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The Standard

Resignation-watch: John Banks

Written By: - Date published: 6:53 am, May 1st, 2012 - 139 comments
Categories: john banks, john key - Tags: ,

John Key has refused to sack John Banks saying “The test is, did he breach the law or not? If he hasn’t, then he’s not guilty”. That has never been the standard ministers are held to. Ministers are required to uphold “the highest ethical standards“. It looks like Banks traded an ‘anonymous’ donation from Kim Dotcom for his political influence. Is that Key’s idea of the “highest ethical standards”?

Last night, we learned that Dotcom emailed Banks, after Banks had the helicopter flight he can’t remember to the meeting he can’t remember at the mansion he isn’t sure exists (the helicopter’s logbook remembers), saying “I appreciate your call yesterday and your kind offer to help me become a resident. We would like to support you anyway we can…”. That was a few weeks before Dotcom paid Banks two $25,000 cheques, as requested by Banks.

This morning, we learn that Banks lobbied Maurice Williamson over Dotcom’s application to buy land at Coatesville. It stinks of undue influence being exercised by a political figure on behalf of a donor. That is just as bad as the offence that lost Nick Smith his job. Yes, Banks wasn’t a minister at the time, but the message is still same: Banks is willing to use his political power to influence government actions to benefit his donors. Just as Smith was willing to try to use his political influence to try to benefit a close friend.

(And, before you righties start running Key’s line again: it matters not whether undue influence has the desired outcome. It is the attempt, not the result).

Behind all these revelations, Banks’ behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic. His memory fades haven’t protected him as documentary evidence of his relationship with Dotcom has emerged. Now, he has resorted to acting like a lunatic (and it is an act). He hung up on an interviewer yesterday after she asked about his relationship with Dotcom saying “I don’t have a relationship with Dotcom, he’s a married man!”. Honestly, have a listen. Is that conduct becoming of a person we pay quarter of a million dollars a year to be a minister?

The Herald is calling for Banks to resign from Parliament. I think that is the right course for him. But until he does, Key needs to act to restore the credibility of his administration,and sack Banks as a minister.

139 comments on “Resignation-watch: John Banks”

  1. jpwood 1

    Who’s beggining to think John knows where John’s bodies are buried?

    • tc 1.1

      That’s always been the case, shonkey seems to have the police do a lot more for him than one would expect.
      Honour amongst thieves people ain’t it beautiful to watch, note the contrast between Campbell and close up which carries that cosy ZB sky city funded talkback jock.
      All the kings lackey horses and all the kings MSM mates may not be able to spin shonkeys govt back together again.

  2. Jenny 2

    John Key has just announced on TV One’s Breakfast that “it is not my job to go to the police”.

    Umm

    • Uturn 2.1

      He’s telling the truth. He has staffers wander down during their lunch break for him.

    • Dr Terry 2.2

      Thanks, Jenny! What a scream (of hysterical laughter)! It sure was his job to run to his police following the cuppa with Banks! What surprises me in the reports is that Key and “ethics” are brought together – since when ever did that ever happen?

  3. Jenny 3

    Good Ol’ John Key, he is no Copper’s Nark.

  4. What I want to know is did Kim Dotcom ever donate to the National Party and if so how much and when?

    • Te Reo Putake 4.1

      I hate to repeat myself, but I think the big question is how many of the other $25k  ‘anonymous’ donations to Banks came from Key. There has to be a reason why he won’t sack Banks and I think the most likely answer is naked self interest.

  5. Jenny 5

    “It’s not my job to go to the police”

    John Key May 1, 2012 TV One Breakfast

    This is the catch phrase of a wall street banker and financier, and says a lot about the cause of the Wall Street crash.

    • ianmac 5.1

      That first Minister to go (watshisname) from Key’s lot was not the product of a conviction or of a charge. Key fired him but not consistent with Banks now.

  6. bad12 6

    Slippery has a point tho,without Banks having been convicted of a crime Slippery has to sack Banks as a matter of the ethics of the Ministers in the Slippery lead National Government,

    There’s where that blank look re-appears on the face of the Prime Minister as He scrambles round within the inner workings of His mind searching desperately for a connection to Himself and a measurement of ‘ethics’…

  7. Tigger 7

    So hilarious to see a homophobe like Banks using queer ‘humour’ to avoid a question. Any port in a storm, huh John?

  8. Tom Gould 8

    Key has set a new standard for Ministerial behaviour in the Westminster system, you can remain a minister until you are found in a court of law to be guilty of a crime. Other than that, carry on.

