Conservatives all steamed up

19/06/2015

If the title for TV3’s Newsworthy is supposed to be ironic, it succeeds.

The 10:30pm slot that used to be for news is now not. However, its interview with Conservative leader Colin Craig in the sauna has made news because its got his party all steamed up.

Colin Craig’s leadership of the Conservative Party is under serious threat.

The party’s board is meeting today to discuss his future but it is understood plans are in motion to oust him as leader.

Craig’s recent appearance on TV3’s Newsworthy programme where he was interviewed in a sauna is said to have been the final straw. . .

Colin Craig told Paul Henry this morning that if the board sack him as leader he’d still continue to fund the party.

That worked well for the Internet Party didn’t it?

The media went to its funder Kim Dotcom because he made better copy for what is deemed to be newsworthy these days.

The same would happen with the Conservatives.

Heads Craig stays on as leader and is in the news for all the wrong reasons, tails he’s not leader but still funder and the go-to guy for the media for all the wrong reasons.

Either way they lose.

 

 

 


Political Compass

01/09/2014

Political Compass places New Zealand political parties:

 

compass

Whoever is behind it says:

This time around there can be no more important and over-arching issue than the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) which New Zealand is poised to sign, yet receives scant attention in the campaign and is ignored in any of the “surveys” that we’ve seen. From the authenticated leaked information that’s available, it’s clear that this agreement is much more than the free trade deal that its National Party adherents describe. It is in fact an unprecedented move towards international corporate involvement in governance, including vital areas like education, health and pharmaceuticals, environment, agriculture, investor rights and much more. Under the TPPA, government legislation in the interests of the public — but against the interests of foreign business — may be challenged by a corporation in a closed tribunal on the grounds of impeding free trade. This precise thing has already happened in Australia, where the country’s plain packaging laws on tobacco were legally challenged by a tobacco company. The truth is that many of the electoral policies of some NZ parties could not be implemented under the TPPA! This, and not the flag, is the real sovereignty issue, and it\`s barely being raised. By comparison, every other electoral issue is window dressing.

I don’t think most voters share this view of the importance of the TPPA, nor what appears to be a hard-left, anti-trade view of it.

However they are right about this:

We remain perplexed about the electoral alliance between Mana and the Internet Party, given that Mana’s leader is an avowed socialist, while the Internet Party’s founder is an economic libertarian in the mould of the anti-state Pirate parties of other countries. . .

I took the test:

 

compass1

 

That isolates me from any of the parties but I think that’s the fault of the placing of the parties, the questions – some of which are on issues and ideas which aren’t relevant here – and assumptions made about how answers relate to the parties.

TVNZ’s Vote Compass shouldn’t be taken as fool-proof, but it has the parties better placed and is based on questions more relevant in New Zealand.

It put me in a similar place but has the National Party there as more centrists and liberal than the Political Compass does:

tvvc1


Another candidate from political crypt

27/07/2014

The Mana Party is following its stable-mate the Internet Party in dragging out candidates from the political crypt:

The world’s first openly transsexual MP Georgina Beyer is standing for the Mana Party in the Te Tai Tonga electorate.

Ms Beyer will stand in the Maori seat, which covers the entire South Island, Stewart Island, Chatham Islands, Wellington and parts of the Hutt Valley.

She has links to the electorate through her Te Ati Awa and Ngati Mutunga whakapapa, Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira said today.

“Our goal this election is to raise the profile of Mana, grow our numbers in Parliament, and help change the Government,” he said.

“Georgina’s a respected household name in politics so she’s an important part of helping achieve that goal. We feel honoured to have her.” . . .

Respected? By whom?
Certainly not the Fortune Theatre:
Transsexual former MP Georgina Beyer has quit the Fortune Theatre production 6 Dance Lessons in 6 Weeks two days before it was due to open in Dunedin.It is the first time a production has been cancelled at the Fortune Theatre.Ms Beyer said yesterday she had made the decision to leave the play after realising “I bit off more than I could chew”.

