An Internet Party potpourri

“Potpourri” can be taken to mean “a combination of incongruous things”, which seemed an ideal term for a few disparate observations on the proposed Internet Party / Mana Party marriage.

So, it now appears as if Kim Dotcom’s proposal to Mana is less of a merger than an Alliance Party-style umbrella organisation. Essentially, both Mana and the Internet Party would retain their respective party names and identities, but neither party would submit a party list or contest the party vote. Instead, an umbrella entity would be registered, which would name both Mana and the Internet Party as component parties, and the umbrella entity would submit a list and go for the party vote.

Regardless, the open rebellion from some of Hone Harawira’s Mana supporters must surely have caused him to think long and hard about whether a “New Alliance Party” is really a good idea for Mana. Sue Bradford has already appeared on the news and given notice that if Dotcom is allowed into the tent, then she walks. There must be concern amongst the Mana Party executive about the possible loss in grassroots activists if Mana appears to have sold it. Dotcom’s money may be alluring, but funding only goes so far in an electorate battle. To win an electorate seat, it’s about boots on the ground, and if the activists begin to walk away then Mana can kiss goodbye to any hope of taking Waiariki from Te Ururoa Flavell.

The Alliance worked (for a brief period of time) because the small parties involved shared a broad ideological framework. There is no real ideological overlay between Dotcom and Harawira, apart from that neither likes being spied on. That’s not a great start to a marriage…

Over at the Daily Blog, Martyn Bradbury has been doing his best to stoke optimism in the alliance. Given Mr Bradbury’s direct involvement with both political parties in the past, this probably shouldn’t be surprising. Mr Bradbury has been shown to be nothing if not a political whore for hire…

Mr Bradbury lists six possible “bottom lines in a MANA Movement-Internet Party Alliance”:

1 – Replace the National Party led Government
2 – Feed the Kids rolled out to decile 1-4 schools
3 – 20 000 new state houses
4 – Repeal the GCSB & TICS legislation and refuse to sign the TPPA
5 – End digital divide with free internet at all schools, libraries and Marae
6 – Mass public investment into internet infrastructure including a second cable

All his list shows is how little the two parties share ideologically. For a start, Kim Dotcom has been trumpeting a broader small-party union as being able to hold the balance of power. Harawira simply wants John Key gone. That’s not to say that Dotcom wouldn’t relish National disappearing from power, but the point is that he’s already been talking up the roll of kingmaker, not change maker.

Then there’s Harawira’s flagship Feed the Kids programme, and this figure of 20,000 new state houses. When did you last hear Dotcom talk about social inequality? He’s a multi-millionaire businessman, whose sole interest in equality issues would be so that he can control at least a few MPs in parliament. That’s hardly going to engender confidence in Mana’s ideological integrity.

Repealing the GSBC and TICS legislation, and refuse to sign the TPPA? Sure, they might both be able to talk to that – there’s no love of spies on either side, but I would have thought Dotcom would support free trade.

And the final two “possible bottom lines”? They simply smack of being easy internet-friendly policies to spout that have been added to the list because the Internet Party doesn’t currently have any policies.

Everything’s all still conjecture, but if the basis for this New Alliance is anything like the current conjecture, I’d be surprised if it goes ahead…


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