.

Achieve close to 50 per cent and we govern alone. Fall to the mid 40s, and Labour with its allies could get the numbers. Subtext? Deals with our minor allies may be crucial, so brace yourself for Key’s announcement of deals with the minnows.

Memo to Cunliffe and Key: if you are counting them into your thinking, so will the voters.

Memo to voters: look less at what they say they will do and more at what they may need to do to win power.

A weak Labour Party would have to do, and concede, a lot more than a strong National party would.

We're for stable government.


Winning team won’t necessarily be winner

June 29, 2014

A party enjoying poll ratings which show it could govern alone might be in danger of complacency.

There is absolutely none of that at the National Party conference where the very clear message was

Prime Minister John Key told Patrick Gower:

. . . I know the polls look strong for us. And I know on the 3 Reid Research poll we’ll be able to govern alone and I’m really personally desperately hope that’s what election night looks like. But you and I both know it’ll probably be tighter than that and there’s every chance that we don’t win.. .

Chris Finlayson and Steven Joyce gave a similar message to the conference:

. . . Attorney General Chris Finlayson talked about the “hydra” this morning that grows new heads when the old ones are chopped off.

“Cut off Phil Goff and up shoots David Shearer and Hone Harawira. Saw off David Shearer and up springs David Cunliffe and Laila Harre.

“The fragmentation on the left hasn’t made the hydra weaker,” said Mr Finlayson “only more unstable if it can force its way into power again.”

Campaign chairman Steven Joyce warned delegates that the campaign was “still a little puppy” and that anything at all could happen in the next 84 days before the election – the wackiest thing imaginable, he said.

“A retired Maori activist who has become an MP working with a hard left unionist and let’s just throw in a wealthy German millionaire right-winger, they could form a political party,” said.

“That’s the sort of wacky thing that could happen between now and September 20.

“If Laila Harre, Hone Harawira, Pam Corkery, Kim Dotcom, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, David Cunliffe, Matt McCarten, and John Minto are the answer, can we please have another look at the question?” . .

National’s got a winning team but it’s up to voters to decide whether to give the winning team the support it needs to  be the winner, or whether they’re going to trust government to the hydra on the left led by a weak Labour dominated by the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana parties.

With less than three months to go, there's no room for complacency. Join #TeamKey today.  http://mynational.org.nz/support


Labour’s yeah-nah on IMP & Te Tai Tokerau

June 25, 2014

In May David Cunliffe said Labour was going to be trying to win all seven Maori seats.

. . . Mr Cunliffe said he expects that Kelvin Davis, who was 1165 votes behind Mr Harawira at the 2011 election, to run a vigorous campaign. He said there would be no deals with other parties until after the election on 20 September once it is known what voters want. . .

Earlier this month he said he’d be open to a post-election deal with Internet Mana.

Labour leader David Cunliffe confirmed he would still be open to a post-election deal with Internet Mana despite making the abolition of “coat-tailing” under MMP a priority for a Labour-led Government. . . .

However, ranking its Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis at 18 on the list is sending mixed messages:

The list, released yesterday, had Mr Davis at number 18 – but if Labour wins the 27 electorates it expects to, it will need 29 per cent of the party vote for Mr Davis to return to Parliament, if he does not win the seat off incumbent MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

On current polling, that will be a challenge. . .

A better place on the list and it would be a clear signal that the party was protecting Davis and was prepared to sacrifice him in the electorate to help Mana leader Hone Harawira and give it a potential coalition partner.

A worse  place on the list would signal his only route to parliament was by winning the seat and that Labour was not wanting a post-election deal with Internet Mana.

As it is it’s sending  a yeah-nah, may be-maybe not message.


Helping vulnerable children

June 20, 2014

There is no excuse for giving children nothing but the love and care they need.

That doesn’t stop some people neglecting or abusing them which is why there’s a need for the Vulnerable Children Bill which was passed into law yesterday.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett explains:

. . . This Bill is a critical step in giving effect to changes in the Children’s Action Plan.