  9. bad12 9

    There are no ethics considered by anyone involved in international banking, the only consideration of those involved is to make money,make lots of money,the only question as to where a international banker is in any way culpable for any of their actions lies within the simple statement ”anything goes until you get caught at it”,

    Asking the Slippery Prime Minister to sack John(the convicted)Banks on an ethical matter is akin to asking the Prime Minister to give a speech in Swahili, Slippery has no knowledge of either…

    • rosy 9.1

      “Asking the Slippery Prime Minister to sack John(the convicted)Banks on an ethical matter is akin to asking the Prime Minister to give a speech in Swahili, “

      It’s a bit like a lawyer’s opinions trumping a scientist’s evidence about 100% pure NZ really. At least he’s consistent…

  10. burt 10

    John Key has refused to sack John Banks saying “The test is, did he breach the law or not? If he hasn’t, then he’s not guilty”. That has never been the standard ministers are held to.

    Hey felix – did you see this ?

    Looks like your defense of dodgy Winston has been deemed insufficient.

    • Te Reo Putake 10.1

      Except, at that time, Key said he would sack Ministers who behaved as Peters had done, if he was Prime Minister. But that was then, this is now.

      • burt 10.1.1

        yes he did, let’s hope he follows through rather than doing the self serving “take the honourable member at his word” long enough to stave off a by-election.

        • bbfloyd 10.1.1.1

          i find it a bit strange that you would actually make a point of reminding people just how incoherent you can get once you get started berty….

          • burt 10.1.1.1.1

            The only incoherent thing going on is lefties calling for Banks head while saying they will work with Winston. Ties you in knots eh…. It’s OK when our team do it – always leads to laughable arguments.

    • felix 10.2

      Not sure how you imagine that relates to me, burt. I don’t think I’ve defended Winston at all in the thread you linked to.

      • burt 10.2.1

        Possibly true, you only fixated on was he or was he not charged and never got past that to actually say how much you are proud of his behaviour while bagging Banks for the same.

  11. Radiolive have run this wonderfully satirical interview with someone pretending to be John Banks.  

    The actor gets really upset at the suggestion that he has had a business relationship with Dotcom, thinking that he had been asked if he had a homosexual relationship with Kim Dotcom while visiting Sky City.

    It has to be satire.  It couldn’t be that a Minister of the Crown is this confused … could it?
     

    • Uturn 11.1

      “That wasn’t what I was meaning to insinuate.”

      haha it’s the stupid interviewing the hysterical.

    • Kevin Welsh 11.2

      Hmmm, what is the story with that ‘interview’?

      The Herald are reporting it as a genuine interview.

    • RedBlooded 11.3

      OMG, that is hilarious. He cannot be that thick can he. “Perhaps the man protestith too much” One never knows what John Banks would do for a couple of $25000 cheques.

      • jaymam 11.3.1

        Perhaps Banks is a little worried by the huge hug that he got from Dotcom at the birthday party (shown on TV many times now).

      • felix 11.3.2

        No RedBlooded he can’t be that thick, he didn’t come up the river on a cabbage boat after all.

        He’s just hoping the public are thick enough not to notice that he’s faking outrage to avoid answering the question.

    • ianmac 11.4

      Unbelievable from a Minister. Must be satire after all.

  12. Kiwi Pete 12

    It’s hard to see how the Minister of Regulatory Reform can continue in his current position. Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop! What a joke. I wonder if he will use his position to reform the law on anonymous donations to politicians.

  13. Key needs to act to restore the credibility of his administration,and sack Banks as a minister.

    I think this is a clear case of monkey see, monkey do and John Banks is small fry when it comes to corruption. If you want to see some major league corruption you have to go up a ring of the ladder. John key for example leaves Banksy for dead when it comes to major prime time corruption and it netted him $50 million so to demand for John Key to restore credibility and ethic standards to his administration is like telling a Mafia Don to give all his money to charity and become an honest man.

    It would be impossible for John Key to restore credibility unless he resigns himself for having a clear and treacherous conflict of interest since he has most of his paper wealth in one of the most corrupt and fraudulent banks in the US, Bank of America.

    A bank which owns John Key’s former employer Merrill Lynch and which is trying to screw the US taxpayer for some $ 75 trillion of debt caused by a derivatives bubble set in motion at Merrill Lynch by non other than John Key when he headed the bonds and derivatives department and of which he well knew that the debt could never be repaid as he confesses too here on breakfast telly.

    A bank which can only continue to exist as long as it ruins more and more peoples and countries and is closely connected in shares again to the vampire squid called Goldman Sachs.

    A bank which is involved in Mountaintop coal mining, fraudulent foreclosure procedures, ripping off pension funds (John Key loved selling his derivative crap to pension funds) and other assorted over the top dishonest and corruption.

  14. just saying 14

    What I love about this whole situation is the poetic justice.
    Dotcom clearly thought Banks was bought and paid for, and must have found it hilarious how cheaply Banks sold himelf.
    With Dotcom in jail and awaiting deportation Banks thought it was safe to renege on the deal, and if he hadn’t tried to cheat, Dotcom wouldn’t have unleashed his revenge.
    On the other hand Dotcom must be kicking himself for being so cheap. If he’d paid say $500,000 and kept evidence of all transactions (not necessarily to the campaign funds), Banks would have hot-footed it to Mt Eden Prison the minute he received Dotcom’s call, and pulled out all the stops to make his incarceration as comfortable as possible.
    Capitalism in action.

