Grim Easter poll for Labour

An awful poll result for Labour. National are back up again.

National 48.5% (+5.5%)
Labour 28.5% (-3.5%)
Greens 11.5% (-1.5%)
NZFirst 5.5% (no change)
Conservatives 2% (-0.5)
Maori Party 1% (-0.5)
Mana 1% (+.5)
Internet Party 1% (+0.5)
Act 0.5% (no change)
UF 0% (-0.5)
Other 0.5%

Roy Morgan poll

Roy Morgan 14-04-13

Synthetic drugs and cannabis

A post at Trip Me:

At the end of the day, natural cannabis needs to be legalized. In an ideal world, we would have high CBD, low THC cannabis available for recreational and medical use and everyone would vaporize at a reasonable temp. But this is not an ideal world now is it?

Natural cannabis has MUCH of the same issues that we see with synthetic cannabis, if used and abused to the same extent however.

Any young person, under the age of 21, that smokes up to and above an ounce a week, of natural cannabis skunk, is going to suffer long term psychological damage. There have been some minor studies to prove this, but for those of us that have friends and family that have been smoking for years and years, we know this already.

ALCOHOL does exactly the same thing, only ten times worse. We are hearing reports of people getting violent and aggressive, but there is absolutely NO denying that there is a subset of the population that has these violent and aggressive tendencies without drugs or alcohol, so of course these people are going to suffer ill-effects. Don’t act like natural cannabis somehow doesn’t have these negative side effects. Because it does.

I find it absolutely mind blowing that people jump up and down claiming that the public is being used as some sort of human experiment, when we have these pharmaceutical companies shoveling all sorts of medicines down peoples throats that have pages upon pages of negative side effects. How IRONIC is it that most of the currently prescribed anti-depressants include side effects such as Nausea, Insomnia, Anxiety, Restlessness, Tremors, Sweating, Sleepiness or fatigue, Dry mouth, Headaches, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS!!! – Sound familiar??? (Currently about 10% of the New Zealand population are on anti-depressants)

Almost every medicine available is an ongoing public experiment, how can you not understand this?

We live in a world where hundreds and thousands of unregulated chemicals go in to the manufacture of house hold goods, cleaning products and our FOOD.

We also need to understand, that the Ministry of Health obviously has some extremely high level experts working on this law. If there was some sort of immediate or serious long term harm to the public, if used correctly, do you honestly think the products would still be on the shelves? I find it very hard to believe that the chemists, scientists and doctors working for, or advising the government haven’t done some sort of due diligence to ensure people aren’t going to drop dead.

Most of the synthetic cannbinoids were developed by some of the largest pharma companies in the world for human consumption, as medicines, or controls, or whatever, then of course many were then modified by equally intelligent chemists in order to change the effect or skirt the law. But the fact of the matter is, right now, the cannabinoids that are used in most products possibly aren’t the most ideal cannabinoids available and we are likely to see better studied and better suited noids in future products.

The biggest issue in all of this is education. Young people simply should not be using them at all. I think the age restriction should be 21 and not 18, same with alcohol quite frankly. Personally I think ALL packs should have some sort of warning stating that the chemicals contained in these products have NOT been thoroughly tested and are to be used at a users own risk. And people need to understand that, at the end of the day, Synthetic Cannabis is a DRUG. Just because it is legal does not make it suddenly some sort of magical substance that is safe from side effects and abuse. It’s not. No drugs are!

Somebody show me ONE cannabis user that doesn’t have problems sleeping at night or get agitated the day after smoking.
Somebody show me ONE alcohol user that hasn’t injured themselves or killed a few brain or liver cells from binge drinking.

The harms are all relative, and drugs are not going away any time soon. Sure we could “ban” synthetic cannabis, but there is no doubt in my mind that the people that are truly abusing these products are going to find another fix. Glue sniffing, huffing, pills, whatever.

Let’s also remember that not all synthetic highs are created equally. There are a number of “bad apples” in the industry, and the government are doing what they can now to weed these people out. (No pun intended) – Only now are we getting to the stage where all manufacturing is closely monitored, all chemicals need to be tested for purity, we are now getting to the stage (FINALLY) where chemicals and I guess the plant matter and finished product must go through some very very strict and serious tests to ensure they are “low risk”.

Remember that this all takes time and money. The government also requires statistics to define what should be considered “low risk” – how do they get some of those statistics? From health departments of course. Obviously we have the toxicity testing and all that, but there is certainly an element of real life case studies that are needed. We have had almost ten years of synthetic cannabis (ab)use in New Zealand and with this data, the government is able to make a more informed decision.

