The Dim-Post

May 30, 2014

Uncertainty and the Internet Party

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 3:25 pm

Gordon Campbell writes:

The real key player in all of the above is the Labour Party and its Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis. If Harawira loses in Te Tai Tokerau, as much as 4% of the centre left vote nationwide could be lost, and go in the wasted vote dustbin. It will be National’s interest to urge the 1,814 Te Tai Tokerau voters who voted National in 2011 to vote for Kelvin Davis this time, in order to erase Harawira’s 1,165 majority and thereby sink a large chunk of the centre-left vote, nationwide. It is in Labour’s self interest NOT to make that happen. Logic and political nous in an MMP environment demand that Labour should now quietly decide to run a fairly token effort in Te Tai Tokerau, and put a good recruit like Davis into a safe position on the Labour list.

Labour does not want to be in coalition with the Mana Party. Or the Internet Party. It REALLY doesn’t want to be in coalition with the Mana/Internet Party which will probably be unpopular with many centrist voters and is utterly loathed by the nation’s political and media elites (who are sick with disgust over the unprecedented new phenomenon of politicians accepting political donations and doing electorate deals.)

But if Mana/Internet can give them the numbers then Labour will suck it up and accept their votes. In that respect the Internet/Mana Party is very similar to the Conservative Party. National would rather not, but if needs must then National will give Colin Craig an electorate seat rather than let his votes fall underneath the 5% threshold and go to waste.

The problem for Labour is that it’s going to be really, really hard to determine whether they should let Harawira win Te Tai Tokerau and let the Internet Party coat-tail in behind him. According to the latest 3 News /Reid poll, the combined Mana/Internet Party vote is only 0.8%. If that’s true then they’re not worth it. Let Kelvin Davis win the seat, and let Mana/Internet die. Up til this Monday that was probably the plan.

But now the Internet Party has Laila Harre and several million dollars, which – they claim – they intend to spend turning out non-voters. If Harre can turn out, say, 50,000 new voters then she might just bring in enough MPs to change the government – if Hone Harawira wins his electorate seat. Otherwise those votes will be wasted.

And here’s Labour’s big problem: how will they know whether the Internet/Mana party’s GOTV campaign is working? What will winning the votes of a bunch of tertiary students and poor young Maori look like in the polls? How will they know those voters are actually going to turn up and vote until they actually do so?

I don’t think anyone knows the answer to those questions. A lot will depend on the team Harre puts in place, and I note that her first hire has been Pam Corkery as her press secretary. My impression is that that’s a very poor decision and doesn’t point towards the technology-based data-driven political party the Internet Party needs to be to have an impact in the election.

55 Comments »

  1. I suspect that some people in the Labour caucus would prefer another term in opposition to another competitor for “their” voters.

    Comment by pete — May 30, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

  2. I presume she hired Corkery because she knows and likes her on a personal level, but it seems like Harre is intent on turning the Internet Party into a revival of the Alliance faction that split with Jim Anderton back in 2002. Just a shame Matt McCarten’s busy.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 30, 2014 @ 3:50 pm

  3. I thought it was a bit interesting – perhaps an attempt to deal with the dead white male media on their own terms. The question is whether there will be a separate internet secretary or whether Pam will be expected to do both.

    Comment by Moz in Oz — May 30, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

  4. The Harre choice as leader just confirms that the internet party is an attempt by Dotcom to have a bit of insurance with Hone holding the balance of power and stopping his extradition. The big losers are the Greens which is probably an added bonus for Dotcom.
    If Harre is your answer to motivating the youth to get out and vote it’s an epic fail! she is a grey haired socialist who owns a vineyard and an Italian restaurant and is a lifelong unionist…not an attractive prospect for the individualistic young potential voter.

    Comment by David — May 30, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

  5. I thought it was a bit interesting – perhaps an attempt to deal with the dead white male media on their own terms

    It’s the worse possible choice. It helps confirm the suspicion that the Internet Party is nothing of the sort, and is actually The Alliance rebooted.

    Comment by danylmc — May 30, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

  6. Laila did not hire Corkery. She did not know Corkery was her press secretary. She got told about it on air, and said she knew nothing about it. She then checked, and confirmed that Corkery had been hired t be her press secretary.

    Never known a party leader before not to know or have a say in their own press secretary. Says a lot about who is really in charge.Incredible.

