Internet Party New Zealand – Where to from here?

Internet Party - Where to from here?

The 2017 election is over and if you look at the results it has been a dismal election for Internet Party New Zealand with only 499 votes.

The causes of this are manifold. But they can basically be boiled down to,

  • Not enough time for the new leadership.
  • Lack of money.
  • No media coverage.

The last two could almost be considered the same thing in New Zealand elections.

On the brighter side of things some of their policies were adopted by other parties. A couple of examples are,

 

So, where to from here?

There are a number of things that didn’t happen in time for the last election. Having time to complete them should serve the Party well in the run up to the next election.

Internet Party - Where to from here?

Leadership

Party leadership appears to have stabilised with Suzie Dawson at the helm. Ms Dawson has been advocating  and explaining the Parties policy positions on the Internet with a series of live interviews with activists called the #AntiSpyBill events. These are expected to continue over the coming years.

She has also been promoting the Internet Party overseas. This has caused a number of fledgling Internet Party’s to have sprung up with IPNZ’s help.

An alliance has been formed with Pirate Parties International. This should  give the Internet Party access to this political organisations experience and support.

Most importantly, a core team has been formed around which the Party can be expanded and rebuilt.

Technology

Technology has been at the heart of the Party. Now long time member Jo Booth has picked up the reins as Technology Director.

From managing servers to live production he has bought his skills to bear, sometimes having to learn on the job, but always looking at problems from a hackers angle.

Over the next three years Jo can be expected to keep coming up with technological solutions and building his team.

Policy

Finally policy has a stable leader with Daymond Goulder-Horobin. If you look at the Party’s policies there are quite a few ‘Coming soon’. This is due to Daymond having a very high standard before release.

Party policy is raised and ratified by the membership before being released in it’s full form. Unfortunately, this meant not all the member ratified policy could be finalised before the last election. This will now be able to happen.

Candidates

The Party now has candidates to stand for and advocate for it. Some of whom have never been involved in the political sphere before. It is expected they will gain experience over the next few years and stand for the Party in the 2020 election.

2020 Election

A lot can happen in three years but if anything the causes that the Internet Party stands for will become more important as time goes on and the public become more informed as to the dangers of mass surveillance and the purposes it is being used for.

I expect the Party will stand again in the 2020 election and I think we can safely say they will get more than 499 votes when they do.

So where do they go from here? They carry on informing, explaining and improving.

 

 

Alliance of Small Parties

Alliance of Small Parties

A few days ago I wrote a post on the media coverage blackout that the Internet Party was facing. One piece of feedback about the post was this from twitter,

nice article but very weak in that it offers no solutions or actions, counter measures etc

Which is correct. I didn’t intend to fix the problem, I was just highlighting it. But it got me thinking…..

There are 16 registered political parties at the Electoral Commission. Only 8 of them get any media coverage with the general rule being that you have to have;

  • A seat in Parliament already and/or
  • Be polling over 0.5%

to get any media coverage.

The problem with this is that it entrenches the political landscape. No one gets to see the other parties so they don’t get coverage. It’s a vicious cycle and the only way to break out of it is to launch a well funded political campaign from the get go.

This has been the state of things for at least the last two elections. In 2014 it was the Internet Party and this election it is TOP getting coverage. But money doesn’t equal good policy. It just means you can pay for people to see you.

An Alliance of Small Parties

A solution could be an alliance of small parties (ASP).

Each election the small parties could come together and make a five minute clip on one of their policies that they think New Zealand should see.These would be spliced together to make a 50min video that people could watch. Informing them of the alternative options in the political landscape.

This wouldn’t be that hard to do. The Internet Party already has the skills as shown in their live coverage of their campaign and #antispybill series. They could host and edit it and we could all see some of the policies coming out of the smaller parties.

These parties are;

All of these parties are registered to run in the 2017 Election campaign and all of them are getting no coverage.

In NZ elections money not only equals speech, but also popularity. In my view this is wrong. A policy from The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit should be side by side with National or Labour policy in the same area. Half the reason we keep following the same old ideas is that we are never informed of the options.

