Party prospects

What are party prospects leading up to next year’s election? It’s a long time in politics until we vote again so there’s many things that could affect the overall outcome and the outcome for individual parties.

Has Been and Never Been

The 5% threshold is making it pretty much impossible for a small or new party to get into Parliament on party vote. This is by design by the large parties, successfully keeping small parties shut out.

Mana Party

Mana took a punt on Kim Dotcom’s big money last election and crashed badly, losing their only electorate and failing to attract combined party vote. Hone Harawira seems to have disappeared from public view, and the Mana Party website seems to have also disappeared. Their chances of revival look unlikely, and their chances of success again are also unlikely.

Internet Party

The Internet Party had large funds and little credibility last election. Dotcom acknowledged afterwards that he was politically toxic. Without his money and presence and media pulling power the party continues – their website remains – but is ignored and will find it difficult to get anywhere, which is a shame because they had some interesting ideas on inclusive democracy.

Conservative Party

With heaps of money and media attention last election Colin Craig and his Conservatives could only manage about 4%. After last year’s major upheaval it’s unlikely they will get half that next time. Craig is severely damaged politically and socially and would struggle to lead the Conservatives to 2% next time. There is no obvious alternative leader.

The Strugglers

UnitedFuture

As a party UnitedFuture has faded just about completely. It is still operating but without a major input of money and new personal I don’t see any change. The only option for UF is for outsiders to see an opportunity to use an existing party to get a foothold in Parliament rather than start from scratch, but even then success would be dependent on Peter Dunne  retaining his Ohariu electorate. I think Dunne must be close to considering retiring, and if he does UF will retire or expire.

ACT Party

ACT have defied critics and survived the Don Brash and John Banks disasters due to the success of one person, David Seymour. I think Seymour is odds on to retain Epsom next year (deservedly) so ACT is likely to survive. National and possibly Conservative vote must be up for grabs, but it will depend on ACT coming up with additional electable candidates to make an increased party vote attractive. Jamie Whyte didn’t work out, but with Seymour anchoring the party they may attract strong candidates who would then stand a good chance of success through an improved party vote.

Maori Party

The Maori Party continue to be quiet achievers. They should be able to retain at Te Ururoa Flavell’s electorate seats and their first list MP Marama Fox has made a quick impact. They stand a chance of picking up ex Mana Maori votes so have some chance of getting more seats via their list. Further electorate prospects will depend on candidate quality. The Maori Party could also be impacted negatively by a Labour resurgence if that ever happens.

The Over Threshold Parties

New Zealand First

It’s difficult to predict NZ First’s future. It is very dependant on Winston Peters. He had a major success early last year by winning the Northland buy election but hasn’t dome much since then. He could just be pacing himself, rebuilding energy and drive for next year’s election campaign. Or he could be running out of puff – that’s been predicted before but so far he has managed to keep coming back.

Installing Ron Mark as deputy could be a problem for NZ First. The rest of the party has been generally out if sight, but Mark is an ambitious attention seeker, and the attention he gets is often uncomplimentary. He could deter voters.

But if Winston remains NZ First should remain after next year’s election. Peters may or may not retain Northland, but the party should be good for 5-10% party vote if he is still in the race.

Green Party

The Green Party have successfully weathered another leadership change. They had built their vote and presence but were disappointed to not gain ground last election despite Labour’s vote shrinking. Greens are assured of retaining a place in Parliament but may find it challenging to increase or even retain their current numbers if Labour recovers and increases their vote. And Greens need Labour to improve substantially to give them a chance of having their first stint in Government.

Greens should be able to stay above 10% but may be cemented as a good sized small party rather than becoming the growing force they have ambitions of being.

Labour Party

Labour have to improve their support significantly or it will either be difficult for them to get back into Government or it will be difficult for them to govern with Greens and NZ First pulling them in different directions, possible apart.

It would be unlikely for Labour to switch leaders yet again, that would be damaging, so they need Andrew Little to step up. That hasn’t happened yet. They are playing a risky strategy of keeping a low profile while they consult constituencies and rebuild policies. They really have to be looking like a possible alternate Government by the middle of this year. They need to somehow get back 5-10% support.

They are banking on Little growing into his leadership role. He can only be a contrast to John Key, but so far he looks more out of his depth rather than swimming competitively on the surface.

