Harre quits Internet Party

November 23rd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Laila Harre said on The Nation yesterday that she is quitting as Leader of the Internet Party, and is no longer on the payroll. Dotcom’s $4.5 million has all been spent it seems.

While saying they mismanaged the last month, she seems to have a long list of others to blame, namely:

  • Georgina Beyer
  • The media
  • Labour
  • Greens
  • The “right” attacking

A week after the election I blogged on why the Internet Party failed. What I put it down to was:

  • Dotcom’s motives were not trusted with the $4,5 milion he out into it
  • Laila was the wrong leader for it
  • The Fuck John Key video backfired massively
  • The Moment of Truth fiasco

The Herald on Sunday profiles Dotcom today.

Three years ago the mansion bustled with up to 50 employees but that is now believed to have dwindled to fewer than 10 people, including a butler, security men, kitchen staff and gardeners.

Having only 10 servants instead of 50. That must be very tough.

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The Dotcom legal team

November 18th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom will face tougher new bail conditions and make a daily visit to the police for at least the next week.

The restrictions – imposed yesterday by Judge Nevin Dawson – ban him from using a helicopter, travelling by boat or going more than 80km from his rented Coatesville mansion.

Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the United States, must also report daily to the Albany police station.

The new conditions are in place only until next Monday, when Dotcom will appear for a bail hearing in the Auckland District Court.

The restrictions follow Crown lawyer Christine Gordon yesterday making an allegation that the Herald is not permitted to publish.

Fascinating. It is unusual to have more stringent bail conditions applied. Normally, bail conditions lessen over time.

Before the issue of bail, Judge Dawson gave Dotcom’s former lawyers – Queen’s Counsel Paul Davison and firm Simpson Grierson – leave to withdraw from the case.

Simpson Grierson have not just withdrawn but deleted all mention of Dotcom from their website – including editing previous published newsletters.

Would be interesting to know why they withdrew? Have they not been paid? Or is it for professional reasons?

Mr Davison did not disclose to the court why he was stepping down and said the reasons were “private and confidential”.

Wellington barrister Graeme Edgeler acted for Dotcom in court yesterday after the lawyers withdrew. Fletcher Pilditch, representing accused Finn Batato, was also given leave to withdraw as the lawyer for that defendant.

I suspect Graeme costs a bit less than a QC! But that may not be the reason.

We also might get a decision at some stage soon in the John Banks appeal, where allegedly new witnesses have contradicted the evidence given by Dotcom.

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Dotcom should not be deported for speeding

November 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

Immigration NZ says it may need to consider whether it has to deport Kim Dotcom.

Officials were this morning making contact with the police to confirm a previously unknown dangerous driving conviction, revealed by the Herald today.

The conviction was not declared by Dotcom on his application for residency even though it came from a speeding incident just eight months before he made his application to live in New Zealand.

Applicants for residency are obliged to make a full disclosure of previous convictions and seek a “special direction” waiver.

Dotcom did so for a hacking conviction in 1994 and an insider trading conviction in 2001 – but there was no reference to the dangerous driving charge, to which he pleaded guilty on September 14, 2009.

He had been travelling at 149km/h in a 50km/h zone in Albany, on Auckland’s North Shore.

Travelling 99 km/hr over the speed limit is near homicidal, in a 50 km/hr area. I will sometimes drives in excess of the speed limit when I judge it safe to do so, but to drive at three times the speed limit is very very dangerous.

In the residency form, Dotcom signed in June 2010, there is a clear tick in the box declaring no dangerous driving conviction.

The Herald obtained details of the conviction from the North Shore District Court, where it was recorded under the name “Kim Schmitz”, the identity under which Dotcom was born.

Did he use his old name, to try and hide the conviction?

In a written statement, Immigration NZ admitted it had no idea Dotcom had a conviction for dangerous driving until it was told by the Herald.

The statement said Immigration NZ didn’t know because it never did a police check.

Well they should. But of course the onus is on the applicant to tell the truth.

The statement read: “Immigration New Zealand (INZ) can confirm that Kim Dotcom did not declare a dangerous driving conviction in New Zealand.

“Normally there is no requirement for a New Zealand Police check if an applicant has lived in New Zealand for less than 12 months at the time their residence application is lodged and there are no reasonable grounds to suspect the applicant has been charged with an offence in New Zealand.”

The statement said it did not check because “Mr Dotcom did not declare any convictions in New Zealand and had been living here for less than 12 months”.

As Dotcom has become such an unpopular figure, it is tempting to say that his failure to disclose his dangerous driving conviction should be used as grounds to rescind the residency decision.

But these decisions should not be based on popularity. If the non-disclosure was a genuine oversight, then the question should be would he have been declined residency in 2010, if it had been disclosed? I doubt, it would have affected the decision.

However if the non-disclosure was deliberate, and the use of his old name part of a strategy to conceal the conviction, then that would be grounds to review the residency decision.

So accidental non-disclosure of the dangerous driving conviction should not lead to the residency being cancelled. But a deliberate concealment could be grounds.

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Miller on Dotcom

October 9th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Geoffrey Miller at The Diplomat writes on The Downfall of Kim Dotcom:

Outwardly, Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party campaigned against mass surveillance and for free tertiary education and marijuana law reform. But by the end, New Zealand voters saw through the party – officially registered only in May this year – and deemed it a vanity project designed only to win Dotcom enough political support to hold the balance of power under the country’s proportional voting system and veto his extradition to the U.S. An unusual alliance with Mana, a leftist party advocating for the interests of New Zealand’s underprivileged indigenous Maori, seemed like a bold tactical move on paper, but was a disaster in practice. Dotcom’s flamboyant lifestyle and seemingly limitless cash ended up destroying Mana’s credibility of standing up for the downtrodden.

What’s amazing is none of the comrades to Mana still see the problem. At most they just think they needed to manage Dotcom better.

Dotcom led party-goers in a repeated chant against the country’s center-right prime minister, John Key. A video of the “f**k John Key” chant was uploaded to the official YouTube account for Internet Mana and widely circulated through social media. But many New Zealand voters appeared disgusted by the negative campaigning against an enormously popular incumbent.

