Russell Blackstock from the Herald on Sunday asked Lailla Harre some questions, one of which was, “Your party is targeting young, disillusioned voters, but does a middle-aged woman have the credibility to pull this off?”
Ms Harre’s response?
I am connected to young people through my own two children, who are now young adults. There is nothing artificial about my sense of conviction to serving the needs of younger people. At the core of that initial appeal is the scandalously high prices for internet access in this country. I was in Fiji for two years and had faster internet there than we have in New Zealand, where some 70,000 school children do not even have internet access at home. [My emphasis]
Nothing like the “I’m down with the kids, ’cause I’ve got kids” line! It’s enough in itself to turn off the voters she’s trying to attract…
As to Ms Harre’s “credibility to pull this off”, I would argue that knowing that we pay a lot for internet in New Zealand, and having seen faster internet while living in Fiji, hardly provides credibility in the field of internet freedom, nor credibility among young, disillusioned voters.
Russell Blackstock’s followup question? “How proficient are you on the internet and social media, then?”
Over to Ms Harre:
I am no expert, but my husband [Barry Gribben] has an internet business and we have computers all over the house.
Which is a bit like me saying that because I can use Excel or Open Office spreadsheets to add up numbers, people should trust my advice on accountancy…
Ms Harre continues:
I will be on Facebook a lot more in my leadership role. And lots of tweets on Twitter.
As Matthew Beveridge notes, as at 29 May 2014, Ms Harre had less than 50 tweets to her name, less than half of what Matt would send himself in a single day (although Matt is admittedly somewhat of a Twitter addict).
In terms of the passions and interests one would expect from the leader of a party called the Internet Party, everything about Laila Harre rings somewhat hollow. I’m extremely dubious that Ms Harre can capture the “Young and Disillusioned” sector of the voting population.