Harre sideshow as Dotcom steals limelight

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 15:22 01/08/2014
Laila Harre, kim dotcom
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ

OVERSHADOWED: Internet Party leader Laila Harre dwarfed in size and presence at Waikato University.

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It was touted as the Internet Mana Party party but when a fair chunk of the audience walked out midway through the presentation, it was clear many were only there to see the Kim Dotcom show.

Internet Party leader Laila Harre battled on thorough a mild case of the flu and the ignominy of being a sideshow to the main event for many of the young in the audience who scarpered before her turn.

It was the second night of their road trip through the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Manawatu-Whanganui regions speaking to packed houses.

The PWC lecture theatre at Waikato University management school was no different.

Dotcom spoke directly to the youth audience he called "the capital of this country" and a show of hands indicated about half of the 200 in people attendance were students.

"You guys are going to take this country to new heights," Dotcom said.

"The people who are currently ruling this country, they will not lead us to new heights. It's all about you."

Promises of "state-of-the-art" free tertiary education, a change of government and digital futures brought cheers and when Dotcom sat down, his target demographic at the back of the room stood up and left a largely older audience to wait for Harre's address.

She said young, disillusioned and disenfranchised Kiwis were being mobilised to vote for a change in government and she promised to take on Key in his home electorate of Helensville.

Mana Party candidates Angeline Greensill, Annette Sykes and John Minto also spoke alongside Internet Party candidate for Hamilton East Raymond Calver.

The road trip has now moved south to New Plymouth and Whanganui, a private event at Ratana Pa, before heading to Palmerston North and Wellington.

elton.smallman@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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