These include ensuring joint accountability across Justice, Health, Education, Police and Social Development, for the wellbeing of vulnerable children.

They also include the new requirements for the screening and vetting of Government workers and contractors who work with children.

All up these new requirements will cover around 182,000 New Zealanders.

There are also new workforce restrictions to prevent those with serious convictions, who pose a danger to children, from coming into contact with them.

The legislation will also switch the onus on parents who have killed, or severely abused or neglected a child, and they will now have to prove they are safe to parent subsequent children.

But let me be very clear, the legislation contained in this Bill is a small part of work already underway.

We can pass laws to improve screening and vetting.

We can pass laws that place restrictions on dangerous people where there currently are none.

But we cannot pass laws that stop children being beaten, neglected, or sexually and emotionally abused.

We cannot pass laws that stop children being killed, by those who should love and protect them.

We cannot expect that throwing more money at this problem – without changing how we work – will actually fix anything.

Accepting that this is as good as it gets will not cut it.

This is where the Children’s Action Plan, of which the Vulnerable Children Bill is just one part, will make a difference.

It is multi-dimensional, cross agency and community driven.

It has more than 30 interwoven initiatives and it will:

• bring the right people together in communities around our vulnerable kids.

• give us a whole lot more options to respond to the different needs of children.

Firstly, we want to support vulnerable children and work alongside their families to keep them safe so that they never reach the point where they need the involvement of Child, Youth and Family.

That’s where our new Children’s Teams come in, along with the Hub and the Vulnerable Kids Information System, or ViKI.

Children’s Teams bring together frontline professionals from health, education, welfare and other agencies to wrap services around children and their families.

They work with children and young people who are vulnerable, but are best helped outside Child, Youth and Family’s statutory service.

As well as doctors, teachers and social workers there is Plunket, Family Start, Whanau Ora, parenting services, and budgeting services to name a few.

But too often vulnerable children are at the back of the queue for these services.

They have parents or caregivers who don’t know enough, or simply don’t care enough, to prioritise and advocate for their needs.

These children need to be at the front and centre of the queue,

What I have had to consider is whether these vulnerable children should get to jump the queue, and get in front of other children whose needs may be as pressing, but who have parents or caregivers fighting in their corner.

I am unapologetic in saying that yes they should, because it is they who are most at risk.

Children’s Teams will understand the unique needs of each child they deal with, and pull together a team who can make the most difference to get alongside the child and family.

They will be able to fast track access to services, and carve a clear path for vulnerable children to the support they need.

Our two pilot teams in Rotorua and Whangarei have worked with over 110 children so far and we are hearing about:

• better attendance at health appointments

• better parenting

• re-enrolments at early childhood and school

• better access to welfare support

• happier children

• better behaviour

• and reduced offending.

There’s been a lot of learning, and some hurdles along the way, but it’s clear that the mix of services and the early support is making a difference to children’s lives.

And by the middle of next year we will have eight new Children’s Teams in action.

Alongside this we’re developing a Vulnerable Kids Information System where frontline professionals like doctors and teachers can go online to register concerns about a child.

ViKI will help us join those dots into a picture about what is going on for a child.

We’re also setting up a Hub where people can report their concerns about a child quickly and easily, or get help and advice.

Depending on what’s happening for each child, the Hub will triage them to the level of support they need.

The initiatives contained in the Children’s Action Plan are all connected to each other and firmly place vulnerable children at the front and centre.

These are the children who have no one to speak up for them.

If they are not the core work and priority for police, paediatricians, social workers and community workers, then who is?

I would like to thank the Social Services Committee and all the New Zealanders that made submissions for their valuable contribution to this bill.

This legislation goes beyond this House, and beyond politics.

It goes into the home of every New Zealander whether they have children or not, because the wellbeing of our vulnerable is the measure of the heart of this country.

As proud as I am of the opportunities and support available for most of us, there are too many left out and too many let down.

As I said, there are 23,000 cases of substantiated abuse each year.

