The MP that never was

April 15th, 2014 at 2:30 pm by Jadis

* Jadis post – if it isn’t a travel blog post it will be from Jadis.  As tempting as it is to go climb a mountain I am doing stuff that normal people do like looking after my family, building two businesses, volunteering to a few causes I believe in and providing the odd barb here in the hope that DPF can hang on to a few followers while he is gallivanting around the countryside… or mountainside.

The Herald reports:

Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party says discussions with a sitting electorate MP who was poised to join the party have ended due to the prospect of a tie up with Hone Harawira’s Mana Party.

When my daughter was little she had imaginary friends.  She had around ten of them and they had various names and distinct personalities.  We did a bit of research into them and this Wikipedia entry sums it up pretty well:

Imaginary friends or imaginary companions are a psychological and social phenomenon where a friendship or other interpersonal relationship takes place in the imagination rather than external physical reality. Imaginary friends are fictional characters created for improvisational role-playing. They often have elaborate personalities and behaviors. Although they may seem very real to their creators, children usually understand that their imaginary friends are not real.[

The key line is that children usually understand that their imaginary friends are not real.  Kim Dotcom clearly does not understand that “Mystery MP” or perhaps he calls him”Mister Reempy” is a figment of his own imagination.  I fear that all those role-playing games that Mr Dotcom likes to play have blurred his lines between reality and fiction.

 

Tags: , ,

A Mega lawsuit

April 9th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Internet Party leader Kim Dotcom is facing a new lawsuit in the United States from six Hollywood film studios.

They claim in their suit the Megaupload founder “facilitated, encouraged, and profited” from illegal file-sharing on the site.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed the suit on behalf of the studios this morning (NZ time).

The lawsuit was filed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Universal City Studios Productions, Columbia Pictures Industries, and Warner Bros Entertainment in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The US Government is already seeking to extradite Dotcom to face charges of copyright conspiracy, racketeering and money-laundering allegedly carried out by his file-sharing company, Megaupload.

It’s an interesting move. Does that signify concern over whether the criminal case will succeed, or was this always planned?

Dotcom is specifically named in the suit, under his most famous name as well as Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor.

Kim Tim Jim Vestor???

According to the Government’s indictment, the site reported more than $175 million (NZ$203.4m) in … proceeds and cost US copyright owners more than half a billion dollars.

The studios allege Megaupload paid users based on how many times the content was downloaded by others. But the studios allege the site didn’t pay at all until that content was downloaded 10,000 times.

This is a key detail in both the criminal and civil lawsuits. Other file-sharing websites do not pay people based on how many downloads they get for content they upload. This is how they allege they incentivised copyright infringement, rather than just provided a file sharing platform (such as the new Mega).

This does not mean the lawsuits will be successful. But it is a key factor in why Megaupload was targeted, and not other file-sharing sites. If someone can earn say $10,000 by uploading the latest movie release, well that is a pretty good incentive to do so.

Tags: , ,

Dotcom invited to Mana AGM

April 7th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

In a statement this evening, Harawira confirmed talks with Dotcom in central Auckland over the weekend to discuss possibilities “for a relationship between the Mana movement and the Internet Party”.

He said the Mana executive had extended an invitation to Dotcom to address its AGM on Saturday,.

Dotcom had accepted the invitation in order to “talk to and understand the views of Mana members” Harawira said.

Oh this is too funny to be true. Hone can’t wait to sell out.

So will any Mana member have the courage to get up and berate Dotcom over the low wages he pays his staff (allegedly below minimum wage).

Will any Mana member say how disgraceful a look it is for him to fly into Huka Lodge in a helicopter to relax for the weekend, while scores of struggling Kiwi businesses had been waiting over two years to be paid by him?

Or will they just ask him how much money they can have for their election campaign?

Tags: ,

Dotcom makes the right call here

March 31st, 2014 at 7:39 am by David Farrar

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff reports:

Kim Dotcom says he does not want political intervention in his extradition case, even if it was to prevent him being handed over to US authorities.

The internet multi-millionaire is wanted by the US, who are seeking to have him extradited over charges of copyright infringement in relation to his Megaupload website, claiming he cost the entertainment industry hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Earlier this year Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said while he had made no promises to Dotcom, he did not believe there was a case for the German to be extradited and he did not support the process.

Dotcom is fighting extradition, but in an interview with Q&A screened this morning, said he was unhappy with suggestions of political interference.

“I was quite unhappy when some politicians suggested that they might interfere with the judicial process. If a court ultimately finds that I should be extradited, I don’t want any political interference, alright? I’m not asking for it.”

Excellent. That should be noted for the future.

While the Minister of Justice makes the final decision, the criteria for them are normally pretty narrow such as if the death penalty could be applied etc. So it is good to see Dotcom saying he doesn’t want the Minister to refuse his extradition if the New Zealand courts finds the extradition order is valid.

Tags:

Espiner on Dotcom

March 30th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Colin Espiner writes:

It isn’t a crime to buy a copy of the autobiography of one of the 20th-century’s most monstrous figures, unless you live in France, Germany, Austria or Hungary – which ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia.

And there are legitimate scholarly reasons for owning a copy of Mein Kampf. No doubt the book is in most major libraries in New Zealand.

But let’s be honest. Owning a rare first edition personally signed by Herr Hitler and gifted to Hermann Esser, one of the founders of the hated and feared Third Reich, is just a little bit creepy.

Actually, given Dotcom’s German nationality, it’s more than creepy. It’s boorish, stupid, crude, and unthinkably insensitive. Most Germans would rather collect excrement than have anything to do with a regime they remain deeply ashamed of to this day.

This is very true.

But then, most Germans don’t hold multiple identities, flee criminal charges, make a fortune out of hosting a web site that enabled large-scale internet piracy, live a self-described lifestyle dedicated to “fast cars, hot girls, super-yachts, amazing parties and decadence” before buying their way into a foreign country, fighting extradition to the United States on counts of fraud and racketeering and deciding to set up a political party dedicated to bringing down the prime minister.

