Home > The Body Politic > The Mana-Internet Alliance – My Thoughts

The Mana-Internet Alliance – My Thoughts



internet party mana party



1. Mana’s cunning plan

Firstly, let me say that I have a huge amount of respect for Sue Bradford. Much like Kate Sheppard, her contribution to New Zealand society with her political activism and expression of ideals is something that our children and grandchildren will recognise and appreciate. She is the better part of our nation’s collective conscience in what is right, fair, and decent.

When Sue  Bradford speaks, we listen.

On the issue of the Mana-Internet Party Alliance (it is not a merger, as cynics and right-wing commentators are suggesting),  whilst I understand her reservations, I don’t accept we have the luxury of being “purer than pure” about this.

I don’t need to remind people that this government has been vicious toward low income earners; workers; and welfare recipients. Whilst National has bent over backwards for the likes of Rio Tinto, Warner Bros, and Skycity, it has nothing but contempt for those at the other end of the socio-economic spectrum.

Bennett’s on-going war-of-words on the unemployed and solo-mothers (but never solo-fathers) and repressive new  measures at WINZ are making life harder and harder for those who must survive on welfare.

Simon Bridges’ anti-union legislation will destroy the last vestiges of protection and collective bargaining for workers, delivering them into the grasping fists of local and foreign capitalist corporations.

We can argue all we like about the ethics of co-operation between Mana and the Internet Party.  We can indulge our political passions till the dairy cows come home (after their morning poo in our rivers).

We can keep waiting for a mass workers’ movement to rise up and overthrow the oligarchy that rules this country (and others throughout the world) – but really,  it ain’t gonna  happen, folks.

Quite simply, the poor/unemployed/low-paid are too busy struggling day-to-day to survive on their meagre incomes; avoiding debt collectors; and keeping up with WINZ’s ever-changing rules and new hurdles. Who can forget the chilling, heart-wrending  story  of Sarah Wilson, who recounted her experiences with WINZ. There are thousands of men and women and children like Sarah going through what she has.

The middle-classes are either National Party aspirationists who have bought the neo-liberal, consumer-is-king, construct, hook-line-and-sinker – or are trying to keep their heads above water, balancing their outgoings with their income. The latter have one eye on their bank accounts and the other on the lot of the poor/unemployed/low-paid – and will do anything to keep from slipping down to their bottom level.

Like homelessness in the United States, once down the socio-economic ladder, it is damned hard to climb up again.

If we needed  a clear example why the Left must take every opportunity to rid ourselves of this government, it is this piece, which I have republished from Tony Milne’s blogpost on The Daily Blog;


Hooray for our National Government!

Let me tell you just how well they have supported my family over the last twelve months.

We started off 2013 full of hope that finally things were going to get better. Our children were at new schools and beginning to recover from the trauma of being trapped in the CBD during the earthquake. Having lost our source of income as a result of the earthquake I retrained as a teacher. My husband and I both had teaching jobs. As a beginning teacher and teacher Aide our salaries were very low but at least we were earning.

Strike 1: We were earning but not receiving. Novopay! That wonderful new acquisition of our caring and intelligent government hit us hard. For months we were not paid properly or at all in my husband’s case. This meant that we quickly fell into debt as we had no income. Paying interest on the debt cost us thousands by the end of the year.

Strike 2: My job was a fixed term position for 1 year. That’s ok. I’m sure to find another one… except the government has closed so many Christchurch schools that even many experienced teachers are out of work. So no more jobs available. Way to go government! As if we haven’t suffered enough in Christchurch!

Strike 3: Thank goodness we have a welfare system to help us out in times of trouble. Our incredibly generous government has worked its magic on the welfare system too. Revamping it to make sure those nasty beneficiaries don’t eat into their coffers and mess up the budget surplus targets. So despite being unemployed I am ineligible for a benefit. The reason being that the $379.28 that my husband brings home each week during the school term (as a teacher aide he does not get paid for school holidays) is too much for me to qualify. We can claim an accommodation supplement of $120 per week.

