Peters calls for release of Dotcom residency info

By Derek Cheng

Kim Dotcom. Photo /  Greg Bowker
Kim Dotcom. Photo / Greg Bowker

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is calling on the Government to release all information on the decision to grant New Zealand residency to Kim Dotcom.

Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload.com and three others were arrested in an FBI-led raid on Friday at a luxury mansion north west of Auckland. The FBI is seeking to extradite them to the US to face charges including conspiring to commit money laundering and copyright infringement.

Dotcom's application for bail in the North Shore District Court has been reserved and is expected to be released today or tomorrow.

The Immigration Service granted residency to Dotcom despite his full disclosure of previous convictions.

Mr Peters called for the Government to tell the public whether any ministers were involved in the decision to grant residency.

"The Prime Minister has a duty to tell New Zealanders whether any National MPs, particularly cabinet ministers, made any representations, verbally or in writing, in support of Dotcom's application."

"New Zealand First is seeking the release of all the papers relating to this case and will make them public as soon as they are available."

"The issue for us here is not the charges he faces in the United States, but the question of why Dotcom, with his criminal record, was ever allowed into New Zealand."

Labour leader David Shearer, who was in Ratana today, said the Government should provide clarity on how "somebody like this gets into the country".

"On the one hand, you have an Immigration Minister prepared to let him come in. On the other hand we've got other ministers looking at it through the point of view of the OIO (Overseas Investment Office) ... I think there's a need to take a look at it for an inquiry."

Despite gaining residency, Dotcom's applications to buy sensitive land in New Zealand were turned down last year by then-Associate Finance Minsiter Simon Power and Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson - the ministers who were overseeing the OIO decisions.

Mr Shearer wanted to know which ministers were involved in the residency decision, and if they were not involved, "why not?"

"How did we allow somebody like this to come in that had convictions in other countries, but at the same time has not been permitted to buy the property he's been using?

"That brings up some questions about what is the policy? What did the Minister see?"

The Immigration Act allows discretion to be exercised in granting residency.

Dotcom was given residency in 2010 under the investor plus category, which requires an investment of at least $10m in New Zealand, which he put into Government bonds. The category also requires the applicant to pass character and health tests.

Dotcom also made a large donation to the Canterbury earthquake fund.

Immigration NZ has said that it granted Dotcom residency because the potential benefits outweighed the risks.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 18 Apr 2014 18:35:26 Processing Time: 676ms