Tag Archives: Kim Dotcom

Why the Mana-Internet Party alliance is a potential game breaker

12 Jun

By Mike Treen

Friends of mine, including some pretty staunch left wingers, have questioned the wisdom of Laila Harre taking up the position of Internet Party leader and of the Mana Movement forming an electoral arrangement with the Internet Party for this election.

A lot of the criticism comes from the fact that Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom is a multi-millionaire. It seems strange to me that I, as a socialist, have to explain that no one is born with original sin or necessarily acquires it by becoming wealthy. The modern socialist movement was formed by an alliance between a “German millionaire” (Frederick Engels) and Karl Marx. Engels devoted his adult life to running the family cotton mill in Manchester to make enough money to keep the Marx family out of the poorhouse. I accept that Kim Dotcom is no Engels, but his wealth should not be held against him.

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Expediency overrules integrity

28 Jan

By Matt McCarten

(Reprinted from the Herald on Sunday, 27 January, 2014)

Five years ago I was impressed with John Key. He showed real principle during the 2008 election campaign saying he would not lead a government that included Winston Peters. When pressed by an incredulous media, he calmly explained that if to be prime minister he needed NZ First he would step aside and let Helen Clark govern with him. His reason? He didn’t trust Peters.

It was a master stroke and contributed more to National’s victory over Clark than people realise. Peters was deeply unpopular. His twinkling charm had been replaced with a shifty sneer. Key’s announcement followed Peters’ denial he had received money from Owen Glenn, when in my opinion he clearly had.

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Dotcom’s bid doesn’t compute

21 Jan

By Matt McCarten

(Reprinted from the Herald on Sunday, 20 January, 2014)

I’m a democrat so I will always support any political initiative that gets citizens involved in the running of society.

I wrote in this column some months ago that Kim Dotcom would launch his own party. He has the profile, charisma, money and motivation. He also has a ready-made potential constituency. His claim of having 15,000 internet followers signing up to attend his launch party is impressive. Dotcom is a media showman and will be treated seriously by the fourth estate – initially anyway.

Bob Jones was the last non-politician to successfully form a political party to unseat a prime minister. Dotcom wants to do the same. The difference is that in 1984 Robert Muldoon had had three terms and was tired and deeply unpopular. Jones’ call for free-markets against Muldoon’s “state socialism” was a siren call that gained him 12 per cent of the vote, ending National’s reign. None of those factors apply today.

Cynicism suggests Dotcom’s motivation is more about ego and self-interest.

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I spy cause for serious concern

18 Aug

By Matt McCarten

Herald on Sunday, August 18, 2013

The GCSB bill is due to be passed into law on Tuesday by a single vote.

The conventional wisdom is that opposition to the changes is a beltway issue, which means those in Parliament (and the press gallery) are the only ones who care about it.

After all, most people want the State to have the tools to protect its citizens from harm. That’s what John Key is hoping will carry that day.

But there’s something sinister about how our PM has managed changes he wants for spooks who spy on us. Here’s my unease:

1. Extending State spying powers has always been by political consensus. Labour’s David Shearer and NZ First’s Winston Peters have both said they were prepared to compromise. Their suggested amendments seemed reasonable. But Key is having none of it. Why?

2. The Law Society, the Privacy Commissioner, many respected jurists, and even a former GCSB boss oppose it publicly. When New Zealander of the Year Dame Anne Salmond says anyone who supports the bill has no right to turn up to Anzac events, then the penny must drop for mainstream Kiwis.

3. Key can now only get it through by Peter Dunne casting the determinative vote. The hypocrisy of Dunne supporting spies getting access to citizen’s emails, although he claimed personal privacy when refusing to give up his emails after he was accused of leaking classified documents, is contemptible. John Banks has already sold his party’s libertarian principles and supports the bill. Key now endorses the Act leader for Epsom at the next election. Join the grubby dots. No doubt Dunne will get endorsed for Ohariu once the vote goes through.

4. What happened to Kim Dotcom can happen to anyone. The raid on his house and the incompetence and covering up afterwards should be disturbing to every New Zealander. The bill gives more power. The GCSB spy system is linked into the US and UK spy network so foreign spooks will, in my view, be able to access our citizens’ information, too.

5. It seems a week doesn’t goes by without confidential personal information on individuals being leaked by a government department by incompetence. We have even had Cabinet ministers and ministry bosses happy to expose personal details of clients or employees when it serves their purposes. The temptation to use personal information against individuals will always be there.