We already know alcohol would NEVER pass these tests. But it’s all relative. If you are going to take a DRUG, then you know, there are some risks associated with the use of that drug. With the use of ANY drug. But consumers need to be educated that this is the case and consumers need to be of an age where they are able to make such informed decisions.

If natural cannabis were legal, the same thing would apply.

I’d like to take a step back for a minute, and let’s pretend like synthetic cannabis were never introduced. Where would we be along the road to better drug laws? Probably not very far, not even close to where we are now.

So let’s look at a few statistics shall we?

The latest global drug survey gave us an interesting insight in to New Zealand Drug Use, and it is hugely concerning;

7.9% of New Zealanders have used LSD in the past year, 31.9% in their lifetimes.
13.1% of New Zealanders have used “MDMA” in the past year, 36.4% in their lifetimes.
4.9% have used Amphetamines and 3.2% have used Cocaine in the past year.

Now let’s not kid ourselves here, how sure are we, that organized crime syndicates and local drug dealers have the end users health in mind when they are cutting their products for greater profits?

How sure are we that those 580 THOUSAND New Zealanders that have used “MDMA” in the past year actually got MDMA? How sure are we that those pills or bags of powder were not cut with HIGHLY HIGHLY dangerous chemicals or other synthetic drugs that are not regulated or tested?

Have any of you actually seen the number of new RC’s that are developed around the world on a monthly basis? Times are changing guys. We no longer live in the world of ‘cocaine’ ‘ecstasy’ and ‘cannabis’ – there are hundreds of thousands of drug dealers that don’t give two shits about what they are selling as long as it gives the user “a buzz” – and you know what else? – A large majority of users probably don’t give two shits about what they are taking either … so long as it gives them “a buzz”.

The same can be said for the 350 THOUSAND New Zealanders that took what they thought was “LSD” in the past 12 months – most likely made in a lab somewhere with poor quality controls, most likely not even LSD half of the time.

The same can be said for cocaine, meth, whatever people are taking these days. It’s a truly STAGGERING number of people that are taking recreational drugs. Unreal if you ask me.

So the reality is, people are going to use and abuse drugs, regardless of their safety profile, regardless or their legality and regardless of the cost.

If we, as a country, can make steps towards giving well over half a million New Zealanders (likely a hell of a lot more), the chance to use some of these recreational substances, with the knowledge that they don’t contain harmful adulterants, they are not cut to crap with god knows what, they are what they say they are on the pack (as if this happens with illegal drugs anyway) and they have the support of the health system if something goes wrong, then I truly believe we are going to be in a position where we are SAVING more lives than we are LOSING. Both in terms of fatalities and long term quality of life.

The social and economic costs of NOT continuing down this path of regulation is, in my opinion, indescribable.

Now … back to where we stand at this very moment. We have synthetic cannabinoids that are awaiting trials and safety testing. We also we have a subset of people that are abusing them, not knowing that they could become addicted and cause some side effects. We also have legal high companies that are selling these products and are getting a hard time.

Sure there are some bad apples like I said above, and we all know this, but there are also somepeople, that have a much greater vision for the future of this country, and the world. A world where good, honest, law abiding citizens aren’t locked up or given a criminal record for cannabis possession … a world where good, honest people, can relax or party hard on occasion with a safe regulated recreational pill, powder or substance without the fear of retribution, whatever that may be.

And let’s just remember that it takes time and money to get to that point. We wouldn’t be half way down that path without this new law, we wouldn’t have this new law without synthetic cannabis, and without the legal highs companies being in the financial position to afford to develop and test these substances, we will never reach that goal or that vision, and all the hard work would be unwound and the underworld will once again reign supreme.

Let’s just hope that even after all the media hysteria, bullying and abuse at least one or two of the “good apples” can make it through and make the world a better place.

Seven Sharp’s stink perception

Seven Sharp ran an item last night ‘revealing’ that Peter Dunne’s son James is a legal representative for the legal high industry. They promoted it as an exclusive.

This is covered well by Karol at The Standard in Father & son: Dunne deals?

Seven Sharp said at the least there is an appearance of conflict of interest.

I had already noticed that a James Dunne was representing the legal high industry and presumed there was either a family connection oe it was a coincidence, but I didn’t think it mattered.