Labour are also banking on their ‘Future of Work’ policy development. It’s a good focus for a labour allied party, but a lot will depend on whether it results in something seen to be visionary or if it is perceived as a Union policy disguised by Grant Robertson.

Labour could get anywhere between 25% and 40% next election. It’s hard to tell what direction they will go at this stage.

National Party

National have been very successful since they won in 2008. They have increased their support since then, most parties in power bleed support. This partly to do with John Key’s continued popularity, and increasingly by Bill English’s capable management of finances in sometimes very difficult circumstances (GFC and Christchurch earthquake).

National’s support must fall at some stage but it’s difficult to judge when that might start happening. Left wing activists have been predicting it in vain for seven years. Much will  depend on whether Labour can step up as a viable alternative alongside Greens and probably NZ First.

Next election could see them get anywhere between 40% and 50%. Their political fate is in their own hands to an extent but also reliant on possible alternatives.

Dotcom – bad budgeting or botched basket case?

Kim Dotcom’s legal team is holding up his extradition hearing, arguing for a stay of proceedings.

One argument is that Dotcom is being prevented from mounting an adequate defence because his funds have been frozen. They say he needs $750,000 to pay for expert witnesses from the US.

However a Herald report says that Kim Dotcom sold shares to pay for defence.

Dotcom’s US attorney Ira Rothken said they would need about US$500,000 to get the people they needed and it could take up to six months to gather all the evidence required from them.

Kim Dotcom sold shares in his new companies for about $20 million in 2013 to pay for his defence team and provide for his family, he has told a court.

He told the court about setting up Mega Ltd with Ortmann and van der Kolk and music company Baboom in 2013, shares in which he sold for about $20 million.

Dotcom said the ventures were “born out of necessity” to pay for the drawn-out extradition battle and also to secure his family’s future with contributions to the family trust, the Trust Me Trust.

So Dotcom wants yet another delay because he hasn’t got $750k left out of $20 million to pay for his defence.

Dotcom said he donated up to $4.8 million during its brief existence and Mr Ruffin asked why he had not put some of that money aside to pay for US legal experts he now claimed were vital to defending his case.

“If I had a crystal ball and I could see the future, in hindsight I could have done that,” Dotcom said.

“But at the time, for me, there was no reason to believe there wasn’t more unrestrained funds coming from my business ventures.”

Didn’t he already already have restraints on funds internationally?

In any case why wouldn’t he make sure he had budgeted adequately from available funds to do what he wanted to defend himself from extradition?

His ill-fated involvement in the Internet Party was also discussed.

Dotcom said he donated up to $4.8 million during its brief existence and Mr Ruffin asked why he had not put some of that money aside to pay for US legal experts he now claimed were vital to defending his case.

“If I had a crystal ball and I could see the future, in hindsight I could have done that,” Dotcom said.

“But at the time, for me, there was no reason to believe there wasn’t more unrestrained funds coming from my business ventures.”

Of course if he had a crystal ball he would have seen that pouring $4.8 million into a political attempt to hold the balance of power in New Zealand’s Parliament was nuts and wouldn’t have wasted it.

Mr Ruffin also asked the defendant why he had not used money from living costs to pay for the experts he claimed he needed.

“If I wanted to be homeless and sack all my staff and kick my kids out of school I could’ve done that, yes,” Dotcom said.

Maintaining a lavish lifestyle was more important to him than budgeting to defend his extradition?

Does he think he’s doomed anyway so might as well spend his money before it is taken from him?

I hope his lawyers have checked that he has budgeted to pay them.

Or – was Dotcom banking on buying political power to prevent his extradition and put all his eggs in that basket so didn’t worry about funds for a legal defence?

His political eggs are broken and on his face.

The court will decide whether his budgeting story stacks up. To me it looks like a case of botched optimism in the Internet Party play.

Daphne Lawless and the Internet Party

Following on from the previous post, here’s a bit more about Daphne Lawless. She was a strong supporter of the Internet party.

DaphneLawlessInternetParty

http://fightback.org.nz/2014/08/01/miriam-pierard-of-the-internet-party-speaking-the-language-of-youth/

What a small country.

A reliable source has told me that Ben Rachinger has recently been in (and may still be in) a relationship with Miriam Pierard.

