Monday 4 August 2014

Extradition and the Internet Party: Part Two

I like many of the Internet Party's policies (that have been announced so far). I like a lot of their candidates. I like a lot of what they stand for. A cat features as a prominent part of their current campaign. But I struggle to let myself want to vote for them, which feels hypocritical given that I put so much emphasis on voting for good policy (edit: @ellipsister reminds me that there is a lot of overlap in policy between the Internet Party and the Greens, and I agree). I've detailed my issues with the Internet-Mana Party Alliance before here, and part of that post was discussing how all of this plays into Kim Dotcom's extradition (also discussed here). How Dotcom has started and funded this party worries me, and even though everything else about the Internet Party might be pretty good, none of it would have happened without Dotcom, and is therefore associated with all the baggage that comes along with that.

Many people are convinced that the Internet Party predominantly exists to advantage Dotcom in his extradition case, among them 3News political editor Patrick Gower and Prime Minister John Key. To reduce it to that undermines all the hard work that the candidates and volunteers are doing across the country (even if the candidates are being paid salaries). But in the back of my mind, part of me wonders if that might be true. I want the Internet Party to be in Parliament to stand for the issues that they've campaigned for, but as soon as they try to block an extradition or influence that process in any way my confidence in them will be lost.

Internet Party leader Laila Harre was caught in a tough position recently when information surrounding Kim Dotcom's residency application surfaced, and she publicly stated that if the decision was hers, she wouldn't have let Dotcom into the country. A bold move to essentially say that if you were in power, you wouldn't let the founder and funder of your party live in the country. But it shows that she is willing (or trying) to show that she is not beholden to Dotcom, and that the Internet Party can bring change to Parliament with or without him.

So why not go a step further? What I really want, is for Harre to declare that if the issue of Kim Dotcom's extradition comes across the desk of the Minister of Justice of the day, she and her party will not make any moves or attempts to block that extradition. Let the justice system do its job and work it out. Rule out any suspicion that the primary (hidden) function of the party is to stop Dotcom from being extradited to the US. Corrupting our justice system (more) is too high a price to pay for the policy that the Internet Party offers. Severing that purported link would erase a lot of doubt from many peoples' minds, and would make the Internet Party a much more viable candidate for the election. I don't know what the personal cost of a move like this between the Internet Party's leadership would be, but I feel like it might be a good move politically. I want to like the Internet Party, but right now, I just can't.

Lastly, I feel like this is a rather powerful political cartoon. Not quite as relevant in New Zealand, but definitely speaks to how the political landscape is shifting in the US.

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