The play was scheduled to open tonight and run until March 7.

“It’s a massive disappointment. I feel terribly disappointed for the Fortune Theatre and for the Dunedin public. But, in my view, it would have been irresponsible to put it on,” she said.

Ms Beyer gave her decision to the theatre management after rehearsals on Wednesday afternoon.

“I just felt that I couldn’t put my co-star Douglas Kamo in danger and put on a production that could be slammed by the critics,” she said.

“It was a massive role. I wasn’t going too badly at the start, but I just couldn’t anchor the script in my head. I kept blowing my lines.” . . .

That cancellation cost the Fortune Theatre Trust thousands of dollars.
If memory serves me correctly, although she announced her resignation before parliament broke for the summer holidays, it didn’t take effect until the new year so she was rehearsing for the play at the taxpayers’ expense.
She then ran out of money and complained about not getting any government appointments:

Former Labour MP Georgina Beyer plans to move to Australia because she cannot find work.

The three-term Wairarapa MP, the world’s first transsexual politician, said she was disillusioned with life after politics and upset at the treatment she had received from her former Labour Party colleagues.

Ms Beyer said that while other former Labour MPs were appointed to boards, she had received nothing and was turned down for a position on the Human Rights Commission.

The former chairwoman of Parliament’s social services committee said she had been forced to accept the unemployment benefit for several months late last year before selling her house to pay the bills “so I didn’t have to be on the dole”.

“I have all this accumulated knowledge and experience and no one wants to employ it, and I’m not sure why,” she said.

“That I’m of no further use to my country is why I’m considering Australia, that my former parliamentary colleagues seem not to want to appoint me to anything, but are quite happy to accommodate others who have left or are about to, so as to shut them up from whingeing from the sidelines in election year.

“One could be forgiven for being a little vexed.” . . .

Lots of taxpayers could well be vexed too but by her attitude rather than the lack of appointments.

In her valedictory speech in February last year, Ms Beyer described her political career as the “greatest moment of my life”.

But she said she now felt disillusioned by it.

“Politics was never my ambition. I was coaxed into it by others,” she said. . . .

“It seems that I am not valued for my experience in either local or central government, so I guess I wasted 14 years of my life in publicly elected service and ended up unemployable.”

And now Mana and Kim Dotcom have found a job for her.

Let’s hope the good folk of Te Tai Tonga, the largest electorate of all, ensure it’s temporary.


Clear choice

23/06/2014

The choice in this election is stark.

There’s a centre right government led by a strong and popular National Party with John Key, the most popular Prime Minister in many, many years, with several capable new MPs.

It will almost certainly need support parties but their influence will be as minor as they are.

Then there’s the alternative – an unstable left government led by a weak Labour Party with the unpopular David Cunliffe heading stale faces supported by the Green, New Zealand First, Mana and Internet parties who will exert far more influence than their minor status.

That’s a choice between stability and progress from a National-led government or instability and regression from this:

 
Rusty Kane's photo.

 

That looks like two white businessmen which is a strange image for a coalition that includes a radical Maori separatist and several feminists.

Whatever the gender and race of the people behind the hands, I hope we see more of this because this clearly shows the prospect of government by what Bob Jones so accurately described as a rabble of dissimilar, mutually antagonistic parties, all with unpopular leaders and wildly different messages. . . 

If a picture is worth a thousand words – every one in this is telling the undecided in the middle to vote for National.


How democratic was the selection process?

19/06/2014

The Internet Party has selected 15 candidates.

““We ran a rigorous, merit-based selection process, with rankings reflecting a combination of party membership input, using digital technology, alongside executive consideration.  . . “

Does that process, particularly the weight given to executive consideration, fit the rules?:

The Electoral Act requires registered parties to follow democratic procedures in candidate selection, which should be set out in the rules. 

Was the Internet Party process democratic?

I feel a Tui ad coming on.

 

 

 

 


Why don’t they lead by example?

16/06/2014

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.

 

 


Money but no people

06/06/2014

The Internet Party has money – lots of it.

