Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Norman asked Dotcom to scrap political party

Kim Dotcom. Photo / Doug Sherring
Kim Dotcom. Photo / Doug Sherring

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says he hasn't made any promises to Kim Dotcom over his extradition - but he did try to talk him out of setting up a political party.

Dotcom is facing extradition to the US on criminal copyright violation charges, and the Justice Minister has the final say on an extradition order.

Dr Norman has said he would fight Dotcom's extradition should the Greens be part of the next government.

Meanwhile, Dotcom has promised to pull the plug on his Internet Party if it cannot reach the 5 per cent threshold in polls before the election - an arrangement that could shift support to other opposition parties, including the Greens.

Dr Norman told Newstalk ZB this morning he had not made any promises to Dotcom over the extradition proceedings.

"But I've said pretty clearly that I don't support the process because I think it's a political process ...

based on what I know now, I don't think there's a case for him to be extradited."

Dr Norman said he would follow the lawful process through the courts before the decision went before the Justice Minister.

He said he had visited Dotcom's Auckland mansion twice.

"I went to talk to him because we're very interested in the internet economy and the potential for a lot of jobs in the ICT sector in New Zealand. I think it's a great opportunity and he's got a lot of skill in that area.

"But also I wanted to say to him, and I did, that I didn't think it was a good idea for him to set up his party."

Dr Norman was grateful that Dotcom had indicated he would pull out of the election if the Internet Party did not get enough support.

"Obviously we want a change of government and the danger is that if there were too many votes wasted on Kim's party, then [Prime Minister] John Key could get re-elected. I mean that's just the politics of it."

Dr Norman said support for Dotcom's party would be "pretty low".

"He's polling zero per cent. I don't think he's going to get a lot above that, in my opinion."

The Greens were strong on internet freedom, privacy rights and the internet economy, Dr Norman said.

"We think there's a lot of jobs in the internet economy so I don't really see that we need an Internet Party like Kim has set up already."

Mr Key earlier said opposition parties were "foolish" for discussing an intervention in Dotcom's extradition.

"We have an extradition treaty with the United States. In my view this is not a political issue. This is an issue where the United States is invoking the extradition treaty."

- APNZ

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