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Peters admits Dotcom meetings

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 14:04 13/02/2014
NZ First leader Winston Peters.
Fairfax NZ
WINSTON PETERS: NZ First leader.
 Kim Dotcom speaking at an Intelligence and Security Committee hearing at Bowen House on July 3, 2013.
Fairfax NZ
KIM DOTCOM: "Winston Peters didn't answer questions about his visit because we agreed on confidence. I released him from this confidence now."
Russel Norman
LAWRENCE SMITH/ Fairfax
RUSSEL NORMAN: Said he had met Dotcom on three occasions - once at a town hall meeting, very briefly, and twice when he visited him at his home.

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NZ First leader Winston Peters has confirmed he met three times with internet tycoon Kim Dotcom.

Peters had earlier vehemently refused to say whether or not he had visited Dotcom, who faces extradition to the US on copyright charges, citing privacy.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday said the pair had met three times and called on Peters to come clean, though he refused to reveal how he knew.

Dotcom confirmed the visit on his Twitter account today.

Peters then revealed the three meetings had taken place over the past two years at Dotcom's initiation, but said Dotcom had asked to keep the meetings confidential.

"The meetings were confidential and I agreed to keep them as such.

"In many years of politics I have never broken a confidentiality agreement and do not intend to start doing so, despite the squawking of beltway reporters in Parliament."

On the first visit they had discussed Dotcom's immigration to New Zealand, which Peters was an outspoken critic of, and then met twice to discuss the GCSB case, Peters said.

Nothing was asked for and nothing was offered and no taxpayer money was used, he said.

Peters said Dotcom had agreed to lift the confidentiality agreement "as it is a matter of deep concern that my movements were apparently being tracked".

He questioned how Key knew of his whereabouts.

"Does this mean that some New Zealand politicians are now under surveillance? Exactly when did the Prime Minister authorise someone to keep tabs on me?

"New Zealanders should be outraged that a former Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Opposition party leader has apparently been spied on."

Earlier today, Dotcom confirmed the meetings via a post on his Twitter account.

"Winston Peters didn't answer questions about his visit because we agreed on confidence. I released him from this confidence now," he said.

He had also questioned how Key knew about Peters' visits.

"Ask John Key how he knew about Winston Peters visiting the mansion 3 times. Only 4 people knew about it & probably Ian Fletcher at the GCSB," he wrote this morning.

Peters had earlier repeatedly refused to confirm whether he had visited Dotcom's mansion.

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"I'm not at all concerned about you asking questions on behalf of Mr Key . . . My private business is my private business."

Key today refused to say how he knew of Peters' visits but said it was not through official security channels.

"I can absolutely categorically tell you it's got nothing to do with an official agency. From time to time people see things and from time to time people tell me."

The person who told him was not aligned with the National party or any government agency.

"...I was pretty sure they'd be right because they often are and guess what, they were".

He said he did not know what Peters and Dotcom discussed but said the New Zealand public was entitled to know.

- The Dominion Post

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