The termination of the Internet Mana alliance



Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party.

It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to win seats at the election. The parties had agreed to review their relationship six weeks after the election and by mutual agreement the arrangement was formally terminated.

Mana described the arrangement as a strategic political alliance to ensure that all votes cast to change the government at the 2014 election would be counted.

It was a link-up which worried the political establishment because the Mana Movement’s strong political platform to challenge inequality and poverty backed up with resources to enable it to run a strong political campaign had the ability to upset the cosy Labour/National neo-liberal consensus.

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And they became more worried as five weeks out from the election Internet-Mana was polling 3.5% to 4% and on the rise with the possibility of bringing several MPs into parliament.

So Labour wound up the rhetoric and campaigned hard to crush Internet Mana by unseating Mana leader Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau. They were joined by Prime Minister and National Party leader John Key who urged voters to vote for Labour in the seat. (When was the last time a National Party leader urged voters to vote Labour?) The Maori Party behind the scenes were urging their supporters to also back Labour as did New Zealand First leader Winston Peters for his own political reasons – knocking out any other small party which might upset his chance to choose Prime Minister.

Most of the mainstream media joined the chorus and what because a tsunami of negative publicity around Kim Dotcom swamped the Internet Mana campaign and our 1.4% of the party vote on election night meant no MPs after Hone lost his seat.

From the outset Mana realised there were big risks in the arrangement because of the massive wealth and polarising character of Kim Dotcom but it was a risk we were prepared to take. I’m proud of the fact we risked our parliamentary representation for something much bigger – challenging corporate wealth and power which is expressed politically through the Labour and National Parties.

For now the MANA Movement continues the battle in the community on many fronts. Housing will be the biggest political issue in the next three years as National looks for public support to sell billions of dollars in state housing – a bigger sale of state assets than the electricity companies in the last term of government.

To achieve this National has positioned no less than three ministers on the job: Bill English as Minister of Housing New Zealand, Paula Bennett at Minister for Social Housing and Nick Smith as Minister of Housing.

National has taken up another very big stick to beat up on the poor on behalf of the 1%. Mana’s up for the challenge.

Political representation or not – Mana is still here because the job isn’t finished.


  1. If it wasn’t for IMP – we would not of heard of govt surveillance. And discovered just how much John xKEYscore had lied about it, – and the extent to which he would go about covering it up.

    Even to using our own supposedly ‘neutral ‘ govt spy agencies. And the ease at which he could quickly dig out SIS documents when it suits…even when it became clear it was totally irrelevant to his defense.

    And even then , ….the SIS stated that John xKEYscore had compromised NZ’s security by doing so.

    As for KDC…that guys suffered more than enough abuse and been the victim of lies and deceit through this govt.

    I was glad to be at the town hall when Greenwald, Amsterdam , Assange and Snowden demonstrated just what surveillance the five eye spy network have available and are currently using on the citizenry.

    You would never have heard it from John xKEYscore.

    We would never have found out as much about the TTPA – and clause 301.

    Well, this is where we are now.

    Time to rally round and up and at ’em again.

    Hopefully those neo liberal thugs on the Left (and on the right )….those who backed Davis in TTT…will be supplanted through recent developments in the Labour party, hopefully some form of cohesion will occur….and finally a far more united approach.

    And regards state housing ? , this is yet another abusive playing out of the neo liberal thug agenda in NZ . It must be opposed. To the hilt.

  2. IMP represented a litany of heresies, a major threat to orthodoxies across the political spectrum. Hence, the system protected itself against the threat and nullified it.
    It wasn’t perfect, mistakes were made – but the size of response it generated spoke volumes about the potential influence it was feared it might bring.
    Hopefully, lessons were learned and we know what forces we are up against when real change is proposed.

  3. The manner in which political parties of all stripes told their supporters to back Labour seemed to me the clearest indication that IMP was a threat to the establishment.

    The 2014 election may be over and the result disappointing for most on the Left but as Mr Minto states, that doesn’t mean the war is over, only that the battle was lost.

    What it highlights to me is the need for unity and solidarity on the Left rather than fractious in-fighting to gain votes for one party or another. I hope we can see a concerted effort from the Left-wing through this term and at the 2017 election.

  4. With all due respect John, the moment and reasons why Sue Bradford bolted should have been a red flag for Mana (as her departure was a signal that tactical compromise of principles was not entirely or even widely accepted by grassroots activists).

    The political marriage of convenience with IP was too obvious, and Dotcom’s ego and antics (such as leading the “F*** John Key” chant) was an impossible obstacle to success (and should have been criticised on the campaign trail). In fact, although the Mana side of the campaign attempted to stick to the issues and cultivate its base, the IP side was often a circus freak show that alienated rather than attracted disgruntled National, Labour and undecided voters. As for the vaunted youth turn out–yeah right.

