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May 18, 2014 | by  | in Features Homepage |
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Kim Dotcodotnz

Salient editors Cam and Duncan chatted to Kim Dotcom about politics, Megaupload and his future business plans.

Why have you decided to enter politics now?
New Zealand is a beautiful country, one of the most desirable places in the world to live. If we want, we can attract and retain the best talent and businesses in the world. I’m frustrated that the Government isn’t able to see how the internet can make New Zealand a world leader. We can have the best economy, jobs and wages in the world.

Worse, the Government has turned the internet into a surveillance machine, undermining its security and invading everyone’s privacy. No wonder young people either don’t think it’s worth voting or want anything to do with government.

This is what motivated me to set up the Internet Party. Not for myself but for people who want to make the future happen now. It’s about action, not fancy words.

Does the fact that you have entered politics have anything to do with the attempted extradition claim brought against you by the US government?
Not at all. I was quite disappointed by suggestions that the Government should intervene in blocking any extradition. It’s not something I’ve sought or expected. I have faith that the New Zealand judicial system will see these charges for what they are – completely baseless.

Why should a student vote for the Internet Party?
We’re providing an answer to a scarily large number of people who have simply given up on politics because the system’s out of touch and they feel they’re not being represented. People who see government as something that works against them, not for them. They’ve either not voted before, been disappointed by voting previously, or don’t feel existing parties offer them anything.

Most politicians talk ‘at’ young people, not ‘with’ them. It’s like the country’s being run by your parents and you’ve been locked out from having a say. We’ll change that by talking with students and young New Zealanders about things that matter to them and in ways that work for them. The Internet Party is all about youth and how we can take New Zealand into the future with young and fresh ideas.

And we consider education to be a top priority. The Student Loan system we have in New Zealand is fatally flawed. Once you are done studying, you are indebted for a very long time with a very large amount. Students are essentially starting out in life with a mortgage hanging over them. Students in New Zealand should receive their education – high-quality education – for free. Students entering the workforce will contribute for the rest of their working lives, so education is an investment in the future of the country. Today’s students create tomorrow’s opportunities, and the Government must support and encourage that.

How would you manage to compromise your views on x with the Mana Party’s views on y?
There is a view in some quarters that the Internet Party and Mana are poles apart. That’s simply not the case. In particular, we’re committed to social fairness, just like Mana. Sure, there are some areas where we may approach things differently or have different views but it’s like any relationship, there’s always give and take. We’re open to ideas and views that will lead to a stronger democracy and a better New Zealand for all Kiwis.

How did you come up with the idea for Megaupload?
I was frustrated by not being able to send large attachments with my emails. It seemed to be such an obvious need, something that many other people were also facing. So I came up with a solution and, from those simple beginnings, Megaupload quickly grew to be a cloud storage company.

Any other business plans?
I’m an entrepreneur and can’t help coming up with new ideas all the time. Besides our new cloud storage service Mega, I’m working on my online music site Baboom. Mega itself will expand from cloud storage to be a secure-communications company. One idea I’m working on that could be really big is Mega Net which is like a new internet.

Tips for someone wanting to create a startup?
Think global from day one. Aim for step-change – don’t do things ten per cent better but 200 per cent better. Revenue and profit will come, but focus on getting customers to love your product or service.

What do you think about intellectual-property laws?
I’m a musician myself and totally get the need for intellectual-property laws. But these laws were written for a pre-internet age. They are now used to extract unfair and excessive rents. So we need to rewrite them, make them work better for everyone. It’s like using a horse whip on cars when cars were first invented and called horseless carriages. It doesn’t work. We have to change our thinking.

What do you think of John Key?
I try to not think about him at all!

 

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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