Colin forgot to mention and leaves scores of creditors out of pocket, has almost all his friends and staff turn on him, and faces a lawsuit for paying below the minimum wage.

 

Tags: ,

More on Dotcom

March 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kim Dotcom has paid back about $400,000 of up to $900,000 he owes to creditors — but one sees the late payment as a public relations ploy.

Which it is. He could have paid them years ago.

Paul Davis supplied uniforms to the staff at the Dotcom mansion and is one of the creditors who spoke publicly to the Herald last month. He was owed $1138 and said yesterday he was paid as promised.

“But I don’t think it’s his conscience. We had absolutely no movement on this for two years until the Herald story and the TV stations following up. It was pressure which was needed, so I think he’s desperately trying to get some good PR.”

He certainly needs some.

Millions of dollars of assets were seized in raids and Mr Dotcom did not have a legal obligation to pay the debts of the limited liability company.

But creditors became more frustrated in recent months as Mr Dotcom started a high-profile marketing campaign for his Good Times album, took helicopter trips to the Rhythm and Vines music festival and a weekend at Huka Lodge and started the campaign for his Internet Party.

A lack of funds was also cited in the departure of Wayne Tempero, Mr Dotcom’s longtime bodyguard, who was being paid half of what he was getting before the raid.

Mr Dotcom has since obtained an injunction to stop Mr Tempero giving a tell-all interview, and four security guards who worked for the tycoon are also believed to be about to file proceedings in the High Court to seek backpay.

That will be interesting, as they claim they were effectively paid under the minimum wage. This court case could happen at the same time as the Mana Party does a deal with them, which will tell us a lot about how deeply Mana cares for low wage workers.

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

Kim Dotcom bought his New Zealand residency with a $10 million cheque; now he wants to buy off Hone Harawira to try to secure the balance of power at the September election.

Hone’s price is much cheaper.

Nor the fact that Dotcom owns a signed copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. So what? Mere ownership doesn’t make him a Nazi sympathiser. (I own a Chinese tract signed by the disgraced Bo Xilia and that doesn’t make me a Communist either).

This issue will remain a red herring unless evidence is made public — not merely hinted at — that Dotcom is a closet Nazi and anti-Semitic to boot.

It’s the combination of the book, the flag, the helmet and the testimony from his former friend.

What Dotcom is offering is a gift. Money and resources for a shared tilt at power.

The big question is whether Harawira sticks to the principles on which he founded the Mana Party, or sells out to Dotcom in a naked dirty deal to get more seats in Parliament.

Of course he will sell out.

John Armstrong also writes:

To help the left remove John Key, the internet mogul has to attract voters that are beyond the reach of Labour and the Greens. Indeed, the best chance for the Internet Party to establish itself as a viable political force and (eventually) get anywhere near the 5 per cent threshold is to position itself in the centre of the political spectrum or slightly to the right, just like New Zealand First, but targeting a much younger catchment of voters.

Instead they’ll mainly take votes of the Greens I’d say.

That he is willing to contemplate a vote-sharing deal with Hone Harawira’s Mana Party is tacit admission that Dotcom knows he will not beat the threshold in September’s ballot. But taking advantage of Harawira’s hold on a threshold-removing electorate seat comes at what may be a heavy, even crippling price.

Harawira made it a precondition of further talks on such a deal that Dotcom commit himself to not working with Key and National post-election.

The immediate impact of that is to drastically cut any leverage — and thus appeal — that the Internet Party might have had if it had taken the same position as New Zealand First and hedged its bets on whether it would back a Labour-led or National-led Government .

Can you imagine a Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana-Dotcom Government!

Even more dangerous in political terms is the suspicion — quickly fuelled by National — that Dotcom’s purpose in setting up the Internet Party is solely to make it a bottom-line of any post-election talks that whoever is Minister of Justice quash any court ruling which would force his extradition. Such a bottom-line would be preposterous and would amount to Dotcom’s party being the sickest joke played on New Zealand voters.

I believe that is the of course the major intent of the party.

Every day that Dotcom deprives Key’s other opponents of the oxygen of media coverage is one day closer to election day on September 20. It is one day less for the real election issues and priorities to take centre stage.

National’s opponents can complain all they like. But the never ending Dotcom saga is a freak show of epic proportions with ever more twists and turns. The media simply finds it impossible to avert its eyes.

Yep, he is starving them of oxygen.

Tags: , ,

Garner and Keall on Dotcom and his party

March 28th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Duncan Garner blogs:

There’s one major and terminal problem with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party: he can’t be the leader.

He can only be the shadowy, backroom figure that pulls the strings. He will do that. And that will turn off some voters.

The other thing that should, and will, turn people off is that he collects Nazi memorabilia. He should be treated the same as any other political leader found draped in the Nazi flag: they would be crucified.

If it was David Cunliffe or Peter Dunne or, in the past, Don Brash or Rodney Hide et al, they would be forced to resign. They would be shamed and sent packing. Dotcom should not be seen as any different. Why treat him as special?

Could you imagine the outcry if it turned out that (for example) the Leader of ACT purchased a signed copy of Mein Kampf, had a photo of him wearing an SS helmet and displayed a Nazi flag at his house? They’d be gone within hours.

I agree New Zealand needs better internet, but does it take an “internet party” to get us there? This party is a sham and a side-show feeding Kim Dotcom’s vast wealth and ego – not to mention his desperate ambitions to stay in New Zealand, rather than rot in some American jail.

This is the truth. He has a host of convictions:

He owes money to creditors; good hard-working Kiwis who are now out of pocket.

And he could have paid them months ago. He has chosen not to.

Chris Keall writes at NBR:

The first “action agenda” item listed on the website is 50% cheaper internet – and unlimited and universal, to boot.

I’d also like the price of books to be 50% cheaper, and the price of food.

I agree with the Internet Party’s stance that broadband at half the price would be “awesome.”

