The judge in the internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom's extradition case has removed himself from hearing the case.
Judge David Harvey's decision comes after he described the United States as the enemy while talking about copyright law at an internet conference.
District Courts' chief judge Jan-Marie Doogue confirmed Judge Harvey had made the decision to step down from hearing the case.
Mr Dotcom, the founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload, is fighting extradition to the United States, where he's wanted on internet piracy charges.
The case, due to be heard in March, will now be heard by Judge Nevin Dawson.
Mr Dotcom's lawyer, Ira Rothken, says Judge Harvey is an expert in internet law and it's disappointing he won't be hearing the case.
Mr Rothken says the judge is obviously a man of integrity, but his action seems disproportionate given the context in which the comments were made and the fact they were obviously not meant to be taken literally.
Mr Rothken says they appear to be tongue in cheek.