Audrey Young

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

Internet Mana: We're one mean bunch

Hone Harawira sees the new Internet Mana alliance enduring beyond the election because he and Laila Harre are synchronizing so well.

And he is confident of leading "one mean bunch" of new MPs into Parliament including John Minto, Annette Sykes as well as Laila Harre after September 20.

"They will bring into Parliament a completely different way of doing things," he said.

All had a proven commitment to change the world, he said.

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"If you line up myself, Laila, John Minto and Annette Sykes, that is one mean bunch - that's a bunch with attitude, that's a team with attitude."

He and Laila Harre appear in their first joint interview in the Herald's Hot Seat, a series of in-depth video interviews with party leaders, beginning today.

The new Internet Party is bankrolled by internet millionaire Kim Dotcom who is fighting extradition to the United States on piracy charges.

Mr Harawira says the road trip going from marae to public meeting to marae to public had changed Mr Dotcom immeasurably.

"You can't help but be changed by engagement with levels of society you might not ever otherwise want to engage with."

It formed an alliance with Mr Harawira's Mana Movement on May 25. They have a joint party list and if Mr Harawira keeps his Te Tai Tokerau seat, the alliance does not need to reach 5 per cent of the party vote to claim its share of MPs.

They have agreed to review the alliance within five weeks of the election.

But Mr Harawira sees it continuing, because Laila Harre and he have been getting on so famously on their road trip around New Zealand, which has seen packed halls in most centres.

"If it had've been anybody but Laila, then the possibility could have been that it was just a tactical and strategic alliance."

But the more they were on the road together, the more they were seeing a willingness to work together for social justice and transformation of the economic environment.


The panel puts the hard questions to Hone Harawira and Laila Harre. Photo / NZ Herald

The review clause was based on a similar one of the Alliance party, which Laila Harre led following Jim Anderton's split from it.

The Internet Mana alliance has been condemned by the right as a cynical manipulation of MMP to take advantage of the so-called coat-tailing provisions.

Laila Harre says any gaming of MMP has taken place by incumbents in their own interests against new-comers since MMP began in 1996.

"There hasn't been a single new political movement win seats in Parliament without the existing support and membership of sitting MPs," she said.

The system was heavily designed to protect incumbents, from the 5 per cent threshold to the funding mechanisms which enable National to spend $1 million on broadcast advertising, the Greens $600,000 and Internet Mana no more than $76,000.

"So there's a huge favour done to incumbents."

She and Mr Harawira defended the behavior of young people at Internet Mana events shown on social media chanting "F*** John Key."

It wasn't any different to some of the chants in demonstrations against President Lyndon Johnston (LBJ) against the Vietnam War that an older generation of New Zealanders was involved in.

* The Internet Mana interview took place on Friday August 8, 2014.

- NZ Herald

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