  15. freedom 15

    It would be very interesting to know how many other sequential cheque numbers are on the list of donations for his campaign war chest reportedly totalling $948,937, and from whence they came.

  16. Nick K 16

    Um, Banks wasn’t a political figure when he went into bat for KDC. He was a member of the public.

    • freedom 16.1

      lmfao

    • rosy 16.2

      “Banks wasn’t a political figure when he went into bat for KDC “
      But Williamson was. Time for a revisit on that decision too methinks.

    • Kaplan 16.3

      David Garrett wasn’t a political figure when he stole a dead child’s name. Does that make it ok?

  17. Roy 17

    “Is that Key’s idea of the “highest ethical standards”?”

    Yes, unfortunately for New Zealand, it is.

  18. Nick K 18

    So it’s unethical to ask someone to give an anonymous donation during an election campaign and unethical to receive anonymous donations in an election campaign?

    • rosy 18.1

      Well I don’t know yet, but if it plays out as unethical, Key doesn’t care.

    • Pascal's bookie 18.2

      “ask someone to give an anonymous donation”

      Think about that Nick.

    • EagleWarrior 18.3

      Asking for an “anonymous” donation makes it not ‘anonymous’ which then means if you fill out a form declaring they were anonymous you have then falsified the documents. It’s not unethical to accept anonymous donations – it’s unethical to ask for someone to donate and then list it as anonymous.

  19. Nick K 19

    Ok, replace “ask” with “give advice on how to”. But all politicians need to be careful with this because it’s how all of them operate regarding anonymous donations.

    Politicians and staffers spend loads of time figuring out how to circumvent donation regimes. It happens all the time. No one will, or can, deny that. There is nothing new in this. Len Brown had dinner with a bunch of people and he wouldn’t say who they were. The Ombudsman had to step in and order him to tell us all. I realise this is just payback, but it’s just part of the game really. And it’s a part the public doesn’t see, and I think doesn’t really care about.

    • Pascal's bookie 19.1

      Nick, he didn’t ‘give advice’, that would imply dotcom asked him how one might go about donating anonymously.

      Dotcom was going to pay him 50K straight up, Banks asked him to donate the 50k in two lots of 25k. He asked a donor to structure it so that banks could claim it was anonymous, when he knew for a fact where it was coming from.

      So you tell me, unethical, or not?

  20. Nick K 21

    If it’s unethical, then a vast majority of MPs and other politicians are unethical also because they all do it. The silly thing for Banks is that he had a conversation aboutit. He should have said “I’ll get someone to call you” and stopped talking about it

    • Lanthanide 21.1

      “If it’s unethical, then a vast majority of MPs and other politicians are unethical also because they all do it. ”

      John Banks received over $600k in “anonymous” donations to his mayoralty campaign. Winston Peters says this is more than all of the parties received going up to the 2011 election.

    • Roy 21.2

      “If it’s unethical, then a vast majority of MPs and other politicians are unethical also because they all do it.”

      Assuming for a minute that your unsubstantiated assertion that “they all do it” was true, that wouldn’t make it right, would it? Anatole France said ‘If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing’. By the same token, if 121 politicians do an unethical thing, it is still an unethical thing.

  21. james 111 22

    Eddie
    Interesting article about high ethical standards and resigning. Two names immediately spring to mind under Helen Clark & Margaret Simpsons watch Phillip Taito Fields ,and Winston Peters were they operating under different ethical standards then?

    • ianmac 22.1

      You are an irritant james111.

      • cheesefunnel 22.1.1

        Touché! What a devastating retort!
        Short memories and relative standards seem endemic on this site.

        • ianmac 22.1.1.1

          Can’t be bothered tipping the irritating grain of sand out of my shoe. I mean Napolean had a lot of stuff to answer for but hardly relevant today.

    • Deano 22.2

      who the hell is Margaret Simpson?

      Been watching too many cartoons? confusing Maggie Simpson and Heather Simpsons, I fear.

  22. prism 23

    But irritants produce pearls in oysters. James III (was he one of the British kings that were beheaded?) is at best an imitation pearl. Pity he can’t keep tight-lipped like an oyster.

  23. Nick K 24

    James, I call BS on that. Key is quoted as saying that. Because he did, it’s irrelevant what the standards were of the prior government. That’s the threshold. Is it met here? It’s childish to keep going on about Field et al.

    • Te Reo Putake 24.1

      Exactly, Nick. Nicely put.

    • james 111 24.2

      Nick

      I call BS on that statement neither the menaing of Ethical or Standard has changed between the two governments. Labour resided over two of the worst cases of Ethical standards being breached

      .So using Eddies yardstick Helen should have got rid of Phillip Taito Fields and Winston immediately but chose not to until they were found guilty by either the privllages committee or the court.
      If Banks is found guilty of breaking any law then I would expect he would get the same treatment from Key in about the same time frame.

