28 Mar 2014

Dotcom party 'reaches 500 members'

9:03 am on 28 March 2014

The Internet Party hit the target of 500 members required to be formally registered within hours of its launch, its chief executive says.

Kim Dotcom formally launched his political party on Thursday at his Coatesville mansion near Auckland and introduced a smartphone app to sign up members.

Chief executive Vikram Kumar told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Friday the target of members was reached about seven hours after the launch and it would now formally register and start campaigning within about two months.

Kim Dotcom.

Kim Dotcom. Photo: AFP

Mr Dotcom has ruled out a post-election deal with National but despite the declaration Mana leader Hone Harawira says any formal talks with the Internet Party are still weeks away.

The pair met last month to talk about a possible alliance between the parties.

In the past few days stories appeared about Mr Dotcom being in possession of Nazi memorabilia, which has dismissed as a politically motivated smear campaign.

"With this current disgusting smear campaign that is designed to derail the Internet Party I have to say I can now categorically exclude National from any kind of discussions that would have in the future with parties that we want to work with," he said.

Hone Harawira

Hone Harawira Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

Mr Harawira said that was a key bottom line for Mana, but any formal agreement was still some way away. "I think the Internet Party has got a few weeks in which they've got to settle their own membership, candidates, their own leaders and policies. They've got a lot of things they have to do before we'd even contemplate going there."

One senior member of Mana said the possible association with the Internet Party has already damaged the party's brand. Sue Bradford said she would quit the party if there was formal alliance and Mr Dotcom's declaration about National makes no difference.

"I want to be in an organisation that knows what it stands for and as far as I'm concerned I don't want to be in an organisation that's supporting some of the very rich and powerful people who may have legal issues."

National's campaign committee chairman, senior minister Steven Joyce, questions the motives behind the establishment of the party. "The challenge for him really is what is he doing it for beyond seeking publicity to try and overturn his extradition to the US. Beyond that, what's it about? "

Kim Dotcom has previously indicated that if was clear by the time ballot papers were due to be printed that the party would not reach the 5 percent threshold, the Internet Party would pull out of the election.

But he said he was now confident the party would have a electorate seat to focus on, as an alternative to having to reach the 5 percent threshold, and if that was the case the party would not be withdrawing from the race.