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Incurious Laila

Kim Dotcom has been crowing on Twitter about the John Banks guilty verdict this afternoon.

The giant German tried to call Mr Banks after being jailed on January 20, 2012. 

The mayoral candidate-turned-ACT MP failed to return his donor's call, and Mr Dotcom duly extracted utu, becoming an enthusiastic witness for the prosecution.

His glee this afternoon was to be expected.

But what will Internet Party leader Laila Harre make of the verdict and, more, the events that lead to the trial?

Not much, if we take her comments at face value.

In a Q&A last week (see extract below), NBR asked Ms Harre on her theory on why Mr Dotcom would have donated $50,000 to John Banks, a conservative who, true to his record, went on to vote for the GCSB Bill. 

"I have not given it a second’s thought and I don’t intend to," the Internet Party leader replied.

If you want to hold on your dream, that's probably a good strategy.

Ms Harre's broad thrust is that if someone wants to give her a huge amont of money to pursue her unfinished political agenda, that's a good thing.

She seems happy to turn a blind eye to Mr Dotcom's donation to Banks, and whether his Megaupload and Megaporn made their hundreds of millions in legal fashion.

But as ever in politics, it's a question of whether the means justify the end, or the means become the end.

Chris Keall: You’ve come from a left wing background, and now you’ve joined a party founded by someone who lives in a bigger house than John Key.

And before his conviction he donated money to John Banks who [went on to] vote for the GCSB Bill, as you’d expect as an authoritarian social conservative. Dotcom described himself as pro-business in his autobiography. How do you reconcile having Kim Dotcom as your “sponsor” [as Harre called him in her speech]?

Liala Harre: I feel incredibly lucky as a New Zealander that force of circumstance has created this opportunity to bring a new political force into Parliament.

I’m very grateful to Kim Dotcom for his vision and support and enabling that to happen.

I think we need to run with this opportunity and I’m certainly intending to do that.

CK: What’s your personal theory about why  Dotcom gave John Banks $50,000 – or two cheques for $25,000?

LH: I have absolutely no idea [laughs].

If I’d known him then I would have advised him against that decision.

Mikee Tucker [sitting in on NBR's interview]: If I could just step in here. I’m running Baboom, and the party for Kim, and New Zealand’s most respected independent record label, Loop.

So [Kim Dotcom] is up for secondary copyright infringement. I look after bands like Fly My Pretties and helped the Black Seeds begin. And I had nothing to weigh up. I am totally sure that it was a setup. After SOPA failed the door was open …

CK: There seem to be two theories about why Dotcom donated Banks the money. Finn Batato told me it was because Banks was pro-internet and pro business, which wouldn't seem to sit well with you. The other theory is that he donated the money to curry favour for his citizenship. Neither is particularly

LH: I have not given it a second’s thought and I don’t intend to.

MT: The other thing is, I've known Kim since January when this party starting getting serious, and looking at the party ecosystem now including Liala – the Banks thing was well before our era. I’ve known Kim since January and he’s never commented on it.

LH: No it’s never been the subject of conversation.

CK: I’d be curious about the political history of someone who was becoming my political sponsor.

LH: Um … he’s a man who’s made significant financial donations. Um …, I mean … all his publicly expressed values for enabling New Zealanders to make the most of the internet opportunities, and his commitment to a party that has a core value of social justice are completely aligned with my values. So I haven't seen anything in terms of his values or beliefs that have caused me concerns. 


Laila Harre's NBR interview part 1: Free varsity; that John Banks donation

Laila Harre NBR interview part 2: Baboom offshoring jobs; getting paid; the UFB; how she rolls

Read the full interview here.

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Comments and questions

"So I haven't seen anything in terms of his values or beliefs that have caused me concerns."

Really Laila? The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one NZ.

So a convicted felon, now wanted on more criminal charges, serious enough to be extraditable, in a different country, using proceeds of that alleged crime to pay your wages, whilst he attempts to subvert our very democracy... And your beliefs and values align?

You really need to ensure adequate ventilation when using solvent-based paints in enclosed spaces!

Keep focussed. The extradition was an unsavoury beat up that was overplayed by our government in a desire to suck up to the US. That alone should worry you.

Yes reading this and then looking at the Judgement on Banks where the Judge indicated that Banks chose not to look at who made the donations so he could deny them.

So this lady seems to be choosing not to look too closely this foreign national who is creating and funding his own political party and now joining it with another and funding them both.

It's the old "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" scenario.

I love the idea of the Internet Party. I think it's great that there's an attempt to modernize politics and at least try to have absolute transparency throughout the party.

Having said that though at the end of the day it is still connected to KDC and that's where it goes sour, unfortunately.

I personally welcome Laila's return to the forefront in politics. Most of us would have no disagreement with the broad thrust of her social values but as always with such an agenda the question is 'How to fund it?'. I always learned as a youngster that being a left wing socialist was 'cool' PROVIDED the funds were available to fund the policies! Laila is much easier to watch than some of the uglier politicians! More importantly she has a mischievous wit and uncommon intellect which NZ politics sorely needs! Keep spending Kim Dotcom's money while you can Laila!