Duncan Garner: Party for sale - Internet-Mana is a sham and a rort

30/05/2014

This Internet-Mana party alliance is a sham and a rort, but MMP allows for it - which is the worst bit.

I’ve seen nothing like it in the history of NZ politics. It is far less transparent than the dodgy electorate seat deals National has done over the years. New Zealanders have every right to be outraged.

This is about an already convicted criminal - a rich internet tycoon wanted on piracy charges, no less – on the run from the United States and sheltering in New Zealand. He’s a had a run in with the NZ Government and the US authorities, so he’s doing all he can to buy his way out of trouble.

It now includes pulling out his cheque-book and paying for a political party and buying people off – so he can keep his sorry backside out of the clink.

It’s as simple as that: he’s paying big money so he doesn’t turn into some sort of dribbling mess behind bars – some reports suggest he’s pumped $4m into setting up this party. So how much is he paying his people?

I asked new leader Laila Harré yesterday, she said she wasn’t sure yet. But money between the two will change hands at some stage, she’s clear on that.

She will be paid for this role. Is this the New Zealand way? I would argue no way. It’s grubby isn’t it? You only get paid once you get elected don’t you?

I have had a bit to do with Harré over the years. She has been a tireless and effective campaigner for those on the left. However, her former allies think she has sold out; Jim Anderton is far from impressed.

Harré is ambitious. Before all this she had integrity and credibility, but many of us are questioning that now. What does she really have in common with Kim Dotcom? Bugger all. He’s found she has a price after all.

Most of all this deal lacks transparency; she will, and should be, hounded by the press about how much she is personally being paid by Kim Dotcom to be the leader. Plus, what sort of deal has been done on Kim Dotcom’s possible extradition?

If there is a change of Government, and a future Minister overturns any extradition, isn’t that corruption? Wouldn’t he have bought his way out of an American jail?

New Zealanders have every right to feel dirty over this deal. It brings our political process into disrepute. Dotcom has contempt for our system, our democracy and our country. To him, everything is for sale and everyone has their price.

I don’t see it lasting. This will, and should, end in tears.

source: data archive