    The hard fact is that by going to into the alliance with IP you made it easy for the National attack machine and the sold-out “left” parties to corner and destroy you.

    Sure, the media jumped on the anti-Dotcom theme but there again he made it easy for them. Not only did he not drop back into the shadows and let IMP and its candidates stand on policy, but he brought in the likes of Pam the Slam to send things into stir-crazy land. As for Harre being the IP standard bearer, the less said the better.

    Truth be told, the campaign was poorly run and driven more by ego (not just Dotcom’s) and wishful thinking than by a pragmatic assessment of the strategic realities of the political moment. Your terribly flawed pre-election polling results, which you continue to cite here, is proof of the collective delusion under which IMP operated. In effect, of all the options it could have chosen, Mana opted fore the least viable and refused to recognise and correct its error by distancing itself from IP in the run-up to the elections (even if it meant losing Dotcom’s funding). That doomed it to death by political association.

    I hate to be critical but cannot accept a whitewash of what happened. I wish you and Mana well and hope to see Mana back in parliament some day. In the meantime I hope that you will re-focus your energy on matters of progressive policy and re-building a wider base of grassroots support that allows Mana to pursue political success by relying more on its principles than on the false promise of opportunistic association with celebrity money.

    • Pablo, as others have pointed out, why is it ok for NAT/ACT to receive funding from rich donors but not ok for left wing parties? If we’re going to remain holier-than-thou by not accepting support when offered, we’re essentially tying our hands behind our backs.

      And the MSM will still find ways to crucify us!!

      • Who Gnu:

        Rich donors giving money to rightwing parties that serve their interests is not a contradiction but instead a natural communion. OTH, political parties that proclaim to be progressive (which I take to mean anti-capitalist, if not socialist inspired) look hypocritical when taking money from rich donors, especially when said donors are foreign cowboy capitalists with very little progressive thought who intervene in local politics for ego driven reasons as much as anything else.

  5. The Internet Mana Alliance’s defeat is a defeat for a healthy democracy and society. Instead we have the quasi fascist surveillance state of dirty politics, corporate control and the white knuckle brigade.

    • Once again a post full of denial. We have a healthy democracy and it delivered a result which you obviously disagreed with. No one was stopped from going to vote no voting papers were stolen or unlawfully discredited. If the people who have been disadvantaged by this government didn,t get off their couches to vote then they can’t moan about the result. If you think we live in a quasi fascist surveillance state then I doubt that you actually know what one of those is.

  6. InternetMana put valid issues on the table that other politician’s and parties would not discuss. So I feel they should be proud of their effort. Yep it did not end well for them but I don’t think it was a mistake. It has certainly put Hone’s name on the wider NZ radar and the Internet party might be back. Mass surveillance was certainly a valid issue when mass surveillance without a warrant on Kiwis has just been passed under urgency. I personally feel it was Labour that killed InternetMana, but that distraction bit them big time when their supporters turned on them too for being too right wing. Hopefully Labour and (Greens) learnt from their mistakes and actually keep an eye on the parties and policies and personalities and Attack Politics they should be fighting.

  7. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’ve yet to meet a NZer who actually dislikes or hates Dotcom. I’m sure there’ll be some out there, but no doubt their views have been disproportionately amplified by a media landscape that liked hearing their own views being echoed as ‘the voice of ordinary NZers’.

  8. “They were joined by Prime Minister and National Party leader John Key who urged voters to vote for Labour in the seat. (When was the last time a National Party leader urged voters to vote Labour?)”

    The answer to that question is in the 1990s when Labour and National provided each other with canvassing lists to block out the Alliance in by-elections (Tamaki and Wellington Central). Internet Mana would have been well advised to have looked over the campaigns from that decade as the campaign run against them were very similar to campaigns run against the Alliance back then. (Of course Lalia should have been aware of these as she was involved in the Alliance at the time).

    As Marx observed, those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it. The first time as tragedy, the second as farce.

  9. What that anti-Mana/anti-Dotcom campaign meant was that so far as the soi-disant left wing parties were concerned, having that political movement out of the picture was more important than the well-being of any but the maniac kleptocrats running this benighted nation.

    As a result, Labour has for good sacrificed any further consideration I might have for that Party in future elections. My support for Labour was, if not unconditional, at least consistent from 1972 to 1984, then became highly conditional – a ‘sometimes’ support, and has gone altogether. Good will is never an inexhaustible commodity. Nor in my view did it deserve to have been so casually traded, and for such a poor bargain, as it was in that last election.

