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I did not have relations with that police report!

Written By: - Date published: 7:24 am, September 21st, 2012 - 51 comments
Categories: accountability, john banks, john key - Tags: ,

I’m puzzled by the timeline on the Banks scandal.

The police report is dated 03 July 2012 (end of the Executive Summary, page 10 of the pdf). Details were available to the media on 26 July. On 31 July there was an interesting exchange in Parliament:

David Shearer: What details of the report of the police investigation into John Banks led him to comment “I think he did exactly what he’d always said, which was comply with the law.”?

Rt Hon John Key: That is my reading of the police report.

The (redacted) full report was released under OIA on 13 September. And ever since Key has been saying:

I haven’t read that police report and I’m not going to …

I’m sure that you can see why I’m puzzled. I think it’s fair to ask Key exactly what he meant when he said on 31 July – “That is my reading of the police report”. Any journalist like to put the question?…

51 comments on “I did not have relations with that police report!”

  1. Bill 1

    Well, what’s your reading of it? And have you read it?

  2. Kotahi Tāne Huna 2

    He’s either lying or negligent.

    If he’s read it he’s lying and if he hasn’t he’s negligent.

    • Actually it could be said with some force that he is lying either way.  Saying you read the report and then saying that you did not read the report tends to suggest that one of your statements is actually a lie.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 2.1.1

        Yeah, but he has semantic wriggle room – “my reading” can also mean “my understanding”. Weak, I know, but when did he ever have solid grounds?

        Personally I think lying would be better than negligent – if he’s lying it shows he’s still making some sort of an effort.

        • Kevin Welsh 2.1.1.1

          Even if it was ‘my understanding’, wouldn’t that also mean that a) he has still read it, or: b) has had it read to him?

          To have an understanding of a report means you have knowledge of the contents.

    • thatguynz 2.2

      You need to remember that Key is very clever with the words he uses.  “I have not read the Police report” could by definition be factual.  It doesn’t however mean that his Chief of Staff or anyone else in the PM’s office hasn’t read it and either told him or provided him with an executive summary of what is in it.
       
      A more appropriate question may be something akin to “Has the PM been made aware of the contents of the Police report or has he taken counsel from anybody (in an official capacity or not) about the details of said report.”
       
      Just a thought…

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        It doesn’t however mean that his Chief of Staff or anyone else in the PM’s office hasn’t read it and either told him or provided him with an executive summary of what is in it.

        Crosby Textor read it and then advised John Key on what to say and which lines to repeat ad nausium. Specifically, the line that the police didn’t find enough evidence which only applies to one charge.

      • Logie97 2.2.2

        thatguynz

        Just an aside but, sorry, one thing Mr Key is not … clever with words. He ackshully finds them very difficult to say.

        • thatguynz 2.2.2.1

          Well yes, his enunciation is poor but my point was that he understands how to “spin” and as I stated, he is particularly adept at it.  He is of course aided and abetted by both the MSM and the opposition being particularly poor at pulling him up on it.

    • Dr Terry 2.3

      Key’s problem appears to be that he is lying to himself without knowing it!

  3. BLiP 3

    .

    Good catch!

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Key read the original full report in July, but he didn’t read the more recent redacted report.

    The PM is telling the absolute truth when, after the release of the public version, he says that he hasn’t read “that report”.

    You guys have to stop maligning him as a liar. Lol.

  5. Maui 5

    Well .. either he did or he did not. Can it be simpler ?

    Life is short. Enjoy it while you can.

  6. captain hook 6

    any journalist care to ask the question?
    quick…send out messengers all over the land looking for a real journalist.
    somehow the ones we have now have turned into craven dicky lickers scared of their own shadows..

    • gobsmacked 6.1

      Are you John Key?

      Do you say “there is no real journalism, because I refuse to read it”?

      This very thread has a link to Toby Manhire (in the Herald, oh dear) proving you wrong – categorically, comprehensively. I challenge you to find one single example of a Labour MP doing a better job. Go on.

  7. ianmac 7

    ” I did not read the Police Report on John Banks.” (But I read a photocopy of it.)

