Mana to keep talking to Dotcom

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 05:00 31/03/2014

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Mana Party leader Hone Harawira will continue to discuss working with the Internet Party, saying there is enough common ground to continue talks.

The Internet Party, which was officially launched last week, has indicated it wants to form an alliance with the Mana Party as it strives to enter Parliament after the election.

An alliance with a party which holds a seat could allow the Internet Party to gain representation in Parliament without winning a seat of its own or gaining 5 per cent support.

Despite questions from some Mana Party members, including former MP Sue Bradford, about working with flamboyant Internet Party leader Kim Dotcom, Harawira said he was prepared to continue talks.

Harawira told TVNZ's Q+A yesterday that although a single meeting had not been enough to allow him to fully evaluate the German internet entrepreneur, there was "enough commonality to think that it's worth taking these discussions further".

As well as liking Dotcom's sense of humour, Harawira said he had an affinity with the German's promotion of broader internet access and desire to end mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

"When he talks about, you know, greater access to the internet, I've talked to some of the kids up home, young Maori kids, and they all said that they're into that sort of thing, and I thought to myself, you know, I've gotta talk to this guy, can't just ignore him because the mainstream media's saying ‘don't talk to him, he's a crook, he's been in trouble with the law'.

"Well, I mean, who am I to criticise someone who's been in trouble with the law?"

Despite only meeting Dotcome once, Harawira indicated that Mana had already laid down some of the pre-conditions for an alliance between the two parties.

These were a commitment to "move away" from National, to lay out the party's policies, clarify its membership base and name the party's candidate.

"Those sorts of things have to be cleared up before there's going to be any form of commitment," Harawira said, adding that Dotcom had quickly clarified that he was committed to removing National from government.

"The question is what is he saying that would be a problem for me, and I've yet to see it."

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