Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Internet Party to respond to Mana demand

Chief executive Vikram Kumar, party secretary Anna Sutherland, legal counsel Graeme Edgeler and press secretary John Mitchell pose at the Internet Party office in Lower Hutt. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Chief executive Vikram Kumar, party secretary Anna Sutherland, legal counsel Graeme Edgeler and press secretary John Mitchell pose at the Internet Party office in Lower Hutt. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Kim Dotcom's Internet Party will respond to Mana's demand that it commit to getting rid of the National Government when it launches its membership drive tomorrow.

Mana and the Internet Party, which is yet to be officially registered, this week confirmed they have been talks about a potential alliance to contest this year's election.

But Mana Leader and sole MP Hone Harawira last night said Mr Dotcom "would have to commit to getting rid of National and changing the government before MANA would consider any deal with his Internet Party".

"That's a bottom line for MANA. I resigned from the Maori Party because their relationship with National was, and continues to be, destructive to Maori. We won't be going back there for anyone."

Mr Harawira said his party would work cooperatively with any party that was committed to changing the current Government, "and I don't think the Internet Party is ready to take that stand at the moment".

Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar was not ready to give that commitment this morning.

"I think the questions are best answered after tomorrow when we release our action agenda which is ten high level points which we would like to focus on."

Nevertheless he said Mr Harawira's statement was "quite a positive sign".

"They've now communicated their expectations quite clearly and I think that's a good sign in terms of the Internet Party being now able to have better internal discussions on how we would like to respond to that."

Asked why Mr Harawira made the public call for the commitment to change the Government last night given he has been in direct private discussions with Mr Dotcom and the Internet Party, Mr Kumar said: "My understanding is that Hone's statement is effectively reflecting the views of the Mana Party as a whole particularly their executive board or council and so that's a bit different than an individual leader or a few people stating their views".

In his statement, Mr Harawira said Mana's executive had decided "there won't be any more meetings on possible co-operation until their intentions are clear".

"We're just going to get on with planning our electorate and party vote campaigns. If the Internet Party commits to getting rid of National, announcing policies similar to Mana's and getting candidates and leaders that can be trusted to implement them, then we can talk. They know how to get in touch with us" .

Mr Harawira's comments come as Mana member and veteran activist Sue Bradford threatened to leave the party if any deals were made with the Internet Party.

- NZ Herald

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