Jonathan Milne

Jonathan Milne is a former reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Irked Dotcom takes a swipe at Key

Party plans are on hold, but mogul keen to lead NZ in internet economy

The launch of the Internet Party has been postponed until Feb 20. Photo / Getty Images
The launch of the Internet Party has been postponed until Feb 20. Photo / Getty Images

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom has bitterly criticised Prime Minister John Key, after he was forced to postpone the launch of his political party and cancel a birthday party for more than 10,000 guests.

In an exclusive interview, Dotcom told the Herald on Sunday of his plans for the huge birthday party set for tomorrow night.

More than 25,000 people had registered for tickets (though the venue, Auckland's Vector Arena, has capacity for only 12,000). "The Party Party was to be a four-hour show leading up to my 40th birthday," he said, "starting with a 30-minute live set to perform six songs from my upcoming GoodTimes album.

"At midnight I would have celebrated my 40th birthday with a full Vector Arena. We asked everyone to dress in white for the laser and light show, including black lights which would have made everybody glow in the dark."

Now Dotcom will launch his album and his new music download site, Baboom, tomorrow, as planned, with an extensive advertising campaign on radio and on the back of more than 100 buses.

But the launch of the Internet Party - his tilt at political power - has been postponed until February 20.

His birthday party has been cancelled. "I was sick to my stomach for two days. I could not eat or sleep. It feels so bad to let so many people down. I decided to have no birthday party at all this year. Instead we are going to celebrate the birthday of our son, Kimmo, at the beach. We share the same birthday and he will be 5 years old on January 21."

The Electoral Commission had warned Dotcom that throwing a free party for thousands of New Zealanders might constitute "treating" - essentially buying - people's votes. "If I continued with the event I would lose the Internet Party. If I cancelled the event I would disappoint 25,000 Kiwis who registered for tickets. The political party and the future of New Zealand is more important to me than one night of fun."

Dotcom said that instead of pouring the Internet Party's resources into winning one seat, as Act, United Future and the Conservatives had done, his party would try to break the 5 per cent threshold to guarantee him at least seven MPs.

"We ask voters for a chance to impress them. I know how to make New Zealand a leader in the internet economy which will lead to more jobs and prosperity."

Labour leader David Cunliffe was cautious about the prospect of a Labour-Dotcom coalition. "I think there's a wide range of people I can work with," he said. "I wouldn't rule it out but I'm not ruling it in either."

Key has already dismissed Dotcom's party. Dotcom hit back yesterday: "John Key and his partners have lost the connection with the people and their original purpose. I would never have gone into politics if it wasn't for the abuse that I have experienced. I have been a victim of numerous unlawful actions by both the New Zealand and US Governments. There's something seriously wrong with a government that engages in this kind of activity to please another government.

"When the Internet Party makes it into Parliament, the NSA Five Eyes spy network will lose one eye. We intend re-evaluating the relationship between New Zealand and the US Government."

- Herald on Sunday

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