Yep. That was a significant turning point.

The fact that no credible proof emerged at the “Moment of Truth” to support Dotcom’s much promised “big reveal” – which revolved around an outlandish conspiracy theory that New Zealand had granted him residency only to make it easier for the United States to extradite him – only added to voters’ impression that he was a charlatan.

In May, Kim Dotcom described his pet political party as his “gift to New Zealand.” On election night, he was forced to concede that his very brand had been toxic. For John Key, Dotcom turned out to be the gift that kept on giving. New Zealand voters’ loathing of Kim Dotcom and his tainting of the country’s left played no small part in delivering Key’s center-right National Party a landslide victory.

What we don’t know is if the damage to the left is short-term or long-term. But it has reduced the left’s presence in Parliament to just two parties.

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The rise and fall of Kim Dotcom

September 29th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A couple of years ago Kim Dotcom was a fairly popular person in New Zealand, and many people had sympathy for what had happened to him. How did he go from being reasonably popular, to arguably the most hated person in New Zealand politics? This post seeks to explore what happened.

I joked to someone that if the day before the election, that if two US Black Hawks had landed at his mansion and US Navy Seals jumped out and bundled him into a the choppers to take him to the US, and John Key held a press conference to announce he had personally authorised it even though his chief legal adviser Steven Joyce said it was “pretty illegal”, National would have got a 10% boost and get 60%.

That is an exaggeration, but National MPs and candidates I spoke to have all said that the most common topic of conversation in the last week was Kim Dotcom, and how members of the public would come up to them unsolicited and speak of how badly they want him not just out of NZ politics, but out of New Zealand.

But it was not once like this, so let’s go back to the beginning. Up until the raid on his mansion, 99.9% of New Zealanders had probably never heard of Kim Dotcom, including the Prime Minister.

The raids were like something out of a movie, with SWAT type teams in helicopters landing. It was, in my opinion, an over-reaction by the NZ authorities to the situation. Yes Dotcom had access to weapons, but he wasn’t Al Capone. Dotcom got sympathy from a fair number of people for the nature of the raid.

It also transpired that the Police did not get the paperwork right with aspects of the raid, and even worse the GCSB did not properly understand his immigration status and the law, and should not have been assisting the Police. This increased the sympathy for Dotcom.

And it should be said that the charges against him in the US are not a clear cut case. My belief is that Dotcom designed his business model to push the law to its limits, and to make money off copyrighted works – but he may not have broken US law. He may have gone over the boundary, but he may not have. It is an arguable case either way. A case that should be heard in court.

My feelings on Dotcom a couple of years ago were relatively benign. I thought the media were overly sycophantic to him, and that he was masterful at promoting a good public image. He made himself the victim. But I have always thought the US charges may not get a conviction, and that the Police were heavy handed (and slightly incompetent) in their handling of the case. So I wasn’t a fan boy, but I said at the time that if he went to the US and won the court case, then I’d welcome him back in New Zealand.

He was a celebrity. He appeared in plays with Jacinda Ardern. He got invited to open the Frankin Road lights. He got the soft treatment in women’s magazines and Campbell Live.

So where did it go wrong? How did he go from being the plucky popular underdog to the most reviled person in NZ? There were a number of reasons.

He became a politician

If Dotcom had not invented a conspiracy theory that Barack Obama and Joe Biden got John Key to let Dotcom into NZ, so he could be arrested an extradited, he would have stayed relatively popular. Rather than merely treating the USG as the enemy, and exposing the tendency of NZ law enforcement to be overly sycophantic to them, he decided to make John Key his personal target. He wanted to destroy John Key, and set up a political party to do so. He went from being an Internet entrepreneur to a politician.

Now to be fair to Dotcom, this was a very logical thing to do. I commented that I’d do the same if I was in his shoes, awaiting an extradition hearing and decision. A country extradites wanted criminals, not politicians. Turning yourself into a politician was in theory a politically smart thing to do – but it depended on what type of politician – a principled politician wanting better policies for NZ, or one seen to be utterly self seeking?

He lost his friends and his staff

Almost everyone close to Dotcom turned on him. He spent up large on himself, and his party, while claiming poverty with his staff, suppliers and friends. New Zealanders are quite egalitarian, and don’t like a guy who flies everywhere in a helicopter leaving small NZ businesses out of pocket for tens of thousands.

The number of former friends and colleagues who now hate him is huge. He managed to burn off goodwill faster than a forest fire.

They leaked to (mainly Whale Oil) various people stories, tapes and videos of Dotcom’s various inappropriate happenings.

He spent too much money trying to destroy Key

If he had only put $500,000 or $1,000,000 into his pet party, there may not have been such a reaction. But $4.5 million looked obscene, especially as it was tied to utu – not a belief in a particular set of policies being good for NZ. Yes Colin Craig put in a lot of money also to his party, but Craig’s motives were seen as upfront – wanting to become an MP and push a particular brand of policies – not revenge.

The alliance with Mana looked unprincipled

Dotcom used to donate to John Banks, one of the most right wing politicians in New Zealand. Mana is the most left wing party in NZ. Apart from a hatred of John Key, Dotcom and Mana were seen to have almost no policy commonality. It looked to most NZers that Dotcom purchased a tame political party, and Mana sold out their principles. Harre and Harawira would once have condemned a foreign born multi-millionaire criminal, whose staff alleged paid them below the minimum wage. But they took his money, and said nothing.

Recall that the Internet Party was meant to appeal to potential National voters, who didn’t think the Government was Internet friendly enough. The alliance killed off that possibility, and in fact drove those voters back to National.

Some on the left saw it as a great way to get the Internet Party into Parliament, and help defeat John Key. The smarter Labour MPs realised it would stink to high heaven, and we saw Chris Hipkins and Phil Goff wisely denounce it in no uncertain terms. They can hold their heads up high – their judgement was spot on. Labour members and activists who routinely denounce Hipkins, Goff and others might want to consider that if they had listened to them at the time, then Labour may not have ended up with such a disastrous level of vote. Cunliffe was far far too slow to distance himself from the Internet Mana Alliance. He should have ruled them out entirely, just as Key did with Peters in 2008.