However, it’s not clear how we get to this state of awesomeness. 

The party doesn’t price any of its policies, say how they would be achieved or offer any other details. 

Details would be nice.

The 50% internet policy is actually the most fleshed out – if three sentences can be called fleshed out – with the line that  ”We will take direct action to expand New Zealand’s infrastructure by building a second submarine cable.”

I’d like to see a second cable, too. I find it curious National has been quite willing to out-Labour Labour by sending $1.5 billion on the UFB and related projects, but offer only a paltry $15 million to assist a submarine cable startup (Pacific Fibre and others have estimated it will cost around $400 million to challenge the 50% Telecom-owned Southern Cross Cable’s monopoly on our broadband connection to the outside world).

I would also like to see a second cable. But Hawaiki is planning such a cable, and until we see if they succeed or not, I don’t think you can say the Government needs to step in. Far better to let the private sector compete.

I don’t think a second cable would make broadband 50% cheaper. In fact, I’d be surprised if it yielded savings of 10% or 5% or anything, based on what ISPs tell me (Orcon boss Greg McAlister recently said a $75 monthly connection includes about $7 in international bandwidth charges). 

This is correct. The price of international data is not a huge proportion of what we pay. The prices drop around 20% every year as capacity expands on the current cable. Also more of our international data is coming from Australia, not the US. 10 years ago it was over 90% US and 1% Australia and today it is 50% US and 37% Australia.

This is not to mean that a second US cable would not be a good thing. It would be. But it is not a silver bullet and will not reduce costs of broadband by 50% or probably even 5%.

Tags: , ,

The Dotcom claim of a sitting electorate MP

March 28th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

He repeated his claim that it would be represented in Parliament, whether or not it achieved the 5 per cent MMP threshold for list seats, because a sitting electorate MP would join.

He would not name the person or say which party he or she represented, because of a confidentiality agreement, but it was not Harawira. The MP’s name would be revealed in June.

There are 70 electorate MPs. 42 in National, 22 in Labour, three in Maori Party, and one each in ACT, United Future and Mana. He says it is not Harawira. Well with respect, I’d say the claim is bullshit, and designed to make them seem relevant and undo the damage done from his vow to wind up the party and endorse another if not at 5%.

Banks is not standing again, and neither is Sharples nor Turia. None would be interested anyway, and no way Peter Dunne would do that. Flavell is co-leader of Maori Party and not going to defect to the guy seeking to do a deal with Hone.

So that leaves National and Labour. Dotcom hates John Key and National so it won’t be a National MP. So that leaves the 22 Labour MPs. I know some of them don’t like their leader, but none of them are going to jump ship to Dotcom – for the very simple reason they’d lose their seat. All but a few MPs win their seats because of their party, not because of them.

I guarantee you come June, they will announce the MP has decided not to join. Dotcom has a history of making fantastical claims, and without proof, they should be pretty much ignored.

Tags:

The man who wants to pick the next PM

March 27th, 2014 at 9:15 pm by David Farrar

Seven Sharp had the great idea that as Kim Dotcom has started his own political party, and wants to basically pick the next Prime Minister, they’d ask him a few very simple and basic questions about the NZ political system. You can watch it here.

Here’s what he could and could not answer:

  • No of MPs in Parliament – no idea
  • No of parties in Parliament – 10 – wrong (8)
  • Deputy Leader of Labour – Grant Robertson – wrong (David Parker)
  • Deputy Leader of National – Bill English – right
  • Most right party in Parliament – National – wrong (ACT)
  • Most left party in Parliament – Mana – right
  • 2nd on Mana’s list – no idea
  • Most important NZ election in last 30 years – no idea

Also stay on for the segment at the end with Mike Hosking relating the phone calls he gets from Dotcom!

Tags:

Dotcom and Mein Kampf

March 27th, 2014 at 7:39 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Internet millionaire and alleged cyber-pirate Kim Dotcom has admitted owning one of the rarest pieces of Nazi memorabilia in existence.

On the eve of the launch of his Internet Party, Dotcom has confirmed he purchased one of the first copies of Adolf Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, signed by the man who went on to establish the Third Reich.

It is one thing to read Mein Kampf. It is widely available. But to buy a rare first edition personally signed by Hitler is incredibly suspect, and very bad taste when done by someone of German nationality. To do a comparison, could you imagine a Cambodian buying an signed copy of the memoirs of Pol Pot?

“Let me make absolutely clear – I’m not buying into the Nazi ideology,” says Dotcom. “I’m totally against what the Nazis did. I did buy a cigar holder off Churchill and a pen off Stalin.”

There’s a big difference between a pen and the book which was used at motivation for genocide of around six million Jews.

Whale Oil has more details:

On May 21 2011 Alex Mardikian sat down for breakfast with Kim Dotcom in Spain. …

Dotcom asked what Mardikian thought about the fact he now owned a book written by “the greatest German who has ever lived”.

This is an on the record statement from Mr Mardikian. I am sure it is denied, but then you have to judge the motives of the two parties. What reason would Mardikian have to invent such a quote? Not hard to think of the reason you would deny it.

But there is more:

Further investigations by WOBH have revealed that not only does Kim Dotcom own a signed and autographed copy of Mein Kampf, one of the rarest copies on the market, but he also possesses other Nazi memorabilia.

One item is a Nazi flag, that until recently was displayed in the cellar of his mansion at Coatesville.

This presumably can be substantiated also. It either was or was displayed.

The flag was given to him on his birthday in 2011 by one of his guests at his birthday party.

At the time of the birthday and the gift Kim Dotcom exclaimed to all in attendance that this was “the best present he had ever been given”.

He profusely thanked the guest repeating over and over how happy he was to have received the flag. Again his closest confidantes remonstrated with Dotcom over the flag and he shrugged off the criticism by claiming it was all a big joke.

There were lots of guests at that party I assume, so again should be easy to verify if this is correct or not.

