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Ball’s in your court, John

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, May 24th, 2012 - 65 comments
Categories: corruption, david shearer, john banks, john key, Shane Jones - Tags:

David Shearer, with Shane Jones’ support, has stood Jones down and asked the Auditor-General to investigate his handling of Bill Yan’s citizenship affair. It sets a new, high standard. Whether Jones was right or wrong, he at least has a coherent story and there’s no suggestion of a crime. Compare that John Key allowing John Banks to stay on as a minister while under criminal investigation and having repeatedly lied as he tries to get out of it.

Let’s compare and contrast:

In both cases (and Nick Smith’s case, for that matter) the MP is under attack over events that occurred in a previous role. Jones is no longer minister, Banks is no longer an Auckland mayoral candidate. Yet Shearer has said that Jones will be accountable for the correctness of his actions in that previous role, whereas Key has said no ethical standard applies to the behaviour of ministers before they were ministers.

Shearer has spoken directly with Jones and, from that, come to the decision that the best way to clear Jones’ name and clear the air is an independent investigation with Jones stood down in the meantime. John Key has still, weeks later, not spoken to John Banks about the Dotcom affair. He has rejected calls for an independent investigation. He has rejected calls to stand down Banks during the Police investigation. He’s even used the bizarre ‘well, it sure didn’t help Dotcom, so how can it matter?’ line to try to trivialise the issue.

Banks faked memory loss and lied to the media in an attempt to wiggle out of the issue. Jones said, from the start, that he wouldn’t discuss the matter until the court proceedings had ended. Then, in light of the growing media interest, he revealed the reason he approved Yan’s citizenship. No claims of memory loss, no rabbit in the headlights interviews, no blatant lies. And he obviously has confidence that his records will show that he did get the advice he says he did.

So, come on, John. Let’s see your high standards. Stand down Banks. Oh wait, you need his vote to pass the Budget and asset sales, eh? Guess principles get trumped sometimes, eh John?

Update: The court has found Yong Ming Yan not guilty of all five immigration fraud charges. David Shearer says:

The reasons we have asked the Auditor-General to investigate the case still stand.

Shane Jones must be given the opportunity to clear his name given the apparent differences in evidence given during the court case and Shane’s recollection of events.

“New Zealand is highly regarded as being a country with open and transparent government. We must protect that reputation and reassure New Zealanders that ministerial and departmental processes are sound.

65 comments on “Ball’s in your court, John”

  1. tc 1

    Banker and high standards don’t even habitate the same suburb let alone city/country.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    So, come on, John. Let’s see your high standards. Stand down Banks. Oh wait, you need his vote to pass the Budget and asset sales, eh? Guess principles get trumped sometimes, eh John?

    Standing Banks down from his Minister position doesn’t in any way prevent him from voting on any legislation in the house.

    • Good point, Lanthanide

    • No but it runs the risk that Banks throws his toys out of the cot and either resigns or goes rogue.

      • Extremely unlikely he would do either. If he quits he’ll get voted in again and if he goes rogue he’ll have no one to buddy with

        • mickysavage

          In that case Key should do the right thing and stand Banks down. After all he will have nothing to lose and can look like he actually has some principles.

        • Pascal's bookie

          According to Hooten, Banks associates say he would indeed have gone feral.

          Why do you think he’d get voted in again? I doubt ACT would select him again, and it’s not clear National would endorse the ACT candidate anyway.

          • TheContrarian

            I meant “not get voted in again”.
            Sorry, typo 

            • McFlock

              I dunno. It might be an interesting experiment to see just how low that electorate will go, and whether the toryboys in yellow shirts will be placard-waving for him again 🙂

      • Lanthanide 2.2.2

        I think keeping Banks in his job is more about saving face than it is risking some sort of legislation roadblock.

      • burt 2.2.3

        No but it runs the risk that Banks throws his toys out of the cot and either resigns or goes rogue.

        I’m picking you supported the procrastination with Field for the same reasons.

        I think both should have resigned as soon as they brought parliament into disrepute but hey…. it’s not like anyone but the government de-jour get to evaluate what that actually means.

