Kim Dotcom is fighting extradition to the U.S. on criminal copyright charges
He's accused of costing copyright owners millions of dollars in lost revenue
He launched the Internet Party in New Zealand earlier this year
He has teamed with Mana Party to contest September 20 general election
Editor’s Note: Born Kim Schmitz, the German Internet entrepreneur and convicted fraudster has made millions through his ventures, including defunct site Megaupload. Now called Kim Dotcom, he’s wanted by the U.S. on copyright charges, accused of costing the entertainment industry millions of dollars. Now in New Zealand, his Internet Party has joined with the Mana Party to contest the election on September 20. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
The approaching election represents a crossroads for New Zealand.
As its citizens visit their polling stations on September 20, they should consider the fact that the nation has quietly morphed – under the leadership of Prime Minister John Key – into the political equivalent of an American slave, responding more readily to the interests that motivate the United States than to the concerns of Kiwis.
If the trend continues, New Zealand will not only lose its national identity to its stronger allies, it will cease to enjoy the fundamental individual rights and freedoms that seem to be evaporating elsewhere in this increasingly integrated world.
These issues are personal to me. I came to New Zealand as an immigrant, but I fell quickly in love with the country and its people. More importantly, I saw New Zealand as a place in which my children could grow up safe in the knowledge that Kiwi society protects the interests of its own citizens above all others.
My opposition to the John Key government goes beyond its abuse of surveillance powers or its leaking of confidential information to politically aligned publishers.
Whatever government is formed as a result of these elections will be charged with the responsibility of negotiating New Zealand’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an ambitious 21st century trade agreement proposed and driven principally by United States’ interests.
Make no mistake; the TPP is only the latest attempt by the intellectual property industry in America to criminalize legitimate business activities such as file sharing, to destroy privacy and free speech, and to extend the American legal empire to the Pacific.
It is my belief that the Key government, if given the opportunity to participate in the TPP negotiations, will once again place the interests of New Zealand behind those of the United States.
These critical issues are some of the motivating factors behind the formation of the Internet Mana Party. The unique relationship between the Maori-based perspective and issues of global technology abuse is more than mere happenstance.
It is indigenous people throughout the world that suffer the most from the spreading mantle of intellectual property laws and elitist economic policies. The lack of basic access to knowledge for everyone, and the transformation of the Internet into a toll booth governed by pay-as-you-play American rules, are what motivated me to identify and then consolidate the relationship with this important group.
New Zealand is engaged in a struggle, just as I am, for Internet freedom and everything beneficial that flows from it. The task of securing that liberty falls to this generation, as the point of no return is not far off.
Those politicians around the present government in New Zealand – whose “Dirty Politics” were exposed in Nicky Hager’s recent book – are the last people who should be entrusted with the future of this great country.
This election represents a chance to turn back the clock to a time when New Zealand was the sovereign manager of its own domain. I hope the electorate will take advantage of the opportunity — it may be its last.