Amanda Banks succeeds in John’s appeal

The conviction against John Banks for filing an incorrect electoral return has been overturned by the court of appeal, largely due to the efforts of his wife Amanda to clear her own name.

NZ Herald reported Wife clears Banks’ name:

The Court of Appeal yesterday overturned former Act leader Mr Banks’ conviction for filing a false electoral return, charges which ended his parliamentary career.

A jubilant Mr Banks paid tribute to his wife who he said had been a hero for her part in clearing his name.

Amanda Banks’ “obsessive” detective work saw her husband John Banks’ electoral fraud conviction quashed yesterday and answered a High Court judge’s doubts over her honesty.

Mr Banks was convicted in the High Court this year after failing to disclose donations from Kim Dotcom to his Auckland Mayoralty campaign in 2010.

Crucially, the High Court’s Justice Edwin Wylie believed testimony given by Dotcom’s wife Mona over that of Mrs Banks about what was said at a lunch where both were present and at which Dotcom said donations were discussed.

Mr Banks’ appeal introduced affidavits from two US-based businessmen who he says were at that lunch. The pair – David Schaeffer and Jeffrey Karnes – both said donations were not discussed at that lunch.

The Court of Appeal’s Justices Ellen France, John Wild and Forrest Miller said that if the new evidence had been accepted in the High Court trial “it likely would have changed the outcome”. The Court of Appeal’s decision notes that Mrs Banks “was stung by the judge’s opinion of her reliability”.

“She became quite obsessed, as she puts it, with identifying the two Americans.

“She recalled that a transpacific communications cable had been discussed at the lunch and scoured news articles on the topic, eventually finding one which mentioned that Mr Dotcom had endorsed such a project and was trying to organise a group of investors to fund it.”

Mrs Banks’ research also identified the second businessman and Mr Banks’ lawyers contacted the two men and secured sworn affidavits from them.

The trial has taken a heavy toll on Banks – it wrecked is political career – and on both John and Amanda who say the pressure contributed significantly to their marriage breaking up.

The Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial – but say the new evidence would likely have overturned the outcome of the case.

The original trial judge put the credibility of Dotcom and his wife Mona ahead of the credibility of the Banks and this seems to be a major factor behind him finding Banks guilty – apparently incorrect or false claims swung the trial and the judge guessed incorrectly who wasn’t telling the truth.

A re-trial would add further hardship to Banks but he may think it could be worth it if it further clears his and his wife’s names.

This has been a major legal wrangle over the often fudgy world of political donations – it seems to have been driven by politically motivation – to take down the Government by removing Bank’s support from the last term coalition.

Bank’s resignation from Parliament was too late to cause major problems,

Dotcom went on to finance and set up a party with a main aim being to get John Key and National out of Government.

Politics is often a dirty game, and there’s some very dirty looking things swirling around this case.

How does signing off an electoral return after a failed campaign compare to bringing down the Government?

Laila Harre on The Nation

Laila Harre was interviewed by Patrick Gower on The Nation yesterday, Harre stepping down as Internet Party leader

Key points:

  • Stepping down as leader of the Internet Party
  • “I would love to be in parliament.”
  • The Internet Party “could be wound up”.
  • Continuing the merger with Mana “will be up to Mana”.
    “The agreement with Mana was always predicated on the assumption that we be in parliament.”
  • “We completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign.”
  • “…the media chose to focus on sideshows rather than to allow us to present ourselves in the way that we were presenting ourselves. 
  • “What I regret is actually the failure of the Left overall to get its act together in a strategic and tactical way during the election.”
  • “This was always going to be a very finely balanced election outcome. There was no way, no way, never in any polls that Labour and the Greens were going to get sufficient support to form a majority government. That meant we had to rescue progressive votes to.
  • “Labour ruled out just about every other party during the course of the election campaign, and I think that was a big mistake.”
  • On Labour – “They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us, but we were there and they needed to accept that reality.”
  • On Dotcom’s email fizzer – “I believe that Kim, given the opportunity to share everything about that email, would be able to defend his belief that it’s real. Look, I can’t answer that. I wasn’t directly involved…”
  • “What was there for me and for the kind of politics I represent, was the chance to change the government and to get a platform in parliament for some very new progressive ideas.”
  • “Where to from here? Well, for me, being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle. What I want to do, though, is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical, I guess, policies that we began to introduce into the election. And when I say radical, I don’t mean marginal. I mean radical in the sense of fundamentals. So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website. Rethinkthesystem.org. We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.”

Full interview:

Patrick Gower: Good morning. Good to see you after a while.

Laila Harre: Nice to be here.

Are you still here as leader of the Internet Party?

Yes, I am here as leader of the Internet Party, and at the moment I’m guiding the party through a review of the future. I’ve also made a personal decision that once that review is completed, I will step down from the leadership of the Internet party. All options are then open for whether or not the party continues as an electoral force or moves into some other formation and plays its part in politics in a different way.

So that will be by Christmas? You will step down by Christmas?

Uh… yes. The timeline at the moment is that we will be putting together a couple of options that members will engage on, will vote on and will take from there. I just wanted to make it clear to the members, from whom I’ve had tons of support, and there’s been a lot of good feedback to me personally from members, that continuing as a political party does not— they can’t make the assumption that I will continue in the leadership.

Sure.

I’ve made a firm decision about that.

It’s over; you’re out. What does this mean for your political career?

For me, it means that I’m no longer leading the Internet Party. Whether the Internet Party continues as an electoral party is up to the members. If it—

What about Laila Harre personally? Is this your political career over now?

Who knows? Look… (LAUGHS) rumours of my political career being over have circulated many times over the last, you know, 15 years.

Look, I would love to be in parliament. I would love to be articulating the kind of fundamental agenda and values that Internet-Mana promoted in the election campaign, and I’m not prepared to say never again to being personally at the front line. But I also saw emerging in our election campaign an incredible set of younger candidates.

And I feel a bit like a mother hen here. I want to enable them through my decision to step down to explore all their political options too rather than be trapped in this year’s political entity and this year’s political tactic, you might say — to explore their options more.