Laila was the wrong leader

Laila would be a great Deputy Leader of the Mana Party. She is a staunch advocate for workers (except those who work for Dotcom) and unions. But she is no Internet Party Leader.

The Internet community already had mixed feelings on an Internet Party. Some were wary of Dotcom’s motivations, but still thought it was an exciting opportunity to have a party dedicated to Internet issues. If Dotcom has announced someone with real credibility on Internet issues such as ex TUANZ head Paul Brislen, then there would have been a real buzz of excitement.

The announcement of Harre as Leader created a fury with many in the Internet community. They felt that their issues were being hijacked for a cause that had nothing to do with the Internet. Some of those most vehement against the Internet Party were people who may have been potential supporters of it.

There were many good people involved in the Internet Party, such as CEO Vikram Kumar, who have a genuine passion for the Internet. But the leader is all important. Laila made a genuine effort to come up to speed on Internet issues, but the Internet community felt insulted by the use of the Internet’s name for a party led by someone who is not an Internet native and didn’t even know the name of her own ISP.

The Fuck John Key video

This was not a selfie video by someone in the audience. Dotcom, or someone working for him, thought it would be a great idea to stick a video of Dotcom leading a group of fans chanting Fuck John Key. They turned it into a party advertisement, put an authorisation statement on it, and promoted it.

This was a key point, when people really started to get determined to not let him succeed. We’re a fairly polite country. Seeing the German guy facing extradition reveling in the crowd chanting obscenities at the country’s Prime Minister offended huge numbers of New Zealanders, including many swinging voters. Even worse, Harre wouldn’t apologise for it. For National, this video was gold. For Labour, they should have denounced it more strongly and used it as an opportunity to say they would have nothing to do with the Internet Mana Alliance.

The problem Dotcom had at this point is he was purely surrounded by people who hate John Key. Everyone in his circle would have loved the video. They would have had no idea how it played out with middle NZ – who decide elections.

The hacking

Dotcom may or may not have been involved in the hacking, but he was boasting to people about it, his staff were boasting about it, he made a speech boasting of how he hacked the German PM, and of course many NZers thought he was involved. And most voters don’t like it. They think dirty politics is hacking, stealing and spying – not talking to bloggers..

The Moment of Truth

A lot has been written about this before, but there were six things which did Dotcom in.

  1. His two years of assurances he had proof beyond any doubt the PM had lied. He claimed this dozens of times. He even had the privilege of appearing face to face against the PM at a committee meeting, and taunting him with it to his face. He did not just claim he has suspicions – he was adamant he had proof.
  2. The timing of the event pissed people off. His brains trust thought having the week of the election would get the biggest impact. New Zealanders though have common sense and saw it as an attempt to make allegations, without the time to have them fully considered. he should have held it three months before the election – as should have Hager.
  3. The farcical forged e-mail. A retarded five year old could have made a more convincing forgery.
  4. The failure to talk about the e-mail at all, at an event he had spent over a year promoting as the moment when he would reveal the proof
  5. His maniacal laughing throughout the meeting, as if he was Dr Evil in Austen Powers. I suggested National use the footage as their campaign closing.
  6. The combination of a German and three Americans lecturing NZers on their politics in their heavy accents, shrieked foreigners trying to influence the NZ election result

This combined into the biggest farce and own goal I think I have seen in New Zealand politics.

The anger

When I wrote the next morning that it is time to get angry, I had more positive feedback on that post than any other I can recall. It got shared widely on social media, and I got scores of texts and phone calls. People were angry. Everywhere MPs went, they met angry people – angry at Dotcom. They wanted him out of politics, and were determined to vote to stop him having influence on the next Government. The CTU spent $200,000+ on trying to get union members our to vote (obviously for Labour/Greens/Mana). Dotcom’s Moment of Truth cost National not one cent and galvanised their supporters to the polling booths.

 

So it wasn’t one thing, but a series of bad calls that did Dotcom in. He may blame it on the last two weeks, but it was well over a year’s worth of misjudgements. If he had not invented his conspiracy theory involving John Key, and kept the focus on his ill treatment by sections of the NZ authorities – he would have maintained considerable public support and appeal. If his party had been a genuine Internet Party that sought more than the destruction of National at any cost, then it could have done quite well.

But he surrounded himself by people who hate John Key, and cut himself off from reality. He had no idea at all how the public of New Zealand were starting to regard him as a cancer that needed chemotherapy, rather than the plucky underdog he once was.

There’s a lesson in that for more than Dotcom.

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Fran on Dotcom

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

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

On Twitter: Must read: Fran O’Sullivan reports from inside John Key’s rectum and gets trashed by reader comments. EPIC FAIL :)

That was Dotcom at his most charming.

A day later, I was tempted to respond (also via Twitter) to Mr Kim Dotcom and point out that the less than 30 reader comments trashing my column saying that Dotcom’s “Moment of Truth” extravaganza was an ABJECT FAIL, was a mere drop in the bucket compared with the number of voters who contributed to the Internet-Mana wipeout on election night.

But Dotcom admitted he had poisoned the Internet-Mana brand himself.

What Dotcom’s little eruption did prove (like with the gratuitous “Sweet old lady, you’re cute” tweet he sent my way earlier on when I wrote a Herald column spelling out that content providers – like myself – don’t like having their copyright abused) is that this supposed two-fisted fighter for truth can’t take it if he meets up with other than journalistic adoration for his swash-buckling endeavours.

He’s been less vocal on Twitter since last weekend.

Then yesterday there was the Internet-Mana’s incontinent press officer Pam Corkery yet again bleating about the “puffed-up little shits” of telly land in a long-winded justification of her failure to exercise personal discipline at the party’s launch.

I like Pam. I cut my teeth in the private radio era of the early 1980s when the late Paul Holmes held sway on Radio Windy and Pam and a whole host of journalists who then went on to develop strong personal brands on the radio were starting off.

