Annette Sykes

Internet Mana : the divorce

So the Internet Mana Party is no more. As 3News reports, a letter has been sent to the Electoral Commission to confirm that the relationship has been terminated.

It’s hardly surprising. Given Kim Dotcom’s post-election acceptance that he’d poisoned the public mood against Internet Mana, it was only a matter of time before the Mana Movement and the Internet Party parted ways.

Admittedly, just before I headed to Melbourne last weekend, disappearing off the social media grid and ignoring the existence of news from the homeland, there were strange reports of the Internet Mana Party intending to soldier on through in unity to 2017, of Dotcom intending to continue his role as Internet Party puppet master, and of Dotcom preparing to export his failed Internet Party experiment to the United States.

Nonetheless, Dotcom had previously been bewailing his supposed technical insolvency. Given that the lure of the Internet Party for Hone Harawira had essentially been Dotcom’s money and public profile, a Dotcom who is broke and poisonously unpopular is a Dotcom with nothing of value to offer Mana.

In the wash-up, Dotcom was a cancer to everything he touched, politically. His Moment of Truth, rather than finishing John Key, almost resulted in National governing alone.

Laila Harre went from being a principled doyen of the Left to just another hypocritical sellout. And her theft of the Greens’ intellectual copyright as she left to follow the money means that no other party will be touching her for the foreseeable future.

In Waiariki, Mana’s Annette Sykes was supposed to take out Te Ururoa Flavell, finishing the Maori Party for good. She came third. Meanwhile, Flavell romped home, bringing with him Marama Fox.

And of course Hone Harawira lost his seat of Te Tai Tokerau. With no Parliamentary budget, no Dotcom gravy train, and a much-reduced public platform to keep him in the headlines, Harawira will struggle to re-take his old seat. If Kelvin Davis is smart, he’ll be spending the next three years touring every square metre of his electorate (with his travel funded by Parliament, of course), ensuring that Harawira doesn’t get a look-in in 2017.

Harawira staked everything on Dotcom, and the gamble proved disastrous. With the Internet Mana split now confirmed, the two component parties can now fade off into political oblivion.


Internet Mana losing its mojo

Internet Mana had been the minor party with momentum. As the Party Party / Internet Mana Roadshow worked its way around the country, the coverage was positive – crowds of hundreds flocking at each venue to see Dotcom, Harre, Harawira and the local candidates; mixtures of young, middle-aged and old; the anti-authority message hitting the headlines on a regular basis. Since mid-July, Internet Mana was consistently hitting at least 2% in the polls, even hitting the heady heights of 3.9% in the mid-August 3News Reid Research poll.

And then the wheels seemed to fall off. The “Fuck John Key” saga may not have had an immediate effect, but it hinted at a nasty, darker side to the party’s leadership. And although the party may not have had anything to do with the effigy burning and Kill the PM song that followed, it seems that Internet Mana had become, in the public consciousness, tied to that fundamentally negative side of left wing politics.

Things weren’t helped by Pam Corkery and Kim Dotcom turning the campaign launch into a farce, with Corkery’s “Puffed up little shit” soundbite and Dotcom’s run from journalists leading the headlines. In fact, since the launch, television media coverage of Internet Mana has almost inevitably involved a replay or two of Corkery’s least finest hour. Unfortunately for Internet Mana, Pam Corkery swearing at journalists doesn’t look badass or anti-authoritarian; it simply looks like a mad woman who lost control. Nobody likes supporting an embarrassment…

And of course the latest debacle was Mana Party candidate Georgina Beyer lambasting Kim Dotcom and his motives:

”I just have a sense that he’s using his power and position to seek retribution on people who have done him wrong. Should our political system really be manipulated in this way? The most telling thing was spending three hours on the ferry crossing with him. Really, I found him to be a distant person who was always utterly consumed in his iPad.”

In terms of the most recent polls, there’s been a sudden slump. None of the last three major polls had Internet Mana above 2%: 1.6% in the Colmar Brunton, 1% in yesterday’s Roy Morgan, and 1.7% in last night’s Reid Research.

Meanwhile, there was further bad news in the Waiariki electorate. After so much talk about Annette Sykes level-pegging with Te Ururoa Flavell and being in a strong position to win, Monday’s Maori TV poll of the electorate showed Flavell holding a 29% lead, with Flavell on 50%, Sykes on just 21% and the Labour candidate Rawiri Waititi not far behind on 17%.

With just 16 days to the election, it’s a bad time for the mojo to be lost…

Poll of Polls update – 31 July 2014

Roy Morgan has just released their latest poll, and finally there’s some relatively good news for the Left! It certainly didn’t take long for Micky Savage at the Standard to have a quick half-gloat… Or Martyn Bradbury at the Daily Blog (especially since Roy Morgan calls cellphones and is thus the only poll worth following, don’t ya know!)…

National slumps significantly, down 5% to 46%, it’s worst poll result from any of the major pollsters since the mid-May Roy Morgan, where National registered at 45.5%.

Labour climbs to 30%, up 6.5%. 30% may not be an amazing result, but given that Labour has had a run of ten major polls in a row placing them under 30%, it’ll give the party something to finally smile about.

The Greens may have dropped 3%, but they’re still on a creditable 12%, leaving a combined Labour/Greens bloc 4% adrift of National.

For the remaining minor parties, there’s good news for Internet Mana, up 1% to 2.5%. NZ First is down 1%, but they still sit exactly on the 5% threshold. The Maori Party gains 0.5% to 1.5%, while the Conservative Party remains static on 1%, and ACT and United Future sit unchanged on 0.5%.

