[Image from NewstalkZB: Laila Harré and Kim Dotcom at the Internet Party announcement (Corazon Miller)]
I’m no Kim Dotcom fan. However, I do sympathise with his court case and the egregious way he came within the NZ justice system. Following Operation 8 sanctioned by the Labour government, I would have expected any future government to ensure the NZ Police met the procedural requirements for any search and surveillance warrants. As the High Court found, this wasn’t to be the case.
Whether Dotcom will be extradited is a matter for the Courts and the Minister of Justice. I’m not aware of the entire brief of evidence and given the case is ongoing with new information still emerging, it is difficult to know what the court will decide. My personal view, is that extradition is only appropriate where the crime alleged is so nefarious or amounts to a crime[s] against humanity.
But what about the granting of his permanent residence and the political pressure or political interference in his residency application?
Internet Party Leader, Laila Harre has stated that if she were the Minister of Immigration at the time Dotcom applied for residency, she would not have approved his application because of his criminal history, i.e. he didn’t meet the character requirements in her opinion.
My question then is, how does Harre think it is appropriate to lead a party founded and funded by a person she did not see as being of fit character to obtain permanent residency status in NZ, and in fact whom she herself would have denied residency?
Harre’s argument is that the issue for the Internet Party is not about Dotcom, but about the procedural impropriety of political interference that strikes at the heart of NZ’s independence. In effect, she alludes to the idea that it’s not about his character, it’s about politics. I wholeheartedly agree with her stance on political interference. However, I’m not convinced by her argument, that this issue is not about Dotcom. There is a fine line when you are working for a person you think is of questionable character while at the same time pushing that persons political agenda. The party make Dotcom an issue, when they use the granting of his residency application to support their claims for an independent NZ.