Mana doubt over Dotcom deal

VERNON SMALL
Last updated 22:38 25/03/2014

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Mana leader Hone Harawira has put a stake in the ground for any deal with Kim Dotcom's Internet party and sent a clear sign that a deal is all but off the table.

In a statement tonight Harawira said Dotcom would have to commit to getting rid of National and changing the government before Mana would consider any deal with his Internet Party.

"That’s a bottom line for Mana. I resigned from the Maori Party because their relationship with National was, and continues to be, destructive to Maori. We won’t be going back there for anyone,” he said in a statement headed "No to National or no deal with Mana".

"Mana will work co-operatively with any party, as we do with the Greens and Labour, that is committed to changing the government we’ve got now," he said 

"And I don’t think the Internet Party is ready to take that stand at the moment.”

He said the new party, due to launch on Thursday, did not have a real membership base, clear policies, recognisable political leaders or any candidates.

“We were happy to talk about the potential for co-operation, but time is short. We’ve got an election coming up and campaigns to organise, especially in the Maori seats. Asking the membership to put all that on hold while we wait for the Internet Party to decide what they stand for is just not an option."

The Mana executive had decided that there would be no more meetings on possible co-operation until the Internet Party's intentions were clear.

"And we’re just going to get on with planning our electorate and party vote campaigns."

Mana has been divided over a possible deal, modelled on the joint campaigning umbrella party used by the Alliance in the 1990s, since news broke of a meeting between Harawira, his party secretary Gerard Hehir, Dotcom and his top party official Vikram Kumar.

Many in Mana questioned how much the party had in common, as an advocate for the low paid and Maori, with a wealthy internet entrepreneur living in one of the flashest houses in New Zealand.

In particular Dotcom's comment that he could work with John Key and National, although it would be difficult, spooked some Mana supporters who are committed to seeing National ousted from office.

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- Fairfax Media

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