It may— it may be, by what you’ve said there, that the Internet party doesn’t continue as an electoral-type party.

That’s definitely one of the options that we’re actively canvassing with members.

It could become a lobby group or be wound up.

It could be wound up. It could— the capacity that we’ve built. Look, we’ve had massive engagement on our policy-development platforms, in our social media—

And the merger with Mana — that isn’t going to continue?

Well, I mean, that will be up to Mana and if the Internet Party continues as an electoral party, the Internet party. Um, the Mana Party are having their AGM in a couple of weeks’ time. The agreement with Mana was always predicated on the assumption that we be in parliament.

So, of course, all bets are off there, but there’s very strong goodwill. And again, for me personally, that was one of the strengths of what we did this year — was engaging our constituency with a kaupapa Maori party, which I think is critical to the future of New Zealand politics.

Let’s reflect on the campaign now, cos we know the story. Internet-Mana went from 2.3% on the 3News-Reid Research poll, higher than that on some other polls, then you started to crash. In the end, Hone Harawira didn’t make it; nobody did. What went wrong?

Um, well, what went wrong was that we completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign. We had amazing momentum before then. The road trip, I think, worked extremely well. What other party just went out there on the front line, engaged with such large audiences?

What was the mismanagement?

I think the kind of beginning of that, really, was Georgina Beyer’s attack on Kim Dotcom, which fed into what became a narrative of a rift and division, and it was one that we just couldn’t knock through the rest of the campaign. It became completely distracting from the release of policy, for instance. I mean, we launched a full employment policy that was second to none and did not get one minute of coverage on, you know, national news.

That’s because Kim Dotcom stood up and talked about hacking,…

Well…

…and Pam Corkery attacked the media on the same—

Well, no, it’s because the media chose to focus on sideshows rather than to allow us to present ourselves in the way that we were presenting ourselves. So, you know, the media made a decision to focus on Kim, and in a very negative way during that period.

The only way that we could have avoided that was to take him completely out of the picture. And of course then there would have been all the stories of ‘what’s happened to Kim Dotcom?’ And ‘has he been side-lined?’ And so on. So we’re kind of in the lose-lose position. Beyond us—

Do you have any regrets in all of this? Cos you must have.

I have absolutely no regrets about choosing to get involved in this project. Back in April— late April when I was first approached to consider the leadership, it was very very clear that Labour and the Greens were not going to make it over the line.

I was utterly committed to a change of government, and in order to change the government, we had to make sure every single progressive vote would count. For that to happen, Internet Party votes had to count. For the Internet Party votes to count, they had to do the deal with Mana. And for Mana to do that deal, they needed a leader that Mana had some confidence in.

Sure.

So I said yes. I put myself into that position, and I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. What I regret is actually the failure of the Left overall to get its act together in a strategic and tactical way during the election.

What do you mean by the failure of the Left overall?

Well, let’s go back to early April when the Greens and Labour pulled the plug on each other. At that time I was on the Green Party campaign committee. I felt that was a terrible error by both parties. I thought it was a major error by the Greens to leak the collapse of that discussion.

You’re saying that you were working inside there at the time and the Greens leaked…

I was on the campaign committee as a volunteer. I wasn’t working for the party, but when the Greens decided to leak the collapse of their discussions with Labour, I felt really concerned about what that meant for the election campaign, because what it meant was what I went through before the… around the 1996 and previous elections, that this was going to become a competition for votes on the Left rather than a cooperation of Left parties to change the government.

Here’s the counter argument, and you know it. Labour and the Greens put the failure of the Left at your feet.

Well, it’s very convenient.

They blame it on Internet-Mana. Andrew Little, all of the Labour leadership candidates all say being connected to Internet-Mana and to Kim Dotcom helped bring the Left down.

I think, actually, what brought, overall… I mean, this was always going to be a very— Can I just give you my view on this? This was always going to be a very finely balanced election outcome. There was no way, no way, never in any polls that Labour and the Greens were going to get sufficient support to form a majority government. That meant we had to rescue progressive votes to. To do that—

I understand all of this. But what also happened was National romped home. It wasn’t close. The Left got thrashed. You guys have been blamed for helping bring down the Left and at the same time there’s an argument that you pumped up the Right. People who were scared of Kim Dotcom. People were scared of Internet-Mana. People didn’t like to deal with Hone Harawira. Not only did you tear down the Left, there’s an argument that you helped John Key win by more.

Well, let’s look at some of the facts here. The Internet-Mana Party deal led to an increase in support for the combined two parties. The early part of our campaign, which Kim was very actively involved in in the road trip, saw a growth in support for Internet-Mana. It was at that point that the Right went fully on attack against Kim, and used Kim and the Internet Party-Mana agreement as the basis for an attack on the Left. At that point, Labour—

And it worked.

Yes, but why did it work? Because at that point Labour and the Greens had a choice. They could either join John Key’s narrative, or they could do the only thing that would have made it possible to get over the line, and that was to accept that putting together a majority in parliament, this time round, that did not have National as part of it was going to depend on working constructively with other parties. Labour ruled out just about every other party during the course of the election campaign, and I think that was a big mistake.

So in summary, those parties not supporting Internet-Mana, those parties trying to distance themselves from you, is to blame for your downfall. You’re blaming Labour—

No, I’m not blaming them for our downfall. What I’m saying is that I think they just played into the Right’s narrative about it. So they fed it. They made it more of a problem. And I think the key to politics is knowing and accepting the environment you’re operating in. They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us, but we were there and they needed to accept that reality.

Let’s talk about Kim Dotcom now. Are you still on his payroll?

No! Goodness, no.

Are you still in contact with him?

Yes. I’m periodically in contact with him.

How?

Mainly by text message. Kim is focussing on his legal issues, obviously. That’s the critical point.

Did you ever seek assurances from him that he was not involved in the hacking, that he was not connected to Rawshark?

I didn’t need to because he was absolutely upfront and direct about that, and I completely accept those assurances, and I also believe that John Key knew, and John Key said now that he knows who the hacker is. I think he knew who the hacker was, and he that he knew it wasn’t Kim Dotcom, and he kept feeding you guys.

Look, we had this conversation during the campaign where he had convinced you that he believed Kim Dotcom was the hacker. I think we now know that he knew right from the start that Kim Dotcom was not the hacker. That was just a complete red herring.

As for the moment of truth when Kim Dotcom failed to deliver. You know, the proof was apparently that email from Kevin Tsujihara. Warner Brothers says that that was a forgery. I mean, do you believe it was real?

I believe that Kim, given the opportunity to share everything about that email, would be able to defend his belief that it’s real. Look, I can’t answer that. I wasn’t directly involved in obtaining it or being involved in the process of—

Either Kim Dotcom’s forged it or Warner Brothers has made it up.

I absolutely don’t believe Kim Dotcom has forged it. I absolutely believe that Kim believes it’s real based on the evidence he has about its origins.

The $3.5 million. What happened to that? Who’s got control of it?

Well, that money’s been spent. I mean, let’s remember that that money was spent from pre the launch of the Internet Party in March and committed. I think we could have done a whole lot—

Was this it for you? The dream of a well-funded campaign — the chance of a lifetime. Is that what was there for you, and now maybe you regret it?

What was there for me and for the kind of politics I represent, was the chance to change the government and to get a platform in parliament for some very new progressive ideas. Look, I’ve walked off platforms in this election campaign where I was the only candidate—

And speaking of walking, where do you go from here?

…the only candidate promoting free tertiary education. You know, you had Labour and Green candidates saying user-pay tertiary education was a necessary evil. I reject that. Where to from here? Well, for me, being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle.

What I want to do, though, is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical, I guess, policies that we began to introduce into the election. And when I say radical, I don’t mean marginal. I mean radical in the sense of fundamentals. So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website.

Rethinkthesystem.org

We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.

Sounds like fun. Really sorry. We’re out of time.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Source: Scoop

Laila Harré quitting Internet Party leadership

3 News report on Laila Harré’s comments about quitting the Internet Party – Laila Harre stepping down as Internet Party leader

“All options are then open for whether or not the party continues as an electoral force or moves into some other formation and plays its part in politics in a different way,” she told The Nation.

The party could be wound up, though if it decides to continue any on-going merger with Mana was not guaranteed.

Internet Mana had completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign, which began when Mana candidate Georgina Beyer publicly attacked Dotcom, Ms Harre said.

“[That] fed into what became a narrative of a rift and division and it was one that we couldn’t knock through the rest of the campaign. It became completely distracting from the release of policy.”

There was a good reason why there was a negative narrative.

The media had also focused on Dotcom on a negative way.

There was a good reason why Dotcom was focussed on in a negative way.

Ms Harre didn’t rule out a return to politics in the future.

“I would love to be in parliament. I would love to be articulating the kind of fundamental agenda and values that Internet Mana promoted.”

It’s hard to see any of the current parties wanting her as one of their MPs. Once political principles are compromised it can be very difficult undoing the damage.

She didn’t have any regrets about her involvement with Internet Mana.

“For me being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle.

“What I want to do though is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical policies that we began to introduce into the election.”

She has started a website with her sister, Rethinking the System, as part of that journey.

Harré’s announcement yesterday that she is stepping down from leadership.

Laila Harré to step down – member survey still open

I wanted you to know before the public that I will be stepping down from the leadership of the Internet Party at the completion of our current review.

As I said after the election, I am committed to guiding the Party through the review so that members have the final say on what the future looks like.

I thought it was important for you to know my own position before decisions are made. I can see from the survey results so far that you have appreciated me and my leadership – and I can tell you that it’s mutual. I am very proud of what our candidates, staff, active members, and on-line forum participants have created and achieved in just a few months. I really hope that you will all take part in the survey and decision-making process as it’s important to reach into the whole membership for your views.

The survey will close at midnight this Sunday 23 November.

Here is the link again: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/InternetPartyFutureMemberEma…

Thanks to those who have already responded to the survey on the future of the Internet Party.

If you haven’t please do. Whatever your opinion of the future we want to hear from you.

This survey is not a vote – it is intended to canvas all the options and engage members. One we have identified those options (nothing ruled in or out yet) members will make the decisions on the future.

Thanks for participating.

Laila Harré,
Internet Party Leader.

Dotcom response and legal speculation

There’s been a lot of discussion and speculation about the reasons behind Kim Dotcom losing his lawyers and soon after having his bail conditions tightened significantly pending a hearing next week that could put him back in prison.

NZ Herald reported in Court places tough limits on Dotcom’s movements:

The new conditions are in place only until next Monday, when Dotcom will appear for a bail hearing in the Auckland District Court.

Before the issue of bail, Judge Dawson gave Dotcom’s former lawyers – Queen’s Counsel Paul Davison and firm Simpson Grierson – leave to withdraw from the case.

The restrictions follow Crown lawyer Christine Gordon yesterday making an allegation that the Herald is not permitted to publish.

Dotcom has tweeted:

I have never breached my bail conditions & my compliance is exemplary. But without lawyers representing me the Govt just couldn’t resist.

He plays the “Government is against me” card, but there could be reasons other than complying with his bail conditions.

David Farrar implies a possible connection in The Dotcom legal team:

We also might get a decision at some stage soon in the John Banks appeal, where allegedly new witnesses have contradicted the evidence given by Dotcom.

A number of lawyers regularly contribute to discussions at Kiwiblog and they and others speculate in response.

David Garrett:

This truly is fascinating (and I have no inside knowledge). The most common reason for lawyers to get leave to withdraw is when the client is refusing – or is unable – to pay his bills. All the more interesting because Davison has no necessary connection with Simpson Grierson – like me Davison is a barrister who must have an instructing solicitor (Simpson Grierson in this case), but that instructing solicitor can be anyone…literally a sole practitioner from West Auckland could instruct Davison – so long as Davison is prepared to act for the client.

I somehow doubt Dotcom is unable to pay…another reason lawyers withdraw is when they find they have unintentionally misled the court because they have been told porkies by the client…as I say, I have no inside knowledge, but the fact that BOTH the instructing solicitors – to whom Dotcom will have paid hundreds of thousands in fees – AND the barrister have withdrawn smells very strongly of rat…even more so if SG have removed all reference to their former client…like any other big firm, Simply Gruesome are usually quite happy to be identified with a high profile (civil) client whose case presents novel and difficult issues…

Dotcom’s is the biggest copyright case this country has ever seen, or probably is ever likely to see…All very odd…

NB: Nothing in my comment should be construed as an allegation of wrongdoing by Dotcom, Simpson Grierson, its partners and staff, or Paul Davison QC

And…

I think the Herald website refers to “an allegation which cannot be published”…as someone above me said, curiouser and curiouser…Lawyers withdraw from cases all the time, but it is very rare for both the barrister and the instructing solicitors to withdraw at the same time…

Logic would suggest that this withdrawal is somehow connected to the tightening of Dotcom’s bail conditions…but as you say, that is just speculation…

Nookin:

One possibility is that the lawyers’ obligations to the court have been severely compromised by some inappropriate or improper action on the part of the client such that it is no longer tenable for them to continue acting. Curious that the issue arose contemporaneously with circumstances necessitating tightening up the bail conditions.

If this has happened and publication might prejudice the outcome of the extradition proceedings, it is appropriately suppressed. I can only surmise here, bearing in mind the fact that the extradition proceedings will be heard by a judge alone. I can understand suppression on these grounds of their was a jury but this is clearly not the case.

alex Masterly:

Nookin, I think that your first sentence is pretty much bang on target.

For the sake of completeness I note the CCC rules at clause 4.2.1 define good cause for termination of a retainer as including
– instructions requiring a lawyer to breach a professional obligation,
– inability of a client to pay a fee
– the client misleading the lawyer in a material respect,
– the client failing to provide instructions in a timely way.

David Garrett:

The rules are pretty clear: lawyers must not mislead the court, and cannot allow a client to do so. …which is one of the reasons lawyers usually never ask “Did you do it?” Because if the answer is “Yes, but my defence is I didn’t”, that limits the options for counsel…for example you cannot then put the client in the witness box knowing he would lie under cross examination.

If the lawyers became aware that a client was about to commit a crime then they are obliged – I think – (cant be bothered looking up the rules) to both withdraw and inform the police..

As I say, to have BOTH the instructing solicitors and the barrister withdrawing is most unusual…A colleague has suggested to me that one reason may be they think his case is hopeless, but I don’t believe that would be a valid reason to withdraw…it will come out…

Certainly some information has been put before the court which led to his bail conditions being considerably tightened…and as I have said, it would seem to be more than a coincidence that at the same time his lawyers both withdraw…

If he has a big enough speedboat he could get to Australia…or even further if he refuelled on some Pacific Island…

Scott1:

What sorts of things are included in “misleading in a material respect”?

David Garrett:

Scott: Oh: Things like “My total net worth is USD10 million” when in fact it’s double that; Claiming “I don’t have an account in Leichenstein” when in fact he does, and it’s got a shit load in it; claiming he wasn’t present at a crucial meeting where an illegal plan was discussed, and then a tape of the meeting comes to light establishing he was there; claiming a document is genuine when in fact it is a forgery…stuff like that.

Chris Diack:

Mr Dotcom is probably not paying his legal bills (and probably not paying many of his other bills either) That will be why SG want out. They continue to pay Paul Davidson QC and do legal work yet have probably received no payment recently. PD will stuggle to find an instructing solicitor that can back him like SG and of course they may well not get paid (so who would do it).

I doubt they were consulted over Mr Dotcom’s political donations ($4million) and so read about it in the newspapers. Would be galling if you are not being paid and being advised by the Client the money is short. More so now that it is clear that the strategy to get Parliamentary leverage did not work and has actually been detrimental to your clients interests. I suspect had SG been asked they probably would have advised against making such donations as counterproductive.

I doubt the Crown wanting to tighten the bail conditions has much to do with SG wanting out. Probably he has been breaking existing bail conditions (like using a copter). The allegation mentioned in the report is probably that the Crown has some evidence (maybe someone Mr Dotcom has spoken to or as a result of warranted surveillance) that he is considering doing a Smith. Wouldn’t be surprised if they produce a affidavit to that effect. That establishes the flight risk.

David Garrett:

Chris D: You reckon SG has been paying Davison’s bills with their own money?! I must say I find that hard to believe…but as instructing solicitors they have the responsibility of seeing that he is paid, so I suppose you might be right…

I am told Davison charges $1000 an hour for cases that he WANTS to do…if it’s something that doesn’t tickle his fancy I believe it is double that…Again, I have no inside knowledge…just scuttlebutt around the robing rooms…

Interesting fellow Davison…

We will find out more about this next Monday.

Dotcom plot thickens

New bail travel restrictions have been placed on Kim Dotcom, with a ban on travelling by helicopter or by boat at sea, and limiting his travel to within 80 kilometres of his Coatesville residence.

If that happened during the election campaign it would have been very controversial with political implications. However now it just raises eyebrows about what is going on behind the scenes.

This follows last week’s news that his longstanding lawyers including Paul Davison QC withdrawing from Dotcom’s case.

Stuff reports: Dotcom banned from choppers

Kim Dotcom will be back in court again next week for a hearing after new restrictions were placed on his bail today.

The temporary restrictions, imposed by Judge Nevin Dawson in the Auckland District Court, include banning the use of helicopters and boat or sea travel.

Dotcom was also banned from travelling more than 80 kilometres from his Coatesville mansion and ordered to report to police daily.

The new issues, which would be dealt with at next week’s court appearance, followed Judge Dawson’s decision to allow the internet mogul’s lawyers to withdraw from his case.

Dotcom, who was in court today, would not say why his long-standing lawyers at Simpson Grierson, including Paul Davison, QC, had decided to step down from his extradition case.

So a major legal representation setback followed by significant travel restrictions. There must be much more to this than has been reported.

And this will impact on Dotcom’s extradition case.

Dotcom’s United States lawyer Ira Rothken said Simpson Grierson’s withdrawal from the case posed a “difficult challenge”.

It was going to take a while to find a replacement law firm and for it to become familiar with the case, he said.

Judge Dawson granted leave to delay Dotcom’s extradition hearing further and the case is now scheduled to be heard in June.

Dotcom followed this with two tweets:

In the news: Travel conditions imposed on Dotcom + daily reporting to the police.

He links to Radio NZ: Travel conditions imposed on Dotcom

Kim Dotcom has been banned from using helicopters ahead of a Crown application to revoke bail.

So they want to revoke bail, which means Dotcom would go back into custody. There must be a reason for this change.

Dotcom also tweeted:

This year was a total disaster. I have taken many punches. But I won’t break. I will keep going through this hell for my kids. Count on it.

Part of the disaster was brought upon himself with his multi-million dollar exercise in political futility.

Dotcom’s US based lawyer also tweeted:

I just did an interview with Radio NZ on retaining new extradition defense counsel in NZ in the case

He links to: Dotcom searches for lawyers after NZ legal team quits

Dotcom and Internet Party still blaming “the media”

Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party are still blaming “the media” for their unsuccessful election campaign.

Dotcom has been reported on TorrentFreak – Kim Dotcom Breaks Post Election Media Silence:

“The Internet Party failed to deliver meaningful change in New Zealand at the last election because of the media spin by our opponents,” Dotcom says.

“They have successfully turned me into a villain, a German Nazi, a horrible employer, a political hacker, a practitioner of prohibited digital voodoo magic and nothing short of a monster. I would hate that guy too if I didn’t know that it wasn’t true.”

Dotcom says that part of the problem is that he has powerful enemies who in turn have friends in positions of influence, including in the press.

“When you have the US Government, the NZ Government, all Hollywood studios and all major record labels fighting against you, you don’t have a lot of friends, especially in the media,” Dotcom says.

“They either own the media (like in the US) or control the media with their significant advertising spending. Their passion to destroy me and everything I do, because of a copyright disagreement, is almost as fanatical as some of the religious extremism I see on TV.”

So he thinks “the media” is a part of the conspiracy against him – even though a High Court judge has just ruled there is No ‘air of reality’ to claims “of a conspiracy between the United States and New Zealand Governments”.

A post at Endarken: You Be The Judge: 3 Different Versions of NZ’s “Moment of Truth”

That the entire mainstream media had Glenn Greenwald sitting in front of them, waiting to answer any question they had about mass surveillance, New Zealand’s role in it and Snowden’s revelations, and instead chose to attempt to saddle him with baggage from the ongoing Dirty Politics anti-Dotcom vendetta, is a travesty.

It was five days before the election and Dotcom had just failed to front up with evidence he had promised – the supposed original purpose of his town hall extravaganza. The media covered the Snowden and Greenwald aspects as well but it was a Dotcom show that was supposed to turn the election.

From an exchange on Twitter:

The “goals” of IMP, especially employment policy was barely mentioned by MSM.

Media also barely mentioned Loomio: that much of the policy was put fwd by members.

God forbid public be allowed to know there was real alternative to the status quo.

It’s a fair claim that the media generally favours the status quo but that’s well known and Internet-Mana had a massively funded campaign that should have been able to counter that,

The Internet Party’s social media manager :

So you’re saying small parties working to get in shouldn’t have a voice in media?

I responded “Of course small parties should get a fair go from media but favourable coverage is not a right” to which Callum replied:

But ethical and fair coverage of issues ought to be.Do you think current media presents shallow view?

@Norman_Penaia

The “goals” of IMP, especially employment policy was barely mentioned by MSM.

@economicsNZ

Was that a conspiracy or ad hoc chumminess in the lobby?

Election campaigns are very competitive with all parties trying to get media attention. The media far from perfect but most of the time tries to give a reasonably fair coverage.

Internet-Mana was a new and unusual political arrangement and I think they would have got far more coverage than their 1.42% proportion of the vote. Obviously not all of it was favourable coverage but that applies to all parties.

The Maori Party got almost as many votes – 1.32% – but would have received far less media attention, and who found out what their goals or policies were?

NZ First got 8.66% of the vote and I doubt they got any more – my guess is significantly less – media coverage than Internet-Mana. I don’t recall anything about NZ First’s goals or policies being covered.

Just about anyone in politics thinks the media doesn’t give them a fair go (including me). But how the media operate is well known.

Internet-Mana had a far bigger budget than any other party so should have been able to buy substantial coverage, yet they got much less vote than Conservatives (3.97%) and arguably more media coverage.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party got about a third the vote of Internet-Mana but would have received a very small fraction of the media coverage.

In the end about 4 of each 300 voters chose Internet-Mana. Te Tai Tokerau rejected Hone Harawira.

Voters are perceptive and make their own judgements on both positive and negative media coverage, as David Cunliffe found out (some of his supporters also blame the media).

Feedback I got suggested that many people didn’t agree with the appearance of a rich person buying the election. They were suspicious of Dotcom’s motives. They saw a major disconnect between Mana and Dotcom, and Laila Harre and Dotcom and that was apparent as Harawira appeared to get uncomfortable and disillusioned.

Voters rate personality and perceptions of competence ahead of party policy, especially policies of small parties who are unlikely to have much policy success.

The “fuck John Key” event that was promoted by the Internet Party wouldn’t have helped. And so it goes on.

And in the end the Internet Party had claimed that they would be different and appeal to a different constituency – via the Internet. That bypassed the mainstream media. And it failed to get sufficient support.

The Internet Party failed at being an Internet Party.

And for all it’s deficiencies mainstream journalists have been around poitics for a while. They can be quite perceptive too. They could obviously see deficiencies in Internet-Mana and reported likewise.

The election is history. Dotcom and Internet-Mana made a big splash – and initially got disproportionate media interest plus unprecedented public interest in it’s many campaign meetings – and then sank.

Blaming others won’t change anything. And blaming the media won’t help any future political prospects.

“The Downfall of Kim Dotcom”

Political junkie Geoffrey Miller details The Downfall of Kim Dotcom – How the Internet entrepreneur’s venture into New Zealand politics went off the rails.

Kim Dotcom’s foray into the tiny and normally rather placid world of New Zealand politics brought global interest to the South Pacific nation’s recent election – culminating with the involvement of other outside heavyweights, including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Ultimately the über-wealthy German immigrant went head to head with the country’s prime minister – and lost. Dotcom ended up failing spectacularly – describing himself as political “poison.” His Internet Mana alliance, personally bankrolled by Dotcom to the tune of nearly NZ$5 million ($3.9 million), failed to win a single seat in New Zealand’s 120-seat parliament in elections held on September 20.

He summarises:

In May, Kim Dotcom described his pet political party as his “gift to New Zealand.” On election night, he was forced to concede that his very brand had been toxic. For John Key, Dotcom turned out to be the gift that kept on giving. New Zealand voters’ loathing of Kim Dotcom and his tainting of the country’s left played no small part in delivering Key’s center-right National Party a landslide victory.

After the election, a jubilant Key had only one piece of advice for the defeated Dotcom. “Go away.”

http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/the-downfall-of-kim-dotcom/

Harawira and the Greens

Hone Harawira has been talking publicly two weeks after his election loss. He talks about his key policies, child poverty, homelessness, unemployment and the Treay of Waitangi as if he was had been the sole crusader on these social issues.

From a Mana media release on Friday: Mana’s Challenge To The 51st Parliament

MANA defined its position when we announced that our constituency would be those we call TE PANI ME TE RAWAKORE, the poor and the dispossessed, and our last three years have been a challenging and vigorous time where we have staked out our place in the political world – a commitment to ending poverty for all and particularly those most vulnerable in our society, our kids; a commitment to putting an end to the grinding homelessness affecting tens of thousands of New Zealand families; a commitment to putting the employment of people ahead of the sacrifice of jobs in the endless pursuit of wealth for the few; and a commitment to a future where the Treaty of Waitangi is honoured as the basis for justice and good governance in Aotearoa.

Mind you – being so highly principled brings with it enormous risk, not least the fact that KIDS CAN’T VOTE AND POOR PEOPLE DON’T, but I am proud of what we have achieved in our short time in parliament.

When we first raised our FEED THE KIDS policy three years ago, everybody laughed, so we took our kaupapa on the road, we built a support coalition of more than 30 national organisations, we pushed the policy into the top 5 issues of the year, and with the support of a standout series on Campbell Live, we got a poll last year that showed more than 70% supported a government-funded food in schools programme.

When we called for 10,000 NEW STATE HOUSES EVERY YEAR until the housing crisis was over, other politicians squirmed, but after challenging them at a Housing Action protest outside parliament, Labour took up the same call for 10,000 new houses a year, albeit theirs was more a pitch to woo middle-class voters than a bid to help the poor.

We took up the call for FULL EMPLOYMENT because to accept anything less was to accept failure, and by pushing for the minimum wage to be the LIVING WAGE OF $18.80 AN HOUR, we forced other so-called left-wing parties to follow suit.

Other left wing parties might dispute that they have been “forced…to follow suit”, in particular the Greens.

This theme was also prominent in an interview on Q & A yesterday. It began:

Do you regret doing this deal with Kim Dotcom?

Harawira: No I don’t think I do, I mean…

You don’t think you do…?

Harawira: No no no no. I mean we have two hundred and sixty thousand kids living in poverty in this country, we’ve got more than thirty thousand families that are homeless, more than twenty five percent of Maori youth are on the dole.

There needed to be something to help Mana broaden our kaupapa, and to try to get more MPs into the house.

The Greens in particular have also strongly campaigned on very similar issues.

Harawira: There needed to be something to help Mana broaden our kaupapa, and to try to get more MPs into the house.

But you’re not there now to…

Harawira: Sure. But was it a risk worth taking? Absolutely it was, because even now that I’m out of Parliament I’ve received hundreds, probably more than a thousand emails, text, phone calls really regretting the fact that I’m not in there including from National Party supporters.

I think genuinely there needs to be a voice for te pani me te rawakore, the poor and the dispossessed in the house, and I think that was Mana’s role and it will be Mana’s role in the future.

Harawira’s voice won’t be in Parliament this term. Mana’s voice won’t be in Parliament this term. A major reason for this is Mana’s alliance with Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party.

There were hundreds, probably more than a thousand people warning against this. It looked like a huge clash of principles.

Sue Bradford resigned from the Mana Party because of the alliance. She had previously been a Green MP.

Laila Harre left a prominent job in the Green Party to lead the Internet Party along side Harawira’s Mana.

Russel Norman spoke strongly against the Internet Party and the Internet-Mana alliance.

Harawira and Harre chose Kim Dotcom over the Greens to try and help the poor and the dispossessed.

The Green Party has fourteen MPs in Parliament. Harawira and Mana are out.

Why did Mana choose to be backed by Dotcom? How many kids could have been fed by the four million dollars Dotcom wasted on a failed campaign?

Why didn’t Mana join forces with the Greens, who have very similar aims and policies?

If Harawira wants to continue his crusade for the poor and the dispossessed he could work with the Greens. Mana could ally themselves with the Greens.

What’s most important – speaking for the poor and the dispossessed from the sidelines, or being a part of a much wider campaign for the less fortunate in our society?

Perhaps Harawira wants to be ‘The Man”. He pulled out of the Maori party team to set up the Mana Party.

if Harawira joined the Greens, if the Mana Party allied with the Greens, many voices would be stronger than one man and his movement outside Parliament.

That would have more chance of real success than hitching hopes to Dotcom and Harre.

