New Zealanders are split over whether the Government
should allow Kim Dotcom to stay in New Zealand even if he loses
his extradition court case later this year, a Herald-DigiPoll
survey has found.
But media commentator Brian Edwards believes sympathy for the
German internet entrepreneur is fading.
Asked whether Justice Minister Judith Collins should use her
discretionary powers in the Extradition Act to allow him to
stay in New Zealand if he lost his extradition hearing,
almost 42 per cent of those surveyed said "yes" and just over
47 per cent said "no".
Dr Edwards said Mr Dotcom started off as "a larger-than-life
funny character and people loved him and when the raid
happened, they thought, 'This is not fair, this is not the
way we do things.'
"I have a feeling that after that we started to see so much
of him doing so many things and also perceiving him as
someone who is enormously wealthy and all the rest that
people started to look at his past a little bit more.
"I think if he'd had a poll three or four months ago it
wouldn't have been evenly divided. I think people would have
said what a great character, leave him alone, we need people
like this. I think now people are a little bit suspicious.
They think this guy has worked too hard on getting us on
The FBI's bid to have Mr Dotcom extradited to the US to face
internet piracy and racketeering charges is due to be heard
in the District Court in July. He suffered a setback on
Friday as the Supreme Court ruled his lawyers were not
entitled to see all of the FBI's evidence against him ahead
of that trial.
Asked whether he thought Mr Dotcom would be extradited, Prime
Minister John Key said: "I don't know, that's ultimately a
matter for the District Court when they look at the
The District Court will only rule on whether Mr Dotcom can be
legally extradited. The decision rests with Ms Collins, who
declined to comment. Neither Mr Dotcom nor his lawyer Paul
Davison, QC, would comment either.
Labour justice spokesman Andrew Little said at issue was
whether the allegations against Mr Dotcom were "genuinely
criminal conduct, or is it a civil matter" that ought to be
left to the US and Kim Dotcom.
- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald