Dotcom sets deadline for Internet Party 'self destruct'

PLUS:  iPredict latest - NZ First tipped to make MMP threshold, Conservatives tipped to miss out.

There was good news for Kim Dotcom last night. David Cunliffe and Russel Norman said a Labour-Greens government might block Kim Dotcom from being extradicted to the US, should he lose his case (scheduled to start July 31).

LATEST: Does Dotcom realise the perils of buddying up with Winston? Read this, Kim 

"I've always said I didn’t support the extradition process," Mr Norman told 3News. "In a number of respects, I just don’t think it’s fair."

Mr Cunliffe offered more qualified support for the accused pirate, saying, telling the broadcaster, "Prima face, the current government’s operation against Mr Dotcom appears to have been outside the law in a number of respects."

In 3News' report, the Labour leader doesn't voice support for blocking extradition but later, when challenged on social media, 3News political editor Patrick Gower later said Mr Cunliffe said he was open to considering the option.

Prime Minister John Key said while the government could block and extradition, it would jeopardise the US-NZ extradition treaty. He noted that the treaty had been used to repatriate several "abhorrent" criminals from the US to NZ.

Many open to Dotcom, but none committing
A 3News Reid-Research poll found 21% or just over one in five voters would consider voting for Kim Dotcom's Internet Party.

However, Mr Gower said of 1000 people surveyed, zero supported the Internet Party today.

But while a Labour-Greens government could "save Dotcom's bacon" as Mr Gower puts it, the irony is that his political push could potentially strip away 1% or 2% support from the two parties - potentially enough to deny them power in a tight race for the MMP list vote.

According to the 3News-Reid Research poll, of those considering a vote for the Internet Party, 30% supported NZ First; 27% Labour; 23% Green and 11% National.

Internet Party disappearing off iPredict radar
In the latest round of data from Victoria University's political market place, iPredict, the Internet Part has also struggled 

iPredict punters now see  the Internet Party capturing 0.81% of the list vote, down from the 1.28% they were picking on Feburary 7.

Bar a few tweets from Kim Dotcom - who promises an Internet Party app shortly - the Internet Party has slipped off the radar since the Electoral Commission put the kibosh on Mr Dotcom's "Good Times" party, and controversy over Scoop's Alastair Thompson joining then quitting the party.

What's happening?

"Things may look quiet externally," Internet Party general secretary Vikram Kumar told NBR earlier this week.

"But the Internet Party team is hard at work in the 'engine room'. We are very much on track to our internal timetable. Lots to come soon but we are not yet quite ready to detail it yet."

What is the timetable? He won't say.

This morning, Mr Dotcom through a cat among the pigeons, tweeting:

Ballot papers are printed after nominations close, 20 to 27 days before the general election, expected around November.

Which party would the entrepreneur throw his weight behind? It's hard to pick. Mr Dotcom has recently met with political leaders as varied as Russel Norman (who asked him not to run) and former ACT and National Party leader Don Brash.

And while Mr Dotcom's sympathies could naturally extend to Labour and the Greens - who shared his opposition to the two surveillance bills last year, as well as being open to blocking his extradition - some Cunliffe and Norman supporters may wonder if the man who once donated $50,000 to John Banks is a fairweather friend.

Another qualifier: Dotcom has to complete the formal process of registering and launching the Internet Party before he can disbandon it.

iPredict general standings
Elsewhere on iPredict's latest weekly update, Labour and NZ First have made gains at the expense of National, the Greens and other small parties.  Of the major parties, National is expected to win 42.02% of the party vote (down from 42.26% last week), Labour 34.03% (up from 32.94%) and the Green Party 9.08% (down from 9.42%).

Of smaller partiesNZ First is now expected to reach the 5% threshold under the MMP electoral system. It is expected to win 5.07% of the party vote (up from 4.73% last week), while the Conservative Party is picked to win 4.02% (down from 4.14%), Act 2.30% (down from 2.46%), the Maori Party 1.24% (down from 1.28%), the Internet Party 0.81% (down from 1.28%), Mana 0.48% (down from 0.49%), UnitedFuture 0.48% (down from 0.49%), the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 0.29% (down from 0.30%), the Civilian Party 0.1% (steady) and Democrats for Social Credit 0.1% (steady).

On the electorate front, the news continues to worsen for the Conservative Party.  The party now has only a 48.2% probability of winning at least one electorate seat, down from 53.3% last week, 61.5% the week before and 64.6% three weeks ago.  The party has expected representation of just 0.51 electorate MPs, compared with 0.55 electorate MPs last week, 0.63 MPs the week before and 0.65 three weeks ago.  Of electorate bundles launched so far, the Conservatives are not expected to win any specific electorate, with just a 25% probability of winning East Coast Bays (down from 28% last week) and an 8% probability of winning Upper Harbour (up from 5% last week).

Of other small parties, Mana and the Maori Party have made gains with the latter overtaking UnitedFuture as the second most likely small party to win an electorate seat.  Mana now has a 90.9% probability of winning at least one seat (up from 83.2% last week and 73.1% the week before) and the Maori Party an 81.3% probability of winning at least one seat (up from 72.0% last week and 67.5% the week before).  Both Maori-orientated parties now have expected electorate MP representation of above one, with Mana expected to have 1.14 electorate MPs (up from 1.06 last week) and the Maori Party 1.05 electorate MPs (up from 0.89 last week).  Mana has an 89.1% probability of winning Te Tai Tokerau and the Maori Party an 80.0% probability of winning Waiariki.

Act has again gained marginally and now has a 78.0% probability of winning at least one electorate seat (up from 74.4% last week), expected electorate representation of 0.78 MPs (up from 0.77 last week) and a 73.1% probability of winning Epsom.

UnitedFuture is broadly steady with a 79.1% probability of winning at least one electorate seat (down from 80.2% last week), expected electorate MP representation of 0.79 MPs (steady) and a 76.9% probability of winning Ohariu.

The Greens and NZ First continue not to be expected to win electorate seats.

 

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