The Labour Party has lost one of its moderate MPs with the resignation of David Shearer who delivered his valedictory speech yesterday.
His departure and her return speaks volumes about Labour’s state and direction.
The Labour Party has lost one of its moderate MPs with the resignation of David Shearer who delivered his valedictory speech yesterday.
His departure and her return speaks volumes about Labour’s state and direction.
TV3 political editor Patrick Gower has named Prime Minister John Key as politician of the year.
Trans Tasman named him politician of the year last week too.
There could simply be no other. John Key was out on his own this year for one simple reason – he won.
Yes, the Prime Minister’s performance ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.
In fact, Key went from the crème-de-la-crème to the crème-de-la-crap at times.
But Key won. He got National across the line. It was an incredible victory. It defied the political gravity of a third-term and was against the odds of the campaign. . .
I am not sure that anyone except political tragics were particularly interested in the campaign.
To get that was far from easy for Key. The Dirty Politics scandal could have destroyed other campaigns and finished off other leaders.
The election campaign was weird. It was dark too. And it was incredibly brutal for all those involved.
There is no doubt that Dirty Politics knocked Key over at first – National lost control of its campaign.
Yet Key survived. He stood his ground. In the words of son Max, he “manned up”.
It was like Key absorbed all of the negativity directed at him, and then, like some kind of comic book character, spewed it all out again as some kind of positive force.
There was unpredictability everywhere: Whaledump, Rawshark, Winston, Colin, rappers, hacker(s), Dotcom, Eminem, Cortex and don’t forget Speargun.
National and Key’s defence was simple – they had a plan, and they stuck to it.
“The plan” is a grinding, relentless strategy based on simple messaging and a self-belief that the Key juggernaut can eventually ride out almost anything.
It has been proven time and time again, and this time was proven on the biggest stage (an entire election campaign) facing the greatest degree of difficulty (an entire book of scandal).
Helped in no small part by a dismal and divided opposition which wasn’t looking like a government in waiting.
Key’s politics this year was a potent combination of on the “macro” level, stubbornly sticking to strategy, and on the “micro” level, being what’s called a “clutch hitter” or “big game player” who rises to the occasion.
Key made big moves at a strategic level and stuck to them, and he made big calls in day-to-politics that worked for him too.
On the macro level, one part of the plan that worked well this year was Key’s semi-upfront declaration of his potential coalition partners at the start of the year.
Looking back, it really was a masterstroke – it gave voters a clear picture of how a National Government would work.
Key also gave himself the space with the decision about giving Colin Craig a electorate seat deal and even more space when it came to working with Winston Peters.
In the end, he ruled out a seat deal for Craig because he looked too crazy and wanted him at arms-length. It was a big call but a good call – imagine if Key had been apologising for Craig on the campaign trail as well as dealing with Dirty Politics.
With Winston, Key kept him at arms’ length. But by not ruling Peters out, he always kept himself in the game, it always looked like National could form a Government no matter how bad the polls got.
The PM had the courage and sense to let voters know what they would and would not get with a National-led government.
That provided another stark contrast with then-Labour leader David Cunliffe who stupidly copied Winston Peters’ line that he’d let the voters choose without giving them all the information they’d need to choose wisely.
Key’s and National’s strategy included a bedrock of policies tailored for the centre voter, and conservative political management. They then turbo-charged this with an overload of “Brand Key” marketing.
Key used these to keep his vice-like grip on the centre-ground, and if he has that – National wins. . .
But there was nothing certain about that win.
Steven Joyce’s recent admission that National was polling at 44 percent in the final week and might have needed Winston to govern shows just how different it could have been. . .
Gower’s other awards:
Runner-up politician of the year: Andrew Little.
Back-bencher Kelvin Davis.
Runner-up political non-politician: Kim Dotcom, Whale Oil and Nicky Hager.
Radio Live’s Duncan Garner lists the year’s political winners and losers:
1. JOHN KEY
For all the obvious reasons. He is still the PM and he is still widely popular according to the polls. He had the kitchen sink thrown at him and he almost won the election outright. He’ll have to watch it doesn’t go to his head.