But it’s having problems getting people.

I came across two posts like this on Facebook last night:

imp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had a meeting to set up the Internet Party on Campus but got only five people – they need 10 to get affiliation with OUSA.

The party which has all that money and wants to appeal to young people can attract only five people to a meeting at Otago University.

Whether that’s a result of apathy or antipathy to the party doesn’t matter, the result is the same – lots of money but very few people.

Successful parties need people and no amount of money can make up for the lack of them.


It’s only one poll

06/06/2014

The latest Roy Morgan poll continues the positive trend for National:

. . . Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong gain in support for National (52.5%, up 7%) now at their highest since before the last New Zealand Election and well ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (38%, down 6%) – almost matching their performance at the 2011 New Zealand Election at which the two parties polled a combined 38.5%.

Support for Key’s Coalition partners has also improved with the Maori Party 1.5% (up 0.5%), ACT NZ (1%, up 0.5%) and United Future 0% (unchanged).

Support has fallen significantly for all Opposition parties with the Labour Party down 1.5% to 29%, the Greens down 4.5% to 9% (the lowest support for the Greens since September 2011), New Zealand First 4.5% (down 1.5%) and Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (unchanged) and the Internet Party is 0.5% (unchanged).

If a National Election were held now the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the result would be a landslide victory for the National Party and a third term for Prime Minister John Key. . .

But wait, there’s more good news:

The latest NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has also improved considerably – up 8.5pts to 140.5pts with 64.5% (up 4.5%) of New Zealanders saying New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 24% (down 4%) that say New Zealand is ‘heading in the wrong direction’.

Gary Morgan says:

“Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong positive response to the predicted Budget Surplus of $372 million handed down by Finance Minister Bill English with National surging to 52.5% (up 7%) – it’s highest since the last New Zealand Election. National has surged to a huge lead over a potential Labour/ Greens alliance (38%, down 6%).

“The closer the election, it appears the less support there is for the main opposition parties with support for Labour (29%, down 1.5%) now stuck below the level that prompted the resignation of previous leader David Shearer for most of 2014. The initial surge provided by David Cunliffe has well and truly worn off. In addition the Greens (9%, down 4.5%) have slumped to their lowest level of support since before the last New Zealand election after announcing last weekend a proposal to introduce a Carbon Tax in New Zealand in place of the current Emissions Trading Scheme.

“Last week’s merger announcement of the Internet Party (0.5%) and Mana Party (0.5%) to contest this year’s election offers both parties a better chance of attaining the 5% threshold required to elect a slate of Party List MPs. However, the combined support for the two parties has never exceeded 2%, and it would appear unlikely the merged party can bridge this gap in the next few months.” . . .

Polls can be too good, of course.

This level of support for National could make supporters complacent.

Some might think they can afford to vote for another party, others might not bother to vote at all.

However, while it continues the positive trend for National of other recent polls, it is only one poll and the one which is usually regarded as the least reliable.

But is it?

Thomas Lumley at Stats Chat, says it’s not:

. . . In fact, there’s not much difference between the major polling companies in the variability of their estimates. . .

There really is not much to see here. So why do people feel that Roy Morgan comes out with strange results more often? Probably because Roy Morgan comes out with results more often.

For example, the proportion of poll-to-poll changes over 3 percentage points is 0.22 for One News/Colmar Brunton, 0.18 for Roy Morgan, and 0.23 for 3 News/Reid Research, all about the same, but the number of changes over 3 percentage points in this time frame is 5 for One News/Colmar Brunton, 14 for Roy Morgan, and 5 for 3 News/Reid Research. . .

What that shows is voter preference is volatile and that more frequent polls reflect that volatility.

That’s why it doesn’t pay to get too excited about a single poll, or even several with the same trend.

The volatility of support merely reinforces the oft repeated phrase, there’s only one poll that counts.

 

 


Moral bankruptsy

05/06/2014

Quote of the day:

Election year has already been a rather bizarre one. . . .