But instead of the inside story of what really went down in the Internet Mana soup which we all know Corkery is capable of providing, all we got was more deflection over the party’s disastrous defeat.

The upshot was that Hone Harawira failed to win Te Tai Tokerau, and Internet Mana finished on just over 1.2 per cent, well short of the 5 per cent needed to put an MP into Parliament.

The Prime Minister they tried to “take down” is back in the Beehive. Voters saw through the puppet-master and his well-paid politicians.

I have a lengthy post on Monday about what went wrong with Dotcom and Internet Mana.

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McLeod on the election

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

Rosemary McLeod writes:

The big guy’s not wrong when he admits he was toxic for the Internet-Mana Party. Actually he’s toxic for New Zealand. We don’t admire personal feuds and personalised attacks on this scale in our part of the world, and to tag it on to a general election was too much.

Dotcom’s squeals of pleasure, as his tame speakers attacked John Key, would have turned many stomachs, not just mine. They knew nothing about Key that could justify their attack on his character, and the only good thing about their display of viciousness ended up being that it perversely gave a landslide victory to Key at the end of the most bizarre campaign I can remember.

Who would have thought Harre and that martyr of all Left-wing causes, John Minto, would be enticed by big bucks? Was that how truly principled paragons of the Left should behave? Dotcom has looked and behaved like the epitome of the kind of fat cat they would normally deplore, throwing his money around, but that very money had them mesmerised.

They threw away their credibility, and it can hardly have been worth it.

A sadder case is Hone Harawira, who threw away his ability to advocate in Parliament for issues he genuinely believes in. Did he think Maori voters would follow him blindly?

They were too intelligent for that.

Hone and Laila were genuine principled advocates for their beliefs. And then they sold out. They took the money, and aligned themselves with a rich criminal’s jihad against John Key, as they thought it would get them into power. The former staunch unionists had not a word to say about the allegations of his former staff who claimed Dotcom paid them $5 an hour only.

Even the sainted Nicky Hager, who the overseas speakers lauded for his series of indignant publications, is tainted by the campaign waged against Key. It was a cynical and calculated gesture to publish his book so close to an election, hoping to derail National’s predicted chances. He managed to knock Judith Collins out of the running, and WhaleOil will never look so beguiling again, but he doesn’t look any cleaner for it. When you’re praised by the kind of crowd that whooped and hollered in the Auckland Town Hall you’re not in classy company. At least he had the good sense not to be present.

Both Hager and Dotcom made the same mistake – doing their attacks during the election campaign. New Zealanders don’t like gotcha politics like that. Any serious issues they had would have been far more effectively considered if they had released them three to six months before the election.

And for those who are about to attack McLeod as being a cheerleader for National:

I voted Labour – out of nostalgia, though I knew it would fare badly. …

And for the record, I’ve never voted National in my life.

And I suspect never will.

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3rd Degree on Kim Dotcom and his staff

September 18th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

It should have aired months ago, but better late than never.

3rd degree interviewed three former staff of Kim Dotcom’s. The programme revealed testimony from former staff which included:

  • Dotom constantly referred to New Zealanders as cheap ass farmers
  • Dotcom hates John Key (no surprise that one)
  • The three staff have claimed they are owed $367,000 in wages
  • Dotcom has an explosive temper and would yell at them
  • Staff worked a minimum 16 hours a day, and one staffer worked for two days straight attending Dotcom as he played video games
  • Staff worked on average 90 hours a week and got paid an average of $5 an hour – almost a third of the legal minimum wage
  • Staff rarely had a day off
  • One staffer was sacked for questioning his pay
  • Dotcom has refused to supply a certificate of employment to his former staff
  • They only got around a third of their backpay as Dotcom said he needed to deduct tax. This suggests he may not initially have been deducting tax as required, but also suggests he has deducted it at a higher rate than he should have

Dotcom in response said:

  • admitted he sometimes yells at his staff
  • says it is acceptable to yell at his staff when they make serious mistakes
  • says he is like their family father, and it is like when your child does something stupid
  • He cares for them, and they are like family to him
  • He never gave written warnings before dismissals
  • says he loves New Zealanders
  • says in regard to his staff “We’re all on a first name basis, they call me Sir”

So where is Helen Kelly and the CTU? Where are the unionists in Labour and the Greens? Where is that champion of worker’s rights – Laila Harre? They’re all silent on this, because Dotcom and his party is their route to power.  Imagine Dotcom had given $4 million to the ACT Party? They would be insisting that he be charged with breaching labour laws, putting out press releases non stop.

So the next time the CTU and the parties of the left go on about workers, ask them why they were silent on Dotcom’s alleged employment abuses. While this story only went to air this week, the allegations have been well known for months.

Dotcom has enough money to give $4 million to Laila Harre and Hone Harawira to help get them into Parliament. But not enough money to pay more than $5 an hour to his staff, according to them.

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Dotcom wants to force Labour Govt to give Snowden asylum

September 17th, 2014 at 4:27 pm by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

There could be another fugitive from US justice in New Zealand should there be a change of Government this weekend.

Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom has tweeted that if voters oust the National Party, Internet Mana will work with Labour and the Greens to get Edward Snowden asylum in New Zealand.

Snowden faces up to 30 years jail in the US for revealing the NSA’s secrets.

He’s currently in hiding in Russia.

Why stop there? Why not Julian Assange also?

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O’Sullivan on Dotcom

September 17th, 2014 at 11:33 am by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

John Key goes into the home straight of the election campaign with his integrity publicly intact after the Kim Dotcom fiasco and voters well placed to make a judgment when it comes to the Key Government’s management of the NZ economy.

Key has been roundly attacked for declassifying documents to prove his point that the GCSB has not been involved in widespread surveillance of New Zealanders.

Bizarrely, it is somehow seen as perfectly all right for Dotcom and his associates to use stolen National Security Agency files to try to prove the Prime Minister a liar on how his Government has administered national security, but not for Key to declassify New Zealand’s own files to prove he isn’t a liar.

This is utter madness.

It is madness. They claim a moral right to use stolen partial documents, and they complain when the Government responds by releasing documents to prove they are wrong.