There are eight children killed by the people who should hold them, love them, and care for them.

As Minister, I expect the results of our work with vulnerable children to be that by which I am judged, and I am investing everything I have into this.

It is crucial we get it right – not in a few years, or ‘in the future,’ but now.

This legislation is a crucial step underpinning a much wider piece of work that will fundamentally change the way we work with vulnerable children and their families in New Zealand.

It will make a difference.

The law can’t be in every home, nor should it be.

But it does need to be able to act to protect children who are let down by their families.

 

Children need our protection. National is doing everything possible to keep them safe.</p><br /><br />
<p>Learn more: <a href=http://ntnl.org.nz/1uEHaLf&#8221; width=”444″ height=”332″ />

You’d think this would be something that would get cross-party support, but it didn’t:

The Vulnerable Children Bill passed its final stage by 105 – 10 votes in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon after only the Green Party and Mana Party’s Hone Harawira voted against it. . .

Green Party MP Jan Logie said Ms Bennett had failed to deal to the main problem of child poverty. . .

Poverty is a problem but it is not an excuse for the neglect and abuse of children.

The Minister said, the Bill is just one part of a much bigger programme – the relevant piece from the extract above explains:

. . . But let me be very clear, the legislation contained in this Bill is a small part of work already underway.

We can pass laws to improve screening and vetting.

We can pass laws that place restrictions on dangerous people where there currently are none.

But we cannot pass laws that stop children being beaten, neglected, or sexually and emotionally abused.

We cannot pass laws that stop children being killed, by those who should love and protect them.

We cannot expect that throwing more money at this problem – without changing how we work – will actually fix anything.

Accepting that this is as good as it gets will not cut it.

This is where the Children’s Action Plan, of which the Vulnerable Children Bill is just one part, will make a difference.

It is multi-dimensional, cross agency and community driven. . .

The Green Party and Harawira put their blinkers on and voted against a Bill which isn’t pretending to give all the answers but will address part of the problem.

Shame on them.


Who’s pulling IMP strings?

June 18, 2014

Who is pulling the Internet Mana Party’s strings?

This profile of Kim Dotcom gives some answers:

Using the hacker name “Kimble”, after the character Dr Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, Dotcom claimed in German media interviews in 1992 that he had bypassed Nasa, the Pentagon and Citibank security systems, as well as hacking hundreds of private branch exchange (PBX) systems belonging to US companies and selling the access codes for $200 (£120) each.

Dotcom was arrested in 1994 for trafficking in stolen phone-calling card numbers, and eventually convicted of 11 counts of computer fraud and 10 of data espionage. He was given a two-year suspended sentence since at 20, he was still under age when the crimes were committed.

Dotcom set up premium toll chat lines in Hong Kong and the Caribbean and then used a “war dialer” software program to call the lines using the stolen card numbers, which earned him €61,000. . .

2001 Dotcom bought €375,000 in shares in a nearly bankrupt company, Letsbuyit.com, a victim of the dotcom crash. . .

Dotcom declared his intention of investing €50m in the company and the news caused the stock price of LetsBuyIt to surge. Dotcom then cashed out, making a profit of €1.5 million.

2002 In January 2002, Dotcom decided to go into exile.

TÜV Rhineland and BMP went into damage control mode and Dotcom was cut out of management in all the companies, with the authorities starting to take an interest in a loan he had taken out when he started Monkey.

“Everything that has grown up around Mr Schmitz is, to say the least, somewhat dubious,” TÜV spokesman Tobias Kerchoff told the German business site Handelsblatt.com in June 2001.

The German hacking community had also turned against him, so Dotcom decided to “flee Germany“. He ended up in Thailand but was promptly arrested and sent back to Germany, where he pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges.

2003  He was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined €100,000 in Germany. After that he moved to Hong Kong where he registered several companies – Trendax, Kimvestor Ltd, Monkey Ltd and Data Protect Ltd.

2005 Dotcom changed Data Protect to Megaupload, and he started a file-hosting website, which is where he really made his millions.

