Internet MANA's glitzy roadshow rolled into Hastings last night, with Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom telling a packed audience that New Zealand needed to improve its digital infrastructure because its future did not lie in farming.
An audience of about 400 people came to the Hastings Racecourse to attend the election rally which was part of the final leg of the Internet MANA Roadtrip around the country.
Speaking on Internet MANA's policies, Internet MANA leaders Laila Harre and Hone Harawira, MANA's Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate Te Hamua Nikora and Mr Dotcom received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Towering over the audience in his trademark black fleece and scarf, he said the Internet Party was founded "out of gratitude to New Zealanders," who had supported him in his fight against extradition to the United States.
He said it was the raids on his Auckland house which had motivated him to enter politics.
"The New Zealand Government made a mistake radicalising me because I know all their dirty tricks."
He also said the New Zealand media had vilified Mr Harawira.
"He [Mr Harawira] is actually quite cute."
He said New Zealand was lacking in "the basic infrastructure to compete in this digital economy".
"It [New Zealand's future] does not lie in farming."
In order to pay for improved digital infrastructure and free tertiary education - two Internet MANA policies - the party would introduce a capital gains tax, Mr Dotcom said.
"By the way, on the record, I did not hack Whaleoil," he added, in reference to allegations he had gained access to Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater's emails. MANA's Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate Te Hamua Nikora also spoke to an emotionally charged crowd.
He said he had been mustering support since he came second to Labour's Meka Whaitiri in last year's Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election.
After a freestyle rap, he gave a humorous and energetic talk, which drew laughs from the audience.
"This is history in the making - I'm in mourning for National, because every vote for Internet MANA is a nail in National's coffin," Mr Nikora said.
He said he would open a youth centre in Flaxmere if elected, and also expressed opposition to the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.