Internet Mana – chaos theory

Despite seeming to have dropped off the radar for a bit, the alliance between the Mana Party and Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party has finally been confirmed. The new Internet Mana Party is primed and ready for action.

News of the confirmed alliance was closely followed by the leaking of the name of the Internet Party’s leader – stalwart of the left, Laila Harre. It’s an odd choice, and appears to have flummoxed the commentariat. No one can quite work out whether to write off Internet Mana as a bad joke or to view it as a possible electoral game-changer.

The questions are many.

Who will Internet Mana pull votes from? Laila Harre’s natural constituency isn’t exactly the young, tech-loving, non-voters that the Internet Party had previously appeared to have been targeting. Will Internet Mana really be able to bring non-voters to the ballot box or will they simply be pillaging from other parties on the left – the Greens being an obvious major target?

What will Labour do in Te Tai Tokerau? If Labour wants to minimise the Internet Mana vote, it should attack Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau. If Kelvin Davis is allowed to run a strong electorate campaign there, it would force Harawira to concentrate his energies in the North, reducing his nation-wide visibility. Further, if there’s a significant risk that Harawira might lose his seat, prospective voters are less likely to switch their support from parties that are assured a place in Parliament (eg. Labour and the Greens). However, the NZ Herald reports that it understands Labour has considered “pulling its punches” in Te Tai Tokerau. Labour will be worried about what percentage of the left wing vote might be wasted if Harawira is tipped out of Parliament.

What will Mana do in Waiariki? They’ve been campaigning hard for Annette Sykes to unseat Te Ururoa Flavell and eradicate the Maori Party. However, that might not be in the Internet Party’s best interests. The Internet Mana list will begin with Hone Harawira in top spot, followed by Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto. If Internet Mana get enough votes to bring in one additional MP (between approximately 1.2% and 1.9%), and Sykes wins Waiariki, the Internet Party will have no Parliamentary representation.

Wherever Kim Dotcom treads, chaos follows. Just how much chaos he causes this election campaign remains to be seen.

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