2. ANDREW LITTLE
Couldn’t win a fight in a kindergarten but ends the year on top. His caucus didn’t want him, his party didn’t want him, his electorate didn’t want him. Yet he ends the year looking strong and competent as Labour’s new leader.
3. KELVIN DAVIS
He beat Hone Harawira and therefore beat Kim Dotcom – do I have to say anymore?
4. SUE BRADFORD
She knew Dotcom and Harawira were in an unholy alliance and she put her principles before it all. She called it right – she has values and principles that are beyond reproach whether you agree with her politics or not.
5. CAM SLATER – WHALEOIL.
Yes he’s a dirt-bag, muck-raking, scum-bag attack blogger, but he likes it that way. He doesn’t play by any rule book yet he’s been judged a journalist by the courts. Despite having his dirty laundry aired for the world to see he remains talked about, his blog gets more hits than ever, he breaks stories and the PM returns his texts. Oh and he wins mainstream media awards.
(Close mention: Paula Bennett, now talked about as the next National Party Leader)
His losers are:
1. KIM DOTCOM
Threw millions at trying to rig an election, but the public weren’t fooled. He’s now fighting to stay out of jail. Rest my case.
2. HONE HARAWIRA
He picked the wrong rich friends. Should have stayed poor. At least he’d still be in Parliament. Woeful judgement.
3. LAILA HARRE
4. JUDITH COLLINS
Was on track to be the next National Party Leader – now she’s struggling to be heard from the backbenchers. Huge fall from grace. Career in tatters.
5. DAVID CUNLIFFE
Came across as a fake and then apologised for being a man. Do we have to say anything more? Awful defeat.
(Close mention: Grant Robertson, rejected twice as Labour’s future leader. That will hurt and in politics if winning if everything, Robertson has twice failed. Ouch. Still, he has huge chance to recover well.)
The Mana Movement is planning for the 2017 election and Kim Dotcom could be involved, leader Hone Harawira says.
Mr Harawira lost his Te Tai Tokerau seat to Labour’s Kelvin Davis and Mana’s alliance with the Dotcom backed Internet Party only gained 1.26 percent of the party vote in September’s election. . .
The election result gave me faith in democracy and one of the best illustrations of that was voters in Te Tai Tokerau who voted Davis in as their MP.
By doing so they saved us all from the electoral rort that Harawira, Dot Com, Laila Harre and their fellow travellers tried to inflict on us with their unholy and hypocritical alliance under the Internet Mana Party banner.
Harawira’s willingness to work with Dotcom again shows he doesn’t understand that.
He will find it much harder to campaign without the salary and allowances he had as an MP and party leader in parliament.
He’ll be further handicapping himself if he enlists Dotcom’s help again.
One of the best outcomes of last night’s results was the repudiation of Kim Dotcom and his puppets.
Voters showed that principles matter.
Hone Harawira, Laila Hare and their fellow travellers allowed theirs to be bought and New Zealanders rejected that and them, with the help of Kelvin Davis and the voters of Te Tai Tokerau.
Internet Mana is complaining about Prime Minister John Key’s decision to declassify documents which will prove accusations against him are baseless.
. . .In a joint statement, Mr Harawira and Ms Harre say the reported intention of the Prime Minister “to arrange the selective declassification and release of documents for his own political purposes” represents an abuse of the Prime Minister’s authority in his capacity as the Minister in charge of the GCSB and the SIS. . .
If the PM didn’t release documents they’d accuse him of hiding something but when he says he will release documents they’re still complaining.
This is a case of the foulers crying foul.
They’re the ones who’ve allowed themselves to be bought by Kim Dotcom who is doing his best to interfere in the election.
The PM not only has the right to release this he has a duty.
This isn’t just about him. It’s about New Zealand, New Zealanders and our security.