    Jessica Williams tweeted about Harre not knowing, in case you do not believe me – https://twitter.com/mizjwilliams/status/472200547290734592

    Comment by dpf — May 30, 2014 @ 4:54 pm

  7. “The big losers are the Greens which is probably an added bonus for Dotcom.”

    Please do explain your reasoning there.

    Comment by Sacha — May 30, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

  8. Corkery was the classic Radio Big Mouth back in the days when Radio Pacific talkback was a power in the land. Everything looks easy from a talkback host’s chair. Pam was bloody useless as an MP. She says its because Jim Anderton was a dictator when he led the Alliance and wouldn’t let others shine. There’s no doubt Anderton was a my way or the highway guy but maybe he just had Pam’s number.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 30, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

  9. Laila did not hire Corkery. She did not know Corkery was her press secretary. She got told about it on air, and said she knew nothing about it. She then checked, and confirmed that Corkery had been hired t be her press secretary.

    That does seem strange, since it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world other than Harre hiring Pam Corkery.

    Comment by danylmc — May 30, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

  10. @Danyl: I’m not sure Corkery is as poisonous to the wider electorate as you seem to think. How is she the “worst possible choice”?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 30, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

  11. Dotcomedy

    KDC gets people who had a vendetta against Labour to run his vendetta against Key.

    Comment by NeilM — May 30, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

  12. Either Kim Dotcom is playing a very adaptive game or perhaps he just had his party stolen. Perhaps he concluded that Hone would only allow the electorate coat-tailing if the Internet Party went hard left and that with skilled left wing activists would be better for campaigning than some geek hero leader. Alternatively Hone and Laila have managed to negotiate a deal where an individual with no apparent interest in left wing political goals to gift them $4 million and some yoof appeal.

    As for the line that Dotcom & Hone can attract disaffected youth, do these ‘only care about the interwebz & care enough to vote’ 18-25yos actually exist?

    Comment by Richard — May 30, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

  13. “gift them $4 million”

    $3.25m – but a great Nat line to repeat if you must.

    Comment by Sacha — May 30, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

  14. I’m not sure Corkery is as poisonous to the wider electorate as you seem to think. How is she the “worst possible choice”?

    Because she sends the signal that Harre is just rebuilding the Alliance, a party that disintegrated under her twelve years ago.

    Comment by danylmc — May 30, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

  15. “According to the latest 3 news/Reid poll, the combined Mana/Internet Party vote is only 0.8%. If that’s true then they’re not worth it.”

    Just one poll. I could just as easily point to recent polls where they’re at 2 or 2.5% combined.

    Comment by swordfish — May 30, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

  16. .. and Act is polling at somewhere between 0 and 1% as ever.

    Comment by Sacha — May 30, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

  17. By the way, Danyl you are due congratulations for providing the rational left wing analysis of the problem that Labour has. For the crazy as a loon version try Chris Trotter’s article entitled “Get back in the box Kelvin, you’re just a chocolate soldier in the class war”.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 30, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

  18. By the way, Danyl you are due congratulations for providing the rational left wing analysis of the problem that Labour has.

    We’re in a deep, dark place if Danyl is being praised as “rational” … have you not read his novel?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 30, 2014 @ 9:01 pm

  19. Corkery is a nightmare in the TV game too – shitty IVs, ill-informed sermonising and burning contacts like they’re just another skinny joint. Significant NZ on Air dollars have been wasted on her programmes.

    Comment by nigelsagentinthefield — May 30, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

  20. We are indeed in a deep dark place if Danyl is being praised as rational. Who needs the novel?

    Comment by peterlepaysan — May 30, 2014 @ 9:14 pm

  21. 2014: the year NZ politics jumped the shark.

    Comment by Grant — May 30, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

  22. “We’re in a deep, dark place if Danyl is being praised as “rational” … have you not read his novel?”

    I’ve almost finished it and have been wondering about what deep dark place his mind resides in.