Alliance of Small Parties

 

 

The Internet Party and the curious case of the missing media.

Missing Media

It is now 39 days until the New Zealand election and the media coverage is in full swing. Policy websites are up and running. A new political party headed by a rich New Zealander is getting decent traction. The media are fawning over our preferred Prime Minister…..

It is all very 2014 if you ask me. There is just one thing missing. Where is the Internet Party? Where is the party that after all the furor of last election still got more than 30,000 votes?

For that matter, where is the Conservative Party? They got almost 100, 000 votes.

Where are the Missing Media? –  Is it money?

If I go to Google News search ‘Conservative Party NZ’ I get nothing. There has been no coverage of them at all even though they had roughly half the support of NZ First in the last election.

If I search ‘Internet Party NZ’ I get three results. Two of which are a press release for their #Antispybill event. The last is a piece in Computer World. This is the sole piece of semi-journalism between two parties that accounted for more than 5% of the electorate vote last election.

Part of the problem is money. The media run on money. They support that which makes them rich. It is how their business works. The Conservative Party no longer have Colin Craig backing them financially. The Internet Party no longer have Kim Dotcom backing them financially.

You can be absolutely sure than if either party was to intimate they had a $1,000,000 to spend then there would be coverage all over the show as the media flirted and wooed their wallets. Money wins elections.

Missing Media

Where are the Missing Media? – Not just money

It’s not just money though. Money would be bad enough but in this case it is starting to look like a media blackout for the Internet Party at least. If you search ‘Kim Dotcom’ you will find pages of recent news items, but out of the first page of results only one mentions the Internet Party still exists.

“Speaking in an Internet Party live stream this evening, Mr Dotcom continued to slam the GCSB for allegedly hacking into his phone before raiding his Auckland mansion.”

That’s it. I know for a fact that Suzie Dawson, the Internet Party’s leader, has been doing dozens of media interviews from all over the world. The Party has launched in the U.S., and across Europe. The unmentioned guests, from the only news to reference the Party existing, included some of the most famous internet activists and visionaries from all over the world plus commentary on other FVEY member states.

To make it worse the GCSB has admitted it doesn’t control its own spying network and Greenpeace have caught Thompson and Clark surveilling them. Yet no comment has been requested from the Internet Party, in the middle of an election campaign, about front page news stories on topics they were created to deal with. That isn’t just negligence. It’s willful.

If Gareth Morgan can be asked for comment about boot camps then I think the Internet Party should, at least, be asked about our Government Communications Security Bureau systems being run by a foreign power.

 

Internet Party presents #UpdateNZ live

Internet party 2017 banner

In a first for a New Zealand, if not world, political party the Internet Party presented #UpdateNZ live last night. An 8:01pm broadcast on Youtube where they promised to reveal their campaign plan.

There were a few glitches at the start with plenty of good natured humour in the chat panel and chants of #ipcatforpm!

Time 00:12

At around 8:10pm things got underway with an introductory video introducing the IP Executives who would be speaking followed by a welcome by Party President Chris Yong and a brief back history of the Party post 2014 election. At first I thought they were using special effects but it was actually just a microphone left on. Sounded good though. 🙂

Time 03:24

He then swapped over to Party Leader Suzie Dawson who spoke briefly about a recent Wikileaks release where it appears New Zealand spies were dispatched to France on the orders of the NSA (curiously, I was in France at the time although that was not how I paid for it).

Suzie then led everyone watching through the various parts of the Strategic Proposal 2017.

  • Context
  • Strategic Overview
  • Tier 1 Breakdown
  • Campaign Management
  • Principles for Success
  • Funding
  • Notes

Time 39:37

After Suzie came Jo Booth the Tech Director who gave a brief history of himself with the Internet Party and then launched into the tech. His favourite subject.

Some of the tech is;

This gives them a very important end to end encryption structure to build on.

Time 48:00

Then Sarah Illingworth, the Communications Director. Sarah said this was her first time working in a political campaign  and that formally her background is in media and academic research. After a brief call to for people to volunteer in the media team she was back to madly tweeting.