Those who don’t understand that should read Charles Finny’s excellent guest post at Kiwiblog:
. . . The Labour Government that saw us through World War II, and those from 1957-60, 1972-75, 1984-90 and 1999-2008 have not sought to change our position in “five eyes” because the leaders and senior Ministers of those Governments have realized how lucky we are to be part of this agreement and knew how fundamental the intelligence derived from it was to the security of New Zealand. Ultimately the most important function of government is to protect the people. “Five eyes” plays a very important role in our ongoing security. There was a wobble under Lange which saw New Zealand denied access to some processed intelligence from the US, but access to the raw communications intercepted by the four allies continued throughout. Under Helen Clark the full flow of processed intelligence resumed.
I cannot believe what I have just heard David Cunliffe saying about GCSB today. What we now call GCSB is as much a creation of Labour as it is the National Party. It is crucial to our continuing security. It protects us against the hostile actions of foreign governments, terrorist organizations, and international criminals. Of course the same foreign governments, terrorist organizations and criminals hate the ‘’fives eyes agreement” and want it dismantled because it stands in their way. I can’t believe that a Labour Leader would align himself with these forces and put this agreement and our position in it so much at risk. If his senior colleagues do not call Cunliffe on this, shame on them too. Our national security is too important to be put at risk by short term political opportunism.
Even when Helen Clark thought we lived in a benign strategic environment her government didn’t short-change or subvert our security the way the left is now attempting to.
Emails obtained by 3 News show Mana leader Hone Harawira lashing out over the Internet Party’s pro-cannabis policy with one of his trademark expletive-laden rants, blocking an advertising campaign and saying he is “sick of all this s**t about weed”.
The ad includes a pitch to decriminalise cannabis with the words “police no longer wasted on weed”.
Mr Harawira has said he does not support cannabis for personal use, however the Internet Party wants to see it decriminalised.
When it comes to marijuana the Mana and Internet Party leaders are diametrically opposed. Mr Harawira hates it, but for Internet Party leader Laila Harre, cannabis reform is a personal priority.
She said she has made a personal pledge to champion the issue if she is elected.
An email chain leaked to 3 News shows Mr Harawira’s irate response when the Internet Party sought permission from the leaders to use the cannabis ad.
One of his emails reads: “Why am I seeing all this shit about WEED and so f****n little about FEED as in FEED THE KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Mr Harawira refused to talk to 3 News, and Ms Harre denied any division.
“We don’t always see eye-to-eye on every issue that’s not an Internet Mana issue; it is par for the course in a campaign,” she said.
In the emails, Mr Harawira has a crack at the Internet Party’s cashed-up campaigns: “Just because it’s keen on the WEED deal and got all the money to spend on all this flash advertising s**t.”
Then in bold letters he writes: “I will NOT be approving this WEED campaign.
“Pull it now or I’ll go public saying how disappointed I am our money’s being spent on WEED not FEED.”
He ends in bold, capitals and a bigger font size: “GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT FOLKS!”
It appears the marriage of convenience is starting to rupture. Mana candidate Georgina Beyer attacked Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom last week, saying he was pulling the strings and was in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge. . .
On the cannabis issue, Ms Harre said there really was “no difference of opinion between Hone and I”.
Internet Mana has been denying rifts over cannabis and continues to do so, but the emails show Mr Harawira is clearly furious.
The Internet Party’s stance has been publicly humiliating for him – the fact it wanted to go a step further and advertise just rubs his nose in it.
I wonder how the Internet Mana puppet master Kim Dotcom feels about this email leak?
It’s not just what it says but what the leak says about dissent in the ranks that is telling.
IMP has a self-destruct clause which can be actioned six weeks after the election. The email leaks suggest at least some of the parties to the agreement would be keen to push it sooner.
Patrick Gower says Hone Harawira needs to harden up:
Hone needs to stand up and stop the Internet Party from walking all over him on the cannabis issue.
Hone is staunchly anti-weed, but the Internet Party is pro-weed.
And even though Hone is the leader of the Internet Mana merger, he is being forced to adopt the pro-weed position.
As Hone himself would say: “This just ain’t right, folks”.
I actually feel sorry for Hone ending up in this position where he is being forced to buckle on his principles.