WOBH can confirm that the flag is still in the possession of Dotcom because in the days after the raids two staff were tidying up ahead of the arrival of John Campbell and his cameras. They were going to tour the mansion for a soft piece on the aftermath of the raid.

Those two staff thought, rightly, that the flag wouldn’t look good on television and so folded it up and put it away for safe keeping in some boxes also stored in the cellar.

One former staff member spoken to by WOBH (who wishes to remain anonymous due to ongoing threats from Dotcom) in our ongoing investigations of the REAL secret life of Kim Dotcom has told us that regularly, at dinner, Nazi salutes would be made and Nazi chants like “Heil Hitler”  and “Sieg Heil” were made, especially if the guests were mainly German.

The former staff member is unnamed, and again it is he said vs he said but what is the chance that both Mr Mardikian and the former staff member are both making it up, especially when combined with the fact that Dotcom did buy a signed copy of Mein Kampf and did keep and display a Nazi flag given to him?

Will this be enough to scare Hone Hawarira off the Dotcom Party? I don’t think so. The only demand Mana have made of Dotcom is that he agree to vote to get rid of National if they get MPs in Parliament. Of course the aim of the party is to get rid of National, as they want a sycophantic Government to replace them that will decline Dotcom’s extradition if the  courts find the extradition order is valid. So I am sure the Dotcom Party will in turn soon declare they are committed to getting rid of National, and then we’ll see how much control Hone has over Mana and can he get them to agree to an effective merger.

UPDATE: Tim Fookes at Newstalk ZB writes:

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to own war memorabilia , nothing at all, a lot of people would have war medals and the likes.

But in my opinion, there’s something quite despicable about wanting to own items belonging to the enemy, and in this case one of the most revolting excuses for a human being ever to walk on this earth, Adolf Hitler.

There’s something abhorrent about having a desire to own something as offensive to so many people, as Mein Kampf, and not only own it, but get a signed copy.

It speaks volumes about Kim Dotcom, or let’s quit calling him that, let’s call him by his real name Kim Schmitz.

Because he is German and appears in stark contrast to most Germans I’ve ever met who are ashamed beyond words about the behaviour of Hitler and his supporter. …

It may not just be that, there are reports circulating that he owns a Nazi flag and other memorabilia too, which poses the prospect that he could be a Nazi sympathiser.

With the launch today of the Internet Party, I’d hope New Zealanders will turn their back on Kim Dotcom in our droves and tell him ‘we don’t want you here, you are offensive’.

I hope that will happen, sadly though, I think he’ll get naive supporters who thinks what he’s doing is shaking the system, sticking the finger to the government, there will be that fringe element of support he’ll get.

You may say I’m overreacting, but I cannot believe he has the nerve to sit there smirking away as he admits he owns that book.

The apologists for Dotcom on this one will end up embarrassed, as more comes out.

Tags: , ,

Herald on Mana Dotcom plans

March 26th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald editorial:

That scenario was confirmed yesterday by Mr Harawira’s press secretary, who said the two parties would not merge but would share a list. The outcome, said Jevan Goulter on Facebook, could be two or three Mana MPs, “and we remain our own party”. It is almost superfluous to say that this would represent a new low in the defilement of MMP.

Two parties with little in common aside from an antipathy to John Key and covert surveillance would be guilty of a new level of cynicism based solely on mutual benefit. For Mana, there would be the prospect of boosted funding and a higher profile during the election campaign; for the Internet Party, a representation in Parliament that it could never achieve on its own.

One has to be careful about gaming the system too much. For example over the years several have suggested National split into two parties – one that stands list only and one electorate only, wit the outcome being National gets an overhang of around 40 seats and Government. But that has never been seriously contemplated as voters would backlash against such a manipulation.

The basic incompatibility of the two has been enunciated by Sue Bradford, the former Green MP who joined Mana in 2011 on the basis that it stood for self-determination and for all people on low or no incomes. She said she found it astonishing that the idea was even being considered. What Kim Dotcom stood for, said Ms Bradford, was “the antithesis of what Mana is about to me”. In her view, some people within Mana were looking for a shortcut to build the party, “but there aren’t any shortcuts to building a credible party or movement”.

Maybe if Hone turned up to Parliament more often, they’d get more publicity and profile?

Tags: , ,

Gamekeeper turned poacher

March 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Kim Dotcom’s new Internet Party will have a couple of New Plymouth connections.

Veteran journalist and journalism tutor Jim Tucker has taken up the role of media adviser and would be writing the new party’s housing and education policies. He had already finished the environment policy.

Tucker is a very respected journalism tutor. He’s taught many of today’s journalists.

At the moment the party was polling at 2.6 per cent, he said.

So here’s my question to any of those journalists who were trained by Jim Tucker. Considering that the Internet Party hasn’t registered above 0.1% in any published poll, should a Jim Tucker trained journalist just report such an assertion without challenge, knowing that gullible members of the public may read it and assume it to be true?

Or would a Jim Tucker trained journalist ask the person making the claim to substantiate it?

Also would a Jim Tucker trained journalist upon being told they are supporting the party because Dotcom was a visionary, ask the subject of the interview how much they are being paid to take up the role of media advisor?

Tags: ,

The defence of the Mana Dotcom deal

March 25th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Jevan Goulter is Hone Harawira’s press secretary. He has facebooked:

Guys, MANA DOTCOM!
Ok so we would be helping a fat white rich prick with a bunch of money, but it would obviously help MANA to! I’m not picking a side, just wanna be clear! The parties would not merge, we would share a list, and guaranteed MANA would have the top spots to start! If we did it, the difference could be 2 or 3 MANA MPs, and we remain our own party! It’s not all doom and gloom ! Could be the difference of having say John Minto and Te Hamua Shane Nikora in the House! Didn’t mention Annette Sykes cause she will already be there  Doesn’t sound that bad when you look at it like that aye?