Anyone could register to have an account with Megaupload, where they could host both their own legitimate files, as well as pirated movie and music content, which could then be shared with people on forums and file-sharing websites. . .

How could Hone Harawira, Laila Harre and their fellow travellers have allowed themselves to be bought by this man?

And what will having a political party led by people who’ve been bought by the man pulling its strings do to New Zealand’s reputation as the least corrupt country in the world?

 


Why don’t they lead by example?

June 16, 2014

The Internet Mana Party has launched a petition wanting to end the 5% threshold and get rid of the coat-tail prevision.

Internet Party leader Laila Harre is relying on Hone Harawira to win his northern Maori seat in order to get into Parliament as the alliance is only attracting 1.3% of the vote.

However, despite a plan to do it, Internet and Mana want the coat tailing provision gone.

“So what happens at the moment is a person can win an electorate seat with less than 7,000 votes but if you don’t have an electorate seat then you’ve got to get 100,000 (votes) just to get your member into parliament now that’s ridiculous, it’s unfair,” says Mana Party leader Hone Harawira.

Tonight the alliance is launching an online petition calling for the immediate scrapping of coat tailing and the lowering of the MMP’s 5% threshold. . . .

They will be pushing this petition at the same time they’re campaigning to be elected as the oddest-couple MMP has yet served up to voters.

Is there no end  their hypocrisy?

If they want the coat-tailing provision gone they should lead by example and decouple their two disparate parties.

 

 


H is for . . .

June 15, 2014

Rodney Hide reminds us that H is for Harawira, Harre and hypocrisy:

I used to think politics was all about achieving good government. That proved invariably disappointing. These days, politics is no longer my responsibility. I’m happy if it just proves interesting.

That’s why I am for the Internet-Mana Party. They’re the best entertainment in years. If they were a parody they would be too improbable to be believed.

Maori nationalist Hone Harawira calls Pakeha the rudest of names and the wrong colour to date his daughter. But he’s jumped into bed with whiter-than-white Kim Dotcom.

Harawira trumpets Mana and His People but that’s not stopping him using his electorate to coat-tail Dotcom’s party into Parliament. His price? $3 million.

It’s easy to accuse Harawira of hypocrisy but he has a ready reply: it’s a lot of money. At $3m his double standard is good and high.

That raises two questions – could he be bought for less and what would he do for more?

Laila Harre wasn’t elected leader of the Internet Party. She was hired. She’s been selected and paid for by Dotcom. The former coffee picker for the Sandinistas is New Zealand’s first corporate-hire political leader.

A mate rang after Harre’s appointment splitting his sides, “All they need now is Pam Corkery”. Corkery was appointed press secretary that day.

Willie Jackson considered standing but wanted $250,000. That’s his price for standing up for his principles. . .

That raises a question about principles that can be bought – if the buyer doesn’t like them, would the seller come up with others that might attract the right price?

And what will happen if the buyer isn’t satisfied with his purchase?

. . .  Dotcom set out to destroy Banks for not rushing to rescue him from Mt Eden Prison. He expected a minister to jump for a $50,000 political donation. That’s his character. Imagine what he expects for $3m.

And imagine how he will perform when he doesn’t get it. Pure entertainment.

Entertaining?

It would be if the potential consequences weren’t so serious.

The election outcome is on a knife-edge and the country will be left cut and bleeding if Dotcom and his hired hypocrites have any power.


GIMP but not LIMP?

June 3, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe has been dancing on the head of a pin when asked his view on the Internet Mana Party.

That suggests he’s testing the wind before he works out what he thinks.

Several other Labour MPs have already made up their minds they don’t like it.

Senior Labour Party MPs have used social media to attack the alliance struck between Mana and the Internet Party.

Former leaders Phil Goff and David Shearer, and Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins, are among those who have objected to the deal. It could see MPs from Kim Dotcom’s fledging political vehicle enter Parliament on the ‘‘coat-tails’’ of a victory for Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

The strong opposition from within Labour could make post-election coalition talks tricky.

