Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Dotcom's new Internet Party kicks off with a leak

Alastair Thompson.
Alastair Thompson.

Kim Dotcom's new political party has had a bumpy start after a potential strategy document was leaked. This prompted the rushed resignation of a journalist because of a conflict of interest.

Mr Dotcom unveiled the name and branding of his new Internet Party yesterday, which the internet entrepreneur will fund with his significant wealth.

Hours later, a draft document containing possible campaign strategies was published by blogger Cameron Slater, including a proposal for free Wi-Fi for an entire electorate.

Slater also claimed that parliamentary press gallery journalist and Scoop editor Alastair Thompson was working for the Internet Party - a breach of press gallery rules. The blogger said Thompson was the party's secretary and had registered a domain name.

After this claim, Thompson handed in his resignation from Scoop, an independent news website.

Scoop's majority owner, Selwyn Pellett, said he was not aware of the extent of Thompson's involvement with the party. He said the journalist was "clearly no longer independent" and could not be Scoop's editor while actively involved in Mr Dotcom's party.

Mr Thompson said this morning that he had not completely severed ties with Scoop.

On Twitter, he wrote: "To clarify I have not left @ScoopNZ. More like I am having a sabbatical inside the business I founded 17 years ago as a client."

He confirmed that he would become interim secretary for the Internet Party this afternoon.

The author of the leaked document, blogger and former Mana political adviser Martyn Bradbury, stressed that it was an early draft of possible strategy.

Martyn Bradbury.
Martyn Bradbury.

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

The "Internet Party strategy white paper" said the new party should focus on just two or three electorates and attempt to become "kingmaker" in the general election this year. Those electorates could include Upper Harbour, Auckland Central, and one other. It said Mr Bradbury could run in the Auckland Central seat, and that he would be a strong candidate because the party would appeal to "affluent apartment-dwellers".

Mr Bradbury later wrote on his blog that he was just "kick(ing) around ideas".

Mr Dotcom cannot run for Parliament because he is not a New Zealand citizen.

Mr Bradbury has written articles that were supportive of Mr Dotcom's party, including a blog on Tuesday titled "National have the most to fear from Kim Dotcom's new Internet Party". He did not disclose his connection to the party.

An offer of free Wi-Fi for a electorate could fall foul of electoral laws on bribing constituents.

- NZ Herald

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