Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Internet / Mana alliance discussed at conference

Steven Joyce announced that the party's campaign slogan would be "working for New Zealand."
Steven Joyce announced that the party's campaign slogan would be "working for New Zealand."

The prospect of the Internet Mana alliance teaming up with Labour has been a recurring theme at the National Party conference in Wellington today.

Attorney General Chris Finlayson talked about the "hydra" this morning that grows new heads when the old ones are chopped off.

"Cut off Phil Goff and up shoots David Shearer and Hone Harawira. Saw off David Shearer and up springs David Cunliffe and Laila Harre.

"The fragmentation on the left hasn't made the hydra weaker," said Mr Finlayson "only more unstable if it can force its way into power again."

Campaign chairman Steven Joyce warned delegates that the campaign was "still a little puppy" and that anything at all could happen in the next 84 days before the election - the wackiest thing imaginable, he said.

"A retired Maori activist who has become an MP working with a hard left unionist and let's just throw in a wealthy German millionaire right-winger, they could form a political party," said.

"That's the sort of wacky thing that could happen between now and September 20.

"If Laila Harre, Hone Harawira, Pam Corkery, Kim Dotcom, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, David Cunliffe, Matt McCarten, and John Minto are the answer, can we please have another look at the question?"

Mr Joyce announced that the party's campaign slogan would be "working for New Zealand."

He said National would be setting up a social media hub called "Team Key" that would collect National's social media traffic as well as policies and announcements during the campaign.

He also announced that the campaign would be setting numerical targets in each electorate for the party vote, not a percentage target.

The highest targets would be for 25,000 party votes, graduating down to 20,000, 15,000 and 2000 to 10,000.

"It is not enough to get a certain percentage of whoever turns out," Mr Joyce said. "It's important to get as many as possible people to turn out."

The percentage of votes in the electorate was not as important as the number of people who actually voted.

Mr Joyce urged delegates to take no comfort from recent polls showing National with a strong lead over other parties.

He said comparing the average of the main opinion polls now with 84 days out from the last election, National is now running about two points behind.

- NZ Herald

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