Harre confirmed as Internet Party leader

Laila Harre.
Laila Harre.
Laila Harre has been confirmed as the leader of the Internet Party.

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 process.

Ms Harre said she sees the Internet Party as a force to connect with young citizens and give them a strong voice in Parliament.

"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 spectator sport.

"This has to change and we will be the ones to do it."

Ms Harre is a qualified barrister and solicitor educated at Auckland University.

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.


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