Harre fired up over Key effigy interview

Laila Harre
Laila Harre
Internet Party leader Laila Harre has accused the Prime Minister of lying during a TVNZ interview in suggesting the Internet-Mana coalition was behind an effigy-burning video.

During an interview on yesterday's Breakfast show, John Key was shown the video of the effigy being burned -- which had previously been highlighted by National Party-aligned blogger Cameron Slater -- and asked for his reaction by host Mr Christie.

The latest video emerged just days after a furore over another Internet-Mana video that included footage of Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom egging on a crowd chanting of "F**k John Key".

Mr Key told Mr Christie: "Internet-Mana, you know, put that -- both these videos together and put it on their sites under their banner so they're the ones promoting it."

Ms Harre was on TVNZ's Breakfast programme in response to the Prime Minister's interview.

She told host Rawdon Christie that she was "quite cross" with him for allowing Mr Key to make the connection between the video and the party.

"The Prime Minister cast a slur and told a lie on your programme yesterday," she said.

"You presented that video to the Prime Minister and you knew from your research, or should have known from your research, that it had no relationship with the internet Party."

The effigy-burning video appears to have been first posted on a Facebook page called National Party Billboard Makeovers, which features pictures of defaced National Party hoardings.

But an internet-Mana spokesman said the group behind the Facebook page "has no links to the Internet Party or Internet-Mana".

The coalition yesterday afternoon said it was considering legal action over Mr Key's comments and was seeking a retraction from TVNZ.

However, although a TVNZ spokeswoman confirmed last night that a complaint had been received from Internet-Mana, "we're not making an apology".

Mr Christie had not suggested any connection between Internet-Mana and the video, she said.

"It was the PM who made this association."

Mr Key later said he was "not in the slightest" worried about the threat of legal action over his comments.

Asked whether he thought Mr Dotcom was behind the effigy-burning video, Mr Key said: "I don't honestly know. That was the way it was indicated.

"My broader comments were really around the one that internet-Mana put up on their site that they actively encouraged people to watch, and look, in the end New Zealanders will judge whether that's all positive."

- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald and Sophie Ryan of APNZ

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