      I am not condoning the behaviour of one or the other just saying that if you are going to get puratanical ,and use the words Ethical ,and Standard then you have to be objective and use it with perspective without hypocrisy

      • Colonial Viper 24.2.1

        Oh james its so sad to be stuck in the past, when the future is looking so bright.

      • Uturn 24.2.2

        Yes James, the only thing Banks is guilty of, is trying to help… umm… himself.

        • freedom 24.2.2.1

          yeah that
          and breaking local body electoral law which could see him in jail

      • James, there’s something you’re missing here, and that is that John Key campaigned on delivering higher ethical standards and accountability for ministers in his administration, specifically not shielding ministers who did wrong. Every time he’s had an opportunity to make good on his word thus far he has, at the very least, delayed. Clearly it looks different from inside government, when it’s your mates and supporters who would need to resign

        So, even if I agree with you that Taito Fields and Peters should have been stood down as ministers, it’s incredibly irrelevant to the current issue, as Key needs to be held not just to the usual standards on these matters, but to the higher standards that he promised the electorate. He needs to stop shielding Banks, and at the very least bump him out of his ministerial roles.

  24. Te Reo Putake 25

    And in a delicious irony, Winston Peters calls for the SFO to investigate Banks. Perhaps Winnie will lend Banksie the infamous NO sign!

    • freedom 25.1

      (reposted question from above)
      does anyone in the know have the info on the $500,000 threshold that Peters is referring to ?
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6833411/Peters-surprised-SFO-not-probing-Banks-donations

      because if it is as it reads then Banks’s $948,937 went a teensy little bit over it

      • ianmac 25.1.1

        The $500,000 is just the edge that determines if a complaint fits in with Serious part of Fraud. A complaint less than that is dealt with by police.
        Winston’s point this morning on Morning Report was that Banks had about $600,000 worth of Anonymous donations for his Mayoral bid (wow!!!). Winston just raised that as a question. “Should this be investigated by the Serious Fraud Office?”
        This was a reference to the way that NACt tried to use the SFO to sink Winston back then. See bad12 below at 18.3

        PS The total Mayoral fund for Banks was about a million. Wonder how he spent that and if it is all accounted for.

  25. redfred 26

    A little ditty for poor old John

    Build a bom fire
    Build a bom fire
    Put my political capital in the middle
    And Banksie will burn the bloody lot

  26. tsmithfield 27

    It seems to me that several issues are being conflated here:

    1. Did John Banks break the law?
    2. Is it OK for politicians to conceal the identity of donors so they can appear as anonymous on their return?

    It seems that most of the focus has been on “2”, with the implication that if “2” is false, then “1” is true. However, if “2” is false, then Len Brown should probably resign because it is on the record that a large number of his donations were funneled through a trust, and therefore show as anonymous on his return. The implicit reason for doing this would be to conceal the identity of donors that otherwise would be known.

    There have been a number of legal views put forward over recent days that indicate that there are a number of gaping loopholes with respect to local body donations that seem to be exploited by politicians other than Banks.

    So, if Banks is simply gaming the rules, then I don’t think there are grounds for him to resign, since it might well be standard practice for local body politicians to openly solicit donations and then find ways to keep them anonymous to fit within the rules.

    Probably, the key issue will be the phone call that Banks made after the event. The voracity of Dotcom’s or Bank’s accounts of this will depend largely on the timing of the call, if that can be established. Or, even better, a recording of the actual call.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      1. Did John Banks break the law?
      2. Is it OK for politicians to conceal the identity of donors so they can appear as anonymous on their return?

      Nah ts, you missed the most important issue: Banks lying to the public in the media, on TV, about what he knew, what he did and when he did it.

      Even if he is legally cleared, he’s fucked himself by the dishonest process he’s run since the first allegations came up.

      • Lanthanide 27.1.1

        It’s always the coverup that gets you.

      • tsmithfield 27.1.2

        I am not sure there is much you can point to him lying about, because there seems to be very little of it he can remember to make a definitive statement on it.

        The one thing I can remember him definitively saying is that he rang Dotcom to thank him for the fireworks donation. Unless some damning phone records turn up, it may never be proven whether he lied on that or not.

        I agree that he should be stood down though, on the grounds of demonstrated incompetence on the way he has dealt with this, and his concerning lack of ability to remember fairly basic and obvious facts, if nothing else. I would expect someone who is qualified to be a minister to perform considerably better on both accounts.

        • Colonial Viper 27.1.2.1

          Oh ts, this really has moved beyond what you can remember or not of what Banks can remember or not.

          As Lanth said, the hamfisted attempt at a coverup and PR campaign from Banks has screwed him good.

          I find it most fascinating that Key is willing to give up even more political capital for Banks.

          • Matthew Whitehead 27.1.2.1.1

            What happens if National runs a by-election candidate not currently in Parliament, and they win? Does National lose its lowest list MP and lose their majority, or do they get an extra MP, proportionality be damned?