Goff says he feel strongly about Dotcom’s ‘‘pure political opportunism’’, citing his previous donations to ACT MP John Banks, now the subject of a court case. ‘‘He wants to be able to influence and control politicians.’’

Goff says he was previously ‘‘very critical’’ of National for exploiting MMP and failing to implement recommendations from the Electoral Commission to abolish the provision.

‘‘I’m scarcely likely to endorse another rort …I’m being entirely consistent,’’ he said. . . .

Interesting no-one in Labour called it a rort when National voters in Ohariu kept Peter Dunne in the seat which made him a Minister in the Labour-led government.

Goff says he made his feelings clear to the Labour caucus. ‘‘It will be the decision of the party leadership…but I see problems in creating a coalition where the philosophies and principle of people that you are trying to enter into a coalition with is unclear because they seem to be coming from diametrically opposed positions.’’ . . .

Coalitions are by nature unstable even when they have something positive in common.

A coalition built on nothing more than a hatred of John Key and determination to oust National would be a recipe for instability.

Those  views were also reflected in a passionate Facebook post at the weekend. Shearer also used the social media site to write that although he wished the Internet-Mana ‘‘marriage’’ well, he knew ‘‘it’s going to end badly.’’

And on Twitter last week, Hipkins posted: ‘‘The good old days, when political parties formed from movements. Now all it takes is a couple of million and some unprincipled sellouts.’’

All three MPs were linked to the Anyone But Cunliffe [ABC] faction – who were opposed to David Cunliffe assuming leadership of the party. However, a Labour source played down talk of more division, saying all three were close to Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis.

Davis himself posted on Twitter: ‘‘Bro, I think of the people of Te Tai Tokerau, not Sergeant Shultz.’’  He was referring to Dotcom’s German origins. . . .

More than half the caucus is in the ABC faction which makes the party itself unstable.

On present polling a left-wing government would have to consist of Labour and the GIMPs – Green, and Internet Mana parties.

A concerted effort by Labour backing Kelvin Davis to win Te Tai Tokerau would seriously challenge Harawira’s hold on the seat.

If the ABC faction prevails it won’t be LIMP – Labour and the Internet Party and that would leave the GIMPs facing a huge battle for power and relevance.


Once were youngsters

June 2, 2014

Among the many ironies of the Internet Mana Party is the aim to attract young voters when its candidates are middle-aged and older:

David Farrar said  Laila Harre leading the internet party because she uses the internet, would be like him leading the Greens because he sometimes eats them.

I think that’s the sort of logic these baby boomers are using – they can attract young voters because they once were young.

National, by contrast, has young MPs and candidates.

Among them is Cabinet Minister and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye who is in her early 30s.

Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross was only 11 when Harre first entered parliament so was National’s Dunedin South candidate Hamish Walker.

The party’s Clutha Southland candidate Todd Barclay, was only just at school when she first became an MP.


Too hard, too early

May 31, 2014

Laila Harre has political experience but Chris Keall thinks she has let her enthusiasm get away of her:

Yesterday, I praised Laila Harre’s strategic nous. I spoke too soon.

It looks like she has gone too hard, too early and too publicly, painting Mr Cunliffe into a corner where he had little choice but to back his man in Te Tai Tokerau (naturally, Labour leader maintains it was never in doubt). . .

Hone Harawira holding Te Tai Tokerau is essential to the Internet Mana Party’s plans.

IMP is unlikely to win any other seats or get at least 5% of the vote.

Cunliffe’s view isn’t clear but Labour’s candidate in the seat, Kelvin Davis,  is definite that he wants to win the seat.

In a tweet that’s now been deleted he said:

Bro, I think of the people of Te Tai Tokerau, not Sergeant Shultz.