Key saw Dotcom coming and released the Cabinet document which backed his statements before the Internet Party visionary’s Moment of Truth fiasco.

Key had intervened to stop a surveillance plan because it was too intrusive.

“There’s no ambiguity. No middle ground. I’m right. He’s wrong,” Key said.

Dotcom’s failure to produce a smoking gun to comprehensively prove Key lied over the circumstances of the US extradition moves against him did not surprise.

Far from comprehensively proving Key lied, he produced an e-mail that looks like something a not very bright five year old might try and pass off as a genuine e-mail.

Kim Dotcom has tried to hijack this election. I hope he fails.

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10 reasons Dotcom’s e-mail is a fake

September 17th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Laila Harre continues to sell what is left of her tattered reputation down the drain by insisting the e-mail produced by Dotcom is real. It’s so real they can’t answer a single question on its legitimacy.

I doubt there is a single person in NZ who really thinks it is real, but in case there are some, here’s a few reasons to doubt it.

  1. Large US companies are required under US law (for legal discovery reasons) to have e-mail systems that archive all e-mails, and are independently stored so they can’t be deleted.
  2. The time stamp looks fake with no UTC reference
  3. The date is in NZ format, not US format
  4. No executive would ever send an e-mail detailing a conspiracy with a foreign government, to a lobby group
  5. The font and spacing is identical to what you get in the default mode of Notepad
  6. There was no separate meeting between the Warners CEO and John Key
  7. The dialogue in the e-mail is cartoonish, perfectly scripted to fit what Dotcom has claimed
  8. No detailed headers have been provided
  9. Even Dotcom’s lawyer won’t touch the e-mail – as he knows it could never be admitted in court
  10. Dotcom still won’t comment on the e-mail despite it being confirmed there is no Privileges Committee, so it can’t be before it.
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Fisher on Radio Live on the Warners e-mail

September 16th, 2014 at 10:59 am by David Farrar

Listen to David Fisher on Radio Live talking about the Warner’s e-mail. Some quotes:

He did not present it at the Town Hall. I think that is extraordinary that we have two and a half years of this … conspiracy theory against me and I’m going to present this evidence. Initially it was going to be at the extradition hearing and then he said it will be on September 15 … Dotcom spent two and a half years saying I’ll show you the evidence, and then not. …

I’ve been following thsi case right from the outset Sean and the feeling I’ve had, the belief I’ve had, my honest belief is that there is not a conspiracy theory. I don’t believe there is any evidence that shows Key knew about Dotcom prior to the raid in January 2012

Fisher is the author of Kim Dotcom’s biography.

Another interesting discussion is whether the Internet Party should declare the cost of the Moment of Truth as a campaign expense, and would this push them over the spending limit? Their expenses return is going to be very closely scrutinised and I’d be very nervous if I was the party secretary.

David Fisher said he has no doubt it should be treated as an expense for the Internet Party.  Plunket also interviewed Andrew Geddis on this issue.

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It’s time to get angry

September 16th, 2014 at 6:31 am by David Farrar

For months and even years we have given Kim Dotcom a slight benefit of the doubt. He claimed back in 2012 that he had evidence John Key knew about him before 19 January 2012. He said he would produce this evidence in court.

He never ever did.

But he kept insisting he had the evidence. Many got sceptical when he offered a $5 million reward for the evidence he claimed he already had, but he kept insisting he would reveal his evidence, and he then got specific – that he would reveal it at a public meeting on the 15th of September.  Most of us thought the evidence would be ambiguous at best, or inconsequential – but thought he would at least have something.

But it seems he had nothing at all. The claimed e-mail is so obviously a fake (see Danyl McLauchlan), that he didn’t even present it at the meeting. His fellow speakers probably insisted he not mention it, as he could not assure them that it was genuine. He has not provided any evidence at all to authenticate it, and the excuse that they can’t discuss it any more because Hone Harawira has referred it to the Privileges Committee is a pathetic ploy. As this circular makes clear, there is no Privileges Committee for it to be refereed to. The House has been dissolved. Hone’s abysmal knowledge of parliamentary rules is on display once again.

Kim Dotcom has trued to hijack our democracy and we should be angry about this. He is both a convicted criminal, and someone facing serious charges in the United States. His political involvement is not motivated by concern for New Zealand and New Zealanders. His motivation is purely about what is good for himself, and he has spent millions of dollars trying to subvert our democracy and country as if it is his plaything.

I’m angry about this, and you should be also.

The one thing Dotcom wants more than anything else is to change the Government. Any change of government will be his most prized possession, and the party he controls will be propping up a left wing Government. Don’t let this man buy and subvert our democracy. He had his chance to show he is not a charlatan, and he failed.

The parties of the left have all paid homage to him. One party sold out lock stock and barrel. They have sold him their party list and policies. Others had their MPs all travel up to his mansion to pay homage to him. Unlike almost every other citizen who has to travel to an MPs office to meet an MP, Dotcom has had Labour, Green and NZ First MPs beat a path to his mansion. The one thing that united them was hatred of John Key, and they wanted in on the alleged proof that Key had lied. They got played also – but they were warned.

If you don’t want future elections to have criminal multimillionaires buy off political parties, and use a general election as a tool to undermine judicial extradition hearings, then get angry and vote. And talk to your friends and colleagues and urge them to vote against Dotcom. New Zealanders should have been having a final week debating the economy, the health system, the education system, jobs, incomes, welfare, housing and the like. But Dotcom’s media manipulation has tried to make it all about him. Hell his rambling speech last night was almost an advertisement for his new Mega company at times.

Yes some of the stuff alleged by Snowden is of public interest, but Snowden, Assange and Greenwald make a conscious decision to throw their lots in with Dotcom and appear at a campaign event for the Internet Mana Party five days before the election. If they had laid out their allegations at an earlier date in a forum not organised by Dotcom, then their allegations would be getting the scrutiny they deserve. The worst possible time to have a sensible analysis and discussion on this is in the dying days of the campaign – and especially at a partisan event organised by a criminal facing extradition proceedings.

