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NZ had rules to avoid Kim Dotcom mess

Fri, 28th Sep 2012
FYI, this story is more than a year old

If you lie with dogs, you will get fleas.

That's something John Key's government is discovering as it must surely be questioning the wisdom of waiving the ‘good character' test in allowing an individual with Kim Dotcom's colourful history to receive permanent residence in New Zealand.

Unlike the plebian immigrant (a category into which this humble scribe fits squarely if uncomfortably), those with wads of cash are afforded special dispensation.

A closer look into how and where those wads of cash were made may have been instructive. Having followed the Kim Dotcom story since 2001, when he was known as Kim Schmitz (or by his ‘h@x0r' handle Kimble), to the present, it is indeed colourful. Very.

Never one to shy away from the public eye, and always one into the good life, back in the day Kimble would participate with gusto in such quasi-legal peacockery as the Gumball 3000. Fast cars, fast women, that sort of thing. Oh yes, and fast money – not all of us have forgotten the Kimvestor Ponzi scheme. Or the fraud and insider trading issues.

And when Al Qaeda decided to fly a couple jets into the World Trade Centre, Kimble was there – sort of. He initiated a (supposed) anti-terrorist ‘h@x0r' group called YIHAT: Young Intelligent Hackers Against Terrorism (and offered a reward of US$10-million for Osama's capture). Exactly what this ‘group' achieved, beyond headlines for Kimble, remains unknown.

Of course, thereafter followed a bizarre name change to ‘Kim Tim Jim Vestor', a few convictions here and there as Dotcom found his feet…and enough capital, by fair means or foul, to put an undoubtedly brilliant idea into practice (Megaupload).

Kim Dotcom is, it must be said, a marketing genius – he has always known how to get people talking about him, he knows how to turn that fame (or infamy) into bank along with his undeniable business nous.

Now, regardless of the merits of his case (which by all accounts seems to be one way traffic in wily Kim's favour), Key's government is coming off looking rather…well, not too good.

When the nation's top man has to spend his time commenting on the case of an individual who perhaps shouldn't have been permitted residence in the country in the first place (or at least not in terms of the rules as they apply to everyone else) one does tend to think following those rules may just have been a good idea.

Indeed, one is tempted to consider that perhaps this is why the good character test is in place in the first instance. Could help avoid these sorts of embarrassing shenanigans altogether.

And as the case plays out, it is increasingly apparent that the government is bending quite a few rules – all of them around the Dotcom case. It's just not a good look. Not a good look at all (just ask John Banks).

Check out Immigration New Zealand's Good Character Test requirements here. And yes, though this writer doesn't have a $10-million investment in the country, he did pass them.

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