Three weeks into my new role seems a good time to blog. Today we will reveal the Internet Party’s candidates for the Internet MANA Party list. You’ll see that we are bringing a fresh leadership into national politics.
Our team embodies a new political constituency. Smart, young and non-tribal.
This team has done things outside politics that will invigorate progressive representation. They have worked in real jobs, often on the digital frontier or helping others catch up to it. Many are deeply rooted in provincial communities. All have an ethic of service that is reflected in their contribution as volunteers at home and abroad and now their commitment to changing the government by winning Internet MANA Party votes.
I am stoked with the strength of our Auckland candidates. Auckland matters very much, and yet it has for a long time trailed the capital in fostering and promoting new progressive leadership. Perhaps it’s our size and diversity, our mental distance from the political centre, but it’s always been hard to connect Aucklanders to national politics. You see the result when almost every civic leader wants the City Rail Link and all we get is more roads. When 2km from the CBD my internet speed is crap and the only reason it was faster in Te Atatu was because our neighbourhood couldn’t afford broadband. When voter turnout in the South Auckland electorates falls at a similar rate to the growth in inequality.
We are serious about Auckland, serious about the potential of the Internet to turn around regional decline and serious about bridging the digital divide.
On that note in just a few weeks since the Internet MANA agreement was reached, it is taking on its own identity within our planning and thinking.
Yes, the agreement was sparked by a shared interest in ensuring Internet Party votes would not be wasted – a situation that would have undermined our mission to change the government. But such an agreement would not have been possible without a strong values base shared by its advocates in both parties. I firmly believe that the substance of this agreement lies in its linking of two important constituencies through these common values. Among those values is a spirit of entrepreneurialism that is disrupting business, culture and now politics, and the Internet is a tool and a catalyst for that.
As I said to our candidates last weekend, imagine if we had embraced the opportunity 180 years ago to forge a society based on the universal human values we espouse. How different Aotearoa would look now, for Maori, Pakeha and newcomers. There is a Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is today.
In three months we can change the government. To do that we must jolt the disengaged into a conversation about politics. We have started.