Roadshow hit by Dotcom no-show

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 09:04 15/08/2014
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CATHIE BELL/FAIRFAX NZ
CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Internet Party leader Laila Harre speaks in Blenheim, with Mana Movement president Annette Sykes listening

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The turnout in Blenheim was "by far" the smallest audience on the Internet-Mana Party's nationwide roadshow, Internet Party leader Laila Harre said.

About 30 people attended the meeting, one of the few that rogue internet millionaire Kim Dotcom did not attend.

The no-show was probably the cause of the lower numbers.

Harre and Mana Movement president Annette Sykes apologised for Dotcom's absence, saying he had been at almost all of the party's meetings in the past six weeks and was last night spending time with his five children who were "missing him desperately".

Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira was unable to attend because flights across the North Island had been cancelled because of bad weather.

Harre and Sykes were given a good hearing by the mainly silent crowd.

They outlined their backgrounds as women who had trained as lawyers and worked in social justice areas, starting in unions and why they were part of the Internet-Mana Party, which was working for the poor and marginalised in New Zealand.

The main goal of the party was to get the "missing million" - people who didn't vote in the last election - to vote this time. Sykes called them "the mighty million" and now was a critical time to get people engaged, she said.

"If they vote, absolutely there will be a change in government."

They played a recording of Dotcom speaking in Rotorua.

He said the country was not going to double the economy with milk. Rather, it needed to embrace new technology and the InternetMana Party was the one to lead New Zealand to the future.

Harre said with a third of eligible voters not voting, the Government could not say it had a mandate to represent the people, to sell public assets, and "certainly not" to behave the way as had been exposed on Wednesday in Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics book, which showed the Government feeding stories and documents to Right-wing bloggers to get certain sides of stories aired in the media.

Those revelations were concerning and the most disturbing part was the use of those negative political tactics to lower voter turnout, driving people away from engaging in politics because of their disgust at the negativity and lack of hope.

"That is the kind of politics we want to change."

Afterwards there were six questions, spanning education, freshwater quality, foreign investment by the Chinese, shutting down spy bases and why people should vote for the Internet-Mana Party when it was not going to work with National and Labour had said it would not work with them.

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Harre said the party would work with Labour, even though its leader had said it would not offer Internet-Mana MPs Cabinet posts.

"Our votes will be required to form a government. There are many ways you can have influence within the MMP process. It doesn't have to be at the Cabinet table," she said.

Harre said she and Sykes were grateful to the Blenheim people who had attended the meeting.

- The Marlborough Express

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