"--IANS/EFE"
Sydney, May 29 (IANS/EFE) Former New Zealand minister Laila Harré was presented Thursday as leader of the Internet Party, founded by millionaire Kim Dotcom.

Harré will lead the party in the elections Nov 20, as Dotcom, a German citizen born as Kim Schmitz and who presides over the party, cannot be a candidate in the elections due to his foreign nationality.

During the party's presentation in Auckland, Harré said the formation will fight for the state's welfare, right to free university education, freedom of expression and protection of the environment.

Laila Harré, who was a minister between 1999 and 2002 in a centre-leftist government and later worked in the UN, said internet freedom is the free speech issue of this age.

The Internet Party manifesto argues for New Zealanders having greater, faster and cheaper access to the web; creating high technology jobs, privacy protection and defence of the country's independence.

The German businessman has publicly expressed his opposition to the New Zealand government, specially after disclosure that an intelligence agency illegally spied on him.

Internet entrepreneur and hacker Kim Dotcom is on parole and awaiting his extradition trial to the US for alleged internet piracy and fraud in New Zealand.

Dotcom was arrested Jan 20, 2012 in his Auckland mansion during a police operation on a petition by the US, which accused him of orchestrating the largest online global internet piracy through his now closed portal Megaupload.

The US officially requested his extradition in March 2012, but New Zealand courts have been postponing the case hearings, which now is fixed for July 7 this year.

Elections in the south Pacific island nation are held every three years and electoral norms say that the party which receives at least 61 out of 120 seats of the single-chamber parliament will have the right to form the government and appoint the prime minister.

--IANS/EFE

ab/dg


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