Peter Dunne can’t instruct his son what he should or shouldn’t do in his professional capacity. James Dunne can’t instruct his father on what he does in Parliament.

One thing pointed out by Seven Sharp was James Dunne’s promotion on his company profile:

valuable inside knowledge of how Parliament works in New Zealand

Obviously in some ways he will have a very good insight into how Parliament works, his father has been an MP all his life, but he could have worded this much better.

My biggest issue with this is with Seven Sharp. They have promoted it as big news:

Peter Dunne and Legal Highs Son

An exclusive on the link between a Peter Dunne and the man fighting against his crackdown on legal highs.

And as Karol says they “claim that at the least there is an appearance of conflict of interest.”

That’s because they have created that appearance and highlighted it as significant news. They have provided no evidence at all to make it any more than a manufactured perception. If they had said nothing there would be little or no public perception.

TVNZ have tried to create news out of nothing of substance. This is stink journalism.

And as some of the comments at The Standard show, it has initiated a bout of stink politics.

From Dotcom’s dead cert to dead end

Kim Dotcom had been adamant that a current electorate MP was going to join the Internet Party and this would be announced in June.

He repeated his claim that it would be represented in Parliament, whether or not it achieved the 5 per cent MMP threshold for list seats, because a sitting electorate MP would join.

He would not name the person or say which party he or she represented, because of a confidentiality agreement, but it was not Harawira. The MP’s name would be revealed in June.

Party chief executive Vikram Kumar said another three sitting MPs had expressed interest in joining the party.

Now the Internet Party has put out a press release:

Internet Party And MP Agree to End Talks
As previously advised, the Internet Party has been involved in discussions with a current Member of Parliament to join the Internet Party to contest the 2014 General Election.

Following the recent decision of delegates at the MANA AGM to continue negotiations with the Internet Party regarding a possible alliance, the current MP and the Internet Party have mutually agreed to end further discussions.

Respecting the confidentiality agreement entered into by the MP and the Internet Party to allow for free and frank discussions, Kim Dotcom, who led talks with the MP on behalf of the Internet Party, advises that no further comment will be made on this matter.

Dotcom had promoted having secured a sitting MP as a dead cert recruit, plus suggessting several others were interested – raising suspicions about a number of MPs – but now the Internet Party implies it was just talks and they have come to a mutual dead end.
If hot air goes cold like this too often Dotcom will build credibility and believability problems.

More detail at Politicheck: The Internet Party’s phantom MP

Dotcom’s boarding school in a castle

There’s been some nitpicking at The Standard about Kim Dotcom’s childhood schooling – with implications that attending a boarding school in a castle doesn’t detract from an ‘impoverished’ childhood.

At the Mana conference Dotcom spoke:

“My mother had to work three jobs to feed us. I would go to bed hungry, often, and I would eat toast with sugar, and I would eat toast with ketchup”.

That may refer to earlier in his childhood – family circumstances can change, and at some stage Dotcom’s parents divorced.

Die Welt on Kim Schmitz/Dotcom suggests that Dotcom’s childhood wasn’t all hardship.

He is reported as getting his first computer when he was nine (in 1983 computers weren’t cheap) and at twelve he ran ten phone lines out of his bedroom.

Die Velt said “Kim wurde auf das Plöner Schlossinternat geschickt” – he was sent to the boarding school at Plön Castle.

Staatliche Internat Schloss Plön – a state boarding school, as the links show it’s not an ordinary city or town high school, it was a boarding school located at an historic castle.

A German source has described an Internat as a “special school for special children”.

In Germany children started school at six in Hauptschule. The most academic children were moved to a Gymnasium (like Internat Schloss Plön) usually at nine years old until eighteen.

See Plön Castle and Schloss Plön.

In 1969 Der Spiegel said it cost 300 marks per month to attend Internat Schloss Plön. If Dotcom attended it would have been in the eighties. It’s possible he could have had a scholarship.

Court documents from his first arrest in 1994 confirm he attended Internat Schloss Plön from second year (usually 10 years old), he advanced a year and  graduated at 17 with a better than normal diploma. It sounds like he was a smart child.

It wasn’t an ordinary school for average or impoverished German kids.

The translation described the school as ‘posh’ – Die Velt wrote “Kim wurde auf das Plöner Schlossinternat geschickt”. That doesn’t say “posh”. The translator may have assumed posh because Schlossinternat implies a flasher then normal school, a boarding school in a castle.

After he left school he lived in an apartment and was given an allowance of 1200 marks per month by his mother who was now with a stepfather. That’s a substantial allowance. He wouldn’t live with his father due to alcohol problems.

