James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Internet mogul beats politicians for pet position

New Zealanders would rather have an internet tycoon feed their cat while they're on holiday than an under-fire mayor and two former right-wing politicians, a poll shows.

A Herald-DigiPoll survey asking who New Zealanders would trust most to feed their cat over the holidays had internet mogul Kim Dotcom as the most popular choice.

Mr Dotcom received 32.3 per cent of the vote.

Auckland psychologist Sara Chatwin said the larger-than-life figure's notoriety meant he would likely be hard to miss when going to a neighbour's house to feed their pets.

"He's probably not as dishonest as people or as the government is saying and maybe he illuminated the fact that a lot of people bend the truth to fit their purpose," she said. "I think he likes to laugh at life and he has gone from being disliked to liked."

Following Dotcom is former Act Party leader and Dancing with the Stars contestant Rodney Hide with 13.7 per cent.

Ms Chatwin said Hide had made positive changes in his life having married Louise Crome in 2010 and fathering two daughters. Hide came in ahead of Auckland mayor Len Brown, who late last year admitted to a two-year affair with Bevan Chuang before further revelations emerged that he had accepted free hotel rooms and upgrades. Mr Brown received 11.9 per cent of the vote.

"Maybe it's a sympathy vote," said Ms Chatwin. "I'm surprised that he's not last on everyone's list because there is so much negativity around him at the moment."

Another Act man and former National MP John Banks garnered just 10.1 per cent of the vote.

Mr Banks resigned from his ministerial portfolios after Auckland District Court judge Phil Gittos said evidence showed he was aware of the source of donations from Mr Dotcom and SkyCity for his failed campaign for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010.

Nearly a third of all voters (32 per cent) said they wouldn't want any of the public figures to feed their cat.

Ms Chatwin said all of the men in the poll had polarised opinion and had had political and social highs and lows. "But at the end of the day if you meet these men one on one they're probably very nice men - I have had the chance to meet two of them and they are very nice men."

- NZ Herald

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