Laila Harre has been confirmed as the leader of the
Ms Harre, a Cabinet minister from 1999-2002, is a former
Minister of Women's Affairs, Youth Affairs and Statistics,
and Associate Minister of Labour and of Commerce.
Ms Harre said her return to politics was a result of her
concern that young Kiwis have been left out of the political
Ms Harre said she sees the Internet Party as a force to
connect with young citizens and give them a strong voice in
"Mainstream parties aren't even trying to connect. It's
hardly surprising that nearly half the eligible voters under
24 didn't even bother at the last election. Parliament was
somewhere they felt they had no place, and politics had
become too distasteful, too petulant, to even rate as a
"This has to change and we will be the ones to do it."
Ms Harre is a qualified barrister and solicitor educated at
She said her experience of the internet was much the same as
many others who use it, but she is joining an organisation
with expert personnel who have a vast knowledge of technology
issues and solutions.
"Internet freedom is the free speech issue of our age," she
said. "The Internet creates the spaces in which our youth
gather. The town hall meetings of the smartphone age happen
online. The Internet Party is teaching me a valuable lesson -
that we're the ones who need to change, to engage.
"But the Internet Party represents so much more than that.
Our Action Agenda and policy development process clearly
shows the depth and breadth of our vision for health,
education, environment, the economy - all the things that New
Zealanders care about."
Since she left Parliament, Ms Harre's work has included a
United Nations programme in Fiji strengthening the position
of women vendors in produce markets, a two-year job in Fiji
running the International Labour Office's Strategies for
Decent Work project, designing and managing human resources
involved in setting up Auckland Council, and positions with
one if the country's largest private sector unions, the
National Distribution Union, and the NZ Nurses' Organisation.