The Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, has defended his plans to meet with studio bosses in LA, after criticism from MegaUpload supporters that the move indicated the country’s government was becoming too close to Hollywood, which has been lobbying hard for four Mega execs to be extradited from New Zealand to the US to face copyright infringement charges.
Speaking to radio station Newstalk ZB, Key said that claims his planned meetings in Hollywood were linked to the raid in New Zealand on the home of MegaUpload founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz earlier this year were “nonsense”, and part of an elaborate conspiracy theory about the relationship between US and New Zealand authorities and American movie industry trade group the MPAA.
Key says he is meeting with US film studio bosses to try and persuade them to film more of their movies in his country, capitalising on the success of the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ movies filmed there. He told Newstalk ZB: “While we’re doing very well with Warner Brothers, it’s quite possible we could do it a lot better, or as well, with many other movie studios like Fox and Universal and Disney and the like, so I’m certainly keen to go and promote New Zealand as a place to make movies”.
He added: “Either Kim Dotcom has broken the law in the United States and he’ll face trial, or he hasn’t. But that’s got nothing to do with whether New Zealand is a good place to make movies or not”.
Key was pulled into the MegaUpload story last week when he admitted that New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau “acted unlawfully” in gathering communications between associates of the file-transfer company before the raid on Dotcom’s home back in January, part of an action in the US to shut the digital firm down. Key has ordered an investigation into the actions of the GCSB.
Dotcom, safe in the knowledge the world actually revolves around him, wasn’t convinced by Key’s claims that his visit to LA was in no way linked to the MegaUpload extradition case, tweeting: “Prime Minister meets studio bosses in Hollywood about doing business in NZ. Getting paid for the raid”.