View interactive

Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Dotcom deal with Mana likely

Kim Dotcom speaks at the Mana Party AGM at Mataikotare Marae in Rotorua this afternoon. Photo / Ben Fraser
Kim Dotcom speaks at the Mana Party AGM at Mataikotare Marae in Rotorua this afternoon. Photo / Ben Fraser

Kim Dotcom says a deal between his Internet Party and Hone Harawira's Mana party is likely to go ahead after addressing Mana's AGM this afternoon.

The controversial German internet tycoon received a positive reception from about 200 Mana members at Rotorua's lakeside Mataikotare Marae.

He told them that having grown up poor, he was committed to Mana's core principles of tackling poverty.

"I'm for social fairness. Who in his right mind isn't?"

He drew laughter and applause by telling Mana members that before he began speaking with Mr Harawira, "the New Zealand media told me that you were a bunch of extremists who were crazies who wanted to burn down rich men's houses.

"I came in here with an open mind and listened to what Hone had to say and it's nothing like that."

Along with his pledge of support for Mana's policies around alleviating poverty Mr Dotcom sketched out his vision to create jobs by dragging New Zealand into the internet age.

He also underlined how the Internet Party's technology could help boost Mana's engagement with voters.

The Mana gathering of veteran and young Maori and pakeha activists appeared receptive to Mr Dotcom's messages, although some, including his belief in the value of foreign investment, appeared to be at odds with the views of many.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Mr Dotcom said he'd received "a very positive reception" from "very nice people".

He said a tie up with Mana was "a win win situation so I think it's more likely than unlikely."

Mr Harawira said that whether negotiations went from here "is not down to not me or Kim".

"We leave that to our people to organise. I don't know what the arrangements are."

However a decision on whether to continue discussions towards an alliance is expected after Mana members thrash out the issue this afternoon.

Speaking to the meeting this morning, former Alliance MP and broadcaster Willie Jackson noted the positive impact the discussions between the two parties had had so far had had on Mana's profile and told Mana members they should go ahead with the deal.

Should Mana decide to proceed, Mr Harawira has indicated the party needed to be be comfortable with the Internet Party's yet to be selected leader and candidates.

Mr Dotcom said his party was moving "at internet speed" to do that.

Mr Harawira said Mana hadn't sat down for detailed discussion with the Internet Party about any potential funding deals between them.

"But if the relationship is good then other things come with that. But if the relationship isn't good then all the money in the world isn't going to save it."

"It would be ridiculous to assume we could contribute equally to it."

In terms of what was in a potential deal for the Internet Party, Mr Dotcom said: "We want to make sure we get our policies into Parliament and that our voters are not wasting our vote."

An electoral alliance with Mana could see the Internet Party get MPs into Parliament on Mr Harawira's coat tails assuming he holds his Te Tai Tokerau seat in September.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 23 Sep 2014 07:16:33 Processing Time: 470ms