Media man takes on role with Dotcom

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 25/03/2014
Jim Tucker
ANDY JACKSON/FAIRFAX NZ
NEW ROLE: Retired New Plymouth journalist Jim Tucker has taken on a media advisory role with Kim Dotcom’s new Internet Party.

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Kim Dotcom's new Internet Party will have a couple of New Plymouth connections.

Veteran journalist and journalism tutor Jim Tucker has taken up the role of media adviser and would be writing the new party's housing and education policies. He had already finished the environment policy.

The party's press secretary is former New Plymouth journalist John Mitchell.

Mr Tucker said there was a young, dynamic team of people involved.

"I think they felt they needed an old hand keeping an eye on things. Offer a bit of advice. My role is very much back room."

And, being an internet party he wouldn't need to move to Auckland, he said.

"What attracted me was it was something new. I'd seen nothing quite like this before."

He had been politically neutral since he covered his first election in 1965, and Mr Tucker said he still was.

"But suddenly along comes this new phenomenon. I was curious, so went along to see what it was about. I thought there might be something here, so why not?"

Since news of Mr Tucker's new job came out he has been getting two reactions, he said.

"One is, ‘what are you thinking? The other is, ‘hey man this is the coolest thing."

The second reaction was from young people, who would be the Internet Party's demographic, he said.

"The target demographic is 18 to 35, people who are disaffected with politics, people who have never voted, who are looking for something different. That's a good reason not to plant ourselves right or left or whatever. There's a strong feeling about not ruling out anyone along the spectrum."

From Thursday people would be able to download an app that would enrol them in the party, which needed 500 members before it could be officially launched.

"When you enrol, the cost of buying the app counts as your membership."

At the moment the party was polling at 2.6 per cent, he said.

Which was "interesting" considering the party hadn't announced any policies or candidates yet and its leader couldn't stand for election because he was not a New Zealand citizen.

But Mr Tucker said Mr Dotcom was a visionary, which was what the party needed.

"He wants the candidates to have expertise in the issues that concern New Zealand, affordable housing for young couples, the environment. He is an expert on technology, so all policies would be related to that in some way."

"He's not saying technology was the answer to everything, but it was a big part of life," he said.

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"It's tapping into that groundswell of people who have grown up with technology and are frustrated, not only with the slowness and cost, but the surveillance and privacy issues and the lack of independence from America."

Mr Tucker began his journalism career on the Taranaki Herald in the 1960s, was editor of the Auckland Star in the 80s and has taught media studies.

- Taranaki Daily News

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