            If it’s the former, I can see a potential political motivation for shielding Banks. Otherwise it’s bloody bizarre.

            • Carol 27.1.2.1.1.1

              The list number of MPs for any party is fixed immediately after the election. If a Nat list MP wins Epsom, Nats get another list MP to replace him. If a Nat not in parliament wins, Nats get an extra MP, ACT has none – straight swap.

              However, I think it’s likely ACT will stand Isaacs for ACT in a byelection and it would depend on whether Key gave her the nod as to whether she would win.

            • Pete George 27.1.2.1.1.2

              Proportionality is set by the election result and doesn’t change.

              If Goldsmith or any other list MP resigns and then wins Epsom they are replaced on the list and become a 60th MP for National. If a non-list candidate wins for National the list stays as it is and National get a 60th MP.

              So unless National want to keep giving Act a lifeline they would be better off abandoning Banks.

        • I’m sorry, but “not remembering” something potentially incriminating is the oldest trick in the book to get around being caught in a lie. Even if he genuinely doesn’t remember something he should bloody well take responsibility for it. He tried to imply that he didn’t have any knowledge of the donor when he did. That isn’t acceptable conduct for a minister. I don’t care if he “lied” under a technical legal definition or not.

  27. dd 28

    Surely Key would be better off to just stand down Banks anyway? At least whilst he is under investigation.

    The association with this moron must be damaging?

    As someone who doesn’t like ACT or National I am actually glad Key is in my opinion being so foolish. What does he have to lose by standing Banks down in the short term? Unless Key is also involved in this scandal. As one poster here suggested, giving donations to Banks. Or perhaps there is something even more sinister.

    • ianmac 28.1

      The association Key has with Banks will pollute Key politically so he will distance himself from Banks.
      The association Banks has with Dotcom would pollute Banks politically so he distanced himself from him when Dotcom was arrested.
      Loyalty is dangerous and fragile.

    • tsmithfield 28.2

      As I said the other day, I would be more concerned about his memory lapses. I would have to wonder about his ability to operate as a minister if he is unable to remember helicopter rides with Dotcom and such like.

      • Colonial Viper 28.2.1

        Banks has had so many helicopter rides with Dotcom and visits to the Dotcom mansion that it’s not reasonable to ask Banks to remember specific occasions.

    • bad12 28.3

      The really sinister ‘thing’ you refer to was that Banks with a war chest to fight the Auckland Mayoralty of close to 1 million bucks was supposed to win that race at a canter,

      The Ports of Auckland industrial dispute was then supposed to be escalated to such an extent that Mayor Banks was to throw up His hands in defeat and announce the sale of the asset,

      A million dollars doesn’t get thrown into the Mayoral candidacy of an outright idiot like Banks by the Capitalists just to have one of their own sitting at the head of the table,

      There was to be a grand payoff for those men and women of money, ownership of the Ports of Auckland…

  28. (A different) Nick K 29

    I just wrote to John Key expressing concerns about this – how many others here do this? He never replies but it seems more effective than only posting comments on the standard.

    I love Winston’s quote:

    “What he’s never said is the old saying from the Marx brothers: ‘I’ve got principles and if you don’t like them, I’ve got others’.”

    Fits Key to a tee.

    On the subject of anonymous donations I think the threshold should be quite low, $500 or so, Mallard had a good point that you can’t keep a record of all the small donations provided during a campaign (coins in a tin kind of stuff). On the other hand anyone putting real money into a campaign wants something in return and should be upfront about putting their name behind it.

    In any case that’s not the issue at hand the issue is whether they were really anonymous donations at all – and / or whether a man with such a severe case of amnesia is medically fit to do his job.

    • I love Winston’s quote:

      “What he’s never said is the old saying from the Marx brothers: ‘I’ve got principles and if you don’t like them, I’ve got others’.”

      I didn’t know WP had written his autobiography.

      • dd 29.1.1

        I wonder if Dunnes Autobiography will be titled ‘I sold NZ’

        • Colonial Viper 29.1.1.1

          According to PG that is completely consistent with what Dunne has promised voters all along so I’m sure he will be quite proud of releasing it with that title.

      • (A different) Nick K 29.1.2

        Never said I loved Winston, but he hit the nail on the head describing Key like that :)

      • Frida 29.1.3

        Pete, I thought you weren’t just a mouthpiece for National Party spin but a balanced commentator offering reason to the issues, whichever party is involved. or so you keep telling us. I’m yet to see you condemn Banks however. The only time you pop up on this thread is to make a smart a-se comment about Winston.
        You should just keep to the Sewer where you naturally belong.

        • Pete George 29.1.3.1

          You may be skewered by your own sewerage.

          I’ve often commented on never being a fan of Banks, I wouldn’t be sorry to see him gone from parliament, I think he’s made a joke of himself and Act (relatively) and while he may weasel out of this on a legal technicality he’s shown sufficient incompetence to be given the heave ho.

          In his media performances Banks is looking increasingly like a few cabbages short of a boatful.