His commenters are less keen:

  •  I have a lot of respect for Hone and the Mana Party. That would vanish instantly if this loony idea came to fruition. It’s also not really keeping within the spirit of MMP.
  • Mana will come off as looking very desperate. Sad really.
  • You have got to be kidding!
  • It sounds bad to me.
  • Dont do it… please hes another john keys but worse… hmble your guys self and partner up wif maori you go to dotcom im out sori bt ur party would b his bitch seen it to many times.. better to lose honourably than to win disgracefully

Will Hone listen to the activists or his chief blogging advisor?

Tags: , ,

Bradford against Mana Dotcom deal

March 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Now Hone’s proposed deal with the German multi-millionaire has been exposed, some in his party are wary. The Herald reports:

Mana member and former MP Sue Bradford is worried at the prospect of any deal with Mr Dotcom’s internet Party, which has yet to be launched.

“I would be extremely concerned if Mana was to go into any arrangement with Kim Dotcom because what I think he stands for is the anti-thesis of what Mana is about to me,” she told the Herald last night.

Indeed, normally you’d expect Mana and UNITE to picket him for being a bad employer. But Hone wants his money it seems.

“In any way joining forces with a billionaire who is very likely a fraudster and under various legal challenges would really go against the kaupapa that I believe in.”

She said there had also been concerns about the poor payment or no payment of staff and poor payment or low payment of creditors.

“All this does not really one to think he is a person of credibility that a political party with mana in Aotearoa would want to be associated with.”

Well done Sue Bradford on staying true to her principles. She’s not in favour of selling out.

Labour’s Shane Jones said he visited the mansion late last year. But the discussion was limited to rap-music – and he had told leader David Cunliffe about the visit.

Rap music? Yeah, right. Are they any Labour MPs that haven’t visited Dotcom? If Shane Jones has been there, I presume every Labour MP has been invited at some stage. Maybe media can ask them all who has been?

It does make you wonder again if Dotcom is one of the secret donors to Cunliffe’s secret trust?

Tags: , ,

The Dotcom Mana alliance

March 23rd, 2014 at 6:31 am by David Farrar

Jonathan Milne writes in the HoS:

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom claims he has signed up one sitting MP to join his new party before the election and is talking to three more – a poaching raid unprecedented in New Zealand politics.

He refuses to disclose the identity of the MP, saying it will be revealed once the Internet Party is registered and has chosen all its candidates, probably in June.

His revelation came in an exclusive interview with the Herald on Sunday yesterday.

Dotcom said he was also in talks with Mana Party leader Hone Harawira to unite their two parties under one umbrella, enabling the Internet Party to ride into Parliament on the coat-tails of the Te Tai Tokerau electorate MP.

The two leaders and their party bosses, Vikram Kumar and Gerard Hehir, met on February 28 at a house on Auckland’s North Shore.

The Mana Party executive will this week consider a merger proposal. Mana would bring one or two electorates, the Internet Party would bring a more broadly-based party vote and $1 million-plus in campaign funding.

This is almost hilarious. Dotcom is a multi-millionaire who used to donate to John Banks, who allegedly pays his staff below the minimum wage, and has refused to pay dozens of struggling small businesses the money owed to them for work on his mansion. He would normally be the antithesis of everything the Mana Party claims to stand for. But then he effectively offers them a million dollars and rather than picket him for being an abusive employer (look at how many staff have quit under bad circumstances), they’re going to merge with him!!!

The lure of a million dollars campaign fund is too much to say no to, and all they have to do in return is to make sure that a future Government rules out extraditing Dotcom if a NZ court finds he should be extradited.

Tags: ,

Dotcom loses at Supreme Court

March 21st, 2014 at 10:15 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom has lost a major battle in his extradition case.

A judgment by the Supreme Court at Wellington today dismissed an appeal by Dotcom’s lawyers, arguing for access to all the FBI investigation files before his extradition hearing.

Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk are defending charges of mass copyright infringement, online piracy, and money laundering.

Today’s judgment comes after the Court of Appeal reversed a decision by the District Court to allow Dotcom the documents.

The District Court decision had been upheld by the High Court, however Dotcom’s lawyers were granted leave to seek an appeal in the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal reversed the decision.

“The District Court was wrong to order disclosure of the documents concerned,” Justice John McGrath said today.

“The appeal has been dismissed and costs have been reserved.”

The Supreme Court is the final say on matters of law, and it is worth remembering that this is primarily a legal issue, not a political issue. This should mean the extradition hearing will take place sooner rather than later.

Tags:

Former security staff allege Dotcom paid them less than minimum wage

March 20th, 2014 at 4:05 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil blogs:

This is a story of slave wages, bullying, intimidation and the sheer effrontery of a man spending literally millions on himself but short-changing his most loyal staff.

Before the raid on the Dotcom mansion there was a staff of approximately 8 security guards working 40 hour weeks in shifts. These guards were in addition to the personal protection staff that included Wayne Tempero and Regan Stewart.

They were on the normal pay rates for static security guards, just a few dollars above the minimum wage but at least with some sort of regularity and job security.

After the raid on the mansion and the subsequent court orders limiting the finances of Dotcom, the security contingent was reduced to just 4 staff. The job still needed to be done and the remaining 4 workers worked in excess of 90 hours per week. But with a catch. Their pay was never increased.

Essentially these important and loyal staff were now working more than twice the hours they worked before but for the same amount that they worked for 40 hours.

They went from just above the minimum wage to well under. Sources have told WOBH that they were effectively working for $8-00 per hour.

Surely not. Surely a man who flys to Huka Lodge to relax, lives in a huge mansion, and has enough spare cash to set up a political party pays his staff above the minimum wage?

Or are they treated the same way as his many small business creditors who are owed money?

The Greens, Labour and Mana all make a lot of fuss about the minimum wage. Russel Norman met him twice seeking his endorsement. Do the Greens membership want the endorsement of someone who allegedly pays below minimum wage? Isn’t it parties of the left that would normally condemn a multi-millionairre who pays his staff below the minimum wage? So do the parties of the left have principles, and will condemn this (if correct), or will they say nothing as they hope for an endorsement or donation?

