Martyn Bradbury: New coalition a practical union

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Laila Harré, right, with Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Laila Harré, right, with Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Kim Dotcom picked me up on the way to the candlelit vigil outside John Key's house last weekend to protest the unethical drone strikes that have killed more than 2400 people.

With all the modern social justice struggles, the 21st century presents us with future civil rights abuses from remote-controlled death to a mass surveillance, big-brother state. Unless you are directly affected by these new civil rights abuses, they remain as invisible as privilege in Parnell. Which brings me back to standing outside the Prime Minister's house.

When 70 armed paramilitary police kick in your front door, terrify your whanau, seize your assets and use illegal spying to justify it, I think it has a deep effect and radicalises a person. That's what I think has happened to Dotcom.

Some see the alliance between Mana and the Internet Party as a political marriage of convenience. I think Hone Harawira and Dotcom's relationship is an important element.

Both are anti-establishment rebels who enjoy each other's company. One could joke the thing Dotcom, Harawira, Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto have in common is that the GCSB is spying on them all.

Harawira's bridge-building to find common ground to help the weakest and most vulnerable is his least-acknowledged skill. Mana brought together 14 NGOs and three political parties to support its Feed the Kids Bill and this pragmatism has found a willing partner in a Harre-led Internet Party.

New Zealand's nuclear-free policy was a defining moment in our modern identity. Edward Snowden's revelations of NSA spying have the potential to be another. In demanding sovereignty and independence from mass surveillance, Internet Mana taps into the social justice demands of those the economy has failed and benefited.

The Maori Party has decried this as a betrayal of the role of Maori seats. From a party that has had to swallow dead rats to sit at a table Key had already privatised, that criticism carries little weight.

Some on the left call this a sell-out. Principled opposition is admirable, but who will tell the 285,000 children in poverty we wouldn't replace the Government because we couldn't agree on which version of Marx to follow?

If Labour and the Greens are to defeat Key's National, Act, United Future, Maori Party coalition, they need every ally they can get. A political party aimed at the group least likely to vote doesn't risk splitting votes on the left. With the Internet Party's resources and flax-root networks of Mana, the possibility of this being the parliamentary maths game changer is high.

If Harawira, Harre, Sykes and Minto are the "sell-out", sign me up.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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