  8. Blue 8

    Key would likely have been one of the first to get his hot little hands on that police report. And someone had to read it to mine for anything that could possibly be used to defend Banks.

    The only reason Key wouldn’t have read it himself was if National decided he might need just this defence, and so had a lackey read it and tell the PM what was in it.

    Nice to know what they really think of their dear coalition partner.

  9. Treetop 9

    Key is going to extraordinary measures to not make himself aware of Banks allegedly misleading parliament regarding Banks association with Dotcom.

    The Public know that Banks dumped Dotcom like a hot potato when Dotcom was arrested, (Towers statement backs this up). Banks probably banked on Dotcom not saying anything and down the track Banks probably thought he could/would do a favour for Dotcom. Dotcom’s error is taking Banks at his word. The public know what Banks word means…

    • aerobubble 9.1

      Dotcom lives in whose constituency? Banks ran for the first Super Mayor position
      when which PM decided to super size Auckland, and did not consider updating the
      electoral act for the trillion dollar organization. Who over saw the Auckland super City?
      which party was he from, which party did Banks run for in the general election?
      Key does not need Banks, he could hatch together a alliance with NZF or with Greens,
      unless you are of the belief that the National party is ideological hamstrung.
      So why is Key missing the opportunity to go to an election, with the olive branch
      to NZF and Greens. We all know that peak oil is changing the global and local
      economic imperatives and its willfully incompetent of Key not to seize on the opportunity
      to make Banks a scapegoat for a realignment of the right.

      Apart from Key’s amazing ability to look like a prat, sound like a prat, and so
      leave comfortably off NZ sedated, he’s never shown any Clarkian virility.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    Here is my take on this as a right-winger. I am sure it will invite some comment.

    Firstly, I think that Banks looks dodgy on this, and I am sure the PM knows more than he is publicly saying. So, I think the left have a point.

    On the other hand, though, no evidence will ever be tested against Banks in court, so we don’t know for sure that he would be found guilty of any substantive charge. Secondly, we don’t know what he disclosed to Key about it in private. Key may have had full disclosure about the whole scenario, and may be comfortable with that for all we know.

    Secondly, though, I see this as similar to the furore over the tea-tapes, prior to the election. That situation created a media frenzy prior to the last election. In the end, Labour was trying to shut it down because it was a distraction from their main message. I think the same will happen here. Unless the left can come up with something that requires the police to reopen the case, I think Key will stonewall this to the next election, in the full knowledge that it is a distraction from more weighty issues, so can only do him good in the bigger picture.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      On the other hand, though, no evidence will ever be tested against Banks in court, so we don’t know for sure that he would be found guilty of any substantive charge.

      The looking dodgy bit is all that’s needed to kick Banks out of a ministerial position. In fact, the rules are that looking dodgy gets a minister fired.

      I think Key will stonewall this to the next election, in the full knowledge that it is a distraction from more weighty issues, so can only do him good in the bigger picture.

      Showing up the corruption in our highest office.

    • mike 10.3

      Fair comment ts.

      Firstly I agree with DTB though, that he should be sacked for looking dodgy. National keeps harping on that the police are independent from the government, (though they snapped to attention and raided newsrooms over the teapot tapes pretty quick), but then use the ‘police found insufficient evidence’ (*ahem* on 1 of the 2 charges) line to justify not sacking Banks. The police might not be able to charge him, but Key is free to make his own decision on whether to sack him.

      The cabinet manual says that ministers must obey the law and be perceived to be obeying the law. Right now the public perception on Banks’ is shot. Key shifts the goalposts by ignoring the cabinet manual and just makes up his own ‘tests’ as he goes along.

      Key: “The test is whether he broke the law. The police found insufficient evidence.”

      Robertson: “Are you saying the test is whether ministers get away with it?”

      Key: “The test is whether he has my confidence.”

      (I’m paraphrasing from Wednesday’s, I think, question time.)

      On your second point I think the left does need to be wary of this descending into a distraction. For now though I think the left should go for broke and keep calling for his head. Key and Banks are still accumulating stink over this. Key looks silly every time he says we won’t read a police report on his own minister (ffs he has a duty to the public to do so), and Banks looks silly every time he says “I didn’t break the law.” (the police report says he did, let’s imagine who would win that debate in a court of law,) or “I signed it but I got someone else to read it for me so I’m not responsible,” (that defense doesn’t work for the rest of us living in the real world so why should it work for him?)

      Largely it depends on whether the MSM also smells blood and embraces the hunt. They simply need to keep pointing out the absurdity of Key’s position night after night and it won’t take too long before even Key realizes that he must cut the rope and let Banks plummet to his death, or be dragged down with him. The opposition could still do a much better job of latching on to the many holes in Key’s argument. If they do then the media might climb on board.

      However if the media decides that the public is bored with it and a few more 3 second soundbites is all they are going to go with before taking Banks’ advice to “Move on”, and the opposition can’t get their attack together, then it is possible that it could just become a distraction. But at the moment Key has to keep on coming up with desperate, weak lines to defend his man, that at least is worth continuing with. Getting Banks sacked is still very much on if Labour and the Greens can get their act together.

      • tsmithfield 10.3.1

        Not so sure there is grounds for Banks to be sacked as a minister. As I understand it, none of this stuff happened while he was a minister. If it had, that would be a different matter. If Banks has lied to Key, then that also would probably force Key’s hand. However, if Banks has disclosed the matter fully to Key in private, and they have agreed on a public stance on the matter, then Banks is still probably entitled to have Key’s confidence.

        I think anyone with half a brain knows what is happening here. Key needs Banks to stay in power, and so he is giving a reasonable amount of latitude. It would be naive to say that the left wouldn’t be doing exactly the same in the same circumstances. In fact, I can think of several instances before the previous election where Labour hung tough in situations that, as it played out, were much more dodgy than what appears to be the case here.

        I think this is a danger for the left. People aren’t stupid, and know how politics works. They know that Labour would do exactly the same, and that Labour are now trying to milk this for political purposes. Every sound/video byte taken up with this detracts from some more meatier things that Labour could be climbing into that actually have an effect on people’s lives. The public perception might well be that Labour is confirming their view of them being irrelevant.

        • BernyD 10.3.1.1

          It’s done and dusted bud, off the record is off the record, move on.
          Everything there is to be said about character has been said.
          Least we forget.

        • McFlock 10.3.1.2

           In fact, I can think of several instances before the previous election where Labour hung tough in situations that, as it played out, were much more dodgy than what appears to be the case here. 

           
          In the words of Mr/s Garrison: “present them”. 
             
          I.e. a situation where a Labour-led minister apparently was saved from a court date and conviction purely by virtue of a farcically tight statute of limitation for a crime that cuts at the core of our open and fair democratic election principles (or something similarly hypocritical for a minister). And still kept their job and the confidence of the PM, no sanction or anything.
                
          “Several instances” my arse. 

          • tsmithfield 10.3.1.2.1

            I didn’t say that the previous instances had to be the same. Only that they could be seen as more dodgy. I did say that voters might perceive that Labour would likely behave the same way in the same circumstances with the tense pointing forward. So, there was a slight nuance in my statement.

            Without wanting to get too involved with regurgitating the past, since you ask, Taito Field and Winston Peters spring to mind. I won’t make any judgement about the behaviour of Labour on these issues. I would only say that public perception might be that Labour is just as likely to hang tough in the face of umm…questionable behaviour by its members as is National. Remember, in these cases the issues arose while the members were in government, which arguably makes them more serious. So, don’t be too surprised if voters look at Labour a bit sideways about the fuss they are making at the moment.

            • McFlock 10.3.1.2.1.1

              As I recall Field was stood down from ministerial posts and then expelled, in marked contrast to Key’s treatment of Banks.
                  
              Peters stood down from his ministerial baubles while the SFO investigation took place. In contrast to Banks’ complete absence of shame or dignity. 
                 
              So, in one instance a minister was pushed, in another the minister had the decency to jump before forcing the PM to push. Not exactly “hanging tough”, or (as Key and Banks are playing it) abandonding all pretence at ethical standards and integrity.
                       
              The “labour did/would have done it, too” card is inapplicable in the instances that “sprung” to your mind.  