Strike 4: $120 per week accommodation supplement doesn’t go very far in Christchurch thesedays. But if we lived in Auckland we could get more because housing is so much more expensive there. Really? A small 1960’s house with 2 1/2 bedrooms and no insulation is at least $450 a week in Christchurch. A search on Trademe revealed 68 3 bedroom houses available for rent in Auckland for $350 per week or less. There were no 3 bedroom houses for that price in Christchurch. Aah yes there is a housing shortage but the government will not increase the accommodation supplement or do anything to stop the profiteering of landlords. Or make resolving the housing shortage a priority.

Why? Who knows… it seems that people are not as important as those good old market forces – our friends supply and demand.

It is interesting to consider that during a similarly traumatic and destructive national emergency (World War 2), it was illegal to profiteer in this way. In fact in the UK, profiteering like this was akin to treason and carried the death penalty.

Strike 5: So, here we are. A family of two adults and two hungry teenagers and two cats living on $568.28 per week for 40 weeks of the year and $189 per week for the rest when you include our
family tax rebate. Our rent was $470 per week and it was costing $110 per week for my husband to commute to his job. In order to save money we have put the kids into the school where my husband works and moved close by. Our rent is now $450 per week and we are locked into it for the next twelve months. We signed the contract believing that we would be entitled to a benefit that would give me an income and believing that for $450 a week it would be insulated and safe if not beautiful.

We were wrong. We were unable to find anything cheaper despite searching for months. I had applied for a benefit in the first week of February after my previous employment contract ended.

Unfortunately, WINZ were having a tough few months and it took them until the 6th process my application. They declined it. If I had known that it would be declined I would not have signed the tenancy three weeks earlier.

Strike 6: Novopay strikes again! Novopay failed to pay me correctly at the end of my contract so I am still owed a week’s pay. Novopay refuse to talk to teachers and will only talk to the pay officer in the school. I notified the school over a month ago and they say that they have referred the matter to Novopay. Nothing more they can do. Novopay won’t talk to me so I can’t find out where my money is. Stalemate!

So as you can see our wonderful government has taken an ordinary family and crushed it through the accumulated impact of the decisions of their various departments. We survived the earthquake and after three years the physical and psychological injuries are starting to heal. Unfortunately, we won’t survive this government. I don’t know what I can possibly do to change my situation. I have tried every avenue I can think of. Years of hard work all for nothing.

It baffles me that such a government could ever be elected by reasonable people. But then I guess Hitler was elected too… I am sure there are well meaning people in the government somewhere but I wonder if they really appreciate the impact of the decisions that they make on ordinary people.

One other point: getting rid of this government is not just a matter of helping those who are threatened by right-wing policies – though god knows that should be plenty to motivate us.

The longer that a right-wing government is in power, the further their neo-liberal policies are cemented in place, and the harder to undo them. The dismantling of free tertiary education and introduction of tertiary fees/debt, from 1992, is a prime example.

A third term of National will see a further erosion of workers’ rights; beneficiary bashing; growing inequality; worsening housing shortage; and other social and economic ills. A third term will make it much harder for an incoming Labour-Green-Mana-Internet Party(-NZ First ?) to carry out social reforms, as the country is moved further and further to the right.

Time is not on our side.

2. Flavell’s unmitigated hypocrisy

On the Mana-Internet Party Alliance, Maori Party co-co-c0-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell said;

“Utilising Maori seats to drag in somebody who is questionable about their knowledge about things Maori, and indeed the dreams and aspirations of the Tai Tokerau, it’s not on.”

If I were Flavell, I would not be  bandying about words like “dreams” and “aspirations“.

Since  John Key became Prime Minister – with Maori Party support – unemployment has risen; the housing crisis has worsened; child poverty has increased; and income inequality has worsened;


Income inequality in New Zealand -  the Gini coefficient - 1982 - 2012


Note the yellow-highlighted After Housing Costs rise in inequality from 36.8 (2007) to 37.7 (2012). The higher the figure in the GINI co-efficient, the greater the inequality.

Many of those unemployed and looking for work or living in garages are Maori or Pacifica. Poverty related diseases are impacting on Maori and Pacifica children worse than other ethnic groups. New Zealand’s under class is growing.