Time 51:06

Next was Bill Urale , Volunteer and Candidate Manager. Bill was on the last campaign and said he was there because he cared for his people, his country and gave a damn about community and he felt the Internet Party team felt the same.

He then talked about some of the differences between the IP campaign and other campaigns with one of the major ones being,”You have a say” in the policy and workings of the Party. He finished with a call for volunteers and solidarity.

Time 55:45

Suzie then wrapped up with a brief look at what lies in the future and then another call for peoples support and donations.

Time 58:05

The live stream then ended with Chris extolling how much they want to make a change in the political system and believe they can.

In Hindsight

In hindsight I think the event went really well. There was upwards of 80 people that I could see and later Suzie said they had over 30 new volunteers. That isn’t a bad strike rate (I have no idea how many there eventually were. I wasn’t watching that).

Everyone spoke well. Sarah was probably the worst spoken but then she had been madly tweeting in the background and everybody had taken all her points already so as was said,”Look at the website“.

The one who surprised me was Jo Booth. I was surprised at how well Jo speaks. It’s probably just the Wellington accent, but he sounds a little like Peter Jackson.  Also, he is obviously very into his tech.

So, not that I am qualified, but I’d give a 7/10. Good introduction for people to some members of the Executive. The bulk of it was a little boring in parts but then making a strategic plan exciting is hard. There was some good stuff though and it was a good continuation from their launch. I look forward to seeing more.

#UpdateNZ live

Democracy in the 21st Century

If you think the way we are governed isn’t going to change then you’re going to get a surprise.  New communication technologies have always changed the way we have governed ourselves and the rise of the computers and the Internet will continue changing democracy in the 21st century.

All over the world people are applying technology to the political problems of the day with the greatest of these being the problem of voter representation in our political systems. Billions of people feel they aren’t represented adequately by their government. This is going to change.

Forget electronic voting machines in polling booths. There are systems today experimenting in using blockchain  technologies to achieve complete and sometimes real time voter control of the government.

This is a roundup of some of those experiments categorised into blockchain and non-blockchain.

Blockchain

The Awaken Direct Democracy Project

Although The Awaken Direct Democracy Project isn’t up and running yet it still gets a mention as a New Zealand effort to “concept stage storyboards for a mobile web-app to enable NZ citizens cast private and secure digital votes into a public block-chain backed parliament. Vote in elections, acts and bills – on legislation past current and future!”

Awaken Direct Democracy Project

Democracy Earth

Democracy Earth is “building Sovereign, an open source and decentralised democratic governance protocol for any kind of organisation.” and seeks to make democracy border less for the entire planet. Fronting it is Santiago Siri who previously worked on DemocracyOS.

Democracy Earth

D-CENT

D-CENT describes itself as a “Europe-wide project creating open, secure and privacy-aware tools for direct democracy and economic empowerment” and is in use in Barcelona, Reykjavik, Helsinki and Madrid. It provides a tool kit for improved and secure participation.

D-CENT

Flux

Flux is an tool Australians can use to directly participate in parliament. It is also a registered political party. It promises, “you’ll be given a vote on every bill put before Federal Parliament, and can use that vote immediately on the issue at hand, give it to a trusted third party to cast on your behalf, or save it for an issue you care more passionately about later.”

Flux

Non-Blockchain

Adhocracy.de

“Adhocracy.de is a free to use participation platform which makes possible a democratic, transparent, open, and goal-oriented discussion and decision making process for all organisations and communal interest groups. This new form of discussion and decision-making is not only able to be shared with an organisation’s membership, but it can also be shared with any interested citizens if so desired.”

Adhocracy

D21

“The D21 voting method allows you to choose multiple options and cast “minus-votes” against options you disfavour. This enables voters to express a richer range of preferences, and reveals points of consensus and controversy – a significant advantage over traditional single-vote polls, which simply show winners and losers.”

