Imagine there’s a wealthy man who had been convicted of crimes in another country, is awaiting extradition to face charges on other matters.
Imagine that he’s also facing serious allegations about paying staff far less than the minimum wage and owes considerable sums to creditors.
Imagine that to amuse himself, keep himself in the headlines, avenge himself of real or imagined slights and/or possibly get enough political clout to prevent the extradition, he decides to set up a political party.
Imagine that this man is going to get an MP from a small right or centre-right party to defect to his party.
Imagine the uproar from the left and the coverage in the media.
Would it be as mild and if not supportive, at least as unquestioning as this story that says Dotcom claims first MP?
Internet mogul Kim Dotcom claims he has signed up one sitting MP to join his new party before the election and is talking to three more – a poaching raid unprecedented in New Zealand politics. . . .
He refuses to disclose the identity of the MP, saying it will be revealed once the Internet Party is registered and has chosen all its candidates, probably in June.
His revelation came in an exclusive interview with the Herald on Sunday yesterday.
Dotcom said he was also in talks with Mana Party leader Hone Harawira to unite their two parties under one umbrella, enabling the Internet Party to ride into Parliament on the coat-tails of the Te Tai Tokerau electorate MP.
The two leaders and their party bosses, Vikram Kumar and Gerard Hehir, met on February 28 at a house on Auckland’s North Shore.
The Mana Party executive will this week consider a merger proposal. Mana would bring one or two electorates, the Internet Party would bring a more broadly-based party vote and $1 million-plus in campaign funding. . .
The reporter might think that enough has been said about Dotcom’s history but surely, when the Supreme Court has just dismissed his claim to see all the evidence the US has against him, it ought to be part of the story.
. . . “The Mana Party is one of several parties we are talking to, to form an alliance,” Dotcom revealed.
“We are also talking to a number of MPs that have won electorates and are likely to win electorates again. Our goal is to put together a good alliance to make sure this agenda we have gets into Parliament.
“I can tell you right now that we will certainly have one MP with an electorate in the Internet Party.” . . .
It’s difficult to believe a National MP, with the odds favouring a return not just to parliament but probably government, would be mad enough to have anything to do with this man and his party.
Someone in Labour, doing the maths and thinking that s/he’s facing at best another three years in opposition if not losing a seat altogether might be desperate, or stupid, enough to contemplate changing wakas.
But anyone with a passing knowledge of history would know that there are far more MPs who’ve done that and disappeared than the very few who’ve kept their seats.
The accompanying editorial does mention the extradition, gagging order against his former body guard and creditors.
But it too avoids any mention of buying elections or crony capitalism and attempted corruption that would almost certainly be part of a story were the would-be puppet master be attempting to pull the strings of MPs in the centre or right.