Labour cool on Internet-Mana deal

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 09:30 06/08/2014

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Labour leader David Cunliffe says there will be no coalition deal - before or after the election - with the Internet-Mana alliance.

After days of speculation about a secret electorate agreement to give Mana leader Hone Harawira an easy ride in Te Tai Tokerau, Cunliffe ruled the Internet-Mana Party out of any Labour-led Government.

However, his remarks leave the door open for a confidence and supply deal, similar to that struck between National and the Maori Party. It is highly unlikely Internet-Mana would ever lend support to National.

Cunliffe was responding to criticism of Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom by Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

But he was also moving to quash speculation about internal divisions and that Labour had agreed to give Harawira an easy ride in the electorate race.

"Look, we don't hold a candle for Kim Dotcom," Cunliffe said.

"Kim Dotcom has been a donor to ACT candidates in the past, he's not associated with the Labour Party, and I've made clear that there won't be Internet-Mana in a government that I lead."

It was a step further than an earlier stance - that he would not have Harawira and Internet Party leader Laila Harre as ministers.

Emails surfaced over the weekend, revealing Labour's campaign team ordered Davis not to run a smear campaign against Harawira.

Davis had called internet entrepreneur Dotcom a "con job" and his team had proposed a website attacking the German millionaire.

Labour's national campaign team vetoed the idea, saying it was not in line with the "Vote Positive" message the party is pushing.

In a Facebook post, Davis refused to back down and offered his bank account number for supporters.

"I make no apologies if there's another Maori politician in the north [Harawira] feeling pretty sensitive about all the criticism he's copping from hapu throughout Te Tai Tokerau because of the con job [with Dotcom]," he wrote.

"I'm prepared to cop the criticism from him because it's just the price a person pays when he stands up for his people and his principles."

Harawira said he was "shocked, dismayed and hurt", and called for an apology.

"I am asking the president of the Labour Party to issue an apology to my people in the Tai Tokerau for the dirty tricks campaign that Kelvin has been waging, and a formal declaration that it will not happen again."

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