A source told me this morning that Kim Dotcom will be paying for the flights of a number of Mana supporters to travel to Wellington. A petition against synthetic cannabis sales is to be presented to Parliament in the coming days, which has apparently been largely collected by Mana party activists on the East Coast. Dotcom has apparently been shoulder-tapped to pay for the flights of those travelling to Wellington to present the petition.
The source’s conclusion? Mana and the Internet Party will join forces.
Certainly, Hone Harawira’s language has firmed up in support of an alliance. On his interview with Kathryn Ryan yesterday on Radio NZ’s Checkpoint show, Harawira certainly had a sales pitch at the ready as to possible mutual policy areas. He even twice referred to a possible alliance as “Mana-Dotcom”, noting that it was just his personal abbreviation, and not a likely party name for the ballot-box.
For all of Harawira’s talk of Mana winning Waiariki from the Maori Party, I think that Harawira knows that the odds of that happening aren’t good. He doesn’t want to spend another term as Mana’s sole MP, and can see an alliance with the Internet Party as being the only real chance of bringing in a second MP.
Of course, he’s still having to wait for the Internet Party to get its act together and announce a leader and candidates (and of course, the answer to the ongoing mystery of whether Dotcom already has a sitting electorate MP lined up). Until that happens, Harawira and the Mana party are simply sitting in the dark, with Harawira hoping that the Internet Party’s eventual persona is in fact something he can work with.
Harawira is certainly still hedging his bets. He was careful to tell Kathryn Ryan that he, Annette Sykes, Sue Bradford and John Minto were all very wary of a possible Internet Party deal. Presumably, it’s still going to be a hard sell to Mana’s activist base. But if Mana is already tapping Dotcom’s wealth, then things are part-way there.
It’s now no longer a definite that Dotcom will be funding the Mana activists’ travel expenses. Mana apparently had plans to try and have Dotcom join them in Wellington, as an exercise in solidarity, but it seems as if the Mana leadership are now worried about having too many public ties to Dotcom when there are still so many unknowns about the Internet Party.