    Not only did Labour wipe out what small fund of my goodwill remained, my stock of goodwill towards the Greens – not huge to begin with – has also depreciated by a very large margin.

    I voted the Mana Party at the last election, and, absent a Mana candidate in this electorate, Labour’s offering as the best chance to oust the National incumbent. Of course the local gerrymander put paid to that.

    I wish you all the luck in the world, dude, but that is one huge mountain to climb.

  10. Putting Hone up on a pedestal and blaming it all on a right wing conspiracy to dethrone him is a cop out. If you want to take a principled stance you have to beyond reproach [Rest of comment deleted. Potentially defamatory. Do not do this again. ScartletMod]

    • It wasn’t a “cop out”. The conspiracy was quite real, in this case, when the Prime Minister endorsed Kelvin Davis – a Labour Party candidate. As did NZ First and the Maori Party.

      When the Established political system gangs up on a tiny, fledgling, political party, it’s clear to me that someone’s privilege is under threat.

      As for being “beyond reproach” – does that apply to all political parties? Or just those on the Left? Especially those that challenge the system?

      What about million dollar funding for parties? Is that reserved only for parties on the Right (and Labour)?

      And who says Hone was “put on a pedestal”? He’s not exactly preferred Prime Minister, is he? So any “pedestal” is in your mind only.

      Seems to me that judging by the time spent spewing vitriol at Hone indicates that he struck a raw nerve with those in the Establishment. The multi-party endorsement that David received shows that much.

  11. The 2014 general election was rigged . One of the least corrupt countries in the world my hairy arse .

    I had to bribe my way out of a police check point recently because I wasn’t wearing my crash helmet in an amazing country I’ve just visited . Now , that’s the sort of corruption I can understand . I get that .

    In New Zealand , we have Banks enticing Kiwis to borrow huge money against relatively worthless houses while a cadre of head-fucking monsters enjoy the spectacle of normal people suffering under enormous financial pressure ( And you aint seen nothin’ yet . ) for their pointless greed .
    Now , our corruption is evil and I don’t get it at all . Our corruption is abstract , ephemeral , wispy , vague , slippery , hidden inside legal jargon and so protected by professional liars in morally bankrupt courts .

    Nicky Hager wrote a book . Glen Greenwald came here and spoke . Julian Assange and Edward Snowden spoke via sat link . And yet we still debate the election swindle as if we lost to the neo liberals because of a clash of values / ethics / morals / agendas/purpose .

    Buuuullll shit we lost . The election was rigged . Fiddled with . Call it what you like .

    And it’s a worrying thing . That Dotcom came , giggled , then went and left a trail of destruction while expressing his contriteness . No , seriously .

    The deftness and surgical precision of slaters shenanigans was alarming to read of . He’s so clever actually . His machinations were impeccably timed , callously carried out and you have to admit , he’s back , louder and larger than ever .

    Sometimes , no matter how unpalatable , we must study our enemy and learn their ways . We must never under estimate our enemy . Just because we know we’re right doesn’t mean they’re stupid .

    slater and his mates are repulsive , there’s no doubt about that . But remember , they’re only repulsive to us . To them ? He’s a hero now . And Dotcom played a role in that outcome . As to what the nature of the intent of his role was is still open to debate .

  12. John if you seriously think IMP was a threat to the establishment then you are seriously deluded. I mean you polled less than mad Colin Craig for heavens sake! Selling out to Dotcom poisoned any chance you had of any meaningful result, and killed any chance Labour would support you. It wasn’t a calculated risk, as you like to describe it, it was political stupidity.

    • IMP was sufficiently a threat that the Prime Minister took the bizarre step of endorsing a Labour Party candidate – as did NZ First and the Maori Party.

      Speaks volumes, doesn’t it, Nehemia.

      And why was it “selling out to Dotcom”? Because Hone accepted KDC’s money? Is that it?

      Well, mate, perhaps you can explain to us why right wing political parties are allowed millionaire benefactors – but those on the Left are “sell outs”?! Hypocrisy much?

      Hell yeah. Hypocrisy by the truckload.

    • Wallsy- so IMP “Sold out” to Dotcom?

      Do you also equate NAT/ACT selling out to millionaires who fund those two parties?

      Come on, mate, tell us how you aren’t being a hypocrite by condemning one, but not the other??

      • Did Hone harawira and the Mana Party ‘sell out’? Or did Kim Dotcom ‘buy in’? I rather think the latter, myself. I had no particular quarrel with that, and I’ll tell you why.

        The most distasteful feature of today’s politics, indeed it has been a feature of modern democracy since shortly after its inception, is that it is a politics of exclusion. That is what Fritz Hayek meant by governments of modern democracies being nothing more than dictatorships by temporary ‘majorities.’ (The quotation marks are mine). What the Mana-Internet Party represented for me was an experiment in something new and refreshing: an alliance of disparate interests. It was the politics of inclusion.