Personally I think Snowden and Greenwald are not correct, as they are working on incomplete documents. The former GCSB Director, Sir Bruce Ferguson, said on Campbell Live:

“This is an occasion where I have to say quite forcefully and categorically to support the Prime Minister’s utterances of the last few days – mass surveillance, particularly by the GCSB most certainly didn’t happen in my time or in any time before that,” says Sir Ferguson.

Ferguson is no fan of the PM. He has been very critical of him, so when he backs the PM, that says something. Southern Cross Cable has also said the claims are nonsense.

Dotcom has tried to buy himself an election result. He claimed for around two years he had evidence that John Key lied. He said it to a parliamentary committee. He said it to the media dozens of times. He tweeted it.  The media reported his claims in good faith. He has had more air time and columns that possibly any other minor party leader (which he effectively is, just barred from holding the job officially as he is not a citizen). And he has totally failed to substantiate his claims. He couldn’t even answer the most basic question about the alleged e-mail. Instead he attacked the media for not being compliant enough.

Get angry and stay angry. Do not give Dotcom what he wants. Make sure you vote. Encourage others to vote. His two year campaign of hatred against John Key has been built on a tissue of lies, and he should not be rewarded for it.

UPDATE: In relation to the alleged e-mail, a reader has pointed out to me that the alleged e-mail looks identical to what you would get if you typed the text up in Notepad!!!

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The clusterfuck moment of truth

September 15th, 2014 at 9:20 pm by David Farrar

For two years or so Kim Dotcom has claimed he had proof that John Key knew about him and was part of a global conspiracy. He repeated this claim dozens of times. He then said he would reveal the truth during the so called Moment or Truth tonight. But he didn’t. He conned basically everyone.

He claims he did not refer to the e-mail because it has been referred to the Privileges Committee. That is a lie. Parliament has been dissolved. There is no Privileges Committee.

Dotcom failed to provide one sherrick of evidence that this e-mail is authentic.

He is now attacking the media because they have dared to ask him for proof. In the last 24 hours more people have seen his true colours – a bully who is used to buying anything he wants.

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PM on surveillance claims

September 15th, 2014 at 5:55 pm by David Farrar

John Key has done a release stating:

Prime Minister John Key tonight corrected misinformation that has been put in the public domain concerning the operations of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

“Claims have been made tonight that are simply wrong and that is because they are based on incomplete information,” Mr Key says.

“There is not, and never has been, a cable access surveillance programme operating in New Zealand.

“There is not, and never has been, mass surveillance of New Zealanders undertaken by the GCSB.

“Regarding XKEYSCORE, we don’t discuss the specific programmes the GCSB may, or may not use, but the GCSB does not collect mass metadata on New Zealanders, therefore it is clearly not contributing such data to anything or anyone,” Mr Key says.

“I am setting the record straight tonight because I believe New Zealanders deserve better than getting half of a story, embellished for dramatic effect and political gain, and based on incomplete information.

“The GCSB undertakes cyber security operations to protect individual public and private sector entities from the increasing threat of cyber-attack and this is very important work.

“It does not, however, remotely resemble what has been claimed,” Mr Key says.

The GCSB’s cyber security operations occur within its legal framework and only when the following conditions are met: 

  • Each entity must provide individual legal consent to be protected by the GCSB;
  • The independent Commissioner of Security Warrants must be satisfied each individual case is within the law, and a legal warrant must be co-signed by the Prime Minister and the Commissioner;
  • Warrants are subject to a two-step process, as outlined by the Prime Minister when legislation was passed last year. A warrant is required for high level cyber protection for an individual entity, and the content of a New Zealander’s communications cannot be looked at by a GCSB employee unless a specific cyber threat is identified which relates to that communication. If that is the case, the GCSB must return to the Prime Minister and the Commissioner to make the case for a second warrant in order to access that communication.

In addition to this, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security has substantially stronger powers to monitor the GCSB’s activities and ensure they are appropriate and within the law.

“Our cyber security programme began operating this year after a lengthy process of assessing options for protection,” Mr Key says.

“The process began in late 2011 when the GCSB made it clear to me that cyber-attacks were a growing threat to our country’s data and intellectual property and the Government needed to invest in addressing that.

“The Bureau assessed a variety of options for protection and presented an initial range to Cabinet for consideration in 2012.

“These options ranged from the highest possible form of protection to a much weaker form of security, with some in between.

“The Cabinet initially expressed an interest in GCSB developing a future business case for the strongest form of protection for our public and private sectors, but it later revoked that decision and opted for what we have now – something known as Cortex.

“The business case for the highest form of protection was never completed or presented to Cabinet and never approved. Put simply, it never happened,” Mr Key says.

The Prime Minister tonight also released declassified material, including a Cabinet minute to show what occurred.

“I can assure New Zealanders that there is not, and never has been, mass surveillance by the GCSB.

“In stark contrast, the Bureau actually operates a sound, individually-based form of cyber protection only to entities which legally consent to it,” Mr Key says.

The attachments are below.

1 2 3 4

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Southern Cross Cable on the Dotcom allegations

September 15th, 2014 at 5:11 pm by David Farrar

A press release from Southern Cross Cable:

Claims of cable access total nonsense

The claims made today by journalist Glenn Greenwald that the Southern Cross undersea cables have been tapped into or accessed are total nonsense said the CEO Anthony Briscoe today.

The cables, which link New Zealand to Australia, the Pacific and the United States, are untouched, Mr Briscoe noted.

“I can tell you quite categorically there is no facility by the NSA, the GCSB or anyone else on the Southern Cross cable network.”

“Let’s be quite blunt. To do this, we would have to take the cable out of service and I can assure you there’s no way we are going to do that.

“It is a physical impossibility to do it without us knowing. There is just no way it can be done. I can give you absolute assurances from Southern Cross – and me as a Kiwi – that there are no sites anywhere on the Southern Cross network that have to do with interception or anything else the NSA or GCSB might want to do.”

He added, any breach of the cable would require temporarily shutting down its transmission for hours. Southern Cross has monitoring systems built into its computers watching for any such break and they would be triggered as soon as any attempt was made.

