Harre tipped to lead Internet Party

Laila Harre in 2012. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Laila Harre in 2012. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Former Alliance Party MP Laila Harre is expected to be announced as the leader of Kim Dotcom's Internet Party tomorrow.

A well placed source indicated to the Herald this afternoon that speculation that Ms Harre had been appointed was accurate.

Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar and Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira yesterday refused to comment on who the leader would be, but Mr Harawira said it was a "'high calibre" person, and Mr Kumar said it would be "a known" political figure.

The appointment of a leader was a crucial step in sealing the electoral alliance between the Internet Party and Mana which was confirmed yesterday.

At that time, Mr Harawira said "once it became clear who they were talking to in terms of the leader it made it easier for us to continue the negotiations".

Ms Harre was a former Alliance MP and worked as advisor for the Green Party until recently. Now at CTU she is working on the Get Out and Vote campaign.

Left wing blogger Martyn Bradbury who has worked on strategy for the Internet Party this afternoon wrote: "The secret is out. Laila Harre will be the new leader of the Internet Party. So if this works the way we hope it will, Hone Harawira, Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto will be in Parliament."

"Where's all that left wing angst and screams of sell out now?"

Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar said party "isn't commenting on the leader at all up till 2pm tomorrow''.

He said Mr Bradbury "has zero influence, advice or role with the Internet Party''.

National Government Minister Gerry Brownlee said Ms Harre had "destroyed'' the Alliance, "largely by having differences of opinion about how left wing policy should be presented and I guess by being right out of step with then-leader Jim Anderton''.

It was "highly unlikely'' she would work well with the Internet Party.

"I think the history is that it's Laila's way or no way''.

Broadcaster and former Alliance Party MP Willie Jackson said it was "great news'' that Ms Harre would be Internet Party Leader.

"I'm really pleased that Laila's getting back into it. She's someone I've worked with and I've always admired her politics. She's a woman of principle and she'll be a great advocate in terms of working class people.

"I think it's a very smart and strategic move by both sides.'' 

- By Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald

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