I know Hone Harawira well.
He is a man of principle. He stands up for what he believes in. He usually doesn’t back down.
But it seems the anti-weed Hone has been rolled. . .
Kim Dotcom managed to persuade Laila Harre to set aside many of her principles in agreeing to lead his party and now the puppet master is pulling Harawira’s strings over drug policy too.
The string pulling must have been painful because Harawira needed a break to get over it:
Hone Harawira denies any rift with Internet Mana co-leader Laila Harre.
Rather, he says he’s been taking a break at home during the election campaign.
Mr Harawira told The Nation programme today he’d been going “hard out” and had decided to take a break.
He was questioned about why he was the only politician to take a holiday during the election campaign.
“You don’t get a holiday even in the north – I stayed home,” Mr Harawira said. . .
How hard he’s working for his party is up to them and the puppet master who’s funding them.
But this man is also an MP, getting an MP’s salary to work for his constituents.
If he can’t cope with the work the taxpayer funds and campaigning it’s the campaigning that ought to stop, not the job he’s supposed to do to earn his salary.
Internet Mana candidate Georgina Beyer has gone rogue and come out swinging at her party’s so-called visionary, Kim Dotcom.
She says he’s pulling the strings and is in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge.
Internet Mana’s the party that’s big on going big – big names, big productions, big personalities. But now it seems it’s got big problems too.
“Who is pulling the strings? Well, the big man himself,” says Ms Beyer.
Ms Beyer, a former Labour MP and New Zealand’s first transgender MP, is Mana’s candidate in the southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga.
She believes Dotcom is tearing her party apart.
“His reasons for becoming involved in New Zealand politics in the way he has is one of retribution against people who he feels have slighted him,” says Ms Beyer. . .
She has seen the light but her leader was still letting the puppet master pull his strings last week:
The Internet Mana Party has had another media blowout, with Hone Harawira stopping an interview and walking off after just one question.
Mr Harawira refused to talk about his party’s U-turn on cannabis and would only take questions on a Te Tai Tokerau candidates’ debate.
He was once one of Parliament’s toughest opponents to cannabis, but Mr Harawira has flip flopped. Mana now wants to see decriminalisation – fitting with the preferred position of Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party. . .
Dotcom is buying political power for two reasons – hatred of Prime Minister John Key and an attempt to stop his extradition to face charges in the USA.
The IMP agreement need last no longer than six weeks after the election. If Beyer can persuade others in the party to return to their principles it could fall apart much sooner.
Laila Harre’s blindness to the hypocrisy of having her attempt to return to parliament funded by Kim Dotcom whose actions and principles are the antithesis of just about everything she’s ever stood for confirmed the low view many have of politics and politicians.
Her attempt to justify the Internet Mana advertisement in which a crowd of young people shout F*** John Key takes politics down several more notches.
“Offence to who?” she says. “Young people have their right to have their voice heard.”
What’s happened to balancing the right to be heard with the responsibility to say something worth hearing in an acceptable manner?
“That will confirm what a lot of New Zealanders think of the guy,” says John Key. “In the end it’s a matter for him how he wants to run Internet Mana’s campaign .”
Dotcom appears to want to run politics in the gutter and Harre is down there with him.
Earlier Massey University political marketing specialist Claire Robinson said the video cut down Ms Harre just as she was trying to claim the moral high ground.
“Laila Harre was expressing such indignation about John Key’s ‘sugar-daddy’ comment and the need for respect in the political debate, and at the same time you have Kim Dotcom posting a video inciting hate speech, in effect, among a crowd of young people.
“It is sinking to such a low, and completely at odds with what she’s trying to do, exposing yet again the enormous disconnect between Kim Dotcom’s hatred for John Key and the way that she wants to campaign. . .
But Harre was blind to the disconnect:
Ms Harre said she had no problem with the video, adding that it was a spontaneous reaction and Kim Dotcom did not lead the chant.
“The video is a true representation of youth expression. We are on the road to engage with young people over politics. We are not about censoring the way that young people engage.” . . .