“There isn’t a technology in the world, as far as I am aware, that can splice into an undersea fibre optic cable without causing a serious outage and sending alarms back to our network operation centre, that something’s wrong.”

Southern Cross is obligated to comply with the well-established and public lawful surveillance requirements in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and related laws in the United States. However there is no equipment installed in the New Zealand or United States landing stations, or on the cable itself, which could result in mass interception of communications.

We are very disturbed that such unfounded allegations have been made and feel that it’s important for all New Zealanders to understand that this outrageous claim is totally untrue.

The so called moment of truth is turning into a moment of farce.

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The Dotcom e-mail

September 15th, 2014 at 3:32 pm by David Farrar

The Herald has published the e-mail that Kim Dotcom claims proves John Key was part of a global conspiracy about him.

Warners have said it is a fake, and there was no private meeting and no e-mail.

The onus has to be on Dotcom to substantiate the e-mail, and prove it is real.

I recall that he has claimed to have had proof for several years now. Yet earlier this year he offered $5 million for information proving the conspiracy. Why would he offer $5 million of he had proof? And if this is what he got for his $5 million, he may need to get a refund.

I think both of Dotcom’s big reveals are poised to become fizzers. They will help his party get votes and publicity of other left wing parties, but I don’t see them leading to any centre-right voters, swapping over. If anything, it may incentivise right voters more.

 

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The Press on the Dotcom sideshow

September 15th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Press editorial:

The much-promised announcement being staged by Kim Dotcom today must be one of the most ballyhooed in New Zealand political history. It is also one of the oddest.

It has been designed for maximum theatrics by a man who, ever since his arrival in this country, has shown he is well-versed in the dark arts of public relations and knows how to manipulate public opinion to his own advantage.

Coming just five days before most voting in the general election will take place, the timing is cynical. It is clear from Kim Dotcom’s signalling of the event more than six months ago that any information he has could have been released at any time since at least the beginning of this year, if not earlier. If today’s information does turn out to be anything of substance, and not just a damp squib, releasing it now leaves little time for effective rebuttal. Today’s exercise could be seen as a blatant attempt by two foreigners – a German millionaire and an American journalist – to influence the outcome of the election.

As The Press says, this info could have been released at any time, allowing time for scrutiny and rebuttal. This is all about increasing the party vote for Dotcom’s pet party, so they will have more influence in the next Parliament.

According to what Greenwald has already said in interviews, the Government Communications and Security Bureau has engaged in mass electronic surveillance of New Zealanders. That would be contrary to the law and, more crucially, contrary to assurances given by Key. Greenwald’s credentials derive from stories he has written, many based on material given to him by the fugitive American National Security Agency worker now living in Russia, revealing questionable surveillance by the NSA and other western electronic intelligence agencies.

New Zealand is connected to those agencies by the so-called Five Eyes agreement. That agreement was established just after World War II and has been maintained by all governments since, presumably because of its value. Difficult as it may be to prove a negative, the Prime Minister has promised to declassify documents about the GCSB that will show conclusively that any allegations Greenwald makes of GCSB wrongdoing are false. Voters will have to judge for themselves as well as they can.

People who believe John Key is lying, also have to believe Helen Clark was lying – along with successive GCSB Directors, Inspector-Generals of Intelligence & Security, and probably half the GCSB staff.

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Dotcom has now spent $4.5 million trying to change the Government

September 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has just reported a further $250,000 donation from Kim Dotcom towards the Internet Party. This brings the total he has donated to $4.5 million. It consists of:

  • $1 million before registration
  • $250,000 on 26 May
  • $250,000 on 30 May
  • $2,750,000 on 30 May
  • $250,000 on 3 September

So $4.5 million to defeat the Government and get a new Government dependent on his pet party. I think we all know why he is doing it.

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Mana candidate lashes Dotcom

September 1st, 2014 at 7:07 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Internet Mana candidate Georgina Beyer has gone rogue and come out swinging at her party’s so-called visionary, Kim Dotcom.

She says he’s pulling the strings and is in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge.

Internet Mana’s the party that’s big on going big – big names, big productions, big personalities. But now it seems it’s got big problems too.

“Who is pulling the strings? Well, the big man himself,” says Ms Beyer.

Ms Beyer, a former Labour MP and New Zealand’s first transgender MP, is Mana’s candidate in the southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga.

She believes Dotcom is tearing her party apart.

“His reasons for becoming involved in New Zealand politics in the way he has is one of retribution against people who he feels have slighted him,” says Ms Beyer.

If Georgina Beyer can work it out, why can’t Hone Harawira or Laila Harre? Maybe it’s the $4 million he has put into the parties they claim to lead.

Beyer also said that she has started to see the leader (Harawira) forfeit some of his strong held beliefs for the sake of political expediency. This presumably is a reference to his u-turn on cannabis law.

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O’Sullivan on Dotcom

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

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

It’s ridiculous that the New Zealand political system can be gamed by an international businessman with criminal convictions who bought his way into this country via the Investor Plus scheme. That businessman subsequently avoided extradition attempts. Then bankrolled a new political party to the tune of $3 million to “take down John Key” and is now openly colluding with Julian Assange to drop a political bomb just five days out from the election.

Kim Dotcom has long been resisting US Government attempts to extradite him to the United States to face allegations of racketeering and money-laundering over the use of his former file-hosting site Megaupload.

Now Dotcom’s palled up with the redoubtable Assange, who took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition by the Swedish Government over alleged sexual offences.

Both men seem fairly unenthuiastic to actually turn up to a trial!

You can just imagine the phone calls between the pair.

“This is better than playing Call of Duty, Julian … You can take down a whole Government in this country, all you need is money and some politicians happy to go on the payroll.”

Dotcom has plenty of supporters who feel he was hard done by over the super-hyped raid on the Coatesville mansion. There are big issues still to be addressed.

But it’s notable that while he has flung more than $3 million into the Internet Party – even putting on the payroll a former Alliance Cabinet minister whose politics are vastly different from his – he won’t brook informed questions over what’s really gone on in the Coatesville sandpit when it comes to getting out his chequebook to buy political influence.