 He has the support of others in caucus:

Phil Goff is also with him, Kiwiblog (at the link above) has a Facebook post from him:

Goff says (correctly) Dotcom is trying to buy the political system. His Facebook post also appears to have now been deleted, so it looks like the leadership is trying to whip the caucus into line and stop them criticising the Mana-Dotcom Alliance. Because the more they criticise it, the harder it is for Cunliffe not to rule them out of a coalition.

I’ll be very very interested to see a poll in Te Tai Tokerau. I’m not sure voters there will be any more keen on Kim Dotcom purchasing a political party, than these Labour MPs are. David can win the seat by just campaigning on this issue. The question is – will he be allowed to? . .

If the IMP could increase the votes for the left it would be in Labour’s short-term interests to throw the seat to Harawira.

But votes gained by IMP are likely to come from within the left and even if they come from previous non-voters the idea of  a weak Labour supported by the GIMPs (Green and IMP) is highly likely to scare at least of many voters towards National.

And Labour’s chances of leading a stable government in the medium to long term would be greater without the hard left marriage of convenience that is the IMP.


Oddest political coupling

May 27, 2014

The oddest political coupling is likely to become official today:

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is expected to announce he’s struck a deal with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is expected to announce he’s struck a deal with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

He’s holding a joint press conference with Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar in parliament at 11am on Tuesday.

Mr Harawira has previously been optimistic about achieving an election alliance with the Internet Party.

“The negotiations for Mana have involved a number of important considerations from policy to personnel, and of course liaison with Mana branches and members up and down the country,” he said. . .

Dotcom is promising to pay all his party’s candidates an MPs salary while they’re campaigning – will he extend that largesse to Mana candidates too?

The Internet Party has policies but no principles.

Mana Party used to have principles but it would appear it’s sold them.

They have nothing positive in common, the only thing that unites them is negative – a hatred of John Key and the National Party.

There’s more than enough competition for that and it is those other opposition parties which are likely to lose from this very odd coupling.


Jones jumps

April 22, 2014

Another three years in opposition or a job where you can make a difference?

Perhaps that was in the mind of Labour MP Shane Jones when he decided to resign from parliament to take up the position of Pacific Economic Ambassador.

Shane Jones is quitting Parliament and the Labour Party, and there is a job already lined up for him – a job offer from the National Government.

Nothing is signed and sealed, but the job is as ‘Pacific Economic Ambassador’ – a position created by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully. Prime Minister John Key is also aware of the job offer. . . .

This will be a blow for Labour.

Jones is one of very few of its caucus to get headlines for positive reasons in months.

But Mana leader Hone Harawira might also be less than overjoyed at the news:

Mr Jones consulted with elders over Easter. They want him to quit immediately so the next MP on the party list can be brought in – Kelvin Davis, who will stand against Hone Harawira in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. . .

It’s far easier to campaign as an MP than as a candidate outside parliament.

 


Do we believe him?

April 15, 2014

Kim Dotcom said he was talking with a sitting MP who was keen to join the Internet Party.

Now he’s saying the talks are over:

Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party says discussions with a sitting electorate MP who was poised to join the party have ended due to the prospect of a tie up with Hone Harawira’s Mana Party. . . .

Today the party said: “Following the recent decision of delegates at the Mana AGM to continue negotiations with the Internet Party regarding a possible alliance, the current MP and the Internet Party have mutually agreed to end further discussions.”

Every MP who was asked denied any intention to jump ship.

Either the MP in questions was lying, the one who was going to jump ship wasn’t asked, or there never was a potential jumper.

Who do we believe?


Hard and harder

April 12, 2014

What’s Dotcom offering the Mana Party?

Well yes, that and money.

But there’s a but about what that would cost:

And there’s some who hold to those principles who would find it even harder to entertain any relationship with Dotcom.

. . . 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 get 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’? . . .

. . . 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 recent history, donated $50,000 to John Banks.

And it’s not just principles at stake:

Will she give it up
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.

Certainly, the outspoken Maori sovereignty hardliner is at the sharp end of things. 

On Native Affairs, 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.

Turning your back on your principles and dropping down the list as well could be harder still.


