The Dim-Post

May 29, 2014

Thoughts on Laila Harre and the Internet Party

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:51 am
  • Politics is hard. Smart, ambitious, dedicated people spend years and years of their lives building up the unique set of skills it takes to run a successful political party. That’s why I’ve always been skeptical of the Internet Party project. Who on earth was going to lead Dotcom’s party for him? A c-list celebrity? Some social media evangelist? A crazy mayor?
  • Turns out Laila Harre is going to do it. In many ways she’s the perfect choice. Former party leader and former Cabinet Minister, Harre can hit the ground running and immediately perform at the same level – or higher – as the rest of our political leaders. She solves the compatibility problem between the Internet Party and Mana Party. Why are they in a coalition together? Because, as of Harre’s appointment, the Internet Party is now a left-wing party (and that political space is starting to look crowded).
  • Sue Bradford’s simultaneous resignation from Mana gives us a really interesting case-study in comparative morality. Bradford thought it was wrong for a left-wing political party to be funded by an ostentatious multi-millionaire. Harre – presumably – believes that if someone wants to pay millions of dollars to get rid of a National government, reform our intelligence services, withdraw from the TPP etc then she’ll enable them no matter who they are.
  • What do the people who downloaded the Internet Party app and joined that party think of the appointment of a left-wing activist and former Alliance MP? I have no idea, and I kind of doubt the Internet Party really knows either.
  • I don’t want to over-sell the significance of this. 2014 has seen a number of political appointments that various political elites have celebrated as ‘game-changing’. Matt McCarten as Cunliffe’s Chief of Staff. Richard Prebble as ACT’s campaign manager. Shane Jones’ defection from Labour. But none of these appointments seem to have had any substantive impact in the polls. Political junkies know who these people are and get excited when they pop up in the news, but no one outside elite circles has heard of them. The Internet Party’s voter base is supposed to be disaffected tech-savvy youth, and I doubt they have a special affinity for former Alliance Party MPs.
  • This could also be a disaster. Rumour has it that Dotcom has spent millions on this party and will, not unreasonably, consider it HIS party, while everything I’ve heard about Harre indicates will now consider it HER party.
  • She’s also at a huge disadvantage in organisational terms. It’s less than four months out from the actual election, and her primary rivals – Labour and the Greens – have been ramping up their campaigns since the start of the year. I can’t see Internet/Mana taking many votes off either of them.

23 Comments »

  1. “Rumour has it that Dotcom has spent millions on this party and will, not unreasonably, consider it HIS party”

    I sense he is a pragmatist and not the fantasist many would have us believe. I concur with the other 6 points.

    Comment by aj — May 29, 2014 @ 9:24 am

  2. I can’t see Internet/Mana taking many votes off either of them.

    But the issue isn’t so much “will lots of people presently planning to vote who support the Greens/Labour now switch to the Internet MANA Party?” Rather, it is what effect another net trawling through the “missing million” (or, at least, that proportion of the missing million felt to be left-leaning) will have – especially when that net is (so it is claimed) very well funded and backed by people who know how teh kidz use their fancy phones to make decisions for them.

    That said … I’ll be surprised if Internet MANA get more than 2-3%. Still may be good for 3-4 MPs, but.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 29, 2014 @ 9:27 am

  3. “Sue Bradford’s simultaneous resignation from Mana gives us a really interesting case-study in comparative morality. Bradford thought it was wrong for a left-wing political party to be funded by an ostentatious multi-millionaire.”

    Maybe I missed Sue Bradford say that a left wing party shouldn’t be funded by a show-off rich person, but I’d give her more credit than that. My impression has been that there are many things she dislikes about Kim Dotcom and his probable motives than simply that.

    As amusing as I find the guy, as as much as I sometimes find myself agreeing with points he makes on certain issues, I don’t think I’d want to get too tangled up in his life, either.

    Comment by izogi — May 29, 2014 @ 9:57 am

  4. “I sense he is a pragmatist and not the fantasist many would have us believe.”

    I think that too. I think he’d still do what he’s done regardless of his extradition situation because he’s motivated by revenge and likely a longer term view that NZ can best provide more security for his business model(s) through the political process.

    He’s got in place a pretty useful bunch of rabble rousers and followers to make a few headlines over the next few months.

    JC

    Comment by JC — May 29, 2014 @ 9:58 am

  5. It’s building up to a classic example of prisoners dilemma for National and Labour. Both would be better off not having to do deals with Craig or Harawira respectively but neither can be certain the other won’t.

    Comment by NeilM — May 29, 2014 @ 10:07 am

  6. 3-4 MPs would be a massive achievement for a party that has the entire political-intelligence complex against it. The idea of a single issue party that only exists until a finite target has been achieved is novel, but could possibly be a natural evolution of MMP in NZ.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 29, 2014 @ 10:07 am

  7. 3-4 MPs would be a massive achievement for a party that has the entire political-intelligence complex against it.