There was an understanding with these loyal and hard working staff, who had stuck by Kim Dotcom in the aftermath of the raid that the overtime would be treated as back pay and that they would be paid just as soon as money started to flow from Mega.

And the money did start to flow. Kim Dotcom, through his wife, has reportedly pulled in nearly $10 million from share sell downs, and have pretty much spent the lot on frivolities and personal vanity projects like his album, like Rhythm & Vines where he allegedly spent more than $500,000 in order to secure access to the main event and essentially hijack it. On top of that reports suggest that more than $2 million was spent on the album and there are confirmed reports of a not inconsequential amount being spent on another vanity project that is supposedly an “independent” documentary about the fabulous life of Kim Dotcom. In addition sources tell me that more than $1 million a month has been spent on forming the Internet party. These expenses and projects will become the subject of further stories in coming weeks.

Yet no money for creditors!

Finally, earlier this year matters came to a head and when new contracts were offered to the security staff which reflected slightly increased hourly rates but not a mention of unpaid back pay, the staff walked, sick of the lies and the delays.

These 4 staff are each owed over $50,000 in back pay and entitlements. Understandably, after months and months of working on just $8 per hour they sought legal advice but their entreaties to the mansion to honour deals have been met with silence.

Where’s the UNITE union when you need them!

And that is when the threats started to flow. WOBH has exclusively received a recording of one of those calls. A call where Kim Dotcom threatens the underpaid security guard with “the full wrath of [his] legal capabilities” and he promises to “destroy anybody” who challenges him.

You can listen to the audio at Whale’s site.

When WOBH called Tempero to clarify details of these matters he refused to speak citing confidentiality agreements.

Further to that, WOBH was sent a copy of a gagging order (an interim injunction) against Wayne Tempero from the bully boys and girls at Simpson Grierson. This entire article complies fully with the gagging order. Though one would now question just what it is that Kim Dotcom is scared of and what is he trying to hide by applying a gagging order against one particular staff member.

These threats and intimidation of vulnerable workers are unacceptable to the New Zealand public but they show the true nature of Kim Dotcom. A nature the mainstream media have gone out of their way to ignore and to gloss over as they fawned for access.

Is this the sort of behaviour that we as Kiwis expect from would be politicians?

I’m now thinking it would be a great thing if Dotcom does endorse Labour, Greens, NZ First and Mana!!

Tags:

Dotcom seeks gagging order

March 20th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kim Dotcom has taken High Court action to stop his former bodyguard from speaking publicly about goings-on in the internet entrepreneur’s personal life and business dealings.

Dotcom made a successful application for an interim injunction against Wayne Tempero in the High Court at Auckland yesterday. The action came soon after the Herald reported that Tempero was set to release “secret revelations” about Dotcom’s “mindset and megalomania”.

The gagging order is a mistake, as it makes the media even more interested in what Tempero has to say, and makes you wonder what exactly it is that Dotcom doesn’t want made public!

If Dotcom was just a businessman, then you might understand his desire for privacy. But he is now a politician, setting up his own political party. It is a very bad look for a politician to try and gag someone from talking about him. Also Dotcom has not sought a quiet life. He is constantly promoting himself, and even co-operated with a very sympathetic book written about him. But when it seems someone may say something not so nice, he seeks a gagging order.

Yesterday Justice Sarah Katz granted an interim injunction and ordered that Mr Tempero – and anyone else on his behalf – was “restrained from using or disclosing to any person, firm, corporation or entity, any confidential or trade information acquired whilst working for Kim Dotcom”.

The information included, but was not limited to, any information acquired by Mr Tempero “about Kim Dotcom, his role with Kim Dotcom, any information to do with providing services to Kim Dotcom and any other information whatsoever concerning Kim Dotcom, his businesses, his political party, his music, his family and friends, and all images of Kim Dotcom, his family and friends at any time”.

That’s an incredibly wide ranging order. To try and suppress any information from Tempero about his political party. Is this the same political party that claims to be in favour of open government and transparency? I judge people by their actions, not their words.

Labour, Greens, NZ First and Mana have all been cuddling up to Dotcom. They may all come to regret that.

Tags: , ,

Hilarious

March 6th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Whale Oil has this audio of Kim DotCom telling his wife Mona how Germans built the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty several hundred years ago and how they cost billions of dollars. It seems not a single “fact” is correct. It does make you wonder about his claim he has “proof” John Key lied.

Tags:

Labour’s bright idea is to tax Internet users!

March 5th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

This morning, a strategy document written by Labour associate information and communications technology (ICT) spokesperson Clare Curran was accidentally sent to ICT Minister Amy Adams’ Office, Ms Curran says (though not by her specifically).

That’s the second time they have done that, it seems. Taking open data to a new level!

The document is here.

Stuff reports:

Telecom is bristling at the suggestion Labour could impose a “content levy” on internet providers.

Labour was left red-faced today after MP Clare Curran’s ideas on ICT policy were accidentally emailed to her National Party counterpart, Communications Minister Amy Adams.

These include imposing a revenue-based levy on telecommunications carriers to create a contestable fund to support the “creation and accessible distribution of New Zealand digital content”.

This is a tax on telcos and ISPs. That is effectively a tax on Internet users, as it would be passed on. So Labour is thinking of taxing people to use the Internet, and give the money to “content producers”.

One might wonder if it would be used to help fund programmes by broadcasting Icons like Brendan Horan, Tamati Coffey, Shane Taurima, Martin Bradbury, Fran Mold, Kris Faafoi and Matt McCarten!

The Herald further reports:

The minister said she only had a brief look at the documents but it appeared that Labour’s main idea was to start all their policies with the word Kiwi.

Ms Curran’s document outlined plans for policies called KiwiMap, KiwiCode, KiwiCall, KiwiCap, KiwiCloud and Kiwis Come Home.

Maybe they could call their levy plan, KiwiTax!