Internet Party to “relieve the family of his threat of extradition”

While much of today’s focus has been on Kim Dotcom tells court he is ‘broke, destitute and penniless’ – his financial situation – there’s some comments amongst the coverage that point to something else of interest.

The High Court in Auckland has also heard that Mona Dotcom was initially hesitant to donate money to the Internet Mana political party, at her husband’s suggestion, but eventually agreed the family trust would give $400,000.

Why?

She believed Dotcom’s claims that his involvement with the Internet Mana party would eventually relieve the family of his threat of extradition, she said.

“At the end I was fine with it because Kim explained to me how this Internet Party would benefit us and the kids because it would help him with his political issues,” she said.

She says the Internet Party was intended to help Dotcom with his “political issues” and “relieve the family of his threat of extradition”.

If I remember correctly Dotcom denied his party was targeting his extradition although that was widely believed to be a significant motive.

UPDATE: Dotcom on The Nation, 30 March 2014:

Dotcom: Well I have to say I was actually quite disappointed when some MPs linked this to my extradition, you know. I think that was very unfortunate because I believe in the New Zealand judicial system, and I wouldn’t accept any minister of justice to overrule what that courts are deciding after, you know a long time evaluating all these legal challenges. So I think that would be wrong, and that’s not why I’m doing this.

So just to be clear, you would be happy for the justice minister to sign the dotted line, you wouldn’t want them to overturn a decision from the courts?

Dotcom: If the courts come to the decision that I should be extradited, well then that’s how it should be.

Harré has officially resigned from the Internet Party

It wasn’t clear whether was resigning from just the leadership or completely from the Internet Party. Last month she only announced stepping down as leader. On Facebook on 22 November:

As Internet MANA members move into decision mode I have shared my own intentions today. I will step down from Party leadership in December. I personally favour a network, rather than electoral party option. However, I intend to take a guiding (rather than leading) role in this process so that members have plenty of chance to generate options and decide between them.

I want to acknowledge all the member and supporter engagement that has come through this page since May 29 – I am not leaving the frontline, just the post. So I’ll keep sharing here (if Facebook lets me stop being a politician!).

It’s not clear whether “the post” means as leader or as a part of the party. And also posted on The Daily Blog – EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds:

Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members.

Again, just the leadership.

Next time around I’d like to think we can do better than just a political jigsaw. To that end I am stepping away from the electoral focus for now to pay more attention to the “why” of the “Why we need change” question.

A hint she could be separating further but not clearly.

And in in an interview on The Nation:

Are you still here as leader of the Internet Party?

Yes, I am here as leader of the Internet Party, and at the moment I’m guiding the party through a review of the future. I’ve also made a personal decision that once that review is completed, I will step down from the leadership of the Internet party.

Again just stepping down from “the leadership of the Internet Party”. But she also said she would love to be in Parliament.

Look, I would love to be in parliament. I would love to be articulating the kind of fundamental agenda and values that Internet-Mana promoted in the election campaign, and I’m not prepared to say never again to being personally at the front line.

She has just announced on Twitter:

@lailaharré

Officially resigned as @InternetPartyNZ Leader and as a member today. Onwards!

So she is right out of the party.

She expands on it on Facebook:

Today I have officially stepped down as Leader of the Internet Party. I have also resigned my membership.

This year many of us saw the opportunity to connect some newcomers to progressive party politics (in the form of the Internet Party) to a kaupapa Maori movement with a solid base in working class and poor communities – MANA. I have already shared my analysis of the election result on this page and elsewhere.

I first joined a political party 32 years ago and have always promoted participation in parliamentary politics. For major progressive gains to be made our parliamentary parties need to be rooted in real constituencies and supportive non-party institutions which build wide support for our values and ideas.

That’s what I will keep working on. I really enjoyed the interactions that I had through this year – online and on the road. I hope you will stay connected.

Her next plan is a road trip around the North Island next February with her sister to engage with grass roots supporters.

So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website. Rethinkthesystem.org. We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.”

There’s plenty of time before the next election but her party options to help her get back into Parliament may be limited. Would she rejoin the Internet Party again in 2017 if they offer her enough money? Dotcom says he’s broke, and presumably he’ll be more broke if he starts an Internet Party to contest the US election in 2016.

