Odd political bedfellows Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom
sealed the deal between their Mana and Internet parties
prompting the departure of Mana veteran activist Sue Bradford
and fuelling speculation over what the arrangement means for
this year's election.
After weeks of negotiations Mana leader and sole MP Mr
Harawira and Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar
confirmed the deal yesterday which will see the two parties
contest the election with a joint party list as Internet Mana
but campaign under their own names in electorates.
The deal relies on Mr Harawira retaining his Te Tai Tokerau
seat which would see the Internet Party coat-tail at least
one MP into Parliament assuming the joint entity captures 1.2
per cent or more of the party vote.
Mana is set to gain additional campaign resources including
money courtesy of the deep-pocketed Mr Dotcom and to benefit
from his internet savvy to attract new voters.
"What we've done is capture the move of our younger people to
an internet future and we wanted to make sure we were part of
that future and one of the ways to do that was to buddy up to
an organisation that already understands that world," Mr
Ms Bradford, who had threatened to leave if the deal went
ahead, said she tendered her resignation as soon as she saw
Mana' press release confirming it.
"Sucking up to a German millionaire is not my vision of the
future and I think Mana has made a big mistake ... in the
long run, it's lost what I joined it for which was that sense
But Mr Harawira said polls he'd seen "actually suggest that
Mana members are entirely favourable with it".
The next step for the joint party is the announcement of the
Internet Party's leader tomorrow in Auckland.
Mr Harawira said once it became clear who was in the frame
for the job, "it made it easier for us to continue the
Labour leader David Cunliffe said his party, "will be
interested to see how that romance works out over time".
With the joint party seeking support from young disengaged
voters rather than cannibalising the vote on the left, the
Herald understands Labour has given some thought to pulling
its punches in Te Tai Tokerau to give the alliance a better
chance of bringing in additional left-block MPs. But Mr
Cunliffe said Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin
Davis, would be running hard to win the seat.
Maori Party president Rangimarie Naida Glavish said Labour
"owes it to Maori voters to clarify" whether it would advise
its supporters in Te Tai Tokerau to switch their electorate
votes from Mr Davis to Mr Harawira.
Prime Minister John Key said the alliance was about Mr Dotcom
putting money behind a political party in a bid to block his
extradition to the US.
"I find that pretty odd but if people want to vote for that,
they are welcome to do it, but in the end everybody knows
that if you vote that way, you are voting for a left-wing
Mr Harawira said Mr Dotcom's looming extradition hearing and
whether Mana would support his efforts to remain in New
Zealand had "not even come up once" during discussions over
the past few weeks.
How it works
Mana and the Internet parties will run a joint list vote
campaign but have independent electorate campaigns under
their own names.
Any electorate seats won by either party will count against
the total the joint entity would be entitled to on the basis
of its party vote.
- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald