Deputy Prime Minister Bill English yesterday took a swipe at
Kim Dotcom, saying he is trying to buy his way out of
Mr English, in opening remarks at a post-Budget breakfast in
Queenstown, said the German's Internet Party, which has
appointed ex-Alliance cabinet minister Laila Harre as leader
and done a deal with Hone Harawira's Mana Party - had pushed
the Budget into the background.
''We don't mind Kim Dotcom taking time from [Labour leader]
David Cunliffe, which he is doing, but if we knew there was
$3 million on the table, we'd have done a deal with him
too,'' Mr English said, in reference to a claim by Mr Dotcom
that his party will have a $3 million election war chest.
''There's been a lot of talk lately about banning foreign
ownership of housing. Well, if we could we'd ban foreign
ownership of political parties.
''This guy is trying to buy influence to get his extradition
stopped. It pains me to say this but we are relying on
lawyers to nail him, and we hope they do.''
Mr English's salvo comes on top of comments this week by
Prime Minister John Key who told The New Zealand Herald Mr
Dotcom was trying to buy influence, and get politicians in
place who might block his extradition.
''You've got a guy who can't buy a house in New Zealand, but
he can buy a political party. I think most New Zealanders
would look at that and be pretty cynical.''
Ms Harre, at the announcement of her leadership and the
Internet Party-Mana Party union, said of the new Internet
Mana alliance that she made ''no apologies for acting in the
strategic interests of this generation''.
Mr English told the Queenstown breakfast the country had run
up a lot of debt in the past five years, about $65 billion,
of which $15 billion was for the Christchurch rebuild, and it
was now time to start paying it back, given the books were
healthier and the Budget had produced a surplus.
New Zealand's debt level wasn't huge but it was more per
capita than Australia and the United Kingdom and ''we have to
keep it low as we're a bit of a credit risk because we're a
''We're optimistic about where we're going to get to in the
next five to 10 years, and you're feeling that in Queenstown.
Growth markets are discovering us. There's a sharp rise in
Chinese tourists, which can only grow, and more and more
overseas consumers are wanting to buy our stuff.
''We want to make sure businesses can commit capital and take
''The decisions that will lift us in five years' time are
being made now and we want to make that as easy as