6. There’s something scary about a politician deciding who gets spied on. When I was a teenager the then-PM Robert Muldoon released a list of his political opponents he said were being investigated by the Secret Intelligence Service. The smear was deliberate. Will a future leader use such information for political ends? You bet.

When civil society is potentially threatened, citizens need to register their concern. Tomorrow at 7pm opponents are meeting at the Auckland Town Hall. Sometimes it’s important to send a message.

(Matt McCarten is National Secretary of Unite Union. His weekly Herald on Sunday column are a commentary on social and political issues in New Zealand. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unite Union.)

PM’s weakness good for Peters

29 Jul

By Matt McCarten

Herald on Sunday, July 28, 2013

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Three politicians had big wins this week.

What was in Prime Minister John Key’s head when he refused to rule out Winston Peters being his main man next year? Maybe all the grovelling to Peter Dunne to get his GCSB bill passed was stressing him out and he wasn’t thinking straight.

In the past two elections, Key promised he would never serve alongside Peters and if his party didn’t back him, he’d resign on principle. Since then his allies’ fortunes have imploded, and our Prime Minister’s steely principles have changed.

Key saying he’s now open to a coalition with NZ First gives Peters the relevance he seeks. Until now, NZ First has been lumped in with Labour and the Greens as a junior player. Can you imagine Peters coping with being junior to a Green, let alone Metiria Turei as deputy Prime Minister? Me neither.

Key’s capitulation means Peters holds the cards as to who will be Prime Minister after next year’s election. Peters also celebrated his party’s 20th birthday this week at his favourite cafe, the infamous Green Parrot.

Do parrots crow?

Hone Harawira didn’t crow but he certainly was strutting his stuff in court all week.

The political classes were spitting at his unparliamentary behaviour in getting arrested with Glen Innes protesters.

Harawira spent the week in the dock after shining his car headlights at women sitting atop local homes to prevent moving trucks dragging them away. Protesters asked Harawira to do that after locals claimed police had assaulted them in the dark during previous melees.

Many readers may doubt that. I believe it because months ago a carload of scared young people turned up one night when I was working late at my office. They claimed they had fled from the Glen Innes housing protests after police assaulted them. Others had been arrested. A young woman showed me bruises and I was shown their car with a smashed window.

Police turned up shortly after and parked outside, and the youngsters were scared to leave my office. When I went outside, the police car drove off. Knowing that, I’d want an MP shining a light on me when protesting house removals at night.

Even though he didn’t have to, the judge let 16 local women tell their story about the evictions. They spoke about losing their homes, where they’d lived for generations, to developers. It’s not ethnic cleansing, but what term should we use when poor brown people are expelled from their homes so mansions can be built for people who are not poor, nor brown?

The chattering classes rail against Harawira being a protester. Really? We forget our history. Almost every Cabinet minister in the first Labour government had served prison time for protesting. Arrests of prominent individuals such as Lucy Lawless, for exposing important issues, should be badges of honour.

Harawira got convicted as expected, and left the court to go straight to Thursday’s anti-GCSB bill rally – where he was treated like a rock star. He told me it was an honour to pay a $500 fine if it highlighted the struggle of the poor that was being ignored. Walking the talk, man.

The other winner this week was Kim Dotcom, who was the star speaker at the anti-GCSB meeting. Hundreds were present, and Bomber Bradbury of The Daily Blog streamed it live to 4500 others.

A TV3 poll released just as the meeting started showed 52 per cent said Dotcom was telling the truth when he said the Prime Minister knew about him earlier than he has been saying. Only 34 per cent believed Key. It’s telling that our clearly miffed Prime Minister sneered that Dotcom was only drawing attention to himself so he wouldn’t get extradited to the US.

Does Dotcom count as a politician, though? Joe Carolan, our premiere protest organiser, quipped that if Dotcom wanted to stay and overturn the GCSB bill he could fund his own Pirate Party. With all the computer geeks and nerds, he’d easily pass the 5 per cent threshold.

Imagine having to negotiate coalition options with parties led by Winston Peters, Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom. Pundits heads would explode. Remember, you read it here first.

(Matt McCarten is National Secretary of Unite Union. His weekly Herald on Sunday column are a commentary on social and political issues in New Zealand. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unite Union.)

Sir Edmund Thomas to chair Stop the GCSB Bill meeting

24 Jul

Stop the GCSB Coalition

24 July 2013

Media Release:

Sir Edmund Thomas to chair Stop the GCSB Bill meeting

The Stop the GCSB Bill coalition is pleased to announce that retired Supreme Court Judge Sir Edmund Thomas will chair the “Stop the GCSB Bill” public meeting to be held in Auckland tomorrow night (Thursday 25th July) at 7pm at Mt Albert War Memorial Hall.

The speakers at the meeting are –

· Dame Anne Salmond – anthropologist, author and New Zealander of the Year

· Dr Rodney Harrison QC – presented the Law Society submission on GCSB Bill

· Kim Dotcom – the most high profile victim of illegal GCSB spying

· Thomas Beagle – from Tech Liberty – concerned with civil liberties online

There is widespread concern about this bill and that concern is unabated by the “deal” done by Peter Dunne with the National government to secure support for the bill.

The bill which legalises mass surveillance of New Zealanders remains fundamentally unchanged.

Such has been the level of interest in the public meeting from people around the country that the public meeting will be streamed live on the internet across New Zealand and around the world.

The Stop the GCSB Coalition will also be organising a rally and march to oppose the bill this Saturday (27th July) gathering at Aotea Square at 2pm.

Mike Treen

Interim Spokesperson

0295254744

NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST THE BILL ALSO PLANNED FOR SATURDAY

Matt McCarten: Fools in charge erode integrity of our society

1 Oct

Kim Dotcom

nzherald.co.nz

By Matt McCarten

6:30 AM Sunday Sep 30, 2012

The guys who run these outfits are supposedly paid twice the salary of our overpaid Cabinet ministers, we’re told, because they are so smart and competent.

I mean, how hard was it to check the arrest warrants were accurate, or at least lawful, before our state forces rammed Kim Dotcom’s gate in an armed raid backed by a couple of swooping combat helicopters?

It’s inconceivable how the agency that spends hundreds of millions of dollars on collecting information didn’t think to do a basic check whether it was lawful to spy on him.

All they needed to do was spend $3 to buy the Herald on Sunday and find out Dotcom was a permanent resident. Their oversight may well cause the entire case against Dotcom to collapse.

The top cop at the time of Dotcom’s arrest theatrically boasted he had signed an assurance that he would pick up the costs if it was found the police messed up. I wonder if he’d have been so cavalier if he had to pick them up personally, rather than the taxpayer.

The saga around Dotcom has destroyed the personal and professional reputation of a former Auckland mayor and current Government minister, has exposed our police as parodies of the Keystone Cops, made us wonder if our Crown solicitors are the C-pass law students who couldn’t get jobs in real law firms, and has made our so-called intelligence service seem anything but.

It also exposes the stunning lack of care by our Prime Minister, who is constitutionally charged to monitor our country’s secret police.

This week he admits to being completely in the dark over the shenanigans of our spies. I’m not sure what would be worse: if he was out of the loop or if he was fibbing about it.

No wonder he delayed admitting the GCSB mess-up until the day before Parliament rose for a two-week break.

John Key will hope the debacle will have blown over by the time Parliament reconvenes. Fat chance.

The fallout from this black comedy will give and give for months. In grown-up countries where senior civil servants and politicians are expected to take professional responsibility, the Police Commissioner and the head of the GCSB should have resigned.

John Banks should have gone months ago and we should have had his replacement sitting in Parliament after a prompt byelection in Epsom.

The fact we had our Deputy Prime Minister authorising the GCSB’s actions to be kept secret while his boss was overseas, without telling him when he got back, is astonishing.

The fact that Key didn’t know for months that the agency he is constitutionally required to oversee was acting illegally is mindboggling.

One of the great protections afforded in a civil society is that a nation’s spy agencies are not permitted to routinely spy on their citizens. Both our spy agencies – domestic and external – report directly to the Prime Minister. Our external spy agency is not permitted to spy on us under any circumstances.

These checks and balances are there for good reason. The rudimentary inquiry this week by the grandly titled Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence solves nothing.

Our current Prime Minister was asleep at the wheel and failed in one of his primary duties. Could you imagine for a second that Helen Clark would have been so careless?

Like many of our politicians, Key is a pleaser. Mixed with a bit of a Kiwi inferiority complex, it’s hard to not draw the conclusion he is one of those people who thinks his role is to revel in inside gossip of others and then deferentially sign off on anything the spymasters want.

Dotcom’s business practices may or may not have been illegal. But that’s no longer the point. The incompetence and misconduct of many of our institutions goes to the core of our society’s integrity.

Only a full and independent inquiry can now restore our country’s reputation.

By Matt McCarten | Email Matt

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