1 Jun 2014

Key `crossing the line' on case - Harre

8:00 am on 1 June 2014

Internet Party leader Laila Harre is accusing Prime Minister John Key of crossing the line over his comments that Kim Dotcom is supporting the party only to escape extradition.

The internet entrepeneur has so far funded the Internet Party to the tune of about $4 million.

From left, Hone Harawira, Laila Harre, Kim Dotcom and Vikram Kumar.

From left, Hone Harawira, Laila Harre, Kim Dotcom and Vikram Kumar. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker-Wilson

Mr Key is suggesting Mr Dotcom is only doing that so, if the party is included in the next government, he can influence a potential future Justice Minister to stop his extradition.

Ms Harre says the extradition hearing has not been held yet, and Mr Key should stay out of such a sensitive legal issue.

She says Mr Key's comments are also inappropriate because he could be perceived as trying to influence the judiciary.


Ms Harre, a long-time unionist and former Alliance Party politician, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Friday that it was refreshing to see a wealthy donor backing a progressive party rather than supporting the status quo.

"I feel very lucky to be in a position where resources are available to take on the establishment rather than the conventional approach, which has been for big money to support the status quo and to shut down change, particularly for young people," she says.

Ms Harre says Mr Dotcom's funding of her party was not an example of money corrupting politics.

Mr Key said the only people who would vote for the Internet-Mana Party would be those from the far left of politics.

He said Ms Harre and Mr Harawira were extreme left-wing politicians, so from National's point of view it was of no great relevance.

"But if you're Metiria Turei and Russel Norman and maybe David Cunliffe, you might be just a little bit more worried."

An internet and technology commentator says Ms Harre's appointment as leader was a further move away from the party's original intent.

Ben Gracewood says he was completely baffled by the move.

"It started off, the Internet Party, as a single issue, quite clearly articulated. And since then merging with Mana and Laila Harre joining, I literally am quite confused."

Mr Gracewood says the appointment of Ms Harre has firmly planted the Internet Party on the left wing.