Internet Mana 'sinking to such a low'

By Derek Cheng

An Internet Mana Party video clip of a frenzied crowd cheering on Kim Dotcom and chanting "f*** John Key" is a terrible look and an embarrassment to Internet Party leader Laila Harre, an expert in political marketing says.

The video, taken during the recent IMP Party Party series in Christchurch, shows Kim Dotcom addressing a crowd of students.

"Are you ready for a revolution? Are you ready to take down the Government? Are you ready to extradite John Key?" he asks the crowd.

They then break into loud chants of "f*** John Key".

Massey University political marketing specialist Claire Robinson said the video cut down Ms Harre just as she was trying to claim the moral high ground.

"Laila Harre was expressing such indignation about John Key's 'sugar-daddy' comment and the need for respect in the political debate, and at the same time you have Kim Dotcom posting a video inciting hate speech, in effect, among a crowd of young people.

"It is sinking to such a low, and completely at odds with what she's trying to do, exposing yet again the enormous disconnect between Kim Dotcom's hatred for John Key and the way that she wants to campaign.

"You could not imagine her standing up there and getting people to say 'f**k John Key. That is not what she's about."

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister had no comment, except to say that the video "speaks for itself".

Ms Harre said she had no problem with the video, adding that it was a spontaneous reaction and Kim Dotcom did not lead the chant.

"The video is a true representation of youth expression. We are on the road to engage with young people over politics. We are not about censoring the way that young people engage."

She stopped short of saying she was happy with the chant.

"It was a crowd response to a political message. If I had been on that stage delivering a political message to young people, as Kim did, emphasizing the importance participating and voting, and that had been the response, I would have acknowledged that response.

"Claire Robinson has never had a positive word to say about youth engagement in politics, or about the Internet party. I would take any of her comments with a table spoon of salt."

Earlier this week, John Key said Kim Dotcom was Ms Harre's "sugar daddy", which she said was sexist and offensive.

Professor Robinson said the New Zealand public had little appetite for negative campaigning.

"Something like this is not going to go down very well at all, and I can imagine she wouldn't be impressed with this video when she is trying to claim the moral high ground."

She noted that Ms Harre had earlier told Kim Dotcom to delete a joke he had posted on Twitter in which Batman shoots a prostitute.

"There is a limit to how many times he can do something, and she can tell him off and then jump back on the moral high ground."

The video description says: "The spontaneous chanting from the crowd said it all. They too want to Change the Government."

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The Internet-Mana roadshow is scheduled to be in Christchurch tonight.

- NZ Herald

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