Dotcom show wears thin for NZers

Kim Dotcom
Kim Dotcom
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 side."

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 application."

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

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