Kim Dotcom is to address the Mana Party’s annual conference in Rotorua. It’s Dotcom’s chance to put the case for an alliance to Mana’s membership.
According to those who know the leaders of Mana’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti branch, Dotcom has been doing a stellar job thus far of selling himself to Mana. His appearance on Q&A, with his discussion about his poor upbringing, seems to have given him some credibility among the Ikaroa-Rawhiti activists, who would apparently now happily welcome an alliance. Whether the rest of Mana feels the same way remains to be seen.
Various commentators are talking up the role of Dotcom’s money as being the primary reason for Hone Harawira’s enthusiasm for a deal. I don’t see it that way. I think that Mr Harawira is well aware that although Mana can run Labour or the Maori Party close in several of the Maori seats, it’s unlikely that Mana will do any better than simply retaining Harawira’s own Te Tai Tokerau seat. And he’s aware that there likely isn’t enough broad support outside of those few Maori seats for Mana to get enough of a party vote on its own to bring in a second MP.
That leaves Harawira facing the very real likelihood of spending another three years as Mana’s sole MP. That’s a lonely existence.
Harawira is banking on Dotcom’s celebrity status to bring in enough of a broad based vote to get one or maybe even two additional MPs. Given that Dotcom needs Mana rather more than Mana needs Dotcom, it’s highly likely that the first two spots on a joint list will be Mana candidates, and possibly even the top three. Therefore, if Dotcom can deliver an additional 1% or so to Mana, then Harawira gets Annette Sykes. A little bit more, and they get John Minto (assuming their top three doesn’t change from their 2011 list).
That’s good for the Mana party, and I can see why Harawira might want to take the punt. After all, the price of having Sykes and Minto in parliament would essentially be nothing more than having to occasionally talk about how internet equality is a good thing for the poor. And let’s face it, Harawira, Sykes and Minto aren’t really going to have much of an impact on the Minister of Justice’s decision on Dotcom’s extradition (should the Court’s ruling not go his way).
It would take a quite staggering result for the Internet Party to actually get one of its own MPs in, meaning that the likely gains from an alliance are all one way – Mana’s.
Roll on the Mana Party conference!