Kim Dotcom to launch party to fight New Zealand election
Megaupload founder vows party will 'lead NZ into the future', but PM says it's a stunt
KIM DOTCOM, the flamboyant founder of the now defunct file-storage website, Megaupload, is forming a political party to contest the New Zealand general election.
The German internet mogul, who is on bail while he fights efforts to extradite him to the US on charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering, says his plans are "embryonic". But he added that the as yet unnamed party will launch on 20 January, the second anniversary of a raid by armed police on his Auckland mansion.
The election will be held in New Zealand next year but the date has yet to be set.
The Independent points out that 39-year-old Dotcom's political aspirations are backed by wealth and celebrity. He is wanted in the US for allegedly making more than $175m in illegal profits from online piracy and has become famous in New Zealand due to the protracted legal battle over his extradition.
Dotcom says his party will campaign to improve New Zealand's information technology infrastructure and advocate "fair internet pricing and no more data caps".
He claims Kiwis have already embraced his move into politics. "WOW! I'm getting so many encouraging messages about my plans for a new political party," he tweeted yesterday. "Thank you."
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, who has clashed frequently with Dotcom since the mogul arrived in the country in late 2010, was less enthusiastic. Key, who will be seeking a third term at next year's poll, dismissed it as a stunt and suggested Dotcom's organisation should be called the "no-hope" party.
"It's like everything we see from the guy, he wants to stay here to fight his extradition treaty, he's got some very good PR people, we'll see how it goes," Key told TV3.
The Daily Telegraph points out that Dotcom cannot be elected to the New Zealand parliament in person because he is a German national. But he is free to launch a political party and become its president.
"Someone needs to lead New Zealand into the future," he told the paper. "Unfortunately the current government doesn't know what the future looks like." ·