        • mike 10.3.1.3

          Whatever Labour did in the past or might do in the future is irrelevant – two wrongs don’t make a right. If you let one side cheat because the other side are cheaters then you’re basically saying you are ok with cheating.

          He is perceived as a law breaker who got away with it. You might well be able to argue in a legal sense that the cabinet manual standard doesn’t apply here because he wasn’t a minister when he broke the law, but the whole point of the perception part being there so that the public have trust and confidence in ministers. Banks has, as a minister, lied to the public about this, and that is the public perception. How can the public trust him? Trying to hide behind a technicality here just doesn’t cut it. (Although, to use a Key-ism, I accept that others might have a different view on that.)

          If you want to argue that it’s ‘just politics’ because Key needs Banks then what are you saying? That corruption is ‘just part of the game’? Ethical standards are just something enforced when it’s not inconvenient? It’s how you act when it is inconvenient that is the test of character. Key has failed. Are you ok with having an openly slimy PM? If he has shelved his ‘higher ethical standards’ here, then then what other shonkey things has he covered up that we (including you) don’t know about?

          Many people think that corruption is the no.1 problem in the world today. How can we trust a PM who is not only ok with it, but refuses to act when Banks is caught with his pants down for all to see? It doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t matter what the political position is, will you really accept dodgy bending of the rules around politicians taking money? The term ‘slippery slope’ comes to mind, where is the line?

          • tsmithfield 10.3.1.3.1

            I’m not talking about the ethics of the situation, but rather how I believe it is perceived by the public. IF the public have a view that any political party would do the same in similar circumstances THEN they probably won’t be too bothered about what is going on now. IF they have this perception THEN they will probably believe that the left is behaving in a politically motivated and hypocritical way, and should be focusing on issues that matter.

            Notice, I am not trying to argue that what is happening is ethically right, or that the public would be justified in such a perception. However, if it is about public perception, and I expect Key has a good handle on that, then it might explain his current stance.

            • lprent 10.3.1.3.1.1

              However, if it is about public perception, and I expect Key has a good handle on that, then it might explain his current stance.

              I suspect that if that is the case then he is going to be surprised. It just re-relegated him well down below used car salesman amongst a few of my centre friends who I’ve been laughing at over the last week. The last few Key hopefuls who voted for National because of him.

              The problem for Labour is that is putting National in pretty much the same place as where they perceive Labour to be as well.

              The last time I saw this kind of disillusionment with the right was 2002 (and to a lesser extent in 1999). They voted for anything that wasn’t National and even didn’t vote – pretty much the first time I’d ever seen it from the right. I suspect this is going to be a good election for “other” parties in 2014.

              The real problem is that after all of the hard work that was done to move politicians above the trustworthiness of used car salesmen in the 00’s has been rather dissipated. We’re getting rather too many people like vto who just think that the word for politician is pronounced as ar-se-ho-le. The lightweight antics of a inexperienced John Key playing at being PM is really really dispiriting most of my right wing friends…

            • mike 10.3.1.3.1.2

              “Not so sure there is grounds for Banks to be sacked as a minister.”

              I guess I got confused because this line made me think you were talking about whether or not there is grounds for Banks to be sacked as a minister.

              Now you are telling me you are actually talking about whether or not Key’s stance is a good move politically? I think that’s entirely dependent on whether the opposition can coordinate an effective attack, and whether the media jumps on board. Public perception will follow that because Key’s position is so weak. If not then they might just get away with leaking some credibility. It’s a gamble, but that’s what traders are, gamblers.

              Is Labour politically motivated to get Banks sacked? Of course they are, but that doesn’t invalidate their complaint. I think that most people would think that if the police say Banks broke the law, and lied to all of us about it, then he should be sacked. Period. I think most people believe he did exactly that. If you think the public perception is more of a cynical ‘oh they are all just point scoring hypocritical liars anyway so whatever’ then I guess we will just have to agree to disagree there.

              “In fact, I can think of several instances before the previous election where Labour hung tough in situations that, as it played out, were much more dodgy than what appears to be the case here.”

              Like McFlock I’m keen to hear about these several instances you can think of.

              Also, out of interest, what is your view on the ethics of the situation? (Notice, I’m not talking about some previous Labour situation, but this one.)

