Dotcom 'utterly wrong' - Key

Last updated 08:31 04/07/2013

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Prime Minister John Key is rubbishing claims by Kim Dotcom he "lied" to New Zealand over what he knew about the internet entrepreneur before a raid on his Coatesville home.

Dotcom made the claim after giving evidence yesterday to a high powered select committee chaired by Key, that is considering legislation revamping the powers of foreign spy agency the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), but offered no evidence.

He said he could prove Key was not telling the truth about having never heard of Dotcom until the day before police raided his home on US-instigated copyright charges.

The German millionaire is fighting extradition proceedings over the charges and said proof of his claims about Key would emerge during those proceedings.

The courts have have found a string of legal abuses in his treatment so far and the Government has confirmed the GCSB spied on him illegally.

Key yesterday labelled Dotcom a conspiracy-theorist and said he was "completely and utterly wrong".

It was not the first time he had made the claim and he had never produced any proof.

"'He's said that on numerous occasions," Key said.

"He's never ever found a shred of evidence to support that. He is a well known conspiracy-theorist and he's utterly wrong."

Dotcom was among number of submitters opposing the legislation which the Government says is required to restore the status quo after doubts were raised about the legality of the GCSB spying on New Zealanders.

The Government says the GCSB has always believed it was able to do so when acting under a warrant from agencies including the police, Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Defence Force.

Labour leader David Shearer, who is seeking an inquiry, yesterday called for the agencies seeking changes to the legislation to give evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee.

The police, SIS, Defence Force and the GCSB all say the law change is necessary but none have made a submission.

Shearer said it left a big hole in the committee's knowledge.

"One of the main reasons we are putting this bill is the GCSB will be able to assist and support these other agencies," he said.

"What I'd like to know is what sort of support, what sort of assistance are these agencies asking for? Why did they need it, how big is their need?

"Those questions haven't really been addressed."

He has written to Key asking that the agencies appear before the committee.

Dotcom, meanwhile, confirmed he was contemplating a move into politics.

"How exactly, I haven't decided yet," he said.

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He later ruled out becoming an MP.

Accompanied by his business associate Bram van der Kolk, Dotcom said he was "shocked" at the plan to give the GCSB more powers.

He urged New Zealanders to oppose "blindly following the United States into the dark ages of surveillance abuse" and to follow the independent path it took over the anti-nuclear legislation.

His treatment over the past 18 months represented an "extreme" example of what could happen when government and intelligence agencies misused or misunderstood their powers.

The bill appeared to give the GCSB virtually unlimited power to spy on people at the whim of the prime minister and then to share that information with anyone, including foreign entities.

"Oversight of that power is limited or non-existent," Dotcom said.

He echoed Opposition calls for an inquiry.

"The extreme general expansion of the GCSB's's powers is not justified," he said.

"Spying on New Zealanders is unwarranted without adequate safeguards, which the bill does not provide.

"The ability of the GCSB to share New Zealanders' private information with anyone the prime minster decides, in New Zealand or overseas, is far too wide."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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