14 Apr 2014

'Doubts' in Mana over Dotcom alliance

9:03 am on 14 April 2014

Mana leader Hone Harawira admits there will always be doubts within his party about an alliance with Kim Dotcom's Internet Party.

Members at the party's annual meeting in Rotorua at the weekend voted to push on with talks about a possible alliance with Mr Dotcom's Internet Party but dozens spoke out against the idea. About 10 dissenters left the meeting before the final decision was made.

Hone Harawira.

Hone Harawira. Photo: RNZ

The leadership team will make a final decision within a month. Mana Hone Harawira told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme there have been two formal resignations in the last few weeks but hundreds of new people have signed up in the last few weeks.

"I know that there's doubts, there will always be doubts, but it's my job as leader of Mana to lay down the possibilities and let the membership make that choice."

Another party founder, John Minto, admitted the debate could cause a rift within the party. But he said while some people wanted the prospect off the table, the clear consensus was to seek more information.

"Everybody is in a kind of wait and see, when no-one's saying yes and ... the vast majority of people are saying 'lets see what might come out of it'."

Senior Mana member Sue Bradford said the party cannot get into bed with a neo-liberal businessman like Kim Dotcom without being contaminated.

Ms Bradford said the risk to the Mana party's reputation and the damage to its credibility has already been huge. "I fear that if this is locked in it will irreparably damage the kappa that Mana was founded on."

Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar said while the two parties have differences, they also have enough in common to move forward with negotiations.

'No impact'

Prime Minister John Key told Morning Report he doesn't expect any political impact from the possible deal and doubts the airtime received by Kim Dotcom will translate into votes.

Mr Key said the internet entrepreneur is interested primarily in himself, while voters will be more concerned about issues like health, education and the economy.

Electoral deals

President Annette Sykes said parties on the left need to be prepared to make strategic electoral deals in order to bring down the National government.

She said Mana could do a deal with the Greens in Whanganui to help their candidate into Parliament "We want to change the government, we need to vote strategically and place strategic candidates," she said.

Mr Harawira has entertained the prospect of working with Labour in Te Tai Tokerau to ensure he keeps the seat.