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Laila Harre an 'inspired' choice - experts

Thursday 29 May 2014 10:33 a.m.

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Political commentators are picking Internet Mana to scrape a few votes from the Greens, after the newly formed alliance poached Laila Harre to stand second on the list.

Ms Harre, a former minister in the Helen Clark-led Government, was recently employed by the Green Party as issues director, but is widely expected to be announced as leader of the Internet Party this afternoon.

3 News political editor Patrick Gower says the Greens will be "absolutely sulking" at the loss.

"They will go and take some votes off the Greens straight off the bat – the Greens have probably lost 0.5, 1 percent, maybe even more," he said on Firstline this morning.

Otago University politics professor Bryce Edwards agrees, saying her skills and inside knowledge of the party will be a "spanner in the works" for the Greens.

"This new project… is something that will be targeting at the same demographic – the young voters, the left-leaning voters, the anti-establishment voters," says Dr Edwards. " It's exactly what [the Greens] didn't need."

Dr Edwards and Gower agree that although her appointment was unexpected, Ms Harre gives the equally unlikely Internet Mana partnership a lot more credibility.

"I don't know what Laila Harre knows about gigabytes, megabytes, filesharing, broadband or wireless routers, but she knows a hell of a lot about politics on the left-wing," says Gower.

"The Internet Party have made an inspired choice I think in choosing her," says Dr Edwards. "She has a lot of credibility, she has the experience of being  a Cabinet minister, and more importantly it's that left-wing profile.

"It means that this new alliance between Mana and the Internet Party has a bit more coherence now."

It does give the Government an opening to paint the alliance as a "bit more 'crazy', a bit more far-left" says Dr Edwards, but he thinks that's a risk worth taking.

"New Zealanders are actually willing to give something a chance. People were talking about 2 percent, 3 percent, but who knows – it could go much higher than that."

Unless Internet Mana gets 5 percent of the vote it will all be for nothing, unless Mana leader Hone Harawira can retain his Te Tai Tokerau seat.

Gower, who has in the past criticised the National-ACT Party deals in the wealthy Epsom  electorate, says the left has finally found its own "dirty deal" in the far North seat.

"This is a rort as bad as Epsom."

The Internet Party will officially reveal its new leader this afternoon.

3 News


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