What is even more interesting is where all these policy ideas came from. I understand that they are very similiar to policies that will be announced by the Internet/DotCom Party and that they may have been discussed between Dotcom and Curran. The purpose being to have policy alignment between the parties, so they could be endorsed when he winds his party up just before the election and asks his supporters to vote for whichever parties he endorses.

So a simple question is whether these policy ideas were ever discussed with Kim Dotcom, and what input has he had into them.

UPDATE: Vodafone also is against Labour’s idea to tax us all more through our ISPs:

Vodafone chief executive Russell Stanners described the proposed levy as “crazy and outrageous”.

“Labour should go the whole hog and nationalise everything,” he said. “The document also says multiple networks are wasteful. Why don’t we go for one network, one TV company, one bank, so there is no wastage, and then you can have as many levies as you want.”

I am worried that Labour may take up Stanners ironic suggestion and adopt it as serious policy.

UPDATE2: Clare Curran has been unfairly maligned as responsible for the accidental e-mail leak. She silently took one for the team, but it has been revealed it was actually a staff member in David Cunliffe’s office who sent it out. It seems it was Irish Bill, so that is not a good week for The Standard with one blogger sending Labour party policies to National and the other being the genius behind Cunliffe’s secret trust!

Tags: , , , ,

Surprise – Dotcom hearing delayed

February 24th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing is likely to be delayed by eight months – and the internet mogul believes it is because of this year’s election.

It’s likely to be delayed as Dotcom is appealing to the Supreme Court. Nothing to do with the election.

Dotcom wants the cloned hard drives returned to New Zealand. He says without them his legal team can’t prepare for the hearing.  

That seems difficult to comprehend. They are clones. How can the location of them affect his access to the original? It sounds like a red herring.

It was bad that the FBI were allowed to take a clone, which was not authorised by the court. There should be consequences for that breach. So I am not excusing that. But again, how does the existence and location of the clones drives impact the ability to go to trial? It sounds like an excuse to delay to me.

Tags:

Fran on Dotcom and Brown

February 22nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes in the NZ Herald:

Kim Dotcom and Len Brown are linked by several personal characteristics. Both are showmen. Both are prone to vanity. Both hate being out of the limelight.

In the personality world that drives mainstream media coverage these days, each of them is also a long-running news story.

This week, each man was under a new round of pressure.

Dotcom because the Court of Appeal found the police raid on his rented mansion was legal (but that the police giving the FBI the seized material was an unauthorised legal breach). The Herald’s splash showing Dotcom (or his companies) had not paid a number of small creditors while he ostentatiously lived high on the hog did not help his reputation.

But his natural audacity and fighting spirit keep him centre-stage.

Brown is also endowed with fighting spirit. He has a thick hide when it comes to public opprobrium. He was booed at the Auckland Nines and was asked not to attend a community military tattoo this weekend.

Maybe they could swap roles? Dotcom goes to all the public events, and Brown sets up a new political party? :-)

Tags: , ,

Dotcom debts

February 19th, 2014 at 12:10 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kim Dotcom is facing calls to pay $500,000 in debts by creditors who have watched him appear to embrace again an opulent lifestyle.

Seems to have enough money to fly to Huka Falls, to try and throw massively expensive free parties, to fund his own political party and to advertise himself on the back of half the buses in town. But not enough to pay people he legally owes money to.

Creditors’ frustrations have soared in recent months amid a high-profile marketing campaign for his Good Times album, helicopter trips to the Rhythm and Vines music festival and a weekend at Huka Lodge.

A spreadsheet on the court file dated January 23, 2012 stated there were 80 creditors owed between $69 and $133,916.

Documents lodged with the High Court at Auckland during 2012 show $634,000 of debt was declared by Dotcom’s lawyers, who tried to get access to money seized in the raid to pay the debts. Opposition by police kept the money tied up, with the courts accepting in August 2012 that there was no “legal ability” to release Dotcom’s restrained funds to pay debts of Megastuff, now called called RSV Holdings.

Certainly some of his funds are frozen, but as noted above he seems to have no problem paying for extravagances.

Creditors spoken to by the Herald have pointed to apparent recent indulgences by Dotcom as raising frustration with bills for work at the mansion still unpaid.

West City Electrical’s Neil Stratful said he was among many creditors who had not been paid.

So these bills are not to do with Megaupload. They are personal bills.

She said it was galling to hear Dotcom declaring he would like to support Team New Zealand when his company still owed $5000.

“When we heard that bold claim, we joked that we thought our name should be on the side of the boat. Because it’s our money.”

Dotcom had enough money to pay Martin Bradbury $8,000 a month for political advice – but not enough money to pay his electrician.

Paul Davis supplied uniforms to the staff at the Dotcom mansion and is owed $1138. The offer of around 10 per cent of the total owed was “completely unacceptable” given Dotcom at one stage was granted a personal monthly allowances from seized funds of $20,000.

“I understand Dotcom cannot be held legally liable for this, there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Mr Davis. But he said Dotcom had a court-ordered allowance of $20,000 a month from seized funds – money he believed could be used to clear debts.

“We were a relatively small creditor but it irritates me every time I see him on the back of a bus, or on the news, and people saying what a wonderful guy he is.”

I’m sure it is. A good question to ask Dotcom is whether he is using the $20,000 a month to pay any of his debts at all?

Like many of the other creditors, he said he was a small business owner who had borne the brunt of the economic downturn by making personal financial sacrifices in order to keep their employees in a job.

“We’ve been out of pocket for two years now. Every time he comes on TV, he gets me going.”

Good this story has finally been run. One could ask why so long.

UPDATE: On a related issue today the Court of Appeal has ruled the search warrants used in the raid were valid, over-ruling the High Court. They ave said some minor defects did not invalidate them.

 

Tags:

The persuasive Dotcom

February 14th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

I tweeted last night:

Isn’t it nice that Winston Peters has finally found an immigrant he wants to help stay in New Zealand!