          And while I agree to an extent with John Key’s caution, until charged or proven guilty sort of thing, I think he’s going to have to make a decision on both Banks and Act soon.

    • Uturn 29.2

      “On the other hand anyone putting real money into a campaign wants something in return and should be upfront about putting their name behind it.”

      It would certainly make the arrests for corruption that much easier.

  29. dd 30

    Interesting thoughts there bad12. It makes a lot of sense.

  30. Kevin 31

    In so far as the Local Electoral Act is concerned, Banks has not broken any laws of non disclosure because their is no requirement to disclose anonymous donations. Therefore those who have lodged complaints with the Police will find their complaints dismissed because there is no case to answer, no laws broken.

    • Colonial Viper 31.1

      Kevin seems to think he is the police, prosecutor, judge and jury all rolled into one!!!

    • Lanthanide 31.2

      Funnily enough, all of the legal commentators on the issue have said that if it can be shown Banks did know Dotcom had donated to him, then he has broken the law.

      The case, as Mallard rightly stated, hinges on whether Banks did indeed call Dotcom up to thank him for the donation.

      Dotcom’s statements have credibility because splitting a single donation of $50k into 2 separate amounts would be a crazy thing for someone such as himself to do unless he was advised to do that by Banks or Banks’ campaign. Dotcom says he was advised to do that by Banks. The 2 cheques and helicopter logbooks produced by Campbell Live so far show everything is in agreement with Dotcom’s story.

      The above is entirely separate from the casino’s donation of $15k, which they donated to both Len Brown and John Banks. Len says the casino was very upfront about it and told him they were donating to both campaigns. Len declared it on his return, while Banks didn’t and apparently claimed it as anonymous. This story has been overshadowed by the Dotcom one, for a variety of reasons:
      1. The media/public are very interested in Dotcom because of his status and other legal issues
      2. The Dotcom dollar amounts are bigger
      3. There’s more evidence coming out that Banks actually had quite a lot to do with Dotcom
      4. Banks has been making a real mess of it in the way he has chosen to answer questions about the Dotcom donations

      • tsmithfield 31.2.1

        Lanth, the legal commentators I have read also think there is nothing that prevents candidates from openly soliciting donations from donors, so I am not so sure there is anything that breaks the law in what Banks did prior to the donation. Brown may have done very much the same with donations that were routed through his trust. If Banks had asked Dotcom to donate to a trust, then the issue probably wouldn’t be in the news at the moment.

        I think the key is whether he knew after the event that the donation had been made, on the facts available. That is where the phone call becomes critical.

        • ianmac 31.2.1.1

          Graeme Edgler I think, read the Local Body Act several times in relation to Banks. He said that he came up with a different answer with each reading. Ambiguous. (I saw Graeme on TV for the first time recently and saw that he is just a young blood. Thought he must have been in his 50s-60s.)

      • Pete George 31.2.2

        Len says the casino was very upfront about it and told him they were donating to both campaigns. Len declared it on his return, while Banks didn’t and apparently claimed it as anonymous.

        While that doesn’t prove Sky were as up front to Banks as they were to Brown that is as strong an indication as Dotcom’s allegation that there’s very good reason for Banks to be seen to be performing so badly in front of straightforward media questions.

        • Clashman 31.2.2.1

          I can’t see any reason why Skycity would be “very upfront” with a donation to one campaign yet donate anonymously to the other. Unless they were asked to make it anonymous which makes a mockery of the whole issue imho.

          • Pete George 31.2.2.1.1

            I agree. It’s possible but very unlikely that Sky would act differently, unless perhaps by specific request. If Banks did request no publicity from Sky too it makes him look a few cabbages short of a boatfull.

    • Deano 31.3

      there is a requirement to declare anonymous donations under the Act. Banks declared the donations from Dotcom as anonymous. What is at question is whether these donations were in fact anonymous.

  31. just saying 32

    Wont link to the site, but Cactus Kate has well and truly spat the dummy, and is recommending ACT party members (yes both of them) contact the ACT board and tell them to roll Banks asap.

    Apologies for CK’s bigoted language in the following from her latest blog post:

    ….The days of drifting down the river on the ACT cabbage boat are over. Banks is, and I am calling it right now, a complete fucking nutter and the $20 membership renewal shall not be forthcoming unless the cabbage is thrown overboard….

    …Time they all got off the fence hoping it will get better and put an end to the slow-dying embarrassment, rolled Banks ASAP and installed David Seymour and Catherine Isaac as temporary Leaders of a new centre-right political vehicle until it is worked out what that vehicle is and who is to lead it.

    Newsflash: Banks is not going to get better.

  32. Ross 33

    http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=28423

    John Key: “Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister.”

    Oh no you wouldn’t, John.

    • Ross 33.1

      “Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by me unless he can provide a credible explanation”, said then Opposition leader John Key.

      So how can John Banks remain a Minister despite not offering a credible explanation for his actions?