Die Velt also says Dotcom got his first computer when he was 9. That was 1983, even basic computers weren’t cheap then, a ZX81 was about $300 in New Zealand but to expand from a paltry 1 kb of RAM to 16 kb cost about another $200.

Die velt says “Three years later, well before the World Wide Web was available to everyone, Schmitz used 12 telephone lines to hack into other computers” – Dotcom would have been 12 then, obviously with some resources.

This barely scratches the surface of Dotcom’s childhood, but it doesn’t sound like an average Mana family lifestyle.

“What the hell?” indeed

An assault in Auckland has been reported: Police called to home of former Hell Pizza franchisee

An investigation is underway after a high-profile Auckland businessman needed hospital treatment at the weekend.

Police were called to a property in Greenhithe on Saturday night after reports two men were fighting and that a gunshot had been heard.

Matthew Blomfield has confirmed to RadioLIVE police were called to his home and that he was taken to North Shore Hospital with facial injuries.

The 38-year-old owned a number of Hell Pizza franchises until 2008, before they went into liquidation, and has been credited as being the brains behind the chain’s controversial marketing. 

Last year, Mr Blomfield took a defamation case against Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater. The case is ongoing.

Mr Slater claimed he had the right not to reveal his sources and is appealing a judge’s decision that his website does not have the legal protection that is given to news media.

RadioLIVE

It was a little unusual that an unrelated  case (as far as has been reported) has been included in this.

This was commented on at The Standard, with a curious series of comments followed by a post.

mickysavage at 8.17 am

I wonder how Cameron Slater’s case with Mat Blomfield is going …
And if Judith Collins is busily distancing herself from Slater …

mickysavage at 12:29 pm

Well blow me down …

NBR is reporting that Matt Blomfield, the guy suing Cameron Slater in defamation, was attacked by a male on the weekend and may have suffered facial injuries from a gunshot.

That defamation case is going to get a whole lot of analysis now …

mickysavage at 12.41 pm

Nope fair dinkum article although it seems too bizarre to believe …

lprent at 3:10 pm

This is just outright weird.

(Quotes report as above)

Bearing in mind the number and severity of attempts that have been taken against Blomfield over the last couple of years, this looks pretty disturbing. The paid for (at least that is what it looks like to me) defamation campaign against Blomfield at Whaleoil in 2012 (and by assertions by the chronically moronic legally illiterate dickheads at Laudam Finen more recently) after ‘someone’ gave Cameron Slater his hard disk and documents to make copies from. Then the crap that has been going on with a defamation case arising out of it which has been characterised by Cameron squirming to not disclose where he received those stolen materials from.

I guess the police are going to have quite a lot to go on. Hopefully Cameron isn’t involved in the vendetta campaign this time. Bad look for bloggers. Maybe he is a journalist after all?

Then at 3.44 a post appeared - What the hell?

The NBR is reporting (behind the paywall) and now at TV3 news that Matt Blomfield, the person currently suing Cameron Slater in defamation, was attacked on the weekend by a male. A gunshot was fired and although it is not specified it is understood that Blomfield suffered an injury from the gunshot.

The police are investigating and seeking the assailant who left the scene after the gun was fired.

Mr Blomfield is the person involved in an ongoing defamation case with Cameron Slater. He posted on the Standard some of the background to the dispute at When the wolf cries boy

The police may have more than a passing interest in the defamation case and with the mystery of the hard drive that came into Slater’s possession. Cameron Slater has been trying to claim that he is a journalist to protect the source of who he received these items from. Mr Blomfield has asserted that these items were stolen.

No doubt they will want to talk to anyone who has discussed the case with Blomfield.

TS wishes Matt a speedy recovery.

A curious close.

There have been some predictable insinuations in the comments. I commented:

This appears to be a not very subtle attempt to connect two things for which no evidence of a link has been provided, already with a predictable reaction.

Why hasn’t the author put their name to this? It’s kinda easy to guess what might be going on but it seems more than a bit suspect.

lprent responded:

It was from several authors (including me) and most of it is a paraphrase of the NBR and TV3 articles. We don’t put a single author on when a group of us work on something or when we’re just paraphrasing entire news articles (we’re not the “Indeed” bloggers)

The media were the people who linked Cameron Slater to it which is what I presume you you’re objecting to. As usual you are a bit too coy to actually state what you object to sigh

I added the bit pointing out the prior criminality of the hard drive and documents.