Harré may not be welcome at the Green Party after she deserted them and took their policies with her to the Internet Party.

The Mana Party is an obvious option andn it may be the only one, if they survive and contest the next election.

Another party could emerge but the chances of getting into Parliament for any new party are very slim.

Harré’s resignation may have resigned her to being a non-parliamentary political activist.

Internet Party may contest again in 2017

Mana have officially taken steps to end their relationship with the Internet party – see Harawira on what he and Mana are up to – and Laila Harre is stepping down, so Dotcom’s party is partnerless and leaderless.

And Dotcom says he is broke.

But he said yesterday he “would not be surprised if the Internet Party has another go”, as reported in NZ Herald’s Dotcom’s lost Mana but Internet Party may ride again at 2017 election.

Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom says his party could still make another bid for election in 2017 despite its merger with the Mana Party coming to an end.

The Internet Party will soon be leaderless as Laila Harre plans to stand down and its main backer, Mr Dotcom, says he has run out of money fighting his extradition to the United States.

But the internet entrepreneur suggested yesterday the movement was still alive, saying he “would not be surprised if the Internet Party has another go” in 2017.

He did not want to comment further as he was focused on getting the US branch of his party up and running for the US elections in 2016. The US Internet Party will be backed and run by American citizens, but Mr Dotcom is likely to play some role.

He says he has no money but that may be just in New Zealand.

Financing a party in the US would have to be on a much bigger scale. Perhaps others will front up with the dollars but Dotcom hasn’t got a good campaign record – he has a reputation as a political wrecking ball.

It would be hard to see any political ambitions as anything other than an anti US Government publicity stunt – which was how his attempt to bring down the Prime Minister and government of New Zealand was seen.

If Dotcom survives financially and legally his chances in 2017 don’t look good. This year he tried to piggy back into power off the Mana Party and that failed.

It’s very unlikely any other party here would consider campaigning with him no matter how much money he offered.

Russel Norman and Winston Peters visited him last year to discuss options and saw the dangers. They will be even less interested now.

I don’t think Labour would risk going anywhere near Dotcom’s financial incentives.

Internet-Mana got 1.42 per cent of the party vote in the September 20 election and won no seats. Its chances hinged on Mr Harawira keeping his Te Tai Tokerau seat, which he lost to Labour’s Kelvin Davis.

Harawira will find it hard enough to beat Davis in 2017. Mana have been burnt badly by their Dotcom association so a repeat must be unlikely.

And Mana isn’t the only self inflicted victim.

Harre’s political credibility has been scorched. The Internet Party will find it very difficult to attract a high profile leader with political experience, especially if the money has dried up.

It’s a long way from 1.42% to the 5% threshold. Dotcom misjudged his political chances badly this year. He must see the odds of turning that resounding failure around are very slim.

I would be surprised if the Internet Party will be a serious contender in 2017.

Harawira on what he and Mana are up to

Patrick Gower interviewed Hone Harawira on The Nation on Saturday and asked him what he’d been up to. The answer was not very much since turning his back on politics after a disastrous election result.

Gower: What are you up to, what are you doing for a crust these days, what’s Hone Harawira been up to?

Harawira: Actually for the first couple of months absolutely nothing. Just hanging about home ah with the mokopunas, doing a bit of paddling, trying to get my health back.

He seemed to have struggled through the election campaign, perhaps that was to do with his health.

Ah, yeah and then a trip to South Africa, then the Nga Puhi claims.

Now starting to look at a couple of projects to get started in the New Year.

Gower: Sweet. And what about Mana itself, is Mana still alive?

Harawira: Yeah no we had a great week just a couple of weeks ago at Auckland University Marae. We had about seventy, eighty people come from all around the country from as far south as Dunedin, and everybody’s really focused on getting back to stuff in their communities, which is what I’m doing as well, and rebuilding from that level.

Gower: And what about Kim Dotcom, have you had a chance to catch up with Kim Dotcom?

Harawira: No actually, no we missed a chance ah last weekend, ah we’re trying to do it this weekend, probably catch up some time soon.

It sounds like he has just shrugged and turned away from Dotcom. That’s odd considering the huge cash provided and major alliance in the campaign.

Gower: You might pop out to Helensville after this?