        As for Jones, what the hell did he think he was doing? There is a story here and the current revelation that he’s not guilty (in NZ) of immigration fraud makes no difference as far as I’m concerned. Who leaves their ‘prints’ on fraud when they are a billionaire and even have ministers doing extraordinary favours for them ?

    • Deano 2.3

      except it risks his resignation, triggering a 3 month gap in the govt’s majority.

      That’s clearly not a risk Key can take. Even if it was only a 25% chance.

  3. grumpy 3

    …just a slight difference, Jones was stood down for his behaviour as a Minister, Banks was doing something entirely legal as a private citizen, standing as a candidate for the Auckland mayoralty…………

    • Tigger 3.1

      Not declaring his gift from Dotcom, someone he’s been shown to owe a favour?

    • Deano 3.2

      Banks allegedly committed crimes that, if found guilty of, would require him to vacate his seat in Parliament. He is under police investigation. Jones is not being investigated for any offence. In fact, Yan’s just been found not guilty.

      • Yan’s not being guilty doesn’t have much to do with Jones because, as I understand, he was not a good character based on fraud in China, not NZ. 

        • Carol

          No, the acquittal is because of insufficient proof, even though there’s a suspicion remaining he was guilty.


          Justice Brewer said none of the five charges was proven to an adequate standard.

          He said the Crown was required to reach a high level of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

          “In this case, having considered the evidence and the submissions of consul and the inferences I feel I am entitled to draw from the evidence, I have concluded that the most the Crown can achieve is a high level of suspicion but that is not enough,” he told Yan.

          “The Crown has not proved its case on any of counts inter-related as they are beyond reasonable doubt.”

          So not so much that Yan has been cleared, but that he has been found “not guilty”.

          • Tom Gould

            Rubbish reporting. The Court found he committed no crime. They claimed he lied but the Court found otherwise. Not guilty on all five counts. But the butt-covering chooks write that up as a ‘not proven’ verdict. Pathetic. Who in their right mind would believe a bunch of officials found incompetent and unreliable by the High Court? Well, Garner I guess, and his weird looking buddy. Another example of how trial by media can get it horribly wrong. Will they apologise to Jones, I wonder?

    • Jackal 3.3


      Banks was doing something entirely legal as a private citizen, standing as a candidate for the Auckland mayoralty.

      Whether it’s legal or not hasn’t been determined by the police yet grumpy. There’s no real difference to Banks undertaking what could be a criminal act as a “private citizen” or an MP.

      Let’s put it this way: Is a bank robber allowed to run a bank, is a burglar allowed to become a police officer and is a known child molester allowed to work in a school? Just because they didn’t commit those crimes while in that line of employment?

      Banks should be stood down until the police investigation is concluded.

      • A private citizen lobbying the govt. on behalf of a third party is completely legal, dawg. “Whether it’s legal or not hasn’t been determined by the police yet grumpy” actually it has because it isn’t illegal and the police aren’t investgating.

        • Jackal

          I was talking about banks being investigated by the police for not declaring donations and other such corrupt practices. Don’t try to confuse the issue The Abecedarian.

          • TheContrarian

            “I was talking about banks being investigated by the police for not declaring donations and other such corrupt practices.”

            Which is why you quoted:

             “Banks was doing something entirely legal as a private citizen, standing as a candidate for the Auckland mayoralty.”

            Grumpy was talking about Banks lobbying as a private citizen and opposed to Jones as a minister. I think you confused yourself buddy.


            • Jackal

              We’re talking about what Banks did while he was lobbying, which looks decidedly dodgy.

              • So now you go from “I was talking about banks being investigated by the police for not declaring donations and other such corrupt practices.”


                 “We’re talking about what Banks did while he was lobbying”

                To be clear – Banks lobbying as a private citizen is not illegal or dodgy. 

                • Jackal

                  Yes! Lobbying in itself is not illegal. How anally retentive are you The Controlfreak?

                  • I think you have confused yourself again.

                    Do you want to go for a drink or something to clear your head? Send me a text, friend.