    Agreed. No guarantee it’d get this. But it is what the iPredict market was putting its money on yesterday.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 29, 2014 @ 10:18 am

  8. “a single issue party that only exists until a finite target has been achieved”

    Kickstarter politics ahoy

    Comment by Sacha — May 29, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

  9. Wasn’t Judith Collins a naughty little girl to deny the abolition of the coat-tail factor recommended by the Electoral Commission. If the Right do loose the election by say a single seat, what will the outgoing Mr Key actually say to old Judy?

    Comment by xianmac — May 29, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

  10. a single issue party that only exists until a finite target has been achieved

    A less charitable interpretation would be “until Kim gets bored and stops giving us money”

    Comment by Phil — May 29, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

  11. Wasn’t Judith Collins a naughty little girl to deny the abolition of the coat-tail factor recommended by the Electoral Commission. If the Right do loose the election by say a single seat, what will the outgoing Mr Key actually say to old Judy?

    For all her faults, it’s a little cheeky to blame Collins. Key and National would’ve been looking at their mate John Banks when they decided to ignore the Electoral Commission.

    Comment by Ross — May 29, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

  12. The Internet Party’s voter base is supposed to be disaffected tech-savvy youth, and I doubt they have a special affinity for former Alliance Party MPs.

    Well, they may not heard of any former Alliance Party MPs. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    I thought the Internet Party opposed spying by the State. There might be some votes there…

    Comment by Ross — May 29, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

  13. For all her faults, it’s a little cheeky to blame Collins.</blockquote

    You say this like it is a bad thing.

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 29, 2014 @ 1:03 pm

  14. It’s building up to a classic example of prisoners dilemma for National and Labour. Both would be better off not having to do deals with Craig or Harawira respectively but neither can be certain the other won’t.

    @NeilM – A Prisoner’s Dilemma is a rational / co-operation problem and is by definition a mutually enforceable one round game. So basically, completely unrelated to this scenario.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 29, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

  15. I think Neil was probably meaning the old story about the scorpion and frog, with KDC being the scorpion.🙂

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog

    Comment by Ross — May 29, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

  16. Immigrants come in all shapes and sizes and make different contributions. KDC’s major contribution to NZ has been to provide priceless political entertainment. He’s a test for every political party and most political players. The election and its aftermath will tell us who has passed that test.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 29, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

  17. Harre appealing to tech savy youths to get out and vote, sure I believe that if a racy internet clip emerges.
    Hone driving a hard bargain in return for having the balance of power and insisting on vetoing Dotcoms extradition, surely not from the principled left.

    Comment by David — May 29, 2014 @ 3:33 pm

  18. @Gregor W – there are an enormous number of variations to the prisoner’s dilemma. It certainly isn’t essential that a situation have all the features you describe to be a prisoner’s dilemma (for instance, the vast majority of interesting real world cases are iterative). The variation from the classic prisoner’s dilemma required to make it comparable to the current situation is pretty minor.

    Comment by BeShakey — May 29, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

  19. @BeShakey – Fair point. But NeilM used phrase ” a classic example of Prisoner’s Dilemma”, which it isn’t.
    In fact, it doesn’t really pass the test of what could constitute a PD scenario as the main actors wouldn’t plausibly consider co-operation. It also assumes that some form of strategic balance (i.e. “arms race” scenario) could be achieved if both of the major players acted in the same way in either both selecting or not selecting the option to partner with a minor player, which probably isn’t the case.

    It’s just a normal strategic game and more likely to end up in some form of Nash Equilibrium unless National get’s an outright majority.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 29, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

  20. Surely the variation is not minor – any deal the National or Labour agrees to do with a minor party would be widely announced (otherwise the deal would be pointless), which means the other party is free to also do a deal and say “we had no choice because the opposing party is doing it”. There is no disadvantage in doing a deal after the other has already done so. On the other hand, the prisoner’s dilemma relies on one not being sure what the other party is going to do within a round, iterated or not.

    Comment by wtl — May 29, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

  21. It’s building up to a classic example of prisoners dilemma for National and Labour. Both would be better off not having to do deals with Craig or Harawira respectively but neither can be certain the other won’t.

    What’s more, this analysis overlooks the fact that Harawira is likely to win Te Tai Tokerau irrespective of what Labour does (albeit that Labour could make that a certainty), whilst Craig won’t get into Parliament unless National agrees to let him in. So the incentives/disincentives to doing a deal aren’t the same for both parties (which you need in a “classic prisoners dilemma” scenario).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 29, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

  22. I’ll be honest, Harre’s appointment has made me feel positively about the Internet Party in a way no other development has. I am not at all interested in voting for the party Kim Dotcom founded, but the party Laila Harre leads? Now that could work for me.

    Having said that, Sanc, I see you no longer stand by your prediction that the Internet Party alone would get 4%. What happened?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 29, 2014 @ 7:18 pm

  23. I’m disporportionately pleased that I managed to prompt a discussion on the classic prisoners dilemma and its variants

    Comment by BeShakey — May 30, 2014 @ 4:59 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: