New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has accused Kim Dotcom of being a "political sugar daddy" for "dabbling" in the coming election in the hopes of escaping U.S. extradition. The German founder of formerly popular file-sharing site Megaupload is now based in New Zealand and formed the Internet Party ahead of New Zealand's September 20 election. He has since formed an alliance with the Mana party.
Since Dotcom is not a New Zealand citizen, he cannot run in the upcoming election. Mr Key said the Mana party has only "aligned" itself with Dotcom because he is investing NZ$3 million in the joint campaign.
The prime minister has long questioned Dotcom's motives when he decided to get involved in New Zealand politics. He suggested Dotcom may be trying to gain political influence to help his online piracy case.
Mr Key told TV3 that Dotcom was a "sugar daddy" and a "chequebook" to Mana. He said there was no need to deny that Dotcom was trying to stop his extradition to the U.S. and avoid persecution.
Dotcom is confident his Internet Mana Party will get 5 per cent of the votes in New Zealand's upcoming election in September. According to reports, Dotcom's political party is predicted to appeal to the young and first-time voters. The web tycoon has repeatedly clashed with Mr Key for spying claims and promised to remove the National Party from the government.
The Internet Mana party is advocating Internet freedom, faster and cheaper Internet, copyright law reforms and free tertiary education. The new alliance named Laila Harre its new leader and she is expected to set a coherent policy platform. She pledged to give young Kiwis a "future in the digital economy."
Dotcom is facing extradition to the US for charges of copyright infringement and racketeering. He said he will give Kiwi voters the chance to change the status quo. At the launch of the party, Mr Dotcom said the Internet Party is for those who haven't voted before and felt disappointed by current political choices.