MPs must come clean on Dotcom

Opposition MPs have hardly showered themselves in glory during the past few days after it became obvious they had been in contact with Kim Dotcom, the internet mogul who may yet play a significant part in this year's general election.

Even Dunedin South MP Clare Curran confirmed on Twitter she had met Mr Dotcom four times, including at public events.

She can be excused given her role as an information, communication and technology spokeswoman for the Labour Party. But not so some others.

There are questions that need to be answered by Labour and Green MPs about their motivation for either visiting Mr Dotcom or asking questions about him in Parliament.

There are suspicions of a link between the number of questions being asked around Mr Dotcom and the conclusion the Opposition is seeking political favours from the man who has promised to start the Internet Party - but then added that he would not run in the election if the polling is less than the 5% MMP threshold (followed up by stating the party would be a contender in the election).

Parliamentary records show Labour MP Trevor Mallard has asked 132 questions regarding Mr Dotcom, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters 82, Labour MP David Shearer 36, deputy Labour leader Grant Robertson 17 and Green co-leader Russel Norman 13.

And it emerged that Dr Norman has suffered what is commonly called a ''brain fade'' about his visits with Mr Dotcom. He cannot remember if he phoned Mr Dotcom first, or if it was the other way around, when setting up a meeting to ask Mr Dotcom not to

launch the Internet Party because it would take voters away from the Greens target.

Dr Norman, who has often attacked Prime Minister John Key about his apparent lack of recall on meetings with senior government officials, dismissed a regulation question of who contacted whom as of no material value.

Dr Norman, when pushed in an interview, also indicated he would be prepared to overturn any extradition ruling that ordered Mr Dotcom back to face charges of internet piracy in the United States if he was in a position to do so.

Given that admission, and the fact the visits to Mr Dotcom appear an attempt to stop him from launching the Internet Party, Dr Norman has effectively ruled out any hope the Green MP could have at becoming associated with the justice portfolio in a Labour-led government.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters resorted to verbal abuse of reporters seeking to know how many times he had visited Mr Dotcom's mansion.

Mr Peters had earlier been quick to pounce on retiring Act New Zealand MP John Banks when it emerged Mr Banks had received financial help from Mr Dotcom for his failed mayoral campaign.

(Mr Banks' so-called brain fade has seen the MP and former mayor of Auckland face a court case regarding whether he failed to declare a donation.)

Dr Norman and Messrs Peters, Mallard, Robertson and Shearer need to make public statements declaring whether they have met Mr Dotcom and, if they have, in what capacity.

If they are offering political deals, then their outrage at Mr Key saying who he is prepared to work with after the election later this year can be seen in its true light.

If taxpayer-funded transport was used to travel to the mansion, that information should also be released.

Mr Peters is renowned for not answering questions in a straightfoward manner but, yesterday, he said he had visited three times and that no taxpayer money had been used.

He then somewhat sensationally claimed Mr Key had used the GSCB to spy on him, allegations Mr Key rejected.

Mr Banks himself said this week ''the `kimdom' of Dotcom acts in very strange ways and turns people into all sorts of gnomes''.

It certainly seems to affect the memories of politicians - and it is time those memories were refreshed.

 

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