And no, there are 4 things linked in this post (not 3) because the whole thing is just outright murky. You’ll have to go and read the contents of Blomfields post to figure out the missing bits.

But if I were the police I’d be damn suspicious of both Cameron and whatever source he is so valiantly “protecting”.

That’s a more direct suggestion of who could be responsible for the attack. I’ve replied:

You’re not the police, you’re a blogger. Police are not likely to investigate by reading a political blog. If you have suspicions have you contacted the police?

Yes, the media made a connection which as far as reported is unrelated, they do that a bit. But the media didn’t go as far as pointing suspicions from one event to the other. You’ve now done that, and as you are so experienced with blogging you will know what this post would be likely to encourage.

That’s your call of course.

There’s something disturbing about the attack, whatever happened.

And something seems very odd about the response at The Standard. It could be just blog and political rivalry.

Die Welt on Kim Schmitz/Dotcom

Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz  in Kiel (Germany). He used an online alias of Kimble, renamed himself Kim Jim Tim Vestor when he moved to Asia after being investigated in Germany for insider trading, and later (2005) changed his name to Kim Dotcom.

Die Welt (The World) is a German national daily newspaper  that regularly covers Dotcom news. When Dotcom was arrested in 2012 they profiled him in Kim Schmitz alias Kimble alias Dotcom alias Dr. Evil

In English:

Everything was always mega with Kim Schmitz: MegaPorn, MegaVideo, MegaLive, MegaPix. He was a mega hacker and a mega con man. As it turns out, he was also the guy behind Megaupload, the initial target of America’s sudden anti-piracy crackdown.

At the request of U.S. authorities, police in New Zealand arrested four people last week for their alleged involvement with the download site megauploads.com. On the photograph released by the police there was – to the surprise of many here in Germany – a familiar face: Kim Schmitz.

He’s 37 years old now, but he still has that baby face, still dresses in black, and is still twice the size of anyone around him. Schmitz is an Internet legend who for years has been off the radar. A hacker, race car driver, investor, playboy: Schmitz the outlaw became a multi-millionaire when the Internet was drawing megalomaniacally high investments. Schmitz is one of those dotcom golden era guys who were part of the reason the boom turned out to be an exploding bubble.

Now he’s changed his name to Kim Dotcom aka “Kim Tim Jim Vestor,” and he’s back on the radar as the driving force behind a global file sharing site that was illegally putting TV series, movies, music, porn, and software out there.

Schmitz was born in 1974 in Kiel, Germany, and grew up in northern Germany. His father piloted the luxury cruise liner “MS Deutschland.” His mother was a chef. He attended a posh boarding school, the Staatliche Internat Schloss Plön, and got his first computer when he was nine. Because gaming software cost too much for him to buy, he figured out how to make illegal copies and went into business selling them to friends for a few marks a piece.

“Smarter than Bill Gates”

Three years later, well before the World Wide Web was available to everyone, Schmitz used 12 telephone lines to hack into other computers. The jumbled mass of cables in his room, however, failed to send off any alarm bells. “My parents had no idea what was going on,” he would say later. “To them it was all just a bunch of blinking little lights.”

“Kimble” – his name in hacker circles, based on a character in The Fugitive – was a self-mythologizer who claims to have pulled off the spectacular coup of transferring $20 million from Citibank’s account to Greenpeace. He liked to portray himself as a modern-day Robin Hood, as David playing digital dirty tricks on the mighty Goliath.

He left a calling card every timed he hacked: two skulls and the name Kimble. And he patted himself on the back: “I’m smarter than Bill Gates,” he said. “I’m going to be one of the richest men in the world.”

During the Gulf War, Schmitz broke into the U.S. Defense Department’s computer system and, according to him, “found some servers with real time connections to spy satellites” monitoring Saddam Hussein’s palace. A BBC report says that Schmitz also succeeded in hacking the account of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He reportedly changed Kohl’s credit limit to zero.

Early one morning in 1994, Schmitz got a visit: Munich police raided his apartment. Then 20 years of age, he was held in custody for three months prior to legal proceedings, but then got off with a two-year suspended sentence.

After that slap on the wrist, things went well for Schmitz. Companies courted him, vying with each other to get him on board as a security consultant. Just a week after his release he landed a contract with Lufthansa. He ended up creating a data protection company called DataProtect, 80% of which he was able to sell to the technical monitoring entity TÜV Rheinland before it went bankrupt soon thereafter.

