10 Oct 2012

PM brushes off Dotcom claim

3:35 pm on 10 October 2012

The Prime Minister is brushing off claims by New Zealand First that he must have known of internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom before January this year.

In a response to a written parliamentary question from New Zealand First, John Key says in July 2011 one of his staff was advised by another minister's office that it was declining an application by Mr Dotcom to the Overseas Investment Office to buy a mansion in Coatesville near Auckland.

Mr Key says the information was never passed on to him because it was routine.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the explanation doesn't wash and the case is now screaming out for an independent inquiry.

But Mr Key says other ministers pass on messages to his staff several times a day.

"The reality is, that particular minister had sole responsibility to make the decision about whether Mr Dotcom had the capacity to buy his house or not and I can't get involved once that decision is made, so why would my deputy chief of staff pass it on.

"It's just a heads-up to my office. I mean, the guy wasn't high-profile at the time, despite what everybody else says."

John Key had repeatedly said the first he had heard of Kim Dotcom was in January this year, the day before police raided the mansion.

Mr Dotcom, the co-founder of the internet file-sharing site Megaupload, is fighting allegations in the United States that he and the company encouraged global copyright theft. Court cases are also proceeding in New Zealand.

More revelations to come - Labour

The Labour Party is predicting more revelations are still to emerge about the Government's handling of the Dotcom case.

Labour leader David Shearer believes there is yet more to come about the role of the Security Intelligence Service.

Mr Shearer is also renewing his calls for an independent inquiry.