Kim Dotcom's hacking confessions, an expletive-filled outburst from Pam Corkery, and a late show from Hone Harawira all combined in a perfect storm to overshadow Internet Mana's campaign launch.
Internet Party founder Dotcom regaled the gathering of hugely enthusiastic supporters with a story he has repeated often: that when he was 19, he was convicted of hacking.
Yesterday he said he had also used his hacking skills to manipulate a former German prime minister's credit rating.
"I hacked our German credit rating system and put our prime minister's credit rating to zero because I didn't like the guy," he said.
"And we have all figured by now there's another prime minister I don't like."
Dotcom has been accused of being behind the hacking of right- wing blogger Cameron Slater's computer but has steadfastly denied this. The hacked emails formed the basis of Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics, which has dominated the election campaign so far.
Hager has also denied Dotcom was the source of the emails which are being drip-fed into the public domain by a Twitter account called Whaledump.
After the speech, Dotcom refused to take questions from reporters.
Corkery, the former broadcaster and Alliance MP who is now the Internet Party's press secretary, then waded into television journalists who wanted to talk to him.
"We've talked about homeless, oh don't be a creep," she told one. "We've talked about jobs today and people living in poverty and you want to talk to Kim, who said no interviews about a 19-year-old story.
"You work in news, you puffed up little shit."
When it was suggested that Dotcom should address the question, she said: "He doesn't want to, he said three times, 'I don't want to give you an interview', he's not a candidate, he doesn't owe you anything. When will you glove puppets of Cameron Slater just piss off."
Internet Party leader Laila Harre was also reluctant to comment, saying Dotcom had given the speech repeatedly on the party's national road tour and stressing he had nothing to do with the hacking.
She denied it was a reference to hacking Key. "This is not a scoop."
Meanwhile, Harawira was a glaring absentee for much of yesterday's launch, and Mana's Waiariki candidate Annette Sykes spoke in his place, to MC Te Hamua Nikora's surprise.
But suggestions of a rift between Harawira and Harre were rejected by the two leaders, with Harawira saying he was still recovering from a serious car accident in Northland.
The day was otherwise successful, with the crowd vociferous as 32 candidates on the combined party list were introduced, and as policies were launched to create full employment and turn New Zealand into a world-leading digital economy.
- The Dominion Post
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