Sure enough, this isn’t over for John Banks. He has now been caught out in a direct lie told while he was a minister. On April 27, when asked about Mr Dotcom’s donations, Mr Banks told the Herald: “I kept the finances of the campaign [at] arm’s length. Others were involved in collecting money and talking to people.” But the Police investigation shows that’s a lie.
“the Police investigation established that on 24 May 2010 Mayor John Banks met with the CEO of Sky City. At that meeting, Mayor Banks received a sealed envelope containing a $15,000 cheque.
“Police have established that in September 2010 John Banks personally solicited a request for help from a Donor who prefers to remain anonymous for the purpose of this correspondence. As a result of a discussion between the two it as agreed that the Donor would help with a donation of radio advertising for the campaign.
“Police have established that on 9 June 2010 John Banks personally solicited a donation from Kim Dotcom. This request resulted in Kim Dotcom paying two $25,000 donations to the account of Team Banksie 2010.
Banks told the New Zealand public that he wasn’t involved in the campaign finances, that he didn’t collect money or solicit it. The Police say he certainly did.
Green co-leader Metiria Turei said “it appears Mr Banks told a lie while he was a minister in John Key’s Government … he did not tell the truth about his involvement in soliciting donations for his campaign”.
In response to questions from her and other Opposition MPs, Mr Key “assured the House he believed the statements that John Banks had made and that was the reason he kept him on as minister despite the allegations and police inquiry”, Ms Turei said.
“John Key now needs to review that decision.”
Banks has behaved unethically while a minister by lying to the public.
If what Key told the House is correct – that Banks told him he had no involvement in soliciting donations, then Banks also lied to him.
Banks has to go.
I have no doubt that Key will take every effort to avoid acting. He has shown that he is now unwilling to hold his ministers to any ethical standards.