Green policies include:

A billion dollar plan to reduce child poverty

Workers will get a better, fairer deal under the Green Party

A healthy home for every child

Predictable result

In the main the election result and sub-results were quite predictable.

Polls were a reasonable indicator but only look backwards so show trends that have happened. They can’t predict to late campaign shifts that are common.

This election was peculiar in that many decisions were put on hold until Kim Dotcom’s big reveal. When it came to nothing it strengthened resolve of swing voters to ensure National retained it’s hold on Government.

Labour dropping below poll results was not surprising. They were obviously not going to do well and non-committed voters either change their minds or simply don’t bother voting.

Claims like “but Cunliffe ran a good campaign” have been proven wrong. As David Shearer said, the end result was tragic for Labour. Cunliffe may have appeared to be campaigning strongly but he puts on a variety of acts. While they might be slick acts voters see through this lack of genuineness. Cunliffe also has a problem that is probably unresolvable – too many people simply don’t like his persona (or personas).

Greens will be disappointed to have struggled to maintain their level of support while Labour were shedding votes. Greens weren’t able to pick them up. This suggests that 10-12% is the upper limit for them. This also shouldn’t be surprising outside the Green bubble. People like to have a party promoting environmental issues but most don’t like the extreme Green stances like no drilling, no fracking, no motorways.

And Greens misread public sentiment if they think that handing out more money to poor people with no responsibilities applied will be popular. Middle New Zealand see this as imposing costs and taxes on them. Socialism is fringe ideology these days.

Winston Peters is adept at picking up protest and shedded votes. NZ First gained vote, gained MPs but otherwise gained nothing. Most of the 91% who didn’t vote NZ First will be happy with this outcome.

The 5% threshold always looked a very high hurdle for Conservatives and so it proved. This was a failure of MMP. The threshold should be no higher than 3%. I don’t personally support the Conservatives but their missing out is a travesty of democracy.

Hone Harawira losing his electorate was a bit of a shock but not really surprising given the severely compromised position of Harawira and Mana hitching their ambitions to Kim Dotcom. Dotcom’s expensive disaster was Harawira’s failing.

Internet-Mana was always a high risk alliance. They might have succeeded as a combined party but Dotcom realised too late that his brand was toxic and he couldn’t resist being prominent. His final week failure to deliver on his promises to hit John Key compounded the problem.

Laila Harre severely compromised her credibility and was still blind to this yesterday, blaming everything but reality. Her political future is very limited.

The Maori Party lost two of their three electorates as widely predicted. For the first time they had sufficient party vote to pick up a list seat to go with Te Ururoa Flavell’s retained seat. Flavell was a minor star of the campaign but will have a difficult job keeping the Maori Party afloat.

David Seymour retained Epsom as expected but also as expected ACT failed as a party. Jamie Whyte failed to step up as leader in a challenging attempt to rebuild a battered brand.

Peter Dunne held is Ohariu seat. That didn’t seem to surprise anyone but unrealistic Labourites from the electorate. As a party United Future was nowhere to be seen, and accordingly votes were nowhere to be seen, dropping to a third of the low return they got in 2011.

Just two more seats for National but this strengthens them substantially, giving them a majority vote on their own as long as they don’t lose any seats this term. They also have ACT, Dunne and Maori Party support options on standby.

Just two less seats for Labour and this weakens them substantially. The result is tragic for them and the outlook is no better. They have done very little to move on the old guard and bring in new talent. They seem out of touch with their constituency of last century. They have yet another failed leader with no obvious replacement. This was also predictable.

Labour have failed for six years to rebuild from the Clark/Cullen era. Unless someone out of the ordinary steps up their future looks bleak.

National campaigned on ‘steady as she goes’ and the voters delivered the platform for National to be a little more politically steady than expected providing outstanding issues don’t impact too much.

Judith Collins has already been sidelined and is expendable should inquiries further damage her.

Now the election is over ‘dirty politics’ should be addressed by Key. And by Labour. And to a lesser extent by Greens. Peters won’t change from his habit of attack without evidence but he will be largely impotent unless the media keep pandering to his baseless allegations.

Some embarrassments may emerge for Key and National out of surveillance and GCSB issues but they look to have been overplayed, and most people accept the need for some surveillance protection.

The simple fact is that most people don’t feel threatened by surveillance and they are concerned about about terrorism.

And it’s ironic that the supposedly net-savvy who campaign strongly against surveillance must be aware that the Google and Twitter and Facebook social media tools they willingly use are tracking what they do far more than any government.

But we can predict they will continue to fight for a free internet that gives them far more public exposure than they ever had. They claim that privacy is paramount in a very public online world.

Otherwise we can predict have much the same Government as we’ve had over the past six years. Most people will be comfortable with that.

It’s harder to predict if Harawira will make a comeback or if Mana will survive their battering and their harsh reality check.

If Dotcom pulls the plug on Internet Party funding it’s demise can be predicted. If that happens it can also be predicted that Laila Harre will find it very difficult to find another party that would risk being tainted by her lack of loyalty and sense.

It is not hard to predict that Labour’s struggle to be relevant and their lack of connection to anyone but some special interest groups will continue.

John Key has shown he is aware of the dangers to National of complacency and arrogance – it can be predicted that some of his MPs will struggle to heed his warnings. But most likely things will continue much as they have.

Greenwald speech (2) – surveillance versus interference in a country’s election

The second part of Glenn Greenwald’s speech at Kim Dotcom’s “The Moment of Truth” event on Monday night was on the alleged planning of mass surveillance.

The second really extraordinary thing, and this is genuinely really stunning to me, was on the very first day that I began doing interviews about the reporting that we were here to do, the Prime Minister, in the words of the New Zealand Herald, for the very first time admitted that his Government had in fact planned a programme of mass surveillance aimed at New Zealanders.

That appears to be an inaccurate representation of what Key said.

NZ Herald on Saturday in He’s Dotcom’s little henchman: PM attacks journalist’s spy claims

Greenwald said that New Zealand’s spying agencies had been conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders as part of the Five Eyes arrangement between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Key said that was wrong. “There is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB and there never has been. Mr Dotcom’s little henchman will be proven to be incorrect because he is incorrect.”