Harawira: No I can’t, ah I’m going to be too busy after this. I’ve got um Newstalk ZB, I’ve got a kuruwhanau (?) to see, then I’ve got yo fly home.

Gower: Now we had Laila Harre on the program a little while ago, she said that…

Harawira: Where, here?

Gower: No on The Nation a couple of weeks ago. She said that the Internet Party completely mismanaged that last month of the campaign, do you agree with her?

Harawira: Oh look, those days are gone. Suffice to say from our point of view it was a shot worth taking, it didn’t come off, ah but Laila, wonderful person, ah a great political commentator, a woman of great principle.

Harre was widely criticised for her lack of principle in teaming up with Dotcom.

So, I missed the opportunity to be working with her but I wish her well whatever she’s going to be working on in the future.

Gower: And what about yourself, you’re still keen to come back to Parliament?

Harawira: Well a lot of people are keen for me to come back to Parliament, including some strangely enough right wing types. I think I just get a sense there needs to be somebody in there who’s going to be strong on the basic issues of poverty and homelessness, those sorts of things.

A curious non-personal response, as if he doesn’t make his own decisions. And while Harawira spoke strongly on poverty and homelessness he failed to work effectively with other parties in Parliament, something that’s essential to progress policies.

Gower: Will you have a crack against Kelvin Davis again in 2017?

Harawira: Oh if I have a crack it won’t be because I’m having a crack against Kelvin Davis, ah, it will be because I’m having a fight to support the rights of  te pani me te rawakore, the poor and the homeless.

Gower: And will it be with the Internet Party, will it be with Kim Dotcom, will you go with him again?

Harawira: Ah no, look we’ve just we’ve just ah formerly closed off that relationship, so I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s public yet but the letter’s just gone off to ah the Electoral Commission I think.

It sounds like someone else is managing the formal split and Harawira is a semi-interested spectator.

So that’s over, but ah certainly the relationship with some of the people we met in the Internet Party, that will continue.

Harre?

Gower: All right then, is there anything more on that split or is it just all over completely?

Harawira: Ah well you never know, ah you never say never, ah suffice to say though that right now it’s focussing on what’s happening at home, what’s happening with the mokopunas, what’s happening with the whanau.

We’ve got to rap this up Paddy.  Thank you very much.

As Harawira said that he walked away, shutting down the interview.

Just as he seems to have shut off and walked away from his political career.

It sounds like he’s over Parliament and while others have tried to to talk about him having a go at returning his heart isn’t in it at all.

He looked shattered on election night and it looks like he isn’t over it. He could possibly recover, and the next election is a long way away, but he and Mana really need to campaign right through the term.

Otherwise they are likely to fade away into political history, a movement that lost it’s mojo after an unsuccessful Parliamentary stint brought to a close after a disastrous decision to try and benefit from Dotcom’s millions.

Dotcom to take on Hillary Clinton, apparently

Dotcom on Twitter today:

I’m not a pirate.
I’m not a fugitive.
I’m not a flight risk.

I’m your Internet Freedom fighter

AND

Hillary’s worst nightmare in 2016!

The Internet Party is coming to the United States in 2015. Stay tuned for our celebrity founders from the music, film and Internet industry.

The Internet Party US will be well funded and run by American citizens. I will help with Public Relations ;-)

So if he wants to be Clinton’s ‘worst nightmare’ he wants the Republicans to win in 2016?

Taking the piss. Or nuts.

Laila Harre on The Nation

Laila Harre was interviewed by Patrick Gower on The Nation yesterday, Harre stepping down as Internet Party leader

Key points:

