Matthew Theunissen is a business reporter

Election 2014: Kim Dotcom says he 'poisoned' Internet-Mana

Kim Dotcom issued an apology to Hone Harawira and the Maori people for the party's loss last night - but refused to answer questions afterwards. Photo / NZ Herald
Kim Dotcom issued an apology to Hone Harawira and the Maori people for the party's loss last night - but refused to answer questions afterwards. Photo / NZ Herald

Internet Party leader Laila Harre has admitted that the gamble her party took with Mana had not worked.

It follows the party's founder, Kim Dotcom, last night saying Internet-Mana had lost support because of him.

"The brand Kim Dotcom was poisoned ... and I did not see that before the last couple of weeks," he said as results from New Zealand election 2014 rolled in last night.

Internet Mana won around 1.26 percent of the party vote but gained no seats after Mana leader Hone Harawira could not hold onto his seat in Te Tai Tokerau. The party will have no representation in the new Parliament.

Mr Dotcom last night apologised to Mr Harawira and the Maori people.

This morning he was gracious in defeat, congratulating John Key; "New Zealanders have chosen National and John Key to lead. I congratulate the Prime Minister.

Please do your best for all Kiwis. Good luck."



He also thanked the Internet Party and Mana Movement; "The last 9 months were an incredible experience. I have learned so much. Thank you to everyone at the Internet Party and the MANA Movement."


Immediately after giving his speech to party supporters last night at The Cloud in Auckland, Dotcom saluted his supporters before storming out of the building in a waiting SUV, declining interviews.

Read more of the Herald's election coverage here:

National win three more years with resounding win

Cunliffe vows to stay on as Labour leader

John Armstrong: Utter triumph for John Key

Winston Peters hits out at National after big poll surge

Green leaders in defiant mood despite results

Colin Craig 'happy' to have improved vote

As it happened: New Zealand election 2014

Last night Ms Harre thanked Dotcom for the opportunity to make an impact on New Zealand politics.

Calling John Key "the great anaesthetic", she said the issue of mass surveillance of New Zealanders would not go away.

Ms Harre said Dotcom became the "whipping boy for the right" through the campaign while becoming the symbol of Internet-Mana.

She acknowledged that the party may have underestimated what a significant impact this would have on the party.

"There's been a two-year campaign of vilification of Kim and that was clearly impacted on our campaign."


Internet Party leader Laila Harré is embraced by supporters. Photo / Jason Oxenham

She did not believe the party had been given a fair go from the media and their efforts to put their policy programme out had been "completely silenced".

She said she was "devastated" that Mr Harawira had failed to retake his seat.

Early on this year it was clear that John Key was very likely to win the third term in Government and that there would need to be a really collaborative effort by the progressive side of politics to defeat the National Government.

"I think Labour in particular need to have a good hard look at the approach that they took to this campaign and their desire to distance themselves from allies.

"Te Tai Tokerau gained nothing tonight - they converted a list MP into an electorate MP and they lost Hone Harawira who's been an incredible battler for them."


Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira watches television coverage alongside a supporter. Photo / Kenny Rodger

Harre: Mana gamble didn't work

Internet Party leader Laila Harre admitted that the gamble her party took with Mana had not worked.

"The risk that Hone took and that Mana took did not pay off in the end," she told Radio New Zealand this morning, blaming disagreement on the left for the poor results in the polls.

"From the very beginning what the left needed to do was to be smart about how we worked together in this campaign, and that is what the right did," she said.

"The right were extraordinarily smart, very strategic and that includes in this Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

"If you can imagine the alternative scenario where Hone was not attacked relentlessly by Labour and the electorate, if Labour had acknowledged and accepted the existence of internet-Mana rather than playing into the narrative of the National Party that internet-Mana was this kooky danger in the election campaign, I think you would have seen a very different result overall."

Internet-Mana's goal was to turn grass-roots support into turn-out, but that hadn't worked, she said, adding that the election results had highlighted issues with the election system operates, particularly how it engaged with young people and encourages them to vote.

She praised Dotcom for backing the party, saying it wouldn't have been possible without him, and the party had contributed to "almost" closing the gap between left and right during the course of the election campaign.

"If the left had been more strategic about how we had approached this and more collaborative I think the result would have been very different yesterday, and for sure we would have had two extra seats on the opposition benches for internet-Mana, and Hone Harawira would have retained Tai Tokerau."

Davis: Voters felt electorate 'up for sale'

Speaking on Radio New Zealand this morning Labour's Kelvin Davis said voters felt their electorate was "up for sale", because of the financial backing of Dotcom to Internet-Mana, and that had damaged Mr Harawira's personal brand.

"People were quite upset about it and [felt] that Hone had sold his values," he told the broadcaster.

His "positive" campaign on what he felt he could do for the electorate had given him the edge, he said.

Mr Davis also made it clear he had felt "absolutely happy with the level of support I received from the Labour Party," and leader David Cunliffe.

- APNZ

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