It seemed to strike a chord with 32 retweets and 36 favourites. And that’s because it is all very curious. Peters was basically condemning the Government for letting Dotcom into New Zealand in the first place. He then met Dotcom at his mansion, and came away a defender of Dotcom. Winston – the great defender of immigrants’ rights.

Also of interest are the two dates that Russel Norman flew (at taxpayer expense, like Winston) to meet Dotcom. Again, how interesting that they go to him, almost like supplicants. He met Dotcom on the 1st and 29th of November 2013.

On the very same day he met him on the 1st, he attacked the Police on Radio NZ over Dotcom’s case. Shouldn’t the leader of a party that believes in transparency have revealed “Oh by the way I just met with my buddy Kim this morning, and tried to persuade him not to set up his own political party, and instead endorse the Greens”.

And then again on the 29th, when he again met Dotcom, he was again in the media talking about his case – again with no mention of his meetings, and attempt to get Dotcom to endorse the Greens instead of set up his own party.

Of course we now know that the plan Dotcom came up with is to set up his political party, spend up massively and then at the last minute self-destruct the party and endorse parties he approves of. Now Parliament has laws restricting how much a political party can spend during the regulated period. Wouldn’t it be a nice way to get around that pesky law by having a second political party able to spend a couple of million dollars running your attack lines, and then pulling out and endorsing you. I’m sure that isn’t the intent, but it could well be the outcome – and the sort of outcome the Greens would condemn with their most lofty rhetoric if it involved other parties.

Vernon Small writes on the issue:

But Norman went badly wrong by confirming in public that in government he would push for Dotcom’s extradition to be overturned.

On the political level it threw the door open to accusations of secret trade-offs – despite Norman’s denials. 

For a party that has made hay over ‘‘private’’ meetings and implied conflicts of interest between National ministers and corporate interests, it was a naive own-goal. Deny it all he likes, he has loaded a gun for National to fire at him every time he mutters ‘‘SkyCity convention centre dirty deal’’. 

But he also erred badly in apparently pre-judging the outcome of the ministerial consideration that must follow the court’s extradition ruling – especially if he is serious about being a senior minister or potentially the deputy prime minister in the next government.

Norman says the extradition is a two stage process – the court case and then the justice minister’s final call. 

But ministerial discretion to over-ride an extradition order should be something other than a purely political act and must be seen to be divorced from party political interests. 

To avoid bringing the process into disrepute, and to keep faith with partner countries, it has to be grounded – and the law contains specific grounds for rejecting extradition. Some are obvious, such as an assurance that the country seeking the extradition order will not execute an extradited New Zealander.

The minister’s decision should be exercised in light of all the facts at the time. Some of those may be illuminated by the court. None ought to be assumed months in advance.

Small points out that Norman has now accepted he can not be involved in any decision making around the case if he is a Minister. I suspect no Green MP could be.

I yesterday blogged on MPs who had met Dotcom and asked questions about his case. Trevor Mallard was one of those. I’m told his meeting was around 30 seconds in the gallery of Parliament, so fair to say that doesn’t count as a real meeting. Also fair to say that Trevor doesn’t need anyone to encourage him to ask parliamentary questions – he asks thousands.

Winston however is a much more curious case He flipped 180 degrees from wanting Dotcom never allowed into New Zealand, to championing his cause. Is it merely a mutual enemy, or something more? Could Dotcom endorse NZ First as well as Labour and the Greens at the election after he spends two million dollars on a fictitious party, which gets him around third party spending limits?

UPDATE: A good ODT editorial:

There are suspicions of a link between the number of questions being asked around Mr Dotcom and the conclusion the Opposition is seeking political favours from the man who has promised to start the Internet Party – but then added that he would not run in the election if the polling is less than the 5% MMP threshold (followed up by stating the party would be a contender in the election).

Parliamentary records show Labour MP Trevor Mallard has asked 132 questions regarding Mr Dotcom, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters 82, Labour MP David Shearer 36, deputy Labour leader Grant Robertson 17 and Green co-leader Russel Norman 13.

Actually Grant is no longer Deputy Labour Leader.

And it emerged that Dr Norman has suffered what is commonly called a ”brain fade” about his visits with Mr Dotcom. He cannot remember if he phoned Mr Dotcom first, or if it was the other way around, when setting up a meeting to ask Mr Dotcom not to

launch the Internet Party because it would take voters away from the Greens target.

Dr Norman, who has often attacked Prime Minister John Key about his apparent lack of recall on meetings with senior government officials, dismissed a regulation question of who contacted whom as of no material value.

Dr Norman, when pushed in an interview, also indicated he would be prepared to overturn any extradition ruling that ordered Mr Dotcom back to face charges of internet piracy in the United States if he was in a position to do so.

Given that admission, and the fact the visits to Mr Dotcom appear an attempt to stop him from launching the Internet Party, Dr Norman has effectively ruled out any hope the Green MP could have at becoming associated with the justice portfolio in a Labour-led government.

That is a good thing!

Dr Norman and Messrs Peters, Mallard, Robertson and Shearer need to make public statements declaring whether they have met Mr Dotcom and, if they have, in what capacity.

If they are offering political deals, then their outrage at Mr Key saying who he is prepared to work with after the election later this year can be seen in its true light.

If taxpayer-funded transport was used to travel to the mansion, that information should also be released.

As I said above, Trevor Mallard has clarified it was a 30 second meeting at Parliament.

 

Tags:

Where Key got his info from

February 13th, 2014 at 7:06 pm by David Farrar

I’m enjoying the belief some have expressed that because John Key repeats something (that Winston had visited the Dotcom mansion three times) five days after the Herald printed it, that he must have found this out via the GCSB.

That is completely and totally rubbish.

He got told by Barack Obama over golf, and Obama found out from the NSA satellite permanently focused on following Kim Dotcom about.

That is far far more likely that the possibility that the Prime Minister actually reads the NZ Herald!

Tags: , , ,