Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Editor resigns to work with Dotcom party

Kim Dotcom. Photo / Richard Robinson
Kim Dotcom. Photo / Richard Robinson

Parliamentary Press Gallery journalist Alastair Thompson has resigned from his role at Scoop after it was revealed that he was working for Kim Dotcom's Internet Party.

Blogger Cameron Slater claimed on his website Whaleoil that Mr Thompson was the new party's secretary and had registered the party's domain name.

Scoop Media, an independent news service, confirmed this afternoon that Mr Thompson had stepped down as chief executive and editor.

It is against press gallery rules for a member to lobby for a political party. Mr Thompson is an associate member.

Scoop Media owner Selwyn Pellett said: "We had no idea of the extent of the involvement until Cameron Slater's blog today.

"We knew he was considering some involvement and the discussion was 'you can't do both jobs'. You can't be an editor and be actively involved in Dotcom's party."

He added: "It is disappointing. There is no ill-feeling with Alastair. This is his passion and it is what he believes in and wants to do."

Mr Pellett said Scoop would not be "rewriting history" by going back over Mr Thompson's articles to check for any favourable coverage of Dotcom or his party.

"I'm not aware of what he's written since he registered the domain name in December. But clearly he's no longer independent on that particular subject."

Earlier today, it was revealed Dotcom's new political party will field candidates in the new Upper Harbour electorate and possibly in Auckland Central in a bid become the "kingmaker'' following this year's election.

Published on his Whaleoil blog, Mr Slater said the paper was an internal strategy document written by left-wing blogger Martyn "Bomber'' Bradbury.

Mr Dotcom unveiled the name and logo of his Internet Party this morning.

In the document, Mr Bradbury states "My recommendation is the Internet Party run a micro campaign using precision tactics to realistically give the Internet Party a kingmaker role in the next Government to ensure policy that protects and invests in an online future economy are top of any political agenda.''

The party would fight the election in just two electorates, "the new Auckland electorate and the `Internet Electorate'.''

"We could add a third electorate (Central Auckland) as a wild card announcement in April when the electorates are finalised and when we announce our candidates.''

The document states the party should aim get three MPs, a feat that would require 15,000 to 17,000 votes in the new Auckland electorate and 50,000 party votes.

"Three MPs could be the difference between being the Government and not being the Government.

It recommends running "a very large social media campaign for the party votes''.

Mr Bradbury confirmed that he wrote the document this afternoon, and said that it was a draft proposal prepared for the party late last year.

He wrote on his website the Daily Blog: "I am a political consultant, this is what I do, this was a proposal I was asked to submit.

"The moment I start working for the Internet Party if I am offered a role I will be shouting it from the rooftops... But all it was, was a proposal."

He said that the plan for him to run as candidate for the Internet Party was "more to kick around ideas".

Mr Bradbury has previously worked for the Mana Party. He said that stood down from his consultant role last year.

Mr Bradbury yesterday wrote on his blog that "National have the most to fear from Kim Dotcom's new Internet Party''.

"I think all those urban professional male Gen X National Party voters who don't derive an income from the Dairy Industry will find Kim Dotcom's economic vision a genuine way forward and they will find it difficult not to vote for him.''

"Many would feel their cosmopolitan skin crawl at the idea Key will cut a deal with a religious social conservative like Colin Craig and while that disgust isn't enough to make them vote Labour or Greens (and they aren't crazy enough to vote NZ First), Dotcom's Party could very well be their protest vote in 2014. Dotcom's new political vehicle will cross the 5 per cent threshold if it is an outsider party for insiders.''

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 01 Aug 2014 05:57:30 Processing Time: 401ms