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.