            • RedLogix 10.3.1.3.1.3

              However, if it is about public perception, and I expect Key has a good handle on that, then it might explain his current stance.

              Not to mention a fairly friendly media who will puff and tut a little … but stop short of screaming for the PM’s resignation as they would a Labour PM.

          • BernyD 10.3.1.3.2

            Here’s something that hasn’t really had a lot of thought,

            “The effect of blogs and the speed of implementing political thought and direction versus portrayed stances and a desire for Consistency of message”
            (i.e How fast should they react and what should they say?)

            I’m gonna liken it to the corrections department,
            Judged evil by some and takes it on the chin, but stands by his words from the heart about fairness.

            Ultimately his best civilised response to that cat on the street was, bless ya for not wanting to hurt someones’ life and not reporting him, but WINZ do have processes too deal with that.

            The truth of most NZers is they are good people at heart and they do try and accept the people they exist with, David Shearer responded in a civilised way from his heart and muffed the words when he repeated it, and it lost it’s direction.

            How long before we accept someone has heard us and is wholeheartedly trying?
            (Just my humble opinion of course, but it’s us bloggers who need too think it through if our message or opinion is too hold any weight, it will always require a pertinent context, hence why I like The Standard, cause of the thought behind the articles, and its’ willingness to stay current)

  11. gobsmacked 11

    I think it’s fair to ask Key exactly what he meant when he said on 31 July – “That is my reading of the police report”. Any journalist like to put the question?

    Now, what we really need is an opportunity to ask the Prime Minister a series of questions, half a dozen or more, and then somebody else can ask him again, on the same topic, with another half-dozen follow-ups. All under rules where he is required to give an answer, all on national TV.

    Oh wait, we had that on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. We get it most weeks. Labour MPs used this opportunity to … shout a lot. Well done, guys!

    Of course “it’s fair to ask Key exactly what he meant”. In fact, it’s not only fair, it’s their f***ing job. And it’s a very well-paid job, thanks to us.

    At some point, Anthony (and anyone else) you’re going to have to direct the blame where it belongs – your own team. But you won’t do that precisely because it’s your own team. So they continue to fail, and you continue to be an apologist for failure.

    Here’s a suggestion: next week is the LAST chance, because Parliament will go into recess afterwards. So next Monday or Tuesday, have a post telling Labour MPs how to ask a question (make it simple, they are very slow learners). Then in the comments we can add our own.

    Then, if they still can’t do the job, even after we’ve told them how to do it, we ALL start calling them the problem, not the solution. How long are you going to put up with incompetence? How much more ammunition do Labour need?

    Key lied. We know he lied. It’s just not a “smoking gun”, it’s a guy with a dead body at his feet, waving to the camera and saying “I’m over here!”. But when the attorney for the prosecution is useless, the guilty get off.

    • Anne 11.1

      Here’s a suggestion: next week is the LAST chance, because Parliament will go into recess afterwards. So next Monday or Tuesday, have a post telling Labour MPs how to ask a question… Then in the comments we can add our own.

      Good idea. Make it Monday. But can I suggest it should be: WHAT questions to ask.

      To be fair, they know how to ask questions… its just they don’t always ask the right ones.

  12. yeshe 12

    Please Bronagh, please, just before we go to sleep, just read me the line again where it says dear old Banksie cannot be prosecuted so I can wake up in the morning still holding to my perilous power ! Thanks sweetie, sweetie darling .. pretty please ? Please Bronagh, I know we’ve read it every night, but just one more time ?? You know Crosby Textor said it would be good for me .. please ….

  13. yeshe 13

    Yet again, I am reminded of the visiting Canadian comedian who, upon being told the name of our prime minister, said: ” John Key ? That’s what you ask for at a gas station when you need the bathroom.”

    The worst, shiftiest man ever to hold the office. What trouble he has wrought for us all. Beyond shameful.
    Liar, liar, pants will soon be on fire.

  14. Adrian 14

    I still want to know what happened to that report that Hone referred to in a select committee about Banks being caught on police surveillance video visiting a P dealing hooker. Maybe thats where he left his Harley!

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