    Comment by Richard — May 30, 2014 @ 10:16 pm

  23. @Danyl: For starters, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to blame Harre for the collapse of the Alliance. Being the junior partner in a coalition is always difficult, but even past that it’s at least as much Anderton’s fault. But really, I think that the identity of a party’s press secretary is not nearly as decisive vis-a-vis its identity as you seem to be saying here. Once again, there’s an element of hyperbole in your commentary, where extremely minor decisions are blown up as decisive – and also, an element of unwittingly (I hope, anyway) going along with DPF’s attack lines.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 30, 2014 @ 11:45 pm

  24. Are we talking about the same Pam Corkery who couldn’t even get a brothel going, because she couldn’t work out that the customers are almost all male? So we get the madam who had never been in a brothel fronting for the woman who has no connection to the internet, who is in turn fronting the Internet Party. I’m sure the Right are shaking in their boots.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — May 31, 2014 @ 12:05 am

  25. Corkery is well-connected and well-liked in the media, which are important attributes for a press secretary. The general public couldn’t give a stuff about the names of any politician’s press secretary. This is a very microcosmic concern. Likewise, the target electorate of the Internet Party will neither know nor care what the Alliance was. Get over yourselves, people.

    Comment by AlistairC — May 31, 2014 @ 1:11 am

  26. Richard : “do these ‘only care about the interwebz & care enough to vote’ 18-25yos actually exist?”
    Do you get around much? I know quite a few, and I don’t even live in NZ.

    Comment by AlistairC — May 31, 2014 @ 1:14 am

  27. When my wife told me yesterday that pam corkery had been hired I thought she was jokeing .
    It’s like the new sky channel ” Johnes” a collection of mps that are well past their use by date.

    Comment by Graham — May 31, 2014 @ 6:33 am

  28. Quick pop quiz – ask yourself who is John Key’s press secretary (and no, it’s not Kevin Taylor any more)? How many times have you seen her name mentioned in the news? Meaning, as long as Corkery does her job properly, no-one outside of a bunch of media hacks will ever know of her existence.

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 31, 2014 @ 8:37 am

  29. I agree with FL.

    To the people that will or are contemplating voting for M/I, it won’t make an ounce of difference who is appointed as Press Sec.

    As kalvarnsen points out, this ‘story’ is a concocted narrative. The trouble is it will work, because the target is not M/I voters. It’s swing centrist voters who recall Harre as the destroyer of the Alliance and Corkery as an ineffectual MP and a tiresome, polarising, abrasive radio jock / TV hack; the intent being to have those soft voters either (a) swing their vote National for the outright percentage or at worst (b) frighten lefties who can’t stand Harre or Corkery back to the ‘estashment left’ Labour to encourage vote wasting / chop into the Green’s percentage.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 31, 2014 @ 9:07 am

  30. I think Danyl’s point is that Pam Corkery probably doesn’t have the skills to design a massive online campaign to capture hundreds of thousands of potential voters details and then use that data to get out the vote (maybe given the very short time frame they’re working under, best approach will be mass texting and possibly automated calls to everybody on their database).

    My guess judging by the large amount of pretty good oonline ads I am seeing for the Internet Party is that dotcom already employs people with the skills, if not the strategic plan, to do that. Corkery’s focus probably more likely to just be traditional media.

    I still think tthey won’t get more than 2% of vote max … but could be wrong!

    Comment by lucyjh — May 31, 2014 @ 9:54 am

  31. I think that the “cup of tea” move in Epsom hurt National’s party vote, and I think that’s the reason that they’re being so coy about any similar moves this time around.

    While any evidence I have is entirely anecdotal, I know of two younger voters who, quite independently of one another, gave their vote to Winston First in response to the teapot farce. The feeling of rewarding cynicism with cynicism is similar to what I recall from Australia in the 90s from otherwise sensible people who saw voting for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation as a way of giving a plague on both your houses finger to a political and media establishment that had turned its collective back on them.

    Comment by Joe W — May 31, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  32. ” “do these ‘only care about the interwebz & care enough to vote’ 18-25yos actually exist?” Do you get around much? I know quite a few, and I don’t even live in NZ.”

    ok then AlaisterC, why did the pirate party movement fail to fire in NZ in 2011 and why does the Internet Party so far have no prominent faces under 40? Can you point to any grass roots activity by this demographic other than some half hearted slacktivism.

    Comment by Richard — May 31, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

  33. Well I don’t know.. but if I was a disengaged potential young voter happily surfing in my bedroom the two things I would hate would be a parent coming in without knocking and a political party taking an unhealthy interest in the Internet!

    JC

    Comment by JC — May 31, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

  34. Cunliffe has had to step in and commit the party’s full support for Davis. No deal with Hone “I don’t do deals” Harawira in TTT.