But we kind of crashed through the looking glass last week with the anointment of Laila Harre as leader of Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party. It is possible, back when she was an ardent campaigner for feminism and against capitalism, racism and corporatism, Harre foresaw the day she would sign up to front a party funded by a convicted German fraudster who made much of his money from pornography and who also has a fetish for racist, not to say outright Nazi, humour. Harre wasn’t even elected: she was anointed by the aforementioned convicted German fraudster who has trafficked in pornography and who thinks n-word jokes are hilarious.

There are many terms for this sort of thing, none of them complimentary. We will avoid the ‘h’ word – not just because MPs are not allowed to use the term hypocrisy in the House, but mostly because hypocrisy is part of the human condition. All of us fall short of our ideals. But this is not mere hypocrisy, not a minor falling short. This is moral bankruptcy of a particularly shameless kind. Trans Tasman

These are strong words – they’re also right.


Left’s getting crowded

30/05/2014

National has been a victim of its own success as its popularity makes it difficult for potential coalition partners to gain traction.

Labour has the opposite problem, the left’s getting crowded and the Internet Mana Party has added to the crowd on the far left:

Although the IMP’s aim is to get rid of National, it is competing with other parties trying to do the same thing and the Green Party is most at risk.

. . . Ms Harre has been a Labour Party member, a founding member of the New Labour Party, an Alliance Party MP and was a Green Party staff member up until last December.

She has most recently worked for the Council for Trade Unions on their get out and vote campaign – experience she will take to her new role.

Ms Harre says getting young people to vote is a key reason she is returning to politics.

That puts her and her new party in direct competition with the Greens for that vote. Every election campaign the Greens run their own Get Out The Vote campaign, and their support base has always included a lot of young people.

The slick branding of the Internet Party, and the cult status of Kim Dotcom, must surely have some appeal to the voters that both parties want.

When asked for comment on Ms Harre taking on the Internet Party leadership, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei was diplomatic, saying Ms Harre could do what she liked and that the Greens are focussed on their own party.

But there will be some nervousness within the Green Party ranks about Internet-Mana eating into their party vote. . .

The Internet-Mana alliance poses a threat to at least part of their support, and they’re disappointed at Ms Harre’s decision to opt to stand for a rival political party. . .

Once more the Green party is a victim of its radical left agenda.

If it was strong on environmental issues but moderate on social and economic ones it would be in a powerful position in the middle of the political spectrum able to work with National or labour.

But its radical policies put it at the far left where it’s now got another competitor.

The flipside is that she also has experience of being part of a political alliance which spectacularly blew itself apart; she admitted to Mary Wilson on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme that alliances can be tricky things.

However, she says she and her new colleague, Mana leader Hone Harawira, have a strong mutual respect for each other. That may be so but there is a third person in the relationship – Mr Dotcom.

Ms Harre says she initially turned the job down but a meeting with Mr Dotcom made her rethink her decision.

She says she already had an impression of Mr Dotcom as a thoughtful, intelligent man and meeting him confirmed that. She insists she has no view on the fact that he is wanted in the United States on piracy charges.

It’s hard to believe someone with strong opinions like hers has no view on this and it calls into question her principles and judgement.

This is where the credibility of the new political vehicle falls down. It looks too obviously like a marriage of convenience. Mr Dotcom wants to bring Prime Minister John Key down, the Mana Movement needs resources and Ms Harre has unfinished business in politics. . .

Mr Key says Mr Dotcom is using the vehicle of the Internet Party and MMP to get a few MPs into Parliament so they can overturn his extradition charges, and he believes New Zealanders will see through that.

Mr Key continues to paint Labour and the Greens as the radical far-left opposition, and the addition of the Internet-Mana Party, will just add more fuel to those accusations.

What it does mean for the left, even though there’s likely to be some shifting around of support, is that there is the potential for a Labour-Green-Internet-Mana block to present a Government in waiting. . .

To oust National there’s no point swapping votes round the left. They have to grow the left block.

