Some thoughts, in no particular order, on Internet Party-related issues:
Does Slater have proof of the Nazi flag in the basement?
Cameron Slater has made the allegation that Kim Dotcom was given a Nazi flag for his birthday in 2011, and that it was kept in Dotcom’s basement until just before John Campbell was allowed in with his cameras following the FBI-instigated raid. Dotcom has now explicitly denied owning a Nazi flag, according to this NZ Herald story:
He repeatedly disputed claims that owning a rare signed copy of Hitler’s book marks him as a Nazi sympathiser and says he does not own a Nazi flag as claimed by Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater. [Emphasis added]
Presumably, the story has come to Slater through the former Dotcom staff members who are subject to Court injunctions preventing them from telling all to the media. Given the way Slater broke the Len Brown / Bevan Chuang story (getting a full affidavit sworn by Chuang before he went public), and the evidence he has thus far presented in this “Dotcom Nazi” story (videotaped material from Dotcom accuser, Alex Mardikian), I would be surprised if Slater weren’t already in possession of affidavit evidence from at least one of the staff members allegedly involved in tidying up the flag before the cameras arrived.
There are a few options here:
1. Dotcom is lying: Which may go very badly wrong for him if Slater has an affidavit or two in his back pocket that he can release. Or if someone comes forward who was at the 2011 birthday party and can confirm that it was indeed given as a gift.
2. Dotcom’s staff are lying: It’s a possibility. But it’s a very specific series of allegation they’re making (assuming it’s come from the staff), involving the exact date Dotcom allegedly received the flag, the circumstances in which it was received, where it was stored, why it’s no longer stored there and when it was moved. On the other side though, when Police raided the mansion, you’d have thought they’d have gone through the place with a fine-toothed comb, yet no mention was ever made of a Nazi flag, an item which would surely have provoked comment.
3. Dotcom’s denial is “Clinton-esque”: The denial, as published, says that Dotcom “does not own a Nazi flag”, which could be taken to mean that he once owned one, but at the date of interview no longer owns one. Of course, as with an outright lie, it will still look terrible if Slater releases proof that Dotcom once owned a Nazi flag, even if he doesn’t now.
The Internet Party chief executive, Vikram Kumar, appeared on TV3s The Nation this morning, making the claim that the party’s internal polling had it on track to reach 5% by election day. This was after the party’s new media man, Jim Tucker, made the claim that the party was polling at 2.6%, despite the Internet Party having comprehensively failed to even register on any major poll this year.
Kumar, when pressed on this polling issue, seemed to let slip just where the party’s numbers are coming from, when he talked about the large numbers of undecided voters who would be prepared to consider voting for the Internet Party. Expressions of interest from undecided voters are very different from actual percentages of people who will vote for you… It will be interesting to see whether the Internet Party begins to feature in the next round of polling, now that the party has actually been launched.
Most democratic selection process?
While on the Nation, Mr Kumar also made the interesting claim that the Internet Party would have New Zealand’s most open and democratic selection process. Well, according to the party’s rules, the process for producing a party list seems fairly similar to that followed by the Greens – an “Indicative Party List” is produced, and the members get to vote on their ranking preferences before the list gets finalised. However, rule 12.4.7 of the Internet Party rules states that:
Having regard to the ranked lists provided by members, the Executive Committee will produce a “Final Party List” at its sole discretion that will constitute the final Party List.
That sounds to me as if the membership consultation phase can be completely ignored by the Executive Committee, whereas the Green Party leadership don’t have that luxury. Thus, the Greens definitely win the prize for most democratic way of producing a party list.
Does the Internet Party win on ‘most democratic way of choosing electorate candidates’ then? Well, no. Rules 12.6 and 12.7 states:
12.6 Once the Party List has been finalised, the Executive Committee may ask candidates on the Party List to stand in electorates as Electorate candidates.
12.7 Which electorates candidates are asked to stand in is at the discretion of the Executive Committee.
So, not very democratic at all.
Sorry, Vikram, the Internet Party can’t claim to be the most open and democratic party around. In fact, as David Farrar asks, is the Internet Party even democratic enough to be registered with the Electoral Commission?
Some strange numbers regarding membership were floating around on the stuff.co.nz site on the day of the Internet Party’s launch. For instance, just after the membership app went online, it was reported that members were signing up at the rate of 14 per second, and that the 500 member threshold would be reached within hours. Which was odd, as my calculator informed me that it would take just under 37 seconds to get 500 members at the rate of 14 per second. That piece of reporting then seemed to get amended to read 14 new website visitors per second, which made rather more sense…