D21

Debate Graph

“DebateGraph helps communities of any size to externalise, visualise, question, and evaluate all of the considerations that any member thinks may be relevant to the topic at hand – and by facilitating intelligent, constructive dialogue within the community around those issues.”

Debate Graph

Democracy Lab

Democracy Lab describes itself  as “a nonprofit organisation working to create and curate civic technologies that help communities frame issues, deliberate solutions, make decisions, and take collective action.” It seeks to match people values and objectives with the policies we create.

Democracy Lab

DemocracyOS

DemocracyOS is an Argentinian online collaboration and voting platform. It allows users to propose, debate, and vote and seeks to provide a common platform for any city, state, or government to actually put proposals to a vote. It is in use in Argentina, Mexico, and Tunisia.

DemocracyOS

Liquidfeedback

“LiquidFeedback is an open-source software, powering internet platforms for proposition development and decision making.” It uses liquid democracy, collective moderation and preferential voting with a fully transparent process.

Liquid Feedback

Loomio

Loomio is another New Zealand effort at enabling group collaboration and decision making. “Loomio saves time, gives clear outcomes, and keeps everything in one place.” It is used by many communities, companies and by the Internet Parties of New Zealand, Australia, and USA.

Loomio

Reasonwell

“Reasonwell helps people to engage in productive debate, by making it easy to map out arguments, assumptions and evidence. You’ll be able to find the best arguments for and against any proposition, have your say and give your reasoning. Reasonwell is not a forum or a wiki, it’s something new: a collaborative argument map.”

Reasonwell

Voteflow

Voteflow is another implementation of liquid democracy. It states, “Rather than one person representing you for everything, you can pick representatives for topics. You can also pick someone you know and trust as a representative for you on a topic. Representatives can pick people to represent them in the same or subtopics and this means you get Chains, or trees of representation.  Particularly as you get deeper into sub-topics, a person may be able to represent a massive number of people. You are always able see what your representatives do, override their decisions – or pick someone else.”

Vote Flow

 

 

 

Internet Party

So, the Internet Party is back again. Well, not really back. It never really left, but after the drubbing it got in the last election it appears to be making serious progress once more.

And drubbing it was. Approaching the last election  the Internet party was the darling of the media but the shine started to go of it in the week leading up to the “Moment of Truth” and post that…..well, all the media concentrated on Kim Dotcoms failure to to provide a smoking gun instead of concentrating on the New Zealand government spying on it’s citizens and being complicit in the deaths of civilians in Iraq.

It was after the last election I joined the party. The day after in fact. It didn’t matter to me that the media was attacking it. It didn’t matter that the general population thought they looked like a bunch of idiots. What mattered was that they were right.

The GCSB was spying on New Zealanders. Why? Well, you tell me. There have been five so called terrorist attacks in New Zealand. The Huntly rail bridge bombing (1951), the Vietnam War protests (1969-70), the Wanganui Computer Centre bombing (1982), the Wellington Trades Hall bombing (1984) and the Rainbow Warrior bombing (1985).

There had been no attacks worthy of the label ‘terrorist’ in New Zealand for almost 30 years and yet now, in the interests of security, the GCSB is able to spy on New Zealanders legally. No charges for the illegal surveillance of at least 85 people during the period of 2003 to 2012. No comeback on the department or the Prime Minister (At that point the Minister Responsible for the GCSB) over lying to New Zealand people from 2012 till 2013 as he said that the agency, “isn’t and will never be wholesale spying on New Zealanders,”

But I rant…..

That was only one reason to vote for the Internet Party. Their support of Education and Health care. Their rejection of the TPPA (Ratified by our cabinet and now being resurrected by them) being forced through. One of the few parties that rejected the destruction of democracy after the Christchurch Earthquake. They had a host of decent policies from saving the Maui dolphin to updating the health system. Policies that were based on fact where possible, hope where needed, and aspiration where applicable.

And now they are back. Some policies have stayed, some have been updated. New policy has yet to be announced. Some policies appear to have been dropped. I hope, however, that they will continue to stand for what is right and true instead of what is politically feasible. We need to stop being #labnats and stand up for what we are, and what we want to be.