Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party Joins Electoral Alliance in New Zealand
On 27 May 2014 the Internet Party of New Zealand joined with the left wing MANA Movement to form an alliance that will fight the New Zealand elections in September 2014. The new party will be called Internet MANA and the terms of the alliance are in an open memorandum of understanding. While this has been openly discussed for a while, it still comes as a shock to many in New Zealand as they seem to be such unlikely partners.
Kim Dotcom is regarded as a neo-liberal and has supported the liberterian, pro-business ACT Party with generous donations. The former leader of the ACT party is currently being prosecuted for failing to properly declare those and other donations as is required by New Zealand law.
The Mana Party, on the other hand, is seen as being left wing and more interested in helping the indigenous Maori, Pacific Islander and other disadvantaged populations than promoting free market ideology. New Zealand political pundits are rushing to deride the idea, as one would expect. The pact has been seen as unlikely as the German FDP joining with Die Linke or in Britian, UKIP joining forces with the Respect Party.
However, there are points on which the two parties agree.
Both are against the TPPA, mass surveilance and membership of the Five Eyes spying alliance. Both want to see broadband available to all people in New Zealand and at a price that even the poorest families can afford. Both parties want to see more young and disadvantaged people, especially in the Maori and Pacific Islander communities, voting in this election. This demographic group is one of the most unlikely to vote in general elections. Just as Pirate Parties appeal to first time and non voters.
There will be more points of agreement but the Internet Party has not bought out its full manifesto yet. Probably because they were waiting to see the result of the pact negotiations. We have a party that is for increased freedom for the individual combined with social justice. Just like most Pirate Parties.
There have been a few high profile members of the Mana Movement resigning in protest at the move and social media has seen a number of Internet Party members expressing their disaproval. However, theMana charismatic leader, Hone Harawira, is very positive about the union. The Internet Party also announced their new leader. Laila Harré is also on the left side of the political spectrum and will dispel fears that the party has been hijacked by a multi millionair. She has already been an MP, a minister, has worked as a trade unionist and was active for the Green party until the end of last year.
As the Pirate Party in New Zealand is barely functioning at the moment, the Internet MANA Party is the best hope to see Pirate Principles and policies being advanced in New Zealand. For those that bring themselves to vote for the new party, the Green Party has a very credable internet policy.
The alliance also means that even if Kim Dotcom is sent for trial in the US on copyright infringement charges, the new combined party will have a solid and capable co-leadership .
Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA Mana Movement, Internet Party, Curtis Simmons