Political playground

April 8, 2014

Trans Tasman takes politicians back to school:

Hone Harawira, one suspects, used to specialise in Chinese burns and other playground tortures when he was at school. The Mana Party leader has the kind of air about him redolent of such schoolyard antics. John Key was probably the cheeky kid who cracked enough jokes to be popular with the other kids but who nevertheless did his homework assiduously and kept on authority’s good side. David Cunliffe was the greasy goody two shoes, bright, geeky and probably a bit of a sneak. Peter Dunne – swotty pants. Russel Norman – ditto, but a more argumentative version of the same. Metiria Turei: the slightly flaky party girl (a bit like Paula Bennett, in fact).

We had classic playground diversion stuff this week when it was suggested Harawira is the lone electorate MP Kim Dotcom has signed up to his party. It’s not me, sir, Harawira protested – pointing indignantly to the class swot Peter Dunne sitting quietly in the corner. Key of course has rubbished the idea his support partner might be in talks with the Internet pirate who has promised to bring the Prime Minister down. “Not a dog show,” the PM laughed, which prompted a few to remember the Country Calender spoof about the remote controlled sheep dogs, and to ponder Dunne’s resemblance to a slightly affronted Scottish Rough Collie.

Former Labour leader David Shearer – the decent kid  everyone used to pick on – is the other candidate who has been suggested, but this looks even less likely than Dunne. Dotcom has historically held a somewhat awkward relationship with the truth which has occasionally brought him to the attention of the authorities. This looks like another of those occasions. . .

An awkward relationship with the truth, may or may not apply to the 2000 members his Internet Party claims to have.

It’s applied to register as a political party.

. . . Following registration the Internet Party will need to submit its rules providing for the democratic participation of members and candidate selection within the time period specified by law. . .

It’s constitution is here but Russell Brown raises questions on whether they allow for democratic participation by members:

1. There is a special role called ‘party visionary.’ This is defined as Kim Dotcom, or a person selected by Kim Dotcom. THis visionary has the automatic right to sit and vote on the party’s executive and policy committee and cannot be kicked out by the membership.
2. To stand for election to the party’s executive, in addition to being nominated by current members of the party you’ve got to be nominated by a current member of the National Executive. This locks in the incumbents.
3. The party’s executive has nearly unfettered control over the list: they put together an initial list, send it out to the membership to vote on, and then they ultimately decide what the final list should be having regard to the member’s choices.
4. The national executive chooses who stands in what electorate. No local member input at all.
5. The party secretary has a very important role (eg they get to solely arbitrate over disputes; they set out the process for amending the constitution, they decide the process for electing office holders; they’re a voting member of the National Executive). The only problem is they’re legally an employee of the party’s shell company, meaning that it is very hard for the members to exercise democratic control over the secretary (you can’t just fire an employee).
6. On a related note: the way the Internet Party is structured is so all its assets are kept in a shell company (Internet Party Assets Inc), away from the party itself. I don’t know what the purpose of this one was TBH. (the rules of this company were meant to be attached to the constitution in a schedule, but as far as I can see they’re not there)
7. They’re using the old ‘vote in Parliamentary caucus’ decides leader method. To be fair, most parties use this though. There is a bit of a quirk though that until we know their list we don’t know who their party leader is, because if they’re outside of Parliament their party leader is just whoever is at number 1 of the list. (I also note there’s no way to remove a leader if they don’t have representation in Parliament).”

Not so much of, for and by the members as of, for and by Dotcom.

But the silver lining to the Dotcom cloud is that every bit of media attention he’s getting – and he’s getting a lot – is less for the rest of the opposition.


Two egos no mana

April 7, 2014

Kim Dotcom is to speak at the Mana Party AGM:

Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom will address the Mana Party annual conference in Rotorua next weekend ahead of Mana’s decision about whether to form an alliance with the Internet Party.

Mana leader Hone Harawira and Mr Dotcom met for the second time in Auckland over the weekend to discuss the potential relationship.