It wasn’t a spontaneous chant and it wasn’t a one-off. It happened on at least one other occasion and it was orchestrated by IMP staff:
Is it any wonder that so many are disillusioned by politics and politicians when it’s sunk to this level?
Mindless and personal denigration is a long way from political discourse and it might also be a breach of advertising standards:
Family First NZ has laid an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority over the Internet Mana party’s ‘Join the Revolution’ advert on YouTube which includes a crowd chanting “f*** John Key”.
“Internet Mana is dragging political debate to a new low level. We really are in trouble as a country when a political advertisement is deemed appropriate when it simply denigrates another political leader in an offensive fashion,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Political parties should show social responsibility and observe taste and decency – especially as they seek to engage families in the political campaign.”
“New Zealanders want robust and respectful debate of the issues – not personal offensive attacks,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Advertising standards also says that ‘advertisements should not portray people in a manner which is reasonably likely to cause serious or widespread hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule’ and ‘should not contain anything which in the light of generally prevailing community standards is likely to cause serious or widespread offence.’
“The party’s advertisement is not advocacy. It is personal denigration, and Internet Mana needs to find a better advertising agency.”
It needs to find some better principles and standards too.
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.
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.
Labour leader David Cunliffe isn’t ruling out going into coalition with the Internet Mana Party:
Deal or no deal? That’s a question Labour Party leader David Cunliffe is facing.
He’s trying to have it both ways with Internet Mana, leaving the door open to working with them in government, but not to the cabinet table. . .
Rousing the party faithful, Labour has one goal in mind – to change the Government. That means hello Internet Mana and its cash-cow, Kim Dotcom.
“After the election we will work with whomever we need to work with to change the Government,” says Mr Cunliffe. “We will have our door and phone line open to whoever wants to change the Government.”
It’s a political dead rat Labour may have to swallow. Some are fighting against, wanting to rule out working with Internet Mana in government.
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.
Who is pulling the Internet Mana Party’s strings?
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?
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.
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.
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.
John Banks served as an electorate MP and Minister, retired then returned to parliament representing a party with whose principles and philosophy he had something in common but which weren’t best matched to his own.
Laila Harre served as a list MP and Minister, retired and is now seeking to return to parliament leading a party which doesn’t appear to have much in the way of principles.
Worse it’s led by man whose actions appear to be diametrically opposed to all she professes to believe in.
As Trans Tasman pointed out last week:
. . . 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. . .
At least Banks had some positive things in common with Act.
All Harre has is negative – the aim to get rid of John Key and National.
And Banks wasn’t bought by anyone.
Harre is accepting Kim Dotcom’s money – a salary of more than $100,000 for herself and millions for the party.
If she thinks he won’t expect her to dance to whatever tune he calls, she’s compounding the moral bankruptcy with stupidity.
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.
Among the many ironies of the Internet Mana Party is the aim to attract young voters when its candidates are middle-aged and older:
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.
Money can’t buy love but it can buy the leader of a political party:
Internet Party leader Laila Harre has revealed she is being a paid back-bench MP salary as leader of the Internet Party
A backbench MP is paid $147,800, plus perks including travel and accommodation expenses plus super.
The usual remuneration for the leader of a minor party out of power is nothing.
Leaders could expect to have expenses covered or reimbursed but in any other party it’s a voluntary position.
“I have just agreed to a contract which is in line with the already public intention of the party to pay candidates the same as a backbench MP. . .
How does this fit electoral law which limits election spending?
Kim Dotcom, who made his fortune from Megaupload (for which he faces piracy, money laundering and racketeering charges), and sister sites including Megaporn and Megaerotic, has revealed he is bankrolling Internet Mana to the tune of $3 million.
Earlier, Internet Party CEO Vikram Kumar told NBR that other sources of funding paled next to the money being tipped into the campaign by one of Mr Dotcom’s family trusts. . .
This in effect means she’s not being paid by the party but by Dotcom.
If he’s paying the piper he’ll also be calling the tune.