    Persoanally I think thats the right move. Not backing Davis would have caused a lot of bitterness especially after what happened in Tamaki Makaurau. It would deem like a pattern of the Labour leadership ditching Maori candidates when it was expidient to do so.

    And I don’t think Hone is safe.

    But Harre forcing Labour to react as well as her “I’m the true voice of the dispossessed” act all sounds like a rerun of the divisions of 20 years ago.

    Comment by NeilM — May 31, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

  35. >As for the line that Dotcom & Hone can attract disaffected youth, do these ‘only care about the interwebz & care enough to vote’ 18-25yos actually exist?

    Of course they exist, and there’s an even bigger pool who put interwebz as very high concern but also are sympathetic to the basic Mana angle, if only they even knew about it. But the question of whether Harawira and Dotcom, and more particularly Harre and Harawira can actually tap that vote is a whole ‘nother thing. Somehow I don’t think they’re going to be leaping off their porn to shoot their vote at a 48 year old woman who they’ve never heard of, and would probably like less if they had, and certainly have no reason to think will do anything for their internet privacy, freedom and cost. She might help them get paid more at Maccas, though. Which will probably speak volumes to their perception of her ambitions for them. They could get paid $10 more per week, or pay $10 less for their internet, and get 10 times as much downloads. Which one will they actually want?

    Comment by Ben Wilson — May 31, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

  36. “Well I don’t know.. but if I was a disengaged potential young voter happily surfing in my bedroom the two things I would hate would be a parent coming in without knocking and a political party taking an unhealthy interest in the Internet!”

    Yes, but then you’re a superannuated tory dickwad, so aren’t really down wif da yoof innit, jc?

    Comment by Judge Holden — May 31, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

  37. @lucy: “I think Danyl’s point is that Pam Corkery probably doesn’t have the skills”

    Danyl explicitly said that his problem with Corkery was that she used to be in the Alliance, nothing to do with skills.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 31, 2014 @ 6:17 pm

  38. “internet privacy, freedom and cost” – that is only one of the policy areas they had already announced before Harre coming on board: https://internet.org.nz/mission

    Comment by Sacha — May 31, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

  39. Cant be fucked reading all of this above, but I bet no one has mentioned principles yet…

    Comment by Grant — May 31, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

  40. Going back to Danyl’s original point, there certainly is no way for Labour to ascertain what IMP will get.

    But I’d guess that with Harre both Key and Cunliffe are breathing a sigh of relief.

    I think though that even if Cunliffe wanted and/or thought it strategically advantageous to do a deal with Hone either up front or on the sly then he would run the risk of alienating not just maori Labour supporters and candidates but also the Greens. He only recently ruled out any formal per-election arrangement with them, to turn around and do a deal with Hone would be a real slap in the face.

    Especially as the Greens had rejected Harre as a candidate.

    Quite a lot of potential downside to bet on the likes of Hone and KDC who have never shown much enthusiasm for Labour.

    Comment by NeilM — May 31, 2014 @ 11:45 pm

  41. “Especially as the Greens had rejected Harre as a candidate.”

    Got a source for that?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 1, 2014 @ 12:48 am

  42. I do, but can’t say who. It wasn’t so much that she was “rejected” as expressed a strong interest that was not responded to.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — June 1, 2014 @ 7:07 am

  43. Believe it was Checkpoint where I heard Harre saying she didn’t fancy the prospect of being a low-ranked MP for any party but the chance to lead one was another thing altogether.

    Comment by Sacha — June 1, 2014 @ 7:13 am

  44. This Internet Party. Apart from the owner and the CEO it’s… well… not very internetty at all.

    Comment by Bill Bennett — June 1, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  45. >“internet privacy, freedom and cost” – that is only one of the policy areas they had already announced before Harre coming on board

    Sure, but it was also the only policy area that made them at all interesting. It also justified their choice of name, which people seem to think has suddenly become strangely insignificant. It isn’t. It’s the *very first* thing everyone thinks of, because it’s the *very first* thing they hear.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — June 1, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

  46. The second thing they think of is Kim Dotcom, the guy who made MegaUpload, got busted, then made Mega, and has his face plastered all over Orcon billboards.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — June 1, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

  47. Great to see at last enough money for the left in the runup to this election. Nice change from nact having all the advertising dollars. Likewise great if Harre and Minto get into parliament. Much prefer to hear from them than the young nact robots. Hope Davis doesn’t try too hard.

