Kim Dotcom launched his political campaign yesterday by pledging to take New Zealand back from the Americans, have the entire country running on renewable energy by 2025 and threatening Prime Minister John Key.
“We are going to stop your National disaster,” he said in a message to Key after being introduced as “New Zealand’s newest super hero”.
Dotcom, a German-Finnish national who was granted New Zealand residency in 2010, is still fighting copyright charges which arose out of the shutdown of his sharing site Megaupload in 2012 and a possible extradition to the US to face them.
He’s a big guy, outspoken, anti-government and has lots of money, so comparisons across The Ditch with Australia’s Clive Palmer are to be expected.
Dotcom’s wealth, however, is a bit more rubbery – he had an estimated worth of $200m in 2012 before he started spending it all on lawyers, and his site was pulling a reported $150,000 a day in ad revenue. He replaced it last year with another, Mega, and claimed 100,000 registered users in its first hour.
100,000 registered users in less than 1 hour. Fastest growing startup in Internet history? #Mega
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) January 19, 2013
He still lives in a leased $30m mansion and donated $3m toward starting the Internet Mana Party, so there’s cash rolling in from somewhere.
And while he can’t actually hold office, as he’s not a Kiwi citizen, Dotcom certainly knows how to make sure those in his party that can, will be noticed.
At the launch party yesterday, Dotcom:
- Pledged “we will get over 5 per cent in this election”, which is the vote required in order to gain representation in NZ.
- Threatened current PM John Key, saying: “I hacked our German credit ratings system and put our prime minister’s credit rating to zero because I didn’t like the guy. And you have all figured by now there’s another prime minister I don’t like.”
- Claimed there was “no rock star economy in New Zealand” and;
- Promised to “take this country forward and take this country back from the Americans.”
He then welcomed the party’s new leader Laila Harre who outlined its $8.6 billion policy aimed at creating 100,000 new jobs and building a “world-leading digital workforce”.
The party also claims it will wipe students’ debt loans and bring back free tertiary education, as well as have New Zealand running on 100 per cent renewable energy by 2015.
The reaction in the press today was somewhat mixed. Most were happy to focus on the spectacle of the launch party, which also included one member’s son stealing the show with a freestyle rap about Internet Mana.
Others preferred to use Dotcom in the news as a way to revisit a feud he allegedly has with a right-wing blogger whose computers he’s been accused of hacking.
And most of them found room to run not one, but two apologies stemming from the launch party. One came from Dotcom himself, who admitted his Key threat “was very unwise, and I’m on my final, final warning”. The other came from Harre, who apologised for party press secretary Pam Corkery’s reply to a journalist asking to talk to Dotcom about his German hacking days.
“We’ve talked about jobs today and people living in poverty – you want to interview Kim, who said no interviews, about a 19-year-old story – you work in news, you puffed up little shit,” Corkery replied.
The Internet Mana’s Party recently recorded a doubling in support, up to four per cent in polls.
With Dotcom at the helm, they’re going to be hard to ignore when New Zealanders vote on September 20, whatever the result.
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