Living large.. and at large

Then Schmitz, apparently converted, changed sides and broke with the hacker scene. He had a large following in the tabloid press. The big fat guy with a $500-million fortune (his estimate) knew how to play to the paparazzi: Schmitz in the arms of a Brazilian babe, Schmitz in his limo with Internet connection, Schmitz with his “friend” Ronaldo, the international soccer star.

A YouTube video shows him at the wheel of a Mercedes doing 200 km/hr as he competes in the “Gumball 3000″ running event. The license plate on one of his cars read “God.” Other videos showed him bathing in huge marble tubs, on zillion-dollar yachts, always surrounded by luscious bikini-clad women. There were hundreds of manifestations of an enviable luxurious lifestyle: Kim the pop star, Kim the Internet veteran, wanted public recognition and he got it.

After 9/11, Schmitz offered a $10-million reward on the Internet to anyone who provided information leading to the capture of Osama Bin Laden. That initiative did not meet with success, but the same year Schmitz promised the ailing firm letsbuyit.com 50 million euros to get it back on its feet. As news of this spread, it ended up resulting in the biggest turnover ever registered in a single day in the history of the Frankfurt stock exchange. He then sold his shares in the company for a record sum. When the district attorney’s office started investigations for insider trading, Schmitz legged it to Thailand.

He was arrested in Bangkok in January 2002 after he announced he would be committing suicide live on the Internet. He was convicted of insider trading and sentenced to a year and eight months of prison. After this, things quieted down around Schmitz, although periodically he announced new projects. His name was first associated with Megaupload in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2011 that he was confirmed as its founder.

Going out with a bang

At the time of his latest arrest, Schmitz was living in a $30-million mansion near Auckland. The Coatesville estate was one of the most expensive in the country. He had originally intended to buy it, but some politicians put up resistance to this and in the end Kim Dotcom ended up renting. But he did get a residence permit – apparently after buying $10 million worth of government bonds and giving generously to funds collected for victims of the Christchurch earthquake. For the New Year, he donated the money for a huge fireworks display in the harbor. That made New Zealanders happy, and enabled him to feel like the great philanthropist.

When he was arrested last Thursday, police took possession of objects including paintings and a Rolls Royce Phantom, and money adding up to a total of approximately 3.7 million euros. According to U.S. authorities, Megaupload made more than $175 million in illegal profits and owes damages to the legal owners of the stolen content totaling well over $500 million.

And yet Schmitz received support from a number of stars, including singers Alicia Keys and Kanye West, probably because he had promised that they would each get 90% of earnings on their respective content. In late 2011, Schmitz released a mega-successful ad video for Megaupload featuring many big stars. He himself is also featured singing on the video.

According to the New Zealand police officer leading the arrest, Grant Wormald, when Schmitz realized the police had arrived he tried to hide in a special high-security room inside the mansion and “activated a series of electronic locking systems.“ After police had “neutralized” him, he tried to barricade himself in the space. Police had to cut their way through the obstacles. “We found Mr. Dotcom in the room near a weapon that looked like a sawed off shotgun.”

Megaupload has been taken offline and Schmitz himself may now be out of circulation for some time. If convicted of organized exchange of illegally copied data he could be looking at up to 20 years in prison. Not such a mega outcome.

From: The Rise And Fall Of An Internet Heavyweight: “Mega” Millionaire Kim Schmitz

The original article in German.

See also Metro Magazine’s The Complete and Utter History of Kim Dotcom

 

Will Hone’s wife have the final say?

The Mana/Internet Party alliance decision gets even more bizarre. Hone Harawira was previously reported saying that the Mana executive would probably decide.

Mr Harawira indicated the final decision would be made by senior party figures rather than a wider vote.

“It will probably be made by the executive in the final analysis.”

But now he says that if his wife says no “it’s probably no” - Harawira’s wife wary of Dotcom link

Mana leader Hone Harawira’s wife, veteran activist Hilda Halkyard-Harawira, is among party members concerned about a likely alliance with the Internet Party.

Halkyard-Harawira raised her concerns about the alliance in a closed session yesterday at the party’s conference in Rotorua, with Harawira confirming she remained wary of it.

“She’s wary of the deal and understandably so. She sees it from not just a perspective of a Mana member or the wife of the Mana leader but from a long history of involvement in politics and activism,” Harawira said.

He said his wife, who declined to comment, shared the concerns of others about the potential watering down of what the movement stood for. She told members yesterday she was worried about the mana of the movement being diminished by relationships with other parties.