  • Stepping down as leader of the Internet Party
  • “I would love to be in parliament.”
  • The Internet Party “could be wound up”.
  • Continuing the merger with Mana “will be up to Mana”.
    “The agreement with Mana was always predicated on the assumption that we be in parliament.”
  • “We completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign.”
  • “…the media chose to focus on sideshows rather than to allow us to present ourselves in the way that we were presenting ourselves. 
  • “What I regret is actually the failure of the Left overall to get its act together in a strategic and tactical way during the election.”
  • “This was always going to be a very finely balanced election outcome. There was no way, no way, never in any polls that Labour and the Greens were going to get sufficient support to form a majority government. That meant we had to rescue progressive votes to.
  • “Labour ruled out just about every other party during the course of the election campaign, and I think that was a big mistake.”
  • On Labour – “They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us, but we were there and they needed to accept that reality.”
  • On Dotcom’s email fizzer – “I believe that Kim, given the opportunity to share everything about that email, would be able to defend his belief that it’s real. Look, I can’t answer that. I wasn’t directly involved…”
  • “What was there for me and for the kind of politics I represent, was the chance to change the government and to get a platform in parliament for some very new progressive ideas.”
  • “Where to from here? Well, for me, being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle. What I want to do, though, is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical, I guess, policies that we began to introduce into the election. And when I say radical, I don’t mean marginal. I mean radical in the sense of fundamentals. So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website. Rethinkthesystem.org. We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.”

Full interview:

Patrick Gower: Good morning. Good to see you after a while.

Laila Harre: Nice to be here.

Are you still here as leader of the Internet Party?

Yes, I am here as leader of the Internet Party, and at the moment I’m guiding the party through a review of the future. I’ve also made a personal decision that once that review is completed, I will step down from the leadership of the Internet party. All options are then open for whether or not the party continues as an electoral force or moves into some other formation and plays its part in politics in a different way.

So that will be by Christmas? You will step down by Christmas?

Uh… yes. The timeline at the moment is that we will be putting together a couple of options that members will engage on, will vote on and will take from there. I just wanted to make it clear to the members, from whom I’ve had tons of support, and there’s been a lot of good feedback to me personally from members, that continuing as a political party does not— they can’t make the assumption that I will continue in the leadership.

Sure.

I’ve made a firm decision about that.

It’s over; you’re out. What does this mean for your political career?

For me, it means that I’m no longer leading the Internet Party. Whether the Internet Party continues as an electoral party is up to the members. If it—

What about Laila Harre personally? Is this your political career over now?

Who knows? Look… (LAUGHS) rumours of my political career being over have circulated many times over the last, you know, 15 years.

Look, I would love to be in parliament. I would love to be articulating the kind of fundamental agenda and values that Internet-Mana promoted in the election campaign, and I’m not prepared to say never again to being personally at the front line. But I also saw emerging in our election campaign an incredible set of younger candidates.

And I feel a bit like a mother hen here. I want to enable them through my decision to step down to explore all their political options too rather than be trapped in this year’s political entity and this year’s political tactic, you might say — to explore their options more.

It may— it may be, by what you’ve said there, that the Internet party doesn’t continue as an electoral-type party.

That’s definitely one of the options that we’re actively canvassing with members.

It could become a lobby group or be wound up.

It could be wound up. It could— the capacity that we’ve built. Look, we’ve had massive engagement on our policy-development platforms, in our social media—

And the merger with Mana — that isn’t going to continue?

Well, I mean, that will be up to Mana and if the Internet Party continues as an electoral party, the Internet party. Um, the Mana Party are having their AGM in a couple of weeks’ time. The agreement with Mana was always predicated on the assumption that we be in parliament.

So, of course, all bets are off there, but there’s very strong goodwill. And again, for me personally, that was one of the strengths of what we did this year — was engaging our constituency with a kaupapa Maori party, which I think is critical to the future of New Zealand politics.

Let’s reflect on the campaign now, cos we know the story. Internet-Mana went from 2.3% on the 3News-Reid Research poll, higher than that on some other polls, then you started to crash. In the end, Hone Harawira didn’t make it; nobody did. What went wrong?

Um, well, what went wrong was that we completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign. We had amazing momentum before then. The road trip, I think, worked extremely well. What other party just went out there on the front line, engaged with such large audiences?

What was the mismanagement?

I think the kind of beginning of that, really, was Georgina Beyer’s attack on Kim Dotcom, which fed into what became a narrative of a rift and division, and it was one that we just couldn’t knock through the rest of the campaign. It became completely distracting from the release of policy, for instance. I mean, we launched a full employment policy that was second to none and did not get one minute of coverage on, you know, national news.

That’s because Kim Dotcom stood up and talked about hacking,…

Well…

…and Pam Corkery attacked the media on the same—

Well, no, it’s because the media chose to focus on sideshows rather than to allow us to present ourselves in the way that we were presenting ourselves. So, you know, the media made a decision to focus on Kim, and in a very negative way during that period.