That is very hard to do from the far left and the addition of the IMP – and thought of David and the GIMPs – could well do the opposite.

It could  scare people from the right of Labour and centre over to National.


Bradford quits on principle

27/05/2014

Sue Bradford has resigned from the Mana Party in protest against its alliance with the Internet Party.

She sent a letter of resignation to the leadership late this morning, effective immediately, saying she had lost enthusiasm for Mana and “sucking up to a German millionaire” was not her vision for the party.
“My overwhelming emotion today is sadness,” she told 3 News.
“Kim Dotcom is a gamer and it’s a big game that he’s playing, and I don’t want to become his pawn.”
Ms Bradford’s resignation means this will be the first general election in 15 years the former Green Party MP won’t be standing as a candidate. But she admits the alliance, known as Internet Mana, may be more attractive to others with political ambitions. . .

Those political ambitions will be untroubled by the principles Bradford has demonstrated in resigning.


Oddest political coupling

27/05/2014

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.


Can the polls be too good?

26/05/2014

Three polls in a week have shown an encouraging level of support for National.

First was Roy Morgan:

Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a gain in support for National (45.5%, up 3%) now back ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (44%, down 1.5%).

Support for Key’s Coalition partners is little changed with the Maori Party 1% (unchanged), ACT NZ (0.5%, unchanged) and United Future 0% (down 0.5%).

Support has fallen for the Opposition with the Labour Party down 0.5% to 30.5%, the Greens down 1% to 13.5%, New Zealand First 6% (unchanged), Mana Party 1% (unchanged). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (up 0.5%) and the Internet Party is now at 0.5% (down 1%). . . .

Last night another two polls confirmed the trend:

ONE News/Colmar Brunton:

 The latest ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll has National 10 points clear of the Labour and Greens block with less than four months to go to the election. . . .

ONE News political editor Corin Dann says Bill English’s sixth Budget has been well received and the poll shows National in a strong position, up four points to 51% while Labour has slipped one point to 30%, with the Greens steady on 11%.

New Zealand First is down two to 4.8% and the Conservatives are down one to 1%. But making its first appearance in the ONE News Colmar Brunton poll is Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party which debuts at 1% alongside the Maori Party and Act.

When it comes to seats in Parliament, National could govern alone with 65 seats while Labour and the Greens could muster just 52. The Maori Party would have three and Act, Mana and United Future one each.

However if NZ First makes the 5% threshold then National with 62 seats would need Act’s help to form a government.

Labour and the Greens would have 50 seats combined, but even with NZ First’s six MPs, the Maori Party’s three and Mana’s one, they would still fall short of the 63 seats needed for a majority. . .

3 News-Reid Research:

The Prime Minister and National are riding high on the post-Budget poll bump at 50.3 percent, up 4.4 percent from the last poll – a result Mr Key called “pleasing”.

It’s not so pleasing for Labour though, which dropped below the 30 percent mark, with 29.5 percent – a psychological blow for the party. . . .

Nearly three-quarters of voters – 73.2 percent – say they agree with National’s family package policy and most Labour voters – 67.3 percent – say they like it too. . .

Meanwhile, the Greens have dropped 1 percent to 10.2 percent and support for New Zealand First has grown by 0.7 percent to 5.6 percent. . .

Translating the poll results into seats in the House, National would get 61 – almost enough to govern alone, but with seven seats between its partners the Conservative Party, Maori Party, ACT and United Future it would give the right 68 seats.

Labour and the Greens would get 35 and 12 seats respectively, with Mana holding one seat and New Zealand First, seven.

But the poll results show the Labour-Green left-bloc is now on the back foot. . .

Other poll results:

  • Conservatives 2.3 percent, up 0.4 percent
  • Maori Party: 0.6 percent, down 0.9 percent
  • Internet Party: 0.6 percent, up 0.2 percent
  • ACT: 0.5 percent, down 0.6 percent
  • Mana 0.2 percent, down 0.9 percent
  • United Future: 0 percent, down 0.1 percent

These results are good, but there is a danger they are too good when there’s a tight and tough election ahead:

Prime Minister John Key is predicting a “tight and tough” election with the Government up against a “left wing block” of parties.

