Yesterday, the world saw the launch of a new political party in New Zealand: Internet Party
According to Wikipedia, the Internet Party is
[...] an unregistered political party in New Zealand. The party was established by internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom in 2014. The party advocates for less surveillance, copyright reform and cheap internet.
From their website:
The Internet Party was founded on the spirit of the Internet, to get an open, free, fair, connected and innovative society.
A party that will give you faster, cheaper Internet, create high-tech jobs, protect your privacy, and safeguard our independence.
New political parties, particularly those that have participatory elements in their DNA, can be fun to watch as they tend to bring fresh ideas to the table and generally seem to have more room available to explore alternatives to the status quo. In short, there’s always the opportunity they might reinvent and fundamentally improve the way we do politics, which to this day is still in large part driven by, and dependent upon, political parties, at least in what we call the Western World.
Their constitution and rules may be an early indicator that they are aiming for a more participatory approach regarding members and the general public:
On open government:
3.1.7. To promote the New Zealand government adopting digital means of communicating and to advocate for the establishment of open and e-government solutions for all New Zealanders; [...]
On youth participation:
3.1.9. To actively encourage the participation of young people in New Zealand’s democratic process.
On general membership, including non-citizens, non-residents and youths:
4.5.1.General membership of the Internet Party shall be open to any natural person, whether resident in New Zealand or not, who:
18.104.22.168. Is 15 years old or over; [...]
On remote member participation in party meetings:
5.1 Every Member is entitled to attend, vote and actively participate in all meetings of the Internet Party, including Annual General Meetings, either in person or digitally.
On policy development and proxy voting:
5.4 Every Member is entitled to actively contribute to the policy and manifesto development of the Internet Party in so far as such contribution aligns with the objectives of the Internet Party, these rules, and the process determined by the Executive Committee.
5.6 Members may exercise the proxy votes of other members, either in person or digitally, provided they comply with any process for exercising proxy votes decided by the Party Secretary and notified to Members from time to time.
On member consultation as part of the candidate nomination process using ranked voting:
12.4.6. Members will rank the candidates on the “Indicative Party List”, in accordance with their own preferences, and will return the ranked “Indicative Party List” to the Party Secretary within a time period set by the Executive Committee;
12.4.7. Having regard to the ranked lists provided by members, the Executive Committee will produce a “Final Party List” at its sole discretion that will constitute the final Party List.
Given their strong internet and technology background and list of initial focus areas, it will be very interesting to watch if and to what extent digital engagement will play a role in their effort to gain political influence.