Espiner on Dotcom

Colin Espiner writes:

The media was expecting Dotcom’s Internet Party would announce a flake as its new leader. Or a complete moron. Either would have done just fine. We could have ridiculed them, and moved on to more important matters.

But Harre isn’t a flake. And she’s certainly no moron. She’s one of the most driven, persuasive and intelligent politicians I’ve met. I don’t know how Dotcom managed to put a ring on the darling of the Left but on the face of it, it’s a major coup.

The question, though, is for who?

Harre is an old-school socialist. She’s from a trades union background. She’s a former member of the Labour Party, of New Labour, and of the Alliance Party. She’s most recently worked for the Green Party. …

On the face of it, then, Harre is likely to appeal to older Lefties who admire her feminist principles and strong trade union credentials.

It’s hard to see her appeal to young, internet-savvy geeks though. Last time Harre was in Parliament the internet was barely out of short pants. And the people she’s trying to persuade to vote for her weren’t born and certainly wouldn’t know her from a 33K dial-up modem.

But does it matter? Probably not. As long as Harre gets votes, neither the Internet Party nor Mana will care where they come from. And she’s got $3 million of Dotcom’s money to spend – that’s more than any other party contesting the election, including Colin Craig’s Conservatives.

On the face of it, the Left has engineered a spectacular reverse takeover of Dotcom’s party. It’s like a reunion of every failed candidate from every disappeared political party of the past 20 years, funded by an avowed capitalist whose fundamental philosophy – the freedom of movement of capital and people – runs counter to everything his candidates stand for.

Exactly. Dotcom is just funding a party to change the Government. His personal political beliefs and Harre’s are vastly different. There nothing wrong with large political donors – but generally they donate to a party or leader whose policies they agree with.

But remember, Dotcom doesn’t really care. His political aims are pragmatic, not philosophical.

In my opinion, there are two reasons why Dotcom is manipulating the political process. First, he wants rid of Prime Minister John Key. Second, he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in a United States penitentiary. If the Internet-Mana party is elected with more than a couple of MPs, then Dotcom is likely to achieve the first objective.

There is no possibility the party could side with National. So a vote for Internet-Mana is a vote for a Labour-Green-Internet-Mana-and-possibly-New Zealand First-Government.

Remember that. It would be the most left wing Government in our history.

The Internet-Mana party may also either confuse or scare the bejesus out voters and strengthen National’s hand. Blue-collar, socially conservative, Labour-leaning voters – who’d only just got their heads around the idea of dealing with the Greens – may not countenance their vote ushering in a potential coalition led by far-Left feminist and Maori radicals.

I think there is already a backlash, which is why several Labour MPs have spoken out against the Internet-Mana alliance.

In her acceptance speech of the Internet Party leadership last week, Harre admitted her party was gaming the MMP system in a bid to get into Parliament. But she said it was “time for New Zealanders to take back MMP”.

It was a nice line, with a ring of socialist rhetoric to it. But nothing could be farther from the truth. The Internet-Mana party may be successful or it may fall flat on its face.

But it is Dotcom who is attempting to take over MMP. And it is for no-one but himself.

On one of the weekend TV shows, Harre referred to the Internet Party having 30 to 40 staff. That is a huge amount. On top of that Harre and all the candidates will be on pro-rata $150,000 per year salaries. I suspect Dotcom will end up putting more than $4 million in. Whatever it takes to change the Government and increase his chances of not getting extradited.

And if Harre really think Dotcom won’t want any favours for his $4 million. Well think about this. Is he the type of person who would donate $50,000 to a candidate, and then ring him up when in jail wanting him to intervene with prison authorities to get him a pillow – and when no assistance is offered – vows to crush and destroy him.

If he’ll do that when someone who receives $50,000 from him won’t intervene with authorities to assist him – just imagine what his expectations are for a $4 million donation?

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