Protecting that was important and the leaders needed to be wary of guarding that credibility, Harawira said.

“The funny thing for me is that I can convince the whole of the movement but if she says no, it’s probably no.”

Regardless of what “the whole of the movement” thinks it could come down to one person’s say? What position does Hilda Halkyard-Harawira have in the Mana movement other than wife of the party leader??

Minto on Mana/IP alliance pros, cons and questions

John Minto has posted at The Daily blog about the conference debate on the proposed alliance between the Internet and Mana Parties. It gives a good outline of party thinking and lays out how he sees the pros and cons.

Mana and the Internet Party – strategic alliance or wtf? 

The proposal for some sort of electoral relationship arose from a meeting between Mana leader Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom earlier in the year. The first benefit to both Mana Movement and the Internet Party – and the country for that matter – is to ensure all votes cast to get rid of the National government are counted. Under current law a party which falls short of the 5% threshold has its votes wasted – potentially up to 130,000 anti-National votes not counted.

This fundamentally undemocratic aspect of our MMP system is a result of pressure from National and Labour to keep parliament as a cosy duopoly and disenfranchise thousands of voters in the process.

So the AGM debated at length whether to proceed to formally explore a possible alliance. It was a riveting four hours as speakers spoke for or against the idea.

As part of the discussion I was asked to present what I saw as the “pros” and “cons” of a possible “strategic alliance” with the Internet Party.

Here’s what I came up with:

Pros

1.    Increased profile for Mana and as we are seen as more relevant with a larger combined party vote with the Internet Party.

2.    Creation of interest and even excitement among many younger voters and non-voters.

3.    A greater likelihood of getting Mana Movement list MPs through a combined party vote.

4.    Greater resources to fight a party vote campaign.

5.    Greater resources to help inspire and enrol current non-voters and get them to the polling booth.

6.    There is already some areas of strong policy agreement with the Internet Party to: stop GCSB spying, withdraw from the “five eyes” spy alliance, provide internet privacy rights and cheap/free access to the internet, provide free tertiary education and oppose the TPPA.

7.    Ensuring that the Internet Party and their supporters are committed to changing the government.

8.    MANA brand remains in Maori electorate campaigns which are a key focus this election.

Cons

1.    Damage to the public perception of Mana:

  •  Mana may lose respect as a kaupapa Maori movement and damage our chances in the Maori seats.
  •  Mana Movement may lose respect as a movement for the poor and dispossessed if we have an alliance with a high-profile wealthy partner.
  •  Mana Movement may be seen by some as compromising our principles for money (irrespective of the truth of this)

2.    A potential watering down of our policies to create a joint Mana-Internet Party vote campaign.

3.    A potential loss of control of Mana policy and direction to a new joint venture.

4.    A risk of ending up with fewer seats than we would have on our own.

The three key questions which arose from this are:

1.    Would an alliance enhance or damage Mana as a kaupapa Maori movement?

2.    Would an alliance enable us to gain greater parliamentary representation without compromising our policies or principles?

3.    How would we retain our integrity, and be seen to retain our integrity, in such an alliance?

 All speakers recognised the risks to the movement and to the individuals involved – we all value our integrity – but after four hours a clear consensus emerged that we should take the step to see if an arrangement agreeable to Mana can be reached. (Each of Mana’s seven rohe supported the decision to keep talking with the Internet Party).

Mana Party members agreed to “move forward in negotiations” (NZ Herald):

The Mana Party has given its leaders a month to negotiate, before they put any proposed alliance out to the party’s local branches for consultation.

Minto:

We are withholding judgement till we see what emerges from further discussion. At that point any possible agreement will be discussed by Mana rohe and branches before a final vote is taken. 

However Hone Harawira seems to have decided already and intimates it won’t be decided by a party vote…

Asked whether he thought the deal would go ahead, Mr Harawira said: “I’d certainly like to think so.”

And while the party is consulting the executive (led by Harawira) will decide.

Mr Harawira indicated the final decision would be made by senior party figures rather than a wider vote.

“It will probably be made by the executive in the final analysis.”

See  Harawira’s way or the highway.

In the meantime opposition continues - Dotcom a neoliberal millionaire who sounds like John Key – Mana’s Sue Bradford

  The Internet Party leader did not manage to seal an alliance with Mana when he visited the party’s AGM on Saturday (although talks will continue). And his charm seems to have singularly failed to winover one of Mana leader Hone Harawira’s key lieutenants, Sue Bradford.