                    • McFlock

                      It’s quite possible that Banks was doing something illegal when he signed his list of campaign donations, which is why the police are investigating.

                      Cool bullshit distraction.

                    • “It’s quite possible that Banks was doing something illegal when he signed his list of campaign donations”

                      Yes, it is. Sounds very likely in fact 

      • thatguynz 3.3.2

        Love the bank robber example mate 🙂  After all, the bank robbers ARE running the banks!
        Sorry, my moment of levity for the day – I do agree with what you’re saying but that just made me chuckle.

    • tracey 3.4

      Did Peters get found guilty of anything related to the reason key demanded day after day that the former Pm stand him down??

    • felix 3.5

      “Banks was doing something entirely legal as a private citizen, standing as a candidate for the Auckland mayoralty”

      Private citizen my arse, grump. He was the Mayor of Auckland City, running for the mayoralty of the new Auckland City.

  4. Carol 4

    And breaking news on NZH site: Yan found not guilty on all five charges.

    • It should be an interesting day watching Farrar and the slithery one trying to spin this …

      • Carol 4.1.1


        Not a lot of detail on the not guilty decision.


        Justice Brewer said none of the five charges was proven to an adequate standard.

        In court supporting Yan was former Labour MP Dover Samuels, who outside court told reporters there should be an apology. He added: “It was all a stitch-up by ministry officials and the SIS [Security Intelligence Service]”.

        Why would such officials do a stitch up?

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          You havent had a run in with the bureaucracy. If they are thwarted they will try to get you some other way.

        • Jackal

          That’s a pretty serious accusation to make and I hope Dover isn’t just running his mouth off. It is plausible though, that they manufactured much of the information in the Fairfax article to paint Jones in a bad light is undeniable. Whether that extends into Immigration officials effectively misleading a court of law is something I hope the Auditor-General looks into.

      • Ant 4.1.2

        @micky: I’m thinking it will be the good old favorite of “some questions still need to be answered” without really saying what those questions are.

    • Deano 4.2

      that would seem to clear Jones.

      • tsmithfield 4.2.1

        It doesn’t do anything of the sort. The court case would have been on the basis of reasonable doubt, and related to the narrow issue of whether Yan had lied to immigration. Nothing to do with the character or the background of the guy that Jones was considering.

        This result should just shift the focus to that Labour guy Shane Te Pou, who’s brother worked in Shane Jones’s office.

        Revelations in court yesterday show the link goes further than just Jones, as Shane Phillips (also known as Shane Te Pou), a professional Labour Party fundraiser, had close links with Mr Yan, taking him on a trip to Hawke’s Bay which included a visit with then Labour Internal Affairs minister Rick Barker.

        His brother also worked in Shane Jones’ office.

        Te Pou had been paid 10k to help with the application.

        The fact that Yan believed he would get citizenship, against the strong contrary opinion of Immigration, and the fact that a number of politicians, mostly Labour, lobbied on his behalf is very smelly.

        • tsmithfield

          Sorry, the link for being paid 10k doesn’t seem to be showing.

          Here it is:


        • Bored

          Standing down wind from your own smokescreen TS? Probably why you did not mention the name Pansy Wong National.

          In case you have not quite caught on Shearer does not really have to give a fuck about whether Jones is guilty or not, he has done what Key should have done with Banks. No hiding that now, this ones a dead duck for the moment. All eyes back to Banks.

          • TheContrarian

            “he has done what Key should have done with Banks” Agreed.

             “Probably why you did not mention the name Pansy Wong National.” Because she had no power, merely spoke on Yan’s behalf.

            • Jackal

              Pansy Wong just happened to be travelling back and forward from China with other National MP’s so that her husband and business associates could conduct business on the taxpayer dollar… around the same time Yan said he was going to take members of parliament to China as well. Jones hasn’t been to China btw The Totalitarian. Didn’t you get the memo?

              • Pansy Wong – a Chinese mp going back to China with her Chinese business man husband?!!
                NO WAY!  MUST BE YAN!

