Dotcom - lawyers say I can stand for Parliament
UPDATE / Sept 7: Kim Dotcom now says he can stand for Parliament at next year's election.
Last week, the Teutonic tech titan told media he was going to form his own political party, and take a run at the ballot box himself - only for Kiwiblog's David Farrar to dig up Section 47(1) of the Electoral Act, whose citizenship provision seems to clearly ruleout Mr Dotcom.
But iin a new interview published today with the Washington Post, Mr Dotcom says, "When I made that statement, my lawyers were still looking into it, and their preliminary answer was that you can only run as a citizen of New Zealand. But they went through the full several hundred pages of New Zealand election law, and they found that if I’m a permanent resident of New Zealand who’s lived here for more than a year and is a registered voter — which I will be in November — you can run for office. I’ll get more specifics on Tuesday when I sit with my lawyers, but at the moment it looks like I can run myself."
Mr Dotcom says he'll launch is political party at a major even on January 20 next year - the second anniversary of his arrest on copyright, money laundering, racketeering and other charges, all of which he denies.
He said last week his aim was to reach MMP's 5% threshold for getting MPs into Parliament. But given Dotcom Mansion lies within Prime Minister John Key's electorate, the situation lends itself to a matchup.
Asked by Post how he will fund his political career, given his funds are still frozen bar legal and living expenses ahead of his trial, Mr Dotcom also reveals he has raised $4 million for Mega so far. And that he hopes to raise $20 million to $30 million by floating the company on the NZ or Australian stock exchange.
Mr Dotcom has raised the possibility of an IPO for Mega at various times in the past - although know it's notable he has no legal ties to the company.
On On Wednesday, it was revealedhe had resigned as a director of Mega (his only formal position with the file sharing sevice), which is majority owned by a trust controlled by his wife Mona Dotcom.
Mr Dotcom said he resigned from the startup to focus on his extradition case and his political career.
Launch new Mega services from Iceland?
The Post also reminds Mr Dotcom he threatened to move Mega to Iceland if the GCSB Bill was passed.
What is he going to do now the legislation has been passed?
Mr Dotcom did not answer the question directly, but did note:
"We’ve opened the company in Iceland, and already we’ve registered the domain mega.is and our secure encrypted e-mail service is currently under development, as well as a Skype-type application where you can do video calls and video conferences, but you do it in the browser, on our website."
Despite his love of New Zealand, it's not Mr Dotcom's first flirtation with an overseas venture in recent times.
In March, NBR revealed his Megabox music sharing venture, which is yet to launch, is owned and run by his Hong Kong-based companies. Mr Dotcom said the setup was his investors' preferred option for tax reasons.
Dotcom launching political party - but can't stand himself
UPDATE / Sept 2: "I can't stand for Parliament because I am not a citizen," Kim Dotcom tells NBR.
Nevertheless, the accused pirate is sticking with his plan to fight next year's election.
Despite his resident-only status ruling him off the ballot box, "I can be a party president, create a political vision for the party and find candidates to stand for the party who share the same vision," Mr Dotcom tells NBR ONLINE.
"My priority over the next three months will be to find those people and refine the party program and policies with them. I plan a launch event on January 20, 2014 and until then won't release to many details."
EARLIER: Kim Dotcom says The party website with information about our vision & candidates will launch with another BIG event on Jan 20, 2014. Second raid anniversary will found a new political movement.
In response to a brief in the NZ Herald saying he would form a political party with the aim of gaining the 5%of the vote required to get into Parliament, the giant German tweeted, "My embryonic NZ political plans leaked by whistleblower. Still looking for partners. Not ready yet :-)."
"The party website with information about our vision & candidates will launch with another BIG event on Jan 20, 2014. Second raid anniversary."
"After the 2014 election I will get New Zealanders a new submarine cable, fair Internet pricing & no more data caps. #Gimme5Percent"
Mr Dotcom has pushed for a second submarine fibre optic cable out of NZ before in a private capacity. Last year, he told NBR it is possible his file sharing service, Mega, could become a major customer of a new cable out of NZ, and possibly also an investor - but that someone else would have to get the project off the ground.
So far, his mooted plan for a giant server farm in NZ hosting files for Mega has yet to eventuate, although Telecom's Gen-i unit is hosting a small number of the startup's files uploaded by NZ members.
On Breakfast, Prime Minister John Key labeled Mr Dotcom's latest venture a PR stunt.
"It's like everything we see from the guy. He wants to stay here and fight his extradition treaty. He has very good PR people. Let's see how it goes."
Mr Dotcom replied via Twitter, "I don't have PR people. I'm just good at being myself. Try that Mr Key."
Whoops, not a citizen
Kiwi Blog's David Farrar says "I think it is a great idea to splinter the anti-government vote."
But he adds:
However Mr Dotcom may have overlooked one problem. He is ineligible to be an MP.
S47(1) of the Electoral Act states:
Regardless of anything in subsection (1), a person is not qualified to be a candidate or to be elected unless he or she is a New Zealand citizen.
In 2002 an MP was disqualified after it emerged she was not a citizen. Kelly Chal was provisionally elected on 2002 election night for United Future but then disqualified as a candidate and MP after they realised she was not a citizen.