Dotcom's political idol under way
Kim Dotcom has opened his Internet Party's two-day political idol competition with a speech maintaining his movement stands for what is ''right''.
Twenty-two candidates are battling it out in a central Auckland theatre for 15 spots on the Internet Party's list, which is seeking to coat-tail into Parliament in September off the back of the Mana Party.
The contenders will be chosen following a series of challenges; including testing their public speaking ability, one-on-ones with a judging panel including Dotcom and party leader Laila Harre, and their knowledge of the party's policies.
Before the first candidate took to the stage at Q Theatre, Dotcom told the small crowd in attendance: ''When you look at the discussion out there, they are asking, 'Is this Internet Party far too left now, or are they supporting the right?'.
''For me it is not about the left or the right. It is about what is right or wrong. And the Internet Party is about fixing things.''
The controversial German said the party would ''fix'' the problems it saw in the New Zealand political system with innovative and ground-breaking ideas.
''Yes, we are disruptive,'' Dotcom added. ''Yes, we are strategic ... but that is New Zealand needs.
''Otherwise we will not get this establishment out of their established position.''
He said despite ''criticism'' aimed at the party which he has founded and is bankrolling, he believed support for it was ever-increasing.
''And even though we are under attack, and sometimes very aggressive from the right-wing, you can see ... how people are enjoying what we are doing, how they are supporting us and how our support keeps growing,'' he said.
Dotcom described the candidates - which include 40-year-old chart-topper King Kapisi (real name Bill Urale) - as ''talented, gifted people''.
''We started with I think 180 that applied and now we are down to 22 ... where we will find the final 15,'' he said.
That final 15 is set to be confirmed next week.
Empty seats out-numbered those taken by Internet Party supporters who had gathered to hear the thoughts of the 22 contenders.
The selection contest was also being live-streamed on the internet.
Not everyone gathered near the Q Theatre was a fan of Dotcom or the Internet Party.
Parked right outside the venue was a vehicle with the words: ''Kim Dot Con'' and ''Gut Times'', a play on the title of his ''Good Times'' album, painted on both sides. The vehicle also featured an uncomplimentary painting of Dotcom on both front-doors.
In the carpark at the back of the Q Theatre, Kim Dotcom's black Mercedes four-wheel drive also appeared to be the target of some unwanted attention.
Its windscreen was covered in the remains of a coffee which had been poured over it, with an empty cardboard coffee cup resting on its bonnet.