Thus he has tried to legally constrain his former bodyguard Wayne Tempero from speaking to media about the lead-up to the birth of the Internet Party.

This is remarkably thin-skinned. If Dotcom has nothing to hide, why would he be concerned about what Tempero has to say?

If he was just a businessman, it would be understandable. But we have the effective leader of a political party gagging former staff from speaking up. If you enter politics, then gagging people is a bad look.

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Dotcom boasts of hacking a PM and refuses comment

August 25th, 2014 at 5:17 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

The Internet Mana election launch has ended in disaster, with Kim Dotcom running from the building as journalists were sworn at.

And his bodyguards trying to physically block journalists from following him.

It all started after Dotcom made reference to hacking in his speech, and when journalists wanted to ask him more, whether it was linked with Dirty Politics, it turned ugly.

Internet Mana press secretary Pam Corkery was not happy journalists wanted to talk to Dotcom.

“You puffed-up little s**t,” she said. “He doesn’t want to. He said three times, ‘I don’t want to give you an interview.’ He’s not a candidate. He doesn’t owe you anything. When will you glove puppets of Cameron Slater just piss off?”

So were the media being unreasonable?

Dotcom denies he’s the hacker behind Dirty Politics, but at the party’s campaign launch today said this.

“I hacked our German credit rating system and put our Prime Minister’s credit rating to zero because I didn’t like the guy,” said Dotcom. “You have all figured by now there’s another Prime Minister I don’t like.”

So Dotcom gives a keynote speech to their campaign launch, boasts how he once hacked the German Prime Minister because he didn’t like him, and then mentions how he doesn’t like John Key.

Of course the media will want to interview him about this, no matter how much Pam Corkey yells abuse at them. He wasn’t a spectator at the launch, he was a keynote speaker.

As for whether Dotcom had anything to do with the hacking, well he clearly knew what was in the Hager book before it was published, and has not been able to answer the question how.

But he didn’t want to talk about his comments afterwards.

The abuse started when we were filming, explaining Dotcom was in hiding.

“We’ve talked about jobs today and people living in poverty.” said Corkery. “You want to interview Kim, who said no interviews, about a 19-year-old story. You work in news!”

First of all press secretaries don’t dictate to the media who they are interested in interviewing. He was a speaker, not an observer. Secondly Dotcom is the one who referred to the 19 year old story, so it is natural to want to ask him about it.

But he didn’t want to talk about his comments afterwards.

The abuse started when we were filming, explaining Dotcom was in hiding.

“We’ve talked about jobs today and people living in poverty.” said Corkery. “You want to interview Kim, who said no interviews, about a 19-year-old story. You work in news!”

But he didn’t want to talk about his comments afterwards.

The abuse started when we were filming, explaining Dotcom was in hiding.

So the Internet Mana launch ended in disaster, with talk of hacking, Dotcom running off and media abuse

I don’t know if Dotcom was behind the political espionage hacking, but what we do know is this.

  1. Dotcom has convictions for hacking
  2. Dotcom is very wealthy
  3. Dotcom hates Slater and Key
  4. Many ex Dotcom friends and staffers were giving information to Slater
  5. Dotcom yesterday boasted that he hacked the German PM because he didn’t like him
  6. Dotcom’s chances of not being extradited to the United States are hugely enhanced if he managed to change the Government

It’s not proof, but it is certainly means and motive.

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Dotcom has another go at Xero

August 16th, 2014 at 5:53 am by David Farrar

Chris Keall reports:

Not content with trolling over the Hager book, Kim Dotcom decided to pick another fight with business icon Rod Drury, baiting him over Xero’s share price.

Get off the grass, Kim.

The political party Dotcom founded is campaigning for cheaper and better broadband connectivity, domestically and internationally. Drury has pushed hard on both those issues. So you’d think he’d be someone Dotcom would respect. …

Dotcom is claiming credit for Xero’s share price dropping 20%, as if this is a proud achievement.

Xero has 330,000 small businesses as customers, and has created 900 jobs – mainly in New Zealand.  They are our our most successful Internet based company. Rod personally has also been a huge champion for Internet issues.

Yet the founder of the Internet Party denigrates him, for he won’t worship at the Dotcom altar. So again do we think Doctom put $4 million into the Internet Party because he is passionate about Internet issues, or because he wants utu?

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Cunliffe and Dotcom

August 11th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Vance notes:

David Cunliffe’s high point last week was stealing lines from the minor parties. He jumped on the anti-foreign investment band-wagon with NZ First and the Conservatives, promising to block the $70 million sale of Lochinver station to a Chinese firm. On the surface, the move was a headline-grabbing populist stunt but is unlikely to translate into more votes for the Left. It will, however, motivate National’s supporters. As a senior cabinet minister confided, Cunliffe is National’s second-biggest asset. After Kim Dotcom.

They are the gifts that keep on giving.

But talking of Dotcom, another Labour MP has gone against Labour head office instructions to not criticise the Dotcom’s pet parties (as they are progressive!) and 3 News reports:

“Political leaders who incite that, namely Dotcom, and political leaders who condone that, namely Laila Harre, have no place in our politics,” says Labour Party MP Clayton Cosgrove.

Good on Clayton for speaking out.

Meanwhile the hate Key campaign continues, with a video of John Key being burnt in effigy. Again, can you imagine the outcry if there was ever a video of Helen Clark being burnt in effigy? People would have demanded a Police investigation.

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Hipkins on Dotcom

August 8th, 2014 at 9:47 am by David Farrar

My respect levels for Chris Hipkins have just soared for having the balls to call it honestly, despite the fact Mana/Internet is a party of the left.

I wonder if Mr Cunliffe has a view on the video, or more importantly what it says about a party that not only encourages that behaviour, but is so proud of it, they turn it into an official party advertisement?

UPDATE:

That’s a second Labour candidate to call a spade a spade and condemn the tactics of Dotcom as thuggish and megalomaniac. My hope is Dotcom will not get to hold the balance of power. The problem for Labour is the polls shows they can not govern without him.

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