As such, Flavell and his mates in the Maori Party are every bit a part of the problem rather than the solution. So if I were Mr Flavell or his fellow-travellers, I’d be keeping my head down, and mouth firmly shut.

3. Labour’s mind-numbing stupidity

(Some ?) (All ?) Labour MPs need to make up their minds – do they want to be in government or not?

Labour’s Kelvin Davis’s comment on 28 May;

“People can see that this is just a stitch-up and I don’t think they like seeing Tai Tokerau being traded off like that. I think they’re taking the voters of Tai Tokerau for granted.”

– beggars belief.

With that incredibly asinine comment, it appears that certain Labour MPs do not quite comprehend;

  1. This is an MMP political environment – has been since 1996, for god’s sakes!
  2. This will be a closely fought election according to political pundits, commentators, bloggers, pollsters, etc. Even Dear Leader acknowledges that this year’s election will be  close.

As such – and let me bold this so that any Labour politician reading this doesn’t miss it – every single seat will count. The next government may have no more than a one or two seat majority.

In which case, let me explain it in simple terms for Mr Davis and his colleagues;

  • If Kelvin Davis wins Tai Tokerau – that will give one seat to a Labour-led-government.
  • If Hone Harawira wins Tai Tokerau, and the Mana-Internet Alliance polls 1.5% (for example), that will give a Labour-led government two MPs.
  • Let me repeat that, as some of my colleagues may be a bit slow on the up-take on this point;
  • If Kelvin Davis wins Tai Tokerau – that will give one seat to a Labour-led-government.
  • If Hone Harawira wins Tai Tokerau, and the Mana-Internet Alliance polls 1.5% (for example), that will give a Labour-led government two MPs.

Now in my books, two is better than one, by about 200%.

So – unless Labour is getting nervous at impending interest rate rises, and is planning to sit this election out and gift the government back to National – there is no benefit whatsoever to the Left if Kelvin Davis wins Tai Tokerau.





In fact, if Mana-Internet fails to win seats, we could see a third term of this guy, as our Prime Minister;




I trust that’s helped focus people’s attention?

4. Postscript

If rumours are correct that Laila Harré has been appointed as the new leader of the Internet Party, then we have nothing to fear. Laila is as solid as they come when it comes to a strong leftwing philosophy. Her integrity, vision, and inner strength  will keep the Internet Party firmly to the Left.

I’d say our chances of a new progressive government post 20 September just got better.




NBR: Internet Party, Mana merge

NZ Herald: Beneficiaries ‘attacked on all sides’

NZ Herald: Welfare rules force people to struggle on without benefits

Writehandedgirl Blog: Terror and humiliation – just another day with WINZ

The Daily Blog: “We won’t survive this government”

TVNZ News: Dotcom’s party poised for Parliament on Harawira’s coat tails

MSD: Household incomes in New Zealand: Trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2012 Revised Tables and Figures 27 February 2014

Interest.co.nz: Otago Uni study estimates over-crowding causes over 1,300 hospital admissions a year and some deaths; Professor calls for programme to build thousands of affordable homes

Scoop media: Shocking poverty causing shocking diseases in our children

NZ Herald: Key admits underclass still growing

TVNZ News:  Former MP Laila Harre tipped as Internet Party’s new leader

Radio NZ: PM still expects tight election race

Previous related blogposts

Good onya, Sue!





Vote the government out

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 May 2014.



9= fs =

  1. Dirk
    4 June 2014 at 8:59 am

    Thank you for a good bit of reality. The question is whether Labour is so beholden to elites that it would rather throw the election than align with parties seeking progressive change. There are many good people in Labour and I would hate to see them sacrificed for neoliberalism’s benefit. When will the sheep look up?

  2. Theodore
    10 June 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Well said, Dirk. It’s time that the likes of Kelvin Davis should get the hell out of Labour. Until that day, when the ABC faction piss off, my vote goes to the Green Party. It’s not just the National Party that has a born-to-rule mentality, it’s deeply entrenched in the Labour Party as well.

    Time for a clean out. Until then, Labour is destined to be a shadow of it’s former self.

  1. 7 June 2014 at 9:12 am
  2. 11 June 2014 at 8:01 am
  3. 14 August 2014 at 8:01 am

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