Instead, Bradford hardened her opposition, and walked out of the meeting before the key vote – creating a schism Mana can ill-afford given Labour candidate Kelvin Davis is polling ahead in Harawira’s Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) seat.

“Getting into bed with a neoliberal millionaire who’s facing legal challenges is quite a curious proposal for a party like Mana that has stood so strongly and staunchly on its reputation for fighting for those who have less … and for standing up against the neoliberal agenda that John Key that others are running,” Ms Bradford told Firstline this morning.

“It’s not compatible and undermines everything Mana has achieved over the past three years … When I heard him speaking on Saturday, it was like listening to John Key,” Ms Bradford said.

It could be a challenging time for the Mana Party over the next month of consultations and decision making.

In the meantime the Internet Party remains in limbo, leader-less, candidate-less and alliance-less.

Harawira’s way or the highway

It’s apparent that Hone Harawira wants his way on the proposed Mana/Internet Party alliance, and he’s happy for anyone who doesn’t like it can choose the highway out of Mana.

Asked whether he thought the deal would go ahead, Mr Harawira said: “I’d certainly like to think so.”

He doesn’t seem to care about party dissent – Harawira shrugs off defections danger over Dotcom deal.

But there was strong dissent within those groups, including from veteran activist Ms Bradford, who Mr Harawira said left the meeting before the vote was taken.

Ms Bradford later told the Herald: “There was deep debate, deep dissension and resistance to the idea of going into an alliance with the Internet Party.

“Some of us, both Maori and Pakeha, are really disturbed by the idea of going into an alliance with a neo-liberal millionaire.”

After Mana president Annette Sykes said she was concerned the party was proving to be “fragile” over the issue, Mr Harawira said he accepted that not everybody in the party was going to agree on a deal with the Internet Party.

“There’s always going to be people who come in and out for various reasons and that’s fine.”

And he doesn’t seem to care about party members who choose the highway over his way.

Mana Leader Hone Harawira said there was always going to be differences of opinion over a proposal like the Internet Party alliance.

“Will there be resignations, quite possibly. There haven’t been today.”

He said he had the greatest respect for Ms Bradford, “the fact she disagrees where we’re going with this does not change that”.

“Should she decide to leave Mana I will still respect her ability and the strengths she brings as a campaigner for the poor and dispossessed but we can’t determine Mana’s future on the feelings of one activist or another.

It sounds like he’s happy if dissenting members just got out of his way.

Bradford walks out of Mana AGM but she hasn’t walked out of the party – yet. It was reported that Saturday’s delegate vote was to put the issue out to the party members for consultation.

After discussions which went into the night at Mataikotare Marae near Rotorua yesterday, Mana’s branches “unanimously” agreed to move forward with the negotiations.

Mana’s deputy leader has more concerns….

However, Mana President Annette Sykes this morning said : “Our movement, I was concerned that it may be fragile and some of our membership – I don’t know whether some have chosen not to come back today.”

“There’s quite a number. We’re not talking hundreds, but we’re talking people who I think are leaders young and old and they are principled people who I have respect for. They’ve gone back to reflect with their branches.”

Unlike Harawira Sykes recognises differences and potential division…

Meanwhile, Ms Sykes said there was “a very clear recognition that there are certain gaps that need to be fleshed out before any final decision was made”.

The party has given its leaders a month to negotiate, before they put any proposed alliance out to the party’s local branches for consultation.

She said the vote to continue discussions “was a unanimous outcome the way we vote regionally but within those regions there is dissent and we have to respect that dissent so there are some limits on the next steps and the way they negotiate forward”.

That sounds like a good process, until…

Mr Harawira indicated the final decision would be made by senior party figures rather than a wider vote.

“It will probably be made by the executive in the final analysis.”

A done deal with token consultation? It sounds like Harawira has already made his mind up. And anyone who disagrees is dispensable.

He was happy that Mana had seen “hundreds and hundreds” of new members sign up since the party had begun talks with the Internet Party.“You win some you lose some.”

Harawira has indicated he wants to win his alliance with Kim Dotcom and the losers can choose the highway.

“Will there be resignations, quite possibly. There haven’t been today.”

“There’s always going to be people who come in and out for various reasons and that’s fine.”

“We can’t determine Mana’s future on the feelings of one activist or another.”

Unless it’s the feelings of the activist Harawira. It sounds like it’s his way or the highway.

How much mana is there in that?

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