So here’s how the Poll of Polls looks now:

National: 50.1% (-0.3%)

Labour: 27.7% (+0.2%)

Greens: 11.9% (nc)

NZ First: 4.6% (nc)

Maori: 1.0% (nc)

United Future: 0.2% (+0.1%)

ACT: 0.5% (nc)

Internet Mana: 1.9% (+0.1%)

Conservative: 1.5% (nc)

Based on those percentages, the parties are predicted to win the following number of seats:

National: 64 (-1)

Labour: 36 (+1)

Greens: 15 (-1)

NZ First: 0 (nc)

Maori: 1 (nc)

United Future: 1 (nc)

ACT: 1 (nc)

Internet Mana: 3 (+1)

There’s some interesting movement, both in the poll result and seat allocations.

Poll result-wise, the big news is that United Future finally hit 0.2% again, having been marooned on 0.1% since late May!

National finally drops, but stays above 50%, while Labour finally stops dropping and rebounds slightly to 27.7%. In fact, just look at Labour’s last six major poll results – 23.5%, 24.9%, 26.5%, 26.7%, 28% and now 30%. There’s an upward trend there, for those on the Left looking for glimmers of hope!

Internet Mana continues its gradual climb, now up to 1.9%, and that’s just enough to get them a third seat, bringing in Annette Sykes. It’s at the cost of the Greens, who drop a seat, back down to 15 MPs, while National drops a seat to Labour.

That means that there’s a net gain of just one seat to the Left. Overall, the Right bloc is back to a total of 66 seats in total, compared to 54 for a Labour, Greens and Internet Mana alliance.

Like Maori ninjas operating in stealth mode

Best line of the election thus far has to go to Te Ururoa Flavell:

“The Maori Party is not going anywhere. We have been planning, and building like Maori ninjas operating in stealth mode.”

The stealth quotient must indeed have been high, for at present this planning and building remains nigh on invisible… If the Maori Party want to take all seven Maori seats this election, as party president Naida Glavish declared, then the party had best cease the ninja impression and unveil its grand plan.

In terms of winning all seven seats, the Maori Party is in fantasy land, which they presumably know. Every party has to sound upbeat about their electoral prospects, but Ms Glavish is taking upbeat just a tad too far, especially given that a fair few pundits are predicting the complete demise of the Maori Party from Parliament this election.

It’s not all as bad as it seems though. Mr Flavell would have to be considered the favourite to hold Waiariki. Although his majority over Annette Sykes is rather less than he’d undoubtedly prefer, he’s now the Maori Party leader, and will benefit from the additional exposure that role provides.

And in the party vote, this site’s Poll of Polls has had the Maori Party resolutely stuck between 1.1% and 1.3% (with one outlier in mid-March, where they dropped to 1.0%), generally holding enough support to just bring in a second MP if NZ First doesn’t make it back. So… if Mr Flavell can hold his seat and either hold the party vote at its current level or raise it by a few fractions of a per cent, and NZ First doesn’t make 5%, Mr Flavell probably won’t be alone!

It may not be a glorious clean sweep of the Maori seats, a la NZ First circa 1996, but when you’re the Maori Party and you’re staring down the barrel of losing two of your three electorate seats, getting a second seat from the list surely can’t be sneezed at?

Will Internet Mana actually bring votes to the Left bloc?

In my post yesterday, I asked where the Internet Mana Party’s votes were going to come from? Is the party likely to attract those who have not previously voted, or will it simply take votes from the other parties on the left?

A lot depends on how Laila Harre positions the Internet Party. After all, let’s face it, Hone Harawira’s appeal is to a fairly select demographic – he’s joined forces with Kim Dotcom because he knows that the Mana brand is a tough sell outside of the Maori electorates; it was Dotcom’s money and celebrity that was being counted on to bring in the additional votes that would provide extra MPs.

So far at least, in her maiden speech as Internet Party leader, Ms Harre was more about social justice than internet rights. But will that help change the government? Despite being the wet dream of activists like Martyn Bradbury, Ms Harre surely holds little influence over the so-called “Missing Million”. She’s been a party leader before, 2002 – and her party at the time, the Alliance, got 1.27%. The left may respect her credentials, but she wasn’t exactly a ballot box drawcard in 2002. Twelve years later, has anything changed?

Many on the Left are praising her maiden speech’s focus on social justice, but is that actually going to increase the Left’s share of the vote? Will those who stayed home in 2008 and 2011 suddenly flock to the ballot box because a new social justice party has appeared? Ms Harre may be effective at snaring a chunk of Labour and the Greens’ vote, but that won’t threaten National if there’s simply a reallocation of Left bloc seats.

I doubt many who downloaded the Internet Party’s app and joined the party thought that they’d wind up being part of a new Alliance (as in Ms Harre’s old party, rather than a small-a alliance). Ms Harre therefore walks a fine line between satisfying those who see Mr Dotcom as some sort of fun anti-hero, and those who expect her to promote Marxist social justice policies.

Together, since the Internet Party first appeared in a major poll, the Internet and Mana parties have polled between a big flat zero and 2.5%. Together, they currently sit at combined 1.2% in this site’s Poll of Polls, just below the point where they might bring in a second MP. If they can get up around that 2.5% mark, and some of it comes from National or from those who haven’t previously considered voting, then National may be in trouble. Otherwise, Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto will simply be replacing Labour or Green MPs.

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.

Mana Dotcom

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!


Dotcom flying Mana supporters to Wellington

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.