Mr Key told more than 250 party faithful at a conference in Hamilton today National could not be lulled into a false sense of security by high polling numbers ahead of the September 20 general election.

He said National was not just up against the lower polling Labour but its left counterparts including the Greens, New Zealand First, and Mana.

“The real risk for us is to underestimate just how close this election will be.

“None of us should be deluded into believing that a big poll lead by National against Labour means we have election 2014 in the bag.” . . .

 If this was a First Past the Post election National could be more confident.

But under MMP it’s not good enough for a party to have more support than its  biggest rival, it’s got to be able to muster at least 51% support in parliament.

And while National is tantalisingly close to that in polls, it is very unlikely to get that level of support at the election.

The danger is that some National supporters might see the polls, be complacent and think the party will get there without their votes.

Labour keeps saying the large number of people who didn’t vote last time were there supporters. Some might have been but some were supporters of National and its potential coalition partners.

Those supporters who don’t vote won’t just be not helping National.

They could be allowing a Labour/Green/NZ First/Mana and whichever other party they need to form a coalition to win.


Misleading advertising

09/05/2014

Trade Me has an advertisement:

trademe

 

 

 

 

Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Company: Internet Party
Location: Wellington­, Wellington
Type: Full time, Permanent

That is misleading.

The position of Prime Minister might be permanent on Planet Dotcom where the man behind the Internet Party seems to live.

It’s not in New Zealand where it’s subject to the whim of the voters every three years.


Do we believe him?

15/04/2014

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?


Dotbomb divides Mana

14/04/2014

Kim Dotcom’s reverse Midas touch has infected the Mana Party:

Sue Bradford and other leading Mana Party figures have walked out of the party’s AGM over its decision to continue negotiations towards an alliance with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

After discussions which went into the night at Mataikotare Marae near Rotorua yesterday, Mana’s branches “unanimously” agreed to move forward with the negotiations.

The party has given its leaders a month to negotiate, before they put any proposed alliance out to the party’s local branches for consultation.

However, Mana President Annette Sykes this morning said : “Our movement, I was concerned that it may be fragile and some of our membership – I don’t know whether some have chosen not to come back today.”

“There’s quite a number. We’re not talking hundreds, but we’re talking people who I think are leaders young and old and they are principled people who I have respect for. They’ve gone back to reflect with their branches.”

Ms Bradford this morning confirmed she was among those who had walked out.

“We left us last night so she perhaps includes us among those people because there was deep debate, deep dissension and resistance to the idea of going into an alliance with the Internet Party.”

“Some of us, both Maori and Pakeha, are really disturbed by the idea of going into an alliance with a neo-liberal billionaire.”. . .

The Internet Party has policies but it’s difficult to detect clear priceless principles.

Th Mana Party has principles and some of its members are principled enough to care enough about them than to be wary of the Dotbomb which could well leave the wreckage of their party in its wake.


Hard and harder

12/04/2014

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.


If no-one rides free . . .

11/04/2014

An ex-staff or Kim Dotcom has revealed that no-one rides for free with him:

A former employee of Kim Dotcom says he was told to lavish ACT Party leader John Banks with gifts and travel offers, possibly to build up favours from the politician. . .

“If you’re thinking as I was – I was thinking ‘how generous, how nice – he must be really liking this gentleman and […] wants to show his hospitality'”.
But in hindsight, he thinks Dotcom was trying to “trap” Mr Banks.

“Looking at the situation in hindsight yeah, it would look as if like he was being stitched up,” Mr Mardikian says.

“No one rides for free with Kim. And if you think about it, and go through every situation, there’s never been a time of just open generosity; it’s always been for something in return.” . . .

If no-one rides for free, what price will Kim Dotcom expect the Mana party to pay for an alliance with his Internet Party?

He will provide money, but what will he want to extract in return?


Political playground

08/04/2014

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

07/04/2014

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.


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