The only way that we could have avoided that was to take him completely out of the picture. And of course then there would have been all the stories of ‘what’s happened to Kim Dotcom?’ And ‘has he been side-lined?’ And so on. So we’re kind of in the lose-lose position. Beyond us—

Do you have any regrets in all of this? Cos you must have.

I have absolutely no regrets about choosing to get involved in this project. Back in April— late April when I was first approached to consider the leadership, it was very very clear that Labour and the Greens were not going to make it over the line.

I was utterly committed to a change of government, and in order to change the government, we had to make sure every single progressive vote would count. For that to happen, Internet Party votes had to count. For the Internet Party votes to count, they had to do the deal with Mana. And for Mana to do that deal, they needed a leader that Mana had some confidence in.

Sure.

So I said yes. I put myself into that position, and I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. What I regret is actually the failure of the Left overall to get its act together in a strategic and tactical way during the election.

What do you mean by the failure of the Left overall?

Well, let’s go back to early April when the Greens and Labour pulled the plug on each other. At that time I was on the Green Party campaign committee. I felt that was a terrible error by both parties. I thought it was a major error by the Greens to leak the collapse of that discussion.

You’re saying that you were working inside there at the time and the Greens leaked…

I was on the campaign committee as a volunteer. I wasn’t working for the party, but when the Greens decided to leak the collapse of their discussions with Labour, I felt really concerned about what that meant for the election campaign, because what it meant was what I went through before the… around the 1996 and previous elections, that this was going to become a competition for votes on the Left rather than a cooperation of Left parties to change the government.

Here’s the counter argument, and you know it. Labour and the Greens put the failure of the Left at your feet.

Well, it’s very convenient.

They blame it on Internet-Mana. Andrew Little, all of the Labour leadership candidates all say being connected to Internet-Mana and to Kim Dotcom helped bring the Left down.

I think, actually, what brought, overall… I mean, this was always going to be a very— Can I just give you my view on this? This was always going to be a very finely balanced election outcome. There was no way, no way, never in any polls that Labour and the Greens were going to get sufficient support to form a majority government. That meant we had to rescue progressive votes to. To do that—

I understand all of this. But what also happened was National romped home. It wasn’t close. The Left got thrashed. You guys have been blamed for helping bring down the Left and at the same time there’s an argument that you pumped up the Right. People who were scared of Kim Dotcom. People were scared of Internet-Mana. People didn’t like to deal with Hone Harawira. Not only did you tear down the Left, there’s an argument that you helped John Key win by more.

Well, let’s look at some of the facts here. The Internet-Mana Party deal led to an increase in support for the combined two parties. The early part of our campaign, which Kim was very actively involved in in the road trip, saw a growth in support for Internet-Mana. It was at that point that the Right went fully on attack against Kim, and used Kim and the Internet Party-Mana agreement as the basis for an attack on the Left. At that point, Labour—

And it worked.

Yes, but why did it work? Because at that point Labour and the Greens had a choice. They could either join John Key’s narrative, or they could do the only thing that would have made it possible to get over the line, and that was to accept that putting together a majority in parliament, this time round, that did not have National as part of it was going to depend on working constructively with other parties. Labour ruled out just about every other party during the course of the election campaign, and I think that was a big mistake.

So in summary, those parties not supporting Internet-Mana, those parties trying to distance themselves from you, is to blame for your downfall. You’re blaming Labour—

No, I’m not blaming them for our downfall. What I’m saying is that I think they just played into the Right’s narrative about it. So they fed it. They made it more of a problem. And I think the key to politics is knowing and accepting the environment you’re operating in. They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us, but we were there and they needed to accept that reality.

Let’s talk about Kim Dotcom now. Are you still on his payroll?

No! Goodness, no.

Are you still in contact with him?

Yes. I’m periodically in contact with him.

How?

Mainly by text message. Kim is focussing on his legal issues, obviously. That’s the critical point.

Did you ever seek assurances from him that he was not involved in the hacking, that he was not connected to Rawshark?

I didn’t need to because he was absolutely upfront and direct about that, and I completely accept those assurances, and I also believe that John Key knew, and John Key said now that he knows who the hacker is. I think he knew who the hacker was, and he that he knew it wasn’t Kim Dotcom, and he kept feeding you guys.

