Patrick Gower writes:
Yes, it is that simple: a Labour/Green Government could save Dotcom’s bacon.
Because under the Extradition Act, the Government of the day’s Justice Minister has the final say on whether someone stays or goes.
It doesn’t matter what the courts find, the Justice Minister can stop one “for any reason”.
The Extradition Act 1999 says the Justice Minister can say no “for any other reason the Minister considers that the person should not be surrendered”.
So Dotcom has a final get-out clause should he lose the extradition hearing.
I have consistently said that the decision on whether DotCom gets extradited should be made by the appropriate Judge, after hearing the evidence. The Minister should and must go along with the decision of the court. We head towards corruption if people can buy themselves a different decision.
Yesterday, we asked David Cunliffe and Russel Norman.
3 News: In terms of Kim Dotcom – would you stop him being extradited?
Cunliffe: That’s in part a legal matter – and I would want to take some further briefing before I gave you a view on that.
3 News: You know it’s a Government that signs off an extradition – if it was a Labour Government – would Kim Dotcom have a chance that any court decision could be overturned?
Cunliffe: “I haven’t formed a view on that yet and I’d want to see more of the arguments. Prima Facie the current Government’s operation against Mr Dotcom appears to be outside the law in a number of respects my anticipation is that would make it quite difficult for an extradition to proceed but because that’s currently before the courts I don’t think that’s a matter politicians should be opining on”.
3 News: A Government of the day has to sign off on Kim Dotcom’s extradition – should the Government sign off on Dotcom’s extradition?
Norman: No. I’ve always said I don’t support the extradition process. I mean, I just don’t think it’s fair. I mean the fairness isn’t there – look at the way they have been acting illegally against him… They illegally raided his mansion, they illegally obtained evidence, they illegally gave the evidence to the U.S Government against the directions of a judge. That is not a lawful or fair process…The case that John Key has jacked up with the US Government I don’t think stands up.
3 News: So if the Greens were in power, would you fight to keep Kim Dotcom in New Zealand?
Norman: Yes. I think that we would
This is appalling. The only acceptable answer is that the decison is one for the courts to make, and we will not over-turn whatever decision they make.
Russel Norman has been out twice to meet Dotcom, and ask him to support the Greens instead of setting up his own political party. And in return he is offering that a Labour/Greens Government would basically corruptly over-turn the decision of the court in Dotcom’s favour. Cunliffe is not ruling out that he would also over-turn any court decision. We also learn Winston Peters has been out to meet DotCom multiple times.
I have no animosity towards Dotcom. He has been charged with serious criminal charges in the United States. The decision on whether the charges warrant extradition should be made by the relevant NZ Judge after a hearing, and if he is extradited the decision on his guilt or innocence is up to a US court. It shouldn’t be up to politicians, who are saying they will over-turn the courts in his favour at the same time as they meet him to discuss political strategy. That is pretty close to corruption.
Which brings me to the folly of Dotcom’s Internet Party – having a political movement behind him will obviously be another argument against extradition.
While it polled 0% in the first 3 News-Reid Research poll since it was named, when asked specifically, 1 in 5 voters said they would “consider” voting for it.
Most of its potential voters come from “undecideds” or Labour/Greens/NZ First – technically the Opposition.
But with Dotcom incredibly unlikely to make 5% or win an electorate seat, then this will be what’s called “wasted vote”, rather than change the Government.
And that favours one person – John Key.
It seems a bit of a selfish political own goal by Dotcom to me, and is why Russel Norman has been scurrying up to the mansion begging Dotcom not to stand.
But what a delicious irony: Kim Dotcom might actually help John Key win the 2014 election.
That would be irony.
Also Kim Dotcom has tweeted that if his party is not polling 5% by the time ballot papers are printed, he’ll scrap the party and endorse another party. Wonder which party? Maybe the very same party that is promising not to extradite him! So much for one law for all.