                Hey, weren’t you the same guy yesterday that said:

                “Until we know the facts of the matter, all your speculation looks pretty stupid really!”

                • Jackal

                  So who exactly was Yan talking about then?

                  • Samuels, Wong, Jones and whomever else supported him.
                    But is their any evidence Yan actually took anyone, facilitated anyone going back to China at all? Nope – not one iota.

                    Like you said:
                    “Until we know the facts of the matter, all your speculation looks pretty stupid really!”  

                    • grumpy

                      To be fair, Chris Carter and Pansy Wong only asked for the matter to be looked into. Samuels advocated for a particular decision to be made – quite different. Just goes to show that this is not a matter of National v Labour, just one of corruption.

      • ianmac 4.2.2

        Yes Deano and as Eddie points out, the ball is in Key’s court especially since there is a police investigation on Banks. A good strategic move by Mr Shearer.
        And his opening of the Budget speech today after the reading of the Budget should be as good as the passionate one David gave in the House yesterday.

  5. Tom Gould 5

    Now the High Court has found the officials who implicated Jones to be incompetent and unreliable, Shane Jones can feel fully vindicated. I predict the A-G will find along similar lines. Nice if we could have the media subject to the same ‘independent scrutiny’ they demand everyone else be subject to? Nah, that would destroy the business model, and it make them actually work for a living like in the olden days.

    • Bored 5.1

      Seems to me that the media and the Court of Public Opinion is in charge of this whole fiasco. As Shearer said “guilty until proven innocent”. On that note Key won a Phyrric victory by keeping the media spotlight away from Banks.

      I was listening to Dimitri Orlovs podcast today and he made the statement that the public perception of media bias was kept manageably low through the media being allowed to attack their owners opinions on occasion to give the appearance of “independence and fairness”. The balance he noted was always temporary and on issues that did not really matter. I concur fully, our media is very slanted toward supporting this government.

    • higherstandard 5.2

      “Now the High Court has found the officials who implicated Jones to be incompetent and unreliable”

      Have you got a link for that ?

      • Deano 5.2.1

        they’ve just had their case rebuffed. Obviously, their evidence wasn’t believed.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    This case has nothing to do with the issue at hand with respect to Jones and links Yan had to the Labour party. The judge said as much himself:

    Justice Timothy Brewer said the case had nothing to do with political connections and commentary.

    His decision was based on the evidence in court about whether false declarations had been made on documents.

    He said he found that the Crown had not reached the level of proof of beyond reasonable doubt which the judge said was a very high standard.He said that on the evidence the most the Crown had achieved was a ‘high level of suspicion” and that fell short of the standard.

    So according to the judge, the case was only about whether declarations on documents were false or not, and that the Crown demonstrated there was grounds for a high level of suspicion with respect to Yan, but that the evidence didn’t overcome the threshold of reasonable doubt. So, as most here should know, a verdict of “not guilty” is not the same as “proven innocent.”

    Samuels seems to be absolutely besotted with Yan for some reason, despite still strong evidence that he seems to want to brush off glibly.

    • tracey 6.1

      The premise we operate under is a person is innocent until proven guilty. Mr Yan was not proven guilty, ergo he is to be regarded as innocent.

      Otherwise it’s just a case of picking and choosing which verdicts one likes.

  7. tracey 7

    Mr Samuels and Mr Peters were not found guilty of any crime but both were stood down, and Mr Key was happy that both were, vehemently opposing the idea that a leagl standard of behaviour is high enough for reps of the people. My how times have changed.

  8. DavidW 8

    if the SIS are involved, you might just see John Key supporting Shane Jones – now wouldn’t that make the shouters stop for a second or two and contemplate?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      It’s whaleoil so probably just more made up BS.

      • tsmithfield 9.1.1

        Maybe. But, according to him, he has seen it serious enough to take it straight to the police. So, I guess we will find out soon enough.

  9. Paw prick 10

    Yes higher princables!!
    Helen set the bar when she stood down Phillip field and Winston …………………oh wait……..oops.

    Don’t worry about a ban, I’ll show myself out

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