Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Dotcom blasts National's 'disgusting smear campaign'

Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar, party secretary Anna Sutherland, legal counsel Graeme Edgeler and press secretary John Mitchell.
Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar, party secretary Anna Sutherland, legal counsel Graeme Edgeler and press secretary John Mitchell.

Kim Dotcom has ruled out the unlikely prospect that his Internet Party could work with National, a move that rekindles the possibility of an alliance with Hone Harawira's Mana Party.

Mr Dotcom launched the online membership drive for his party this afternoon under the cloud of claims his ownership of a rare copy of Hitler's book Mein Kampf is evidence of Nazi sympathies.

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Speaking to about 40 media gathered at his famously ostentatious Coatesville home, the German internet mogul began by again refuting those claims which include allegations he used to display a a Nazi flag in his basement.

"It's a smear campaign to try and derail what we are trying to achieve today with the launch of the Internet Party and I can completely deny any such allegation and tell you today that these are lies and will not go any further and address these things any further in detail... I want to focus today on the launch of the Internet Party."

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Speaking to the Herald, Mr Dotcom said: "I've said before that I can work with anybody but I have to tell you that after this recent disgusting smear campaign which obviously originates out of the National Party leadership camp, I'm not going to work with National.

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"Everybody knows where it's coming from. It's no secret."

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister John Key last night said he "absolutely" had no comment on Mr Dotcom's claim of a link between his office and allegations published on the Whaleoil website.

After some initial discussions between the Internet Party and Mana, Mr Harawira said this week Mana could not work with the Internet Party unless Mr Dotcom committed to ousting the current Government.

Asked whether the electorate MP he claimed he had a commitment to the Internet Party from was Mr Harawira, Mr Dotcom said he didn't want to comment "because I have a confidentiality agreement and I don't want to give any hints whatsoever, but it isn't Hone".

Mr Dotcom also addressed issues around hundreds of thousand of dollars owed to former staff and contractors by the company which runs his large luxurious home which was the scene of a paramilitary raid by police in early 2012.

He said he had now paid all of them.

"There is an accountancy firm Cleaver Richards, they've received $600,000 to settle all creditors. Yesterday 50 of them have been paid. The accountancy firm is still waiting for some of the creditors to send back confirmation of the settlement amount. I owe them nothing and the remaining creditors will be paid."

He wouldn't comment on whether he considered selling his valuable signed first edition of Mein Kampf to settle those debts.

"I don't want go into that, that is not a good question."

Meanwhile, the membership drive launch also saw the Internet Party release some high level policy. Apart from the previously indicated emphasis on cheaper faster internet, the party also wants to see the introduction of a government sponsored digital currency.

Party chief executive Vikram Kumar told the Herald the party wanted to see a fundamental change in New Zealand's intelligence and surveillance regime, including a withdrawal from the US led "five eyes" intelligence sharing network.

Mr Kumar said the party's candidates would be decided after official registration which requires Electoral Commission verification that the party has 500 paid up members. He expects that will take about six weeks.

Because he is not a New Zealand citizen, Mr Dotcom cannot stand as a candidate in his own party. He is also facing a bid to extradite him by US authorities to face copyright, money laundering and racketeering charges which is due to go to court in July.

- NZ Herald

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