The Mana executive invited Mr Dotcom to speak and he accepted “to talk to and understand the view of Mana members,” a Mana statement says.

The speech will be late Saturday morning in the open session of the conference, which news media can attend. . .

What this does is guarantee that the conference will get more coverage than a wee party might otherwise get.

However, all publicity isn’t good publicity and any relationship with Dotcom and his Internet Party has the potential to tear Mana apart.

Those with principles will leave in disgust that the party would sell out for money.

Dotcom and Mana leader Hone Harawira have little in common politically except a hatred of John Key.

Keeping Stock calls it Dotcomana.

It has no principles.

All it has is two egos and no mana.


The MP most likely . . .

March 28, 2014

Kim Dotcom is claiming a sitting MP will join his Internet Party.

. . . He repeated his claim that it would be represented in Parliament, whether or not it achieved the 5 per cent MMP threshold for list seats, because a sitting electorate MP would join.

He would not name the person or say which party he or she represented, because of a confidentiality agreement, but it was not Harawira. The MP’s name would be revealed in June. . .

He didn’t know how many MPs were in parliament when asked by Seven Sharp.

There are 121, 70 of whom hold seats.

Given the unity in National and the high probability all those running again will hold their seats any of its 42 MPs would be mad to leap from a rock to sinking sand.

John Banks is retiring and Peter Dunne would have lots to lose and nothing to gain by any dalliance with Dotcom.

Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are also retiring. The third Maori Party MP, Te Ururoa Flavell would also have too much to lose by leaping from the steady waka into a dotbomb dinghy.

Dotcom says it’s not Harawira and we can take his word on that because while he’s the lone paddler in the Mana waka, he’s not stupid enough to tip it up.

That only leaves Labour.

A few of its MPs might feel uneasy in their seats and most will have some doubt about the probability of being in government after the election.

The prospect of power can do strange things to people but even unhappy Labour MPs wouldn’t be stupid enough to think they’d have a better chance of success by leaping into the unknown.

Who then is the MP most likely to join Dotcom?

Almost certainly someone in his dreams.


Mana’s anitpathy to National saves it from dotbomb

March 26, 2014

The Mana Party has, somewhat  belatedly, discovered its principles:

. . . Mr Harawira said liasing with Mr Dotcom’s party – to be launched on Thursday – would not be in Mana’s best interests.

“Dotcom would have to commit to getting rid of National and changing the Government before Mana would consider any deal with his Internet Party,” he said.

“That’s a bottom line for Mana. I resigned from the Maori Party because their relationship with National was – and continues to be – destructive to Maori. We won’t be going back there for anyone.” . .

He’s right to stick to his principles, even if they’re based on the wrong premise that National is destructive to Maori.

The Herald opines that a Mana-Internet marriage of convenience would be a cynical step too far:

. . . Two parties with little in common aside from an antipathy to John Key and covert surveillance would be guilty of a new level of cynicism based solely on mutual benefit. For Mana, there would be the prospect of boosted funding and a higher profile during the election campaign; for the Internet Party, a representation in Parliament that it could never achieve on its own. . .

Some within the Mana Party may believe that current polling shows they have nothing to lose. Any perception that they were selling out ideologically would be more than offset by the prospect of more seats in Parliament if the construct with Mr Dotcom’s party increased their combined party vote to anything more than about 2 per cent.

But nothing is more important to a political party than its credibility. Mana would pay a heavy price on two counts. First, potential supporters would see a party willing, in its desperation, to compromise its beliefs. Second, they would be alienated by its readiness to take advantage of a much-maligned aspect of MMP as never before. By any yardstick, this marriage of convenience would be a sorry step too far.

That Harawira and some in the party even contemplated a union with someone with whom they have so little in common doesn’t reflect well on them and their readiness to be swayed by money.

That Kim Dotcom was willing to manipulate our electoral system, in a way not dissimilar to the way he’s using a back door entrance to the stock market, just seems like business as normal for him.

However, that even Mana has cold feet makes it even more likely that the Internet Party will be another  dotbomb.

 


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