The head of Immigration has rejected suggestions Kim Dotcom’s residency was approved as part of a United States move to make it easier to extradite him to face charges there.
Documents published today show that the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) withdrew its objections to Dotcom’s residency as the Government negotiated a deal with Hollywood studio Warner Bros to ensure The Hobbit trilogy was filmed here.
Dotcom believes US authorities wanted to keep him here to make it easier to extradite him on internet piracy and copyright infringement charges. He has long claimed the Government was acting at the behest of the American film industry but has never offered proof.
I love this conspiracy theory. The Government let Dotcom into New Zealand just so it could extradite him years later. And it was all part of a deal with Warners to film The Hobbit here. This makes people who believe the moon landing was faked look sane.
But in an exclusive interview, Immigration chief executive Nigel Bickle said that from Immigration’s point of view he had seen no evidence of that and it was Dotcom’s advisers who had called for a fast decision in his case.
‘‘Mr Dotcom was represented by a very good immigration adviser, who was rightly asking questions … ‘why is it taking so long making a decision? Mr Dotcom’s like a lot of these individuals – many countries are courting them. Could you hurry up and make a decision’.’’
The beauty of this conspiracy theory is it casts something that was favourable to Dotcom as being sinister.
Bickle said then-immigration minister Jonathan Coleman had not been involved in the decision to grant Dotcom permanent residency, and the call was made by an official.
In 2010 the investor category Dotcom was applying under, requiring at least a $10m investment here, was a new policy. Ministers were interested in how it was going and were briefed weekly.
But in terms of Dotcom as an individual, Coleman had no involvement in the decision.
Bickle had told Coleman, under the ‘‘no surprises’’ policy, on October 28, 2010 after he had been informed Dotcom would be granted residency.
But it was not a decision that needed to go to the minister.
A minor inconvenient fact.