|Party President||Suzie Dawson|
|Party Secretary||Jo Booth|
|Founded||13 May 2014|
|MPs in the House of Representatives|
The Internet Party is a political party in New Zealand that promotes Internet freedom and privacy. Founded in January 2014 with the support of Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, the party contested the 2014 New Zealand election as part of an electoral alliance with the Mana Movement but failed to win any seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Internet Party contested the 2017 general election under the leadership of journalist Suzie Dawson but failed to win any seats.
The party was deregistered by the New Zealand Electoral Commission on 12 June 2018, because its membership had dropped below the 500 required for registration.
The party uses a consultative process to form policies with its membership using online platforms with policy writers following the forum in the background. They are available as a policy summary, or in full on Google docs.
Dotcom had founded the file-sharing website Megaupload in 2005. It was shut down in January 2012 by the US government and Dotcom was arrested by the New Zealand Police. In September 2013, Dotcom revealed an interest in setting up a political party. On 15 January 2014, Dotcom announced the name of the party and its logo. He intended to hold a launch party on 20 January, two years after the raid on his house and the day before his 40th birthday. He distributed 25,000 tickets but was forced to cancel for fear of breaching electoral law.
The Internet Party became a registered political party on 13 May 2014 having started to sign up members on 27 March 2014, the first to do so in New Zealand through the use of a phone app. Dotcom provided funding (NZ$3.5 million) to the party which was the largest personal contribution to a political party on record in New Zealand.
With the lead up to the 2014 election the party ran an idol-styled candidate search and appointed a leader, the former Alliance MP and Minister, Laila Harre. This appointment cemented an electoral alliance with the Mana Movement, a joint Internet Party and Mana Movement then contested the 2014 general election with the Internet Party supplying 15 candidates. Dotcom, who could not stand as a candidate himself still lent his celebrity pulling power and attended events across New Zealand throughout the campaign.
The Mana Movement who held a seat with its leader Hone Harawira were confident that they would win this seat again and return additional MPs to the House of Representatives of New Zealand. However, on election night the seat was lost and both parties failed to have any representation under the New Zealand proportional system winning only 1.42 per cent of the vote, far less than the five per cent threshold required. Dotcom said to reporters on election night that "I take full responsibility for this loss tonight, because the brand--the brand Kim Dotcom--was poison for what we were trying to achieve." Both parties have since gone their separate ways.
After the election, the party leader, Laila Harre, resigned and the party told its members that it is concentrating on efforts to build its internal structures to support its grass roots movement. In December 2016, Kim Dotcom posted a poll on Twitter asking if his followers wanted the Internet Party to stand in the 2017 election.
The party remained leaderless until 8 February 2017, when the Internet Party appointed Suzie Dawson as the party's new leader for the 2017 election. The Internet Party ran 8 party list candidates. During the 2017 general election, the Internet Party won only 499 votes (0.02%) and failed to win any seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives.
The party was deregistered on 12 June 2018 because its membership had dropped below the 500 required for registration. The party's website reported that it intended to hold an annual general meeting in December 2018, though the website does not have the minutes of the meeting. As of October 2019, the party's website had not published any news since the AGM announcement in 2017.
|Election||Candidates nominated||Seats won||Votes||Vote share %||Government|
|2014||15||32||34,095||1.42%||Not in parliament|
|2017||0||8||499||0.02%||Not in parliament|