Look, we had this conversation during the campaign where he had convinced you that he believed Kim Dotcom was the hacker. I think we now know that he knew right from the start that Kim Dotcom was not the hacker. That was just a complete red herring.

As for the moment of truth when Kim Dotcom failed to deliver. You know, the proof was apparently that email from Kevin Tsujihara. Warner Brothers says that that was a forgery. I mean, do you believe it was real?

I believe that Kim, given the opportunity to share everything about that email, would be able to defend his belief that it’s real. Look, I can’t answer that. I wasn’t directly involved in obtaining it or being involved in the process of—

Either Kim Dotcom’s forged it or Warner Brothers has made it up.

I absolutely don’t believe Kim Dotcom has forged it. I absolutely believe that Kim believes it’s real based on the evidence he has about its origins.

The $3.5 million. What happened to that? Who’s got control of it?

Well, that money’s been spent. I mean, let’s remember that that money was spent from pre the launch of the Internet Party in March and committed. I think we could have done a whole lot—

Was this it for you? The dream of a well-funded campaign — the chance of a lifetime. Is that what was there for you, and now maybe you regret it?

What was there for me and for the kind of politics I represent, was the chance to change the government and to get a platform in parliament for some very new progressive ideas. Look, I’ve walked off platforms in this election campaign where I was the only candidate—

And speaking of walking, where do you go from here?

…the only candidate promoting free tertiary education. You know, you had Labour and Green candidates saying user-pay tertiary education was a necessary evil. I reject that. Where to from here? Well, for me, being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle.

What I want to do, though, is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical, I guess, policies that we began to introduce into the election. And when I say radical, I don’t mean marginal. I mean radical in the sense of fundamentals. So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website.

Rethinkthesystem.org

We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.

Sounds like fun. Really sorry. We’re out of time.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Source: Scoop

Laila Harré quitting Internet Party leadership

3 News report on Laila Harré’s comments about quitting the Internet Party – Laila Harre stepping down as Internet Party leader

“All options are then open for whether or not the party continues as an electoral force or moves into some other formation and plays its part in politics in a different way,” she told The Nation.

The party could be wound up, though if it decides to continue any on-going merger with Mana was not guaranteed.

Internet Mana had completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign, which began when Mana candidate Georgina Beyer publicly attacked Dotcom, Ms Harre said.

“[That] fed into what became a narrative of a rift and division and it was one that we couldn’t knock through the rest of the campaign. It became completely distracting from the release of policy.”

There was a good reason why there was a negative narrative.

The media had also focused on Dotcom on a negative way.

There was a good reason why Dotcom was focussed on in a negative way.

Ms Harre didn’t rule out a return to politics in the future.

“I would love to be in parliament. I would love to be articulating the kind of fundamental agenda and values that Internet Mana promoted.”

It’s hard to see any of the current parties wanting her as one of their MPs. Once political principles are compromised it can be very difficult undoing the damage.

She didn’t have any regrets about her involvement with Internet Mana.

“For me being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle.

“What I want to do though is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical policies that we began to introduce into the election.”

She has started a website with her sister, Rethinking the System, as part of that journey.

Harré’s announcement yesterday that she is stepping down from leadership.

Laila Harré to step down – member survey still open

I wanted you to know before the public that I will be stepping down from the leadership of the Internet Party at the completion of our current review.

As I said after the election, I am committed to guiding the Party through the review so that members have the final say on what the future looks like.

I thought it was important for you to know my own position before decisions are made. I can see from the survey results so far that you have appreciated me and my leadership – and I can tell you that it’s mutual. I am very proud of what our candidates, staff, active members, and on-line forum participants have created and achieved in just a few months. I really hope that you will all take part in the survey and decision-making process as it’s important to reach into the whole membership for your views.

The survey will close at midnight this Sunday 23 November.

Here is the link again: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/InternetPartyFutureMemberEma…

Thanks to those who have already responded to the survey on the future of the Internet Party.

If you haven’t please do. Whatever your opinion of the future we want to hear from you.

This survey is not a vote – it is intended to canvas all the options and engage members. One we have identified those options (nothing ruled in or out yet) members will make the decisions on the future.

Thanks for participating.

Laila Harré,
Internet Party Leader.

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