        The Party failed to gain any traction electorally: too bad. It was nevertheless a worthy attempt.

        I should perhaps explain that the bed-partnership of minor parties with Labour and (worse) National have been a mere travesty of the inclusive politics hoped for under an MMP electoral system.

        • I hear what you’re saying, but my point wasn’t to finger Mana but to KDC. If the benefactor had been someone with a genuine concern for the issues Mana stands for, someone without the criminal and personal baggage KDC has, then all power to them. But KDC was electoral poison.

          • So, what you’re saying is that anyone with “criminal and personal baggage” is to be permanently excluded from the democratic process?

            Funny thing, KDC’s millions were ok for National to allow him to become a Permanent Resident. But according to you, not ok to participate in our democracy?

            Considering KDC became radicalised after a Hollywodd-style raid that was more fitting from a “Die Hard” movie, for simply copyright violation, what did you thinl his reaction would be? Meek acceptance?

            As for suggesting that KDC doesn’t stand for “a genuine concern for the issues Mana stands for”, you’re making a personal assumption of course. KDC has actually expressed social democratic values which are fairly mainstream in Germany and Northern Europe – and were common once upon a time here in New Zealand. Before right wing nuttery took hold.

            Funny how rich immigrant benefactors who donate heavily to National are never mentioned. But the moment someone with cash supports a left wing party, we hear charges of ‘hypocrisy’ from self-righteous zealots (Patrick Gower take note) and right wing partisans with an axe to grind.

            KDC became “electoral poison” only after the media focused on poisoning him, along with a couple of undisciplined Mana public figures (note – they were Mana figures, not from the Internet Party).

            • Frank, Mana is not a social Democratic Party, in any sense, and bears no resemblance to the Europen parties you speak of. I’m not advocating excluding anyone…but politics is about winning a contest of ideas in the public arena. I would have thought the risks associated with accomodating someone with KDC’s background would have been obvious.

              Finally it matters little when KDC was ‘radicalised’. My point has been to highlight his criminal background, and his motivations. It seems, from your continued defence of the man that you were fooled. Most weren’t.

              • My point has been to highlight his criminal background, and his motivations. It seems, from your continued defence of the man that you were fooled.

                I’m quite aware of his “criminal background”.

                Since those activities happened when he was 19, it’s suggests to me that you’re engaging in character assassination. You talk about “politics is about winning a contest of ideas in the public arena” – and yet you harp on about things that have no pertinence to “a contest of ideas”.

                You’re engaging in hypocrisy when you attack KDC’s background and not what he stood for.

                You can’t counter his ideas. So you attack something else – his background when he was a teenager.

                Tell me, Nehemia, do you feel empowered when you attack someone’s past?

                • KDC’s criminal past has everything to do with the contest of ideas, because it taints the messenger, and so the message becomes lost. This isn’t just about KDC, it’s a judgement about the nature of politics.

            • “So, what you’re saying is that anyone with “criminal and personal baggage” is to be permanently excluded from the democratic process? ”

              No. What I’m saying is that a political movement, ANY political movement, should be very wary of being seen to be too closely associate with such a person.

              Remember the impact on National of their supposed ‘association’ with the Exclusive Bretheren? Same concept.

              “KDC became “electoral poison” only after the media focused on poisoning him,”

              Sorry, can’t agree. KDC was a larger than life figure who the media loved for a long time. But he was also a man with a past, and that past should have raised alarm bells. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

              • His “past”, as you refer to it, Nehemia, was done when he was 19 years old.

                What’s the bet if we delved into your youth, we’d find misdemeanours or petty crime of one description or another. But we can’t, as you take potshots from behind a veil of anonymity. Pretty easy to be judgemental about others, eh?

                • KDC’s past involves far more than ‘misdemeanours and petty crimes’ Frank. And you fail to take into account that the man is also facing extradition for very recent and very serious criminal allegations.

  13. I M P party where the only Left party Labour, greens, NZF,are centre right parties.National are right wing.People who believe labour or the greens or nzf are better that national only have to look at the historical record. Inequality as became an endemic part of our society.It has been done with precision and malice aforethought from the lange govt. up to the present govt. It is class war waged with all the tools in the elites arsenal. Propaganda as news,mass deception,where we are convinced to adopt the opposite of what would benefit the majority. Socalism for the 1% because we’re been convinced its to good to waste on us. Public is bad,private is good.You get the picture. When the housing bubble bursts people might start to question the stewardship of national economic policies,especially since our deposits will be used to bail out banks.

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