on privacy and human rights
Business leader and former entrepreneur of the year Derek Handley has described the National-led Government as arrogant and lacking vision in an article which stresses the importance of Kim Dotcom's new Internet Party.
Mr Handley, a Hong Kong-born, New Zealand-based innovator who was a New Zealand Herald Business Leader of the Year in 2010, says the Government is "heading down a dangerous spiral" on issues of technology, privacy, and human rights.
He makes the comments in an opinion piece today.
Mr Dotcom this week unveiled his new party, which he is permitted to fund but cannot stand for because he is not a New Zealand citizen.
Mr Handley does not directly endorse the Internet Party and Mr Dotcom, but says that "like him or not", he could play an important part in the political process.
"We have a Government that doesn't really listen to the people and has increasingly grown comfortable in a quasi-arrogant swagger.
"And now, here comes somebody larger than life, fearless and controversial who has decided to swagger alongside them."
He decried the absence of long-term thinking in Parliament, saying that most voters felt there was not "an ounce of vision within 1,000 miles of the Beehive".
He said Mr Dotcom would not be able to provide solutions in many areas, but he had a strong vision on a few vital policies - putting technology at the heart of the economy, universal broadband as a public service, privacy, and human rights laws which were fit for the digital age.
"As it stands, we are heading down a dangerous spiral on all those fronts."
Other information technology leaders the Herald spoke to were divided about the Internet Party.
IT consultant and Pacific Fibre co-founder Lance Wiggs said that on one hand, Mr Dotcom was encouraging discussion of hugely important issues such as privacy, spying and universal internet access.
On the other, the party had tied itself to an anti-National, anti-John Key ideology - a stance which was accentuated by its connection to blogger Martyn Bradbury and journalist Alastair Thompson.
"What this means is this internet-first policy is going to be forever tied in with the rest of their ideologies," Mr Wiggs said. "And there is a fundamental risk that we won't get these great policies through because no one will want to [work] with these guys."
The Internet Party has already been beset by problems including a leak of a draft strategy document and the outing of a blogger and a journalist who had not disclosed their relationship with the party.
Mr Dotcom suffered another setback yesterday when he had to cancel a party to celebrate his album launch and birthday, as it could breach electoral law.