Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Harawira keeps merger talk alive

Mana leader cites principles shared with Internet Party but says Dotcom needs to name candidates quickly.

Mana Party MP Hone Harawira. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Mana Party MP Hone Harawira. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Mana leader Hone Harawira has kept the prospect of merging with the Internet Party alive, but says Kim Dotcom's party would have to name its candidates before he would commit to any alliance.

Mr Harawira said the two parties shared common ground in their proposals to stop mass surveillance and put an end to the Five Eyes intelligence network. He also believed that the Internet Party's promise to increase access to broadband and lower the cost had wide appeal to Maori and low-income voters.

"If he can add value ... by bringing in ideas about a high-tech economy and greater access to the internet for lower cost and reducing mass surveillance on New Zealand citizens, I see no reason why we shouldn't be working with him," he told TV One's Q+A yesterday. Mr Dotcom said the two parties were both anti-establishment.

The internet entrepreneur did not believe his ostentatious wealth prevented him from working with Mana, which calls itself the "party for the poor".

Mr Harawira said he had four requirements for the Internet Party before he would make any commitment to a shared party list. He said the Internet Party had to distance itself from National, lay out its policies, clarify its membership base and name its candidates.

He said he needed to know about its candidates quickly, and did not want to wait until June to find out.

Mr Dotcom has fulfilled one of the requirements, confirming last week that he would not work with National. He cannot stand for Parliament because he is not a New Zealand citizen. He has not named any candidates.

Mr Harawira admitted that not everyone in his party "was on the same wavelength" and any merger would depend on the response from members at the AGM this month.

Mana candidate Sue Bradford has already questioned her leader's talks with Mr Dotcom.

Mr Harawira said he did not agree with Mr Dotcom's policy that marijuana should be decriminalised.

A TV3-Reid Research poll released yesterday showed that Mana and the Internet Party's combined vote would total 1.5 per cent and both parties would get an MP in Parliament.

Mr Dotcom is facing extradition to the United States on mass copyright charges, and some have argued that he formed the Internet Party to influence whether he was extradited.

Under the Extradition Act, if the court decides that a person is eligible for extradition, the Justice Minister has the final say.

Mr Dotcom told TVNZ that he did not want any political interference in his extradition case.

Mana and Internet Party - common ground

• Anti-establishment
• Against mass surveillance
• Support greater access to low-cost broadband.

- NZ Herald

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