He believed Greenwald was jumping to conclusions based on partial information.

NZ Herald on Sunday in Spying claims force PM to release classified documents

Prime Minister John Key will declassify highly sensitive documents to prove the GCSB pulled the plug on plans to spy on New Zealanders.

Last night Key said he suspected that former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald’s mass surveillance claims were “part of a conversation” of a surveillance plan that was never formulated.

“I am prepared to declassify documents and release proof in the coming days,” said Key.

“There is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB [Government Communications Security Bureau] and there never has been.

“Mr Dotcom’s little henchman will be proven to be incorrect because he is incorrect.”

Key told 3 News the mass surveillance plan was in response to cyber attacks targeting New Zealand businesses in 2011.

3 News on Saturday in Key hits back at Greenwald’s claims of mass surveillance

The Prime Minister has admitted for the first time that New Zealand spies did look into a form of mass surveillance on Kiwis, but never actually went through with it.

Mr Key has admitted for the first time that yes, New Zealand spies did look into what he calls a “mass protection” option that he concedes could have been seen as “mass surveillance” or “wholesale spying”, but that, and this is the important bit, he says it never actually went ahead.

Mr Key has revealed that after two major cyber-attacks on New Zealand companies, in late 2011 and early 2012, the GCSB stared to look at options with the help of partner agencies like the NSA.

But Mr Key says this idea never got past the business case stage because he deemed it too invasive.

Key said the Government investigated an option of a programme of mass surveillance rather than what Greenwald claims – “his Government had in fact planned a programme of mass surveillance”.

Back to Greenwald’s speech.

He admitted that for the very first time on Saturday after my arrival when he started to have suspicions about what it was I was going to expose.

I’m sure Key considered what Greenwald might try to expose and would have prepared responses long before Greenwald arrived here.

And the reason that’s so stunning to me is if you think about what has happened in this country over the last eighteen months there has been a very serious and sustained debate over surveillance policy, probably as much as if not more than just about any other country on the planet.

It began with the revelations that the Government had illegally spied upon the communications of a legal resident of New Zealand, Kim Dotcom, as well as several dozen other at least citizens and legal residents.

It then was followed by a very intense debate, one media outlet here called it one of the most polarised debates in decades, over a new Internet law that the Key Government insisted on enacting that would vest the Government with greater powers and this all took place within the context of the Snowden revelations, and the global debate about electronic surveillance and Internet freedom and individual privacy that those disclosures provoked.

Key claims he pulled the plug on the GCSB investigating mass surveillance months before the Snowden revelations and the global debate.

The law that was passed was claimed to clarify and tighten up loose legislation to prevent repeats of misinterpretation and potential illegal spying, and it increased oversight of New Zealand’s spy agencies. It’s highly debatable whether it gives the Government greater powers so Greenwald is taking one side of the argument.

And so as this country was immersed in this very serious and sustained debate about surveillance, a debate in which the Prime Minister himself actively participated.

He concealed from the citizenry all of that time the fact that by his very own admission, which is actually inaccurate, but even he admits that he concealed the fact that his own Government over many months was developing a programme of mass surveillance aimed at the citizens of this country.

Greenwald is fudging timing here. The “many months” were up to a year before the debate. 3 News reported:

But Mr Key says this idea never got past the business case stage because he deemed it too invasive.

This was before the Snowden leaks, and Mr Key says the fact he said no is why he has been able to be so resolute that there was no mass spying on Kiwis.

Key says it was an investigation that stopped well before the Snowden leaks and the debate in New Zealand. They weren’t happening concurrently as Greenwald implies.

Greenwald:

What possible justification is there for having concealed that for well over a year, until my arrival compelled him to finally admit it because he knew it was going to get exposed anyway?

I find that genuinely stunning.

It could be justified because by the time of the debate it was one option (presumably the GCSB investigates other options that it never implements) that had been ruled out by the Government.

During the debate Key kept claiming there was no mass surveillance and there would be no mass surveillance. If he said “we thought about it but decided against it” it would have made little or no difference to the outcome of the legislation. If anything it would have further inflamed the debate by raising an issue that was no longer in the frame.

Key presumably chose to talk about it now because he believed Greenwald would make claims about mass surveillance that needed to be addressed and countered.

Did Greenwald think he could come to New Zealand and make claims and accusations during the last week of an election campaign without them being challenged?

Fran O’Sullivan in Key wins – now let’s focus on real issues:

Key has been roundly attacked for declassifying documents to prove his point that the GCSB has not been involved in widespread surveillance of New Zealanders.

Bizarrely, it is somehow seen as perfectly all right for Dotcom and his associates to use stolen National Security Agency files to try to prove the Prime Minister a liar on how his Government has administered national security, but not for Key to declassify New Zealand’s own files to prove he isn’t a liar.

This is utter madness.

Key saw Dotcom coming and released the Cabinet document which backed his statements before the Internet Party visionary’s Moment of Truth fiasco.

He had lined up former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and self-styled adversarial journalist Glenn Greenwald to undermine Key’s credibility and use their combined influence to swing voters against National five days before the election.

But Dotcom’s associates failed to produce any clear evidence to show Key had lied when he said the GCSB had not indulged in mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

Nothing concrete was produced to prove New Zealanders have been illegally spied on.

Not only has nothing concrete been produced to back his claims, for a journalist Greenwald seems to have been making misleading assertions, possibly either deliberately or negligently misrepresenting what has happened.

Greenwald is openly anti-surveillance. He accepted an invitation to speak at a meeting organised by a political party that wants to take down the ruling Government. He has voluntarily participated in the democratic process of a country he has no connection with.

Greenwald seems to see a change of Government in New Zealand as a way of reducing surveillance in New Zealand so he is backing a party and a campaign that wants to achieve that.

What’s a bigger issue to Kiwis, surveillance or interference in a country’s democratic process?

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