    • deuto 34.1

      Already set up in front of the screen with fresh tea etc – no popcorn, shame! Should be very interesting Question Time. Almost missed question 7 – Mallard to the Assoc Minister of Education (guess who!) on charter schools. Wonder whether Banks will actually show in the House? We will know in just a few minutes.

  33. chris73 35

    I would like to see Banks resign, a bi-election (bit of humour) held (which of course Act will win) which puts the lefties in their place until the next general election and a new binding code of conduct regarding donations to be set up (I’m guessing there arn’t many spotless parties out there)

  34. vto 36

    So Dotcom can buy the influence of Ministers.

    And so can that Bronwyn Pullar.

    And so can all those ex-Nat Ministers with their fingers all through the agricultural pies like Creech, Shipley, Carter, Smith etc.

    And John Key goes out and does favours for Sky city mates. Like Joyce and the Mediaworks loan

    This government is completely and utterly corrupt and I have no trust in them to do the right and ethical thing in any situation. They have no credibility They are compromised completely and I spit on them.

    They have shat on our system.

  35. vto 37

    How many favours are pulled for the Talleys in agriculture? They are after all in bed with Wyatt Creech.

  36. coolas 38

    In defence of John Banks.

    He denied having a relationship with Kim Dotcom because, ‘He’s a married man for goodness sakes.’

    Now to me that shows a man with high moral fibre, a good and decent man, who only fucks unattached men (assuming it’s okay with his wife, that is)

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 38.1

      Memo

      From: John Banks.

      To: the NZ taxpayer.

      re: my expectations.

      When you bend, you spread, and pay for your own damn lubricant!

  37. vto 39

    How much do Ministers do for Talleys in sea farming? Especially with the EPA making decisions on marine farming in the Marlborough Sounds.

  38. vto 40

    Did Wyatt Creech write the report on Environment Canterbury for his colleagues and business partners in the dairy industry so the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme could proceed more easily?

    After all, he is a major owner in the dairy industry. And a c#@t of an employer.

  39. I’m a bit confused – or maybe just under-informed.

    Did Dotcom claim that he wished to make an anonymous donation and, then, asked Banks how to do it? Or, was Dotcom happy to make a ‘non-anonymous’ donation but Banks then advised him to make anonymous donations?

    The former would indicate it was the donor who wished the donation to be anonymous. The latter would indicate the candidate wished the donation to be anonymous.

    Those possibilities come with quite different implications. 

    • EagleWarrior 41.1

      If it was the former, why .Com now come out and expose himself as being the anonymous donor (or donator as Banksie called him). Seeing all the news coverage about .Com, I can’t imagine him ever wanting to be anonymous.

      That being said, if it were the latter, why was Banks keen for his donations to be filed as anonymous? .Com and SkyCity were both ‘anonymous’ – was he in actual fact trying to hide another donor who absolutely NEEDED to be kept anonymous. One anonymous donation amongst a host of declared one stands out like a sore thumb – if they are all anonymous then ‘move along, nothing to see here people.’

      Also, did anyone else notice in the list of declared election donations released a week or so back notice Bill English had been given $37k raised from A raffle? WTF was the prize in a raffle that raised 37k??? lol. Unless of course it was a typo…

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 41.1.1

        One obvious reason to make a donation from .com (or anyone else for that matter) anonymous, is that makes it easier to then do favours for him without appearing to be a political whore.

        • McFlock 41.1.1.1

          the flip-side is that when you fail to be a good and faithful whore they release photocopies of the cheques, allow the media to film on their private helicopter pad and examine the helicopter logbook, and generally do all they can to shaft your career and possibly put you in the cell beside them. 

    • Te Reo Putake 41.2

      The story according to Dotcom is that he volunteered the $50k. Banks then asked him to write two cheques of $25k (and never mentioned anonimity). Dotcom did not ask about anonimity, the cheques were clearly made out to the Banks election fund and recorded as such by Dotcom.
       
      The Banks version of the story is “I’m a busy man and I attend a lot of parties with my fellow criminals. This was just one of many, if I was there at all, which my lawyers remind I wasn’t unless there is video evidence I was. There is video evidence? A birthday party? Well, yes, but that does not prove I ever met the man and even if I did propose a toast at his birthday party, it was his other birthday six months earlier that I meant.

      Further more, I’m far too rich to remember cheques for trifling amounts like $50,000 dollars. Are you a married man? No? Good, good … now let me show you my chopper.”

      • felix 41.2.1

        Funny as it is, that’s actually more sane than the crap that Banks has been saying.

      • burt 41.2.2

        I find it hard to believe it comes down to who’s idea it was to spilt them. Convince me that Dotcom couldn’t write a single cheque – he needed to split it … right. ;-)

        The point is donations from a single source have been hidden as anonymous when they were not. The rest is absolute bluster and bullshit.

    • Anne 41.3

      Dotcom told Banks he wanted to make a $50,000 donation towards his mayoral campign. He said Banks’ eyes opened wide and then he said a strange thing, he asked Dotcom to split the donation into two donations for $25,000 each.

