Establishing the Internet Party

Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party has six months to get registered and established as a credible option. There is significant finance,  personnel and effort going into it. NZ Herald reports in Politicians of all stripes welcome at Kim’s place.

The money:

“The total figure for Internet Party expenses in the pre-regulated period is expected to be substantially less than $1m”. The party will then spend another $1m during the election campaign.

The people:

By tomorrow, the party will have seven staff: chief executive Vikram Kumar, party secretary Anna Sutherland, PR man John Mitchell, lawyer Graeme Edgeler, social media guru Callum Valentine, brand manager Andy Pickering, and policy and media adviser Jim Tucker.

The money again:

The seven salaries are a bigger expense. Kumar, 51, acknowledges he is on a “fair” six-figure salary (pundits guess at $200,000-plus.

What it needs:

It has no party president or executive committee, yet. It has no party leader. It has no candidates.

And it isn’t a party yet. First it needs members. Then it needs to get registered.

The work begins this week when, if all goes according to plan, the Internet Party will launch iPhone, Android and web apps enabling Kiwis to join the party. As soon as it has 500 members – it believes it could sign up that many on the first day – it will register with the Electoral Commission and it’s game on.

Dotcom is presumably banking on his popularity online, his large number of followers and likes. But being popular doesn’t necessarily translate into getting people to become party members – being a member of a political party is not a popular undertaking.

The Civilian launched a party last year after becoming an almost instant hit as a satire website. There is still no sign of it being registered.

Dotcom does have one advantage. Last year UnitedFuture was frustrated by delays in re-registering because the Electoral Commission insisted on signed membership verification on paper. Members had quickly joined online to save the party but it then took time to collect the papers.

But now electronic signatures are acceptable. The Electoral Commission on 500 ELIGIBLE MEMBERS.

What evidence is needed of 500 eligible members?

The applicant must submit membership evidence for at least 500 and no more than 550 eligible members.  The application should record the total number submitted.

The Electoral Commission requires:

  1. Membership evidence for each eligible member in the form of a signed declaration (usually the membership form), and
  2. An electronic spreadsheet of membership evidence.

Membership form

The membership form should include the following information completed by each member:

  1. The member’s name and residential street address.
  2. Confirmation by the person that they are eligible to enrol as an elector.
  3. The amount of the membership fee that has been paid to the party.
  4. The member’s signature.
  5. Authorisation for the party to record them as a financial member of the party.
  6. Authorisation for the party to release their membership details to the Electoral Commission for the purpose of the application to register the party under the Electoral Act.

The Electoral Commission will accept the following types of signatures captured electronically for party membership purposes:

  1. Images of signatures that are electronic replications of actual ‘pen-and-paper’ signatures, such as scanned or photographic images.
  2. Images of signatures that are produced and captured electronically using technologies such as signature pads, trackpads/touchpads or the mouse, light pens, or similar devices.

The Electoral Commission will accept original forms or signed forms that have been submitted to the party and provided to the Electoral Commission electronically.

This still involves getting people to pay for membership, to provide all the details, and to provide an electronic signature.

That takes a lot more effort and commitment than clicking a ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ button.

Dotcom’s marketing muscle may make a difference and get a rapid membership sign-up but like many Dotcom claims that’s yet to be seen.

Once he gets his 500 members they still have to be submitted to the Electoral Commission, who then have to verify them. This is going to take time, especially if they are working through new processes of electronic submissions.

There’s a very unusual aspect to this party formation. There’s two things that drive politics – policies and personalities. So far the Internet Party have neither apart from some vague indications on policies and one very large personality that cannot stand for Parliament.

They say they will be releasing policy this Thursday when they launch their membership drive.

But they say they will not announce candidates until June. That could be a significant drawback.

It could be a chicken and egg situation. Candidates may not be willing to commit until they know there is a registered party in place. But prospective members don’t know what candidates they would be promoting.

We’ll start to see soon whether Dotcom can deliver on his hype. He presumably has learnt lessons after his attempt to launch his party in January was aborted.

And prospective party members and candidates should remember a tweet from Dotcom on 11 February.

@KimDotcomIf #InternetParty won’t poll 5+% before ballot papers are printed we’ll self destruct & put our weight behind a party adopting our policies.

 

Leave a comment

4 Comments

  1. Dave Stonyer

     /  24th March 2014

    I’m curious – where’s the money coming from? I thought KDC was on a regulated restricted income? He cries penury then suddenly he has $2M to throw around?

    Reply
    • That’s a very good question. People getting involved with the Internet Party are taking both political and financial risks.

      Reply
  2. Dave Stonyer

     /  25th March 2014

    (with acknowledgement to Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

    Crazies to right of them
    Crazies to left of them
    Crazies in front of them
    Twittered and blogged
    Ranted at with spite and vitriol
    Boldly they wrote and badly
    Into the maws of press
    Into the gobs of hoi polloi
    Pranced the five hundred (or up to no more than five hundred and fifty)

    Reply
  3. I love this idea. I would like to see a manifesto but its an interesting concept. I wish Kim and his team good luck with this project. I am reading about this from London, England and will be following what happens.

    Reply

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