    Comment by Alistair — June 1, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

  48. It seems like Harre is intent on turning the Internet Party into a revival of the Alliance faction that split with Jim Anderton back in 2002.

    Well. Let’s say you’re a rich expat, or indeed anyone else who doesn’t know much about NZ political history but is nevertheless seriously looking to set up a political party that will hit the ground running RIGHT NOW for an election six months away.

    Your key objective for this party is getting the Nats out of office. Given timeframes, you’re going to look for experienced political operatives; former Nat spin doctors are out of the question for ideological/trust reasons (this is a shame, because in the circumstances they would be the very best people to buy, and you are not short of money); and former (and current) Labour people are similarly out of the question for being (variously) batty, incompetent, or likely to betray you in favour of Labour. So who’s left to choose from? The former inhabitants of the left-left. Enter Harre and Corkery. It really is a shame that McCarten is otherwise engaged, because six months ago he would have been an obvious hire.

    Comment by Milla — June 1, 2014 @ 7:48 pm

  49. >Given timeframes, you’re going to look for experienced political operatives

    I guess there’s something in that. But I’d say that the main reason for Harre is not that no better political operatives can be found for love or money. It’s because she’s compatible with Mana, which is needed for potential coat-tailing. There are thousands of people who have been deep inside political machines many times, from whom experience could have been found. That said, I don’t have a better candidate in mind. It just seems odd that no-one could be found out of the legions of successful and eloquent net-evangelists. Makes me think that this was simply not prioritized very highly.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — June 2, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

  50. You do pose a number of relevant questipons.

    Comment by huttriverofnz — June 2, 2014 @ 4:54 pm

  51. “It just seems odd that no-one could be found out of the legions of successful and eloquent net-evangelists.” So numerous that you can’t name any. Let’s just imagine they had named some young talented authentic Marcus Yallow type. He would have been, of course, unknown to the general public; ignored by the media (massacred by them every time they got on television), been seen as a completely unlikely match for his bro Hone… Ben Wilson is happy, the rest of the nation is shaking its head in disbelief.

    Comment by AlistairC — June 3, 2014 @ 1:33 am

  52. “do these ‘only care about the interwebz & care enough to vote’ 18-25yos actually exist?” Do you get around much? I know quite a few, and I don’t even live in NZ.”

    Thinking back to the last election, and maybe it’s just the social strata I inhabit, but most people my age and younger (i.e. under 30) seem to fall into two camps; the ardent-non-voter and the politically-aware-and-active voter.

    The former are highly unlikely to change their non-voting intentions and the latter are already firmly on board with their party of choice (I get the impression they fall roughly 50:50 into the Greens and National, with a few Labour voters for good measure.

    Comment by Phil — June 3, 2014 @ 9:29 am

  53. >He would have been, of course, unknown to the general public; ignored by the media (massacred by them every time they got on television), been seen as a completely unlikely match for his bro Hone… Ben Wilson is happy, the rest of the nation is shaking its head in disbelief.

    Maybe that would have happened. Maybe not. It’s not the rest of the nation shaking it’s head that is the actual concern of a new party trying to get new voters. Why should they give a shit if National party voters shake their heads in disbelief? The heads they’re claiming to be interested in are the young ones who might very well be impressed by a younger switched on net evangelist backed by KDCs money.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — June 3, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

  54. Another major factor is that company-based training remains a bit unfashionable…

    There is a rational economic argument that says there is no need to train employees as they will train themselves to the highest level of their capacity (and at their own cost) in order to ensure that they are in the consideration set for any given role.

    I did have a disagreement with Bronwyn Howell about this though because this logic didn’t really take into account the significant transaction costs of highly skilled individuals being both in demand and (anecdotally) exhibiting a with a higher degree of labour mobility combined with a lower threshold of dissatisfaction in terms of salary and incidental benefits.

    There is a whole ‘nother school of thought that recommends dumping a ton of money on training because employees are then more likely to stay due to a sort of residual social contract effect, and the intangible ‘feelgood factor’ associated with working for an outfit that takes pride in educating and maintaining their workforce.

    Also, education is a tax deduction so I struggle to understand why large corps. don’t make it a key plank of retention policies.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 4, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

  55. Oops- wrong thread. Apols.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 4, 2014 @ 1:34 pm


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