Mana and Kim Dotcom's Rotorua meeting

By Jill Nicholas

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Annette Sykes
Annette Sykes

Whether Rotorua lawyer Annette Sykes will take another crack at the Waiariki Electorate seat will be determined at this weekend's Mana Party annual meeting in Rotorua.

Ms Sykes, the party president, this week told the Rotorua Daily Post it would be a question for the hui (meeting) to decide.

She ran unsuccessfully against the Maori Party's Te Ururoa Flavell in 2011.

Most of the attention ahead of the annual meeting has been on internet tycoon and Internet Party leader Kim Dotcom, who was to speak to Mana members this morning.

Mr Dotcom has been in talks with Mana Party leader Hone Harawira about the possibility of his yet-unregistered party joining forces with Mana.

The two are reported to have been exploring the possibility of running a joint candidates' list for the party vote at the September 20 general election.

Mana members are expected to make a preliminary decision on working with the Internet Party this weekend.

Each rohe (electorate) at the conference would be given the chance to ask Mr Dotcom two questions, Ms Sykes said.

Another multimillionaire, economist Gareth Morgan, will also speak at the hui tomorrow. Ms Sykes said Mr Morgan had been invited to address members on an alternative system of taxation.

"Mana believes in taxing the rich to address the inequalities between the haves and have-nots and Mr Morgan has publicly indicated his wish to see a better tax system in place," she said.

She admitted she had been surprised he had accepted Mana's invitation to speak.

"It's good he's going to come face to face with us and enlighten us on how we can move forward in a new kind of way."

Conference facilitator Te Ringahuia Hata said Mr Dotcom's presence highlighted the importance of Maori embracing "digital democracy".

She estimated Maori in the 18-35 age group would be attracted to the Mana Party if it established links with the Internet Party.

"I would guesstimate at least 30 per cent of young Maori who notoriously don't vote will do so at this year's election if parties are hooked on to digital technologies allowing youth who are already internet savvy to engage at a personal level with political candidates as happened during the 2008 Obama campaign in the United States," she said.

The Mana Party conference takes place at Mataikotare Marae, Te Ngae.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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