      That sounds totally plausible. Dotcom is a newcomer to these shores so he wouldn’t know anything about out electoral laws. It probably didn’t occur to him that it had anything to do with an appearance of anonymity. He simply provided two cheques for $25,000 as per the request. I think, but can be corrected here, that John Banks went on to ask him if the two cheques could be made out… as having come from different individuals.

      Guilty as sin.

      Oops sorry TRP I didn’t read your comment. Oh well, I’ll leave it anyway.

      • Te Reo Putake 41.3.1

        No worries, Anne, great minds and all that, and I hadn’t considered Dotcom’s words in that context. You’re dead right, too. There is no reason for Dotcom to want anonymity; he was living one of the least anonymous lives on the planet at the time. People that cherish privacy don’t release hip hop records or put tapes of themselves living life to excess on the net.
         
        ps, felix, I just can’t get that interview out of my head! Shrieking ‘he’s a married man’ is now right up there with ‘doeshn’t give my opponetsh mush time either’ in the pantheon of political suicide notes, IMHO.

    • Puddleglum 41.4

      Thanks everyone.

      It seems pretty uncontroversial, then, that making the donation(s) anonymous wasn’t a requirement from Mr DotCom (or however the name is spelt).

      That would imply that Banks was willing to take quite a lot of money from someone he did not want to be publicly connected to, but was willing to lobby on behalf of (to a colleague – Williamson – from the good old days when they were both National MPs/Ministers).

      No political candidate should be encouraging someone to donate anonymously when they are happy to donate with their name attached.

      The only remotely justifiable argument for anonymity must, surely, rest with the desire of the donor, not the politician. (Of course the whole question of anonymity and political donations could be debated.)

  40. Jim in Tokyo 42

    At the very least Banks should be fired for crimes against the English language:

    “I certainly don’t lie – there’s no one here who believes that I go out and lie, ah, no one here doesn’t believe that I’m not up front, but I took legal advice last week and consequently there could be a public perception that I’ve been obfuscating around some of these things, ah, I shouldn’t have taken that legal advice, I should have answered questions much more straightly.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6833411/Banks-Dotcom-call-to-Williamson-made-as-a-citizen

  41. seeker 43

    “Is that Key’s idea of the “highest ethical standards”?”

    Unfortunately John Key does not appear to have any idea of what a “high ethical standard” is. I think many New Zealanders who care about high ethical standards are just beginning to wake up to this fact.

  42. freedom 44

    could someone please explain, slowly, to Mr John Banks that saying “i don’t remember , i don’t recall ” may be a great chorus from Peter Gabriel but is not the same as ‘no comment ‘
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Banks-regrets-legal-advice-to-stay-silent/tabid/1607/articleID/252558/Default.aspx

    • McFlock 44.1

      What I love is that the advice he got a week ago was abysmally wrong, but he’s adamant that he still has complete confidence in the advice he received about what makes a donation anonymous.
           
       

    • burt 44.2

      We are still waiting for the ultimate punishment of being required to re-file his returns, please they need a bit more time for the obscuration of all the facts.

      Is it already too late to prosecute Banks if he did breach the donation declaration rules ?

  43. burt 45

    Eddie

    I made a few adjustments to your first paragraph. IrishBill was much easier to critique. I would have had to flip and flop between Peters and Field to work with the rest of yours.

    John KeyHelen Clark has refused to sack John Banks Taito Field saying “The test is, did he breach the law or not? If he hasn’t, then he’s not guilty”. That has never been the standard ministers are held to. Ministers are required to uphold “the highest ethical standards“. It looks like Banks Field traded ‘anonymous’ donation from Kim Dotcom manual labour on his own properties for his political influence. Is that Key’s Clark’s idea of the “highest ethical standards”?

    I hear you though, Eddie – it’s crap behaviour – no argument. If politics is fair in a tribal sort of way then Banks may be to National what Winston and Field were to Labour. IMHO Key’s party is about to lose it’s cred completely if it starts to act like Clark’s.

    Key’s line again: it matters not whether undue influence has the desired outcome. It is the attempt, not the result).

    If he did say that, or even strongly inferred that, can you point me to a link? I’d love to go bananas with that on Kiwiblog. The intent is the key of course. Given the changes and consequences of being caught, any who are caught should be automatically declared unfit once proven in court, quickly… not judged via an internal inquiry with terms set by the party with the most conflicted interests.

    How are you going to be feeling Eddie if Key kicks off an internal inquiry and the terms are set (by National) over the next month or so. The enquiry will then run for up to 9 months before reporting back somewhat inconclusive due to the narrow TOR.

    • locus 45.1

      Nice analogy Burt. Winston and Field suffered appropriate fates, and I’m sure that the same is on its way for Key and Banks and maybe for their parties as well. Key’s party doesn’t have any cred to lose with the majority of NZers.

  44. vto 46

    .

    Such a simple issue.

    .

    Such a lot of hubris.

    .

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