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Banks must now submit correct return

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, September 14th, 2012 - 53 comments
Categories: accountability, democratic participation, electoral commission, Ethics, john banks, john key, local body elections, police - Tags:

John Key is wrong, John Banks has broken the law. He just did not get prosecuted. The return of donations he signed and submitted in 2010 is false, as the Police have stated. He should now correct it, or he is still in breach of the law.

The Local Electoral Act (Section 110) requires that returns of expenses and donations are to be kept and available for public inspection for a period of seven years from the date of the election. Section 109(2) states that the  return “must be in the form prescribed by  Schedule 2 or to similar effect.” Schedule 2 states:

[Here set out the name and description of every person or body of persons from whom or which any donation (whether of money or of the equivalent of money or of goods or services or of a combination of those things) of a sum or value of more than $1,000 (such amount being inclusive of any goods and services tax and of a series of donations made by or on behalf of any one person that aggregate more than $1,000 (inclusive of any goods and services tax)) was received by the candidate or by any other person on the candidate’s behalf for use by or on behalf of the candidate in the campaign for his or her election. The amount of each donation received is to be set out separately. If a donation of a sum of more than $1,000 was received from an anonymous person, the amount of the donation must be stated and the fact that the person who made the donation is anonymous must also be stated.]

We now know from the files released by the Police that John Banks directly and personally sought donations from Kim Dotcom and  from another person, as yet unknown. He was also handed a donation by the Chief Executive of SkyCity in the SkyCity office, who stated it was made clear to John Banks that the donation was not to be regarded as anonymous.

The return that is now to be kept “in the electoral officer’s office, or at some other convenient place to be appointed by the chief executive of the local authority,…for a period of 7 years after the date of the election to which it relates, and during that period the return must be open to inspection by any person” is false.

The reasons that the return is kept available for  inspection are obvious; precisely to guard against the sort of devious behaviour demonstrated by Banks. The return should and must be corrected to protect the record.

Section 133  of the Local Electoral Act states as follows:

(1) Every candidate commits an offence who fails to transmit a return of electoral expenses in the prescribed form to the electoral officer within the prescribed period.

(2) Every person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and, if he or she has been elected, to a further fine not exceeding $400 for every day on which he or she continues to act until the return is transmitted.

John Banks’ return does not comply with the prescribed form. He is therefore in breach of Section 133.

Section 109 (4) states regarding the return of election expenses that it is “the duty of every electoral officer to ensure that this section is complied with.” Section 138 further elaborates this duty:

 If the electoral officer at any election or poll—

  • (a) receives a written complaint that an offence under this Part has been committed; or

  • (b) believes for any other reason that an offence under this Part may have been committed,—

the electoral officer must report that matter to the Police together with the results of any enquiries made by the electoral officer that he or she considers appropriate.

(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent any person from reporting an alleged offence to the Police.

(3) Despite subsection (1), an electoral officer is not required to report the failure by a candidate at an election to file the return required by section 109(1) within the period prescribed in section 109, if the candidate files that return promptly after being required by the electoral officer to file the return.

So  the proper course of action would seem to be for the Auckland City electoral officer to require 2010 mayoral candidate John Banks to promptly file a correct return in the form prescribed. That is what would happen in a general election. I was required by the Electoral Commission to file amended returns on a number of occasions where I had made mistakes, and in one case I can remember I had breached the law. Correcting the return repairs the breach.

The onus to correct the return in this case is squarely on the candidate John Banks; failure to comply constitutes the offence. In case of failure the electoral officer must, and any other person can, report the matter to the Police.

I presume any Auckland elector or candidate would be able to take this matter up with the electoral officer in Auckland. It would appear still to be an employee of Independent Electoral Services, PO Box 5135, Wellesley Streeet, Auckland 1141, phone (09) 573 1212 and email info@electionservices.org.nz; which one I do not know.

John Banks 2010 mayoral campaign expenses report  in the prescribed form may be two years late; but at least it will be five years correct.

53 comments on “Banks must now submit correct return ”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    People like Banks consider themselves “above the law”, as do others whose company he keeps.
    Moreover, they deem themselves “above the truth”. Out and out arrogance, egotism, grandiosity, call it what you will.

  2. McFlock 2

    Interesting: because schedule 2 specifically outlines that donors’ details must be listed in that section, an incorrect return that fails to list the required donor’s details in fact fails to comply with the “prescribed form”?
    Poor people have been convicted on thinner legal interpretations, that’s for damned sure. Banks might face the music yet. $400per day  * 2 years (730 days) =  $292k 🙂

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      It’s only $400/day if you win. It’s only $1,000 fixed for the losers, like Banks.

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        ah, true – I forgot it was for the failed mayoral campaign, rather than the borough he was parachuted into.
        Oh well, at least one might be able to said that finally he’s showing his true convictions 🙂 

        • aerobubble

          Would the registrar be liable to prosecution if they did not furnish reporters with
          such correct legally available documentation. The public has an obvious interest
          in knowing the documents are accurate, and so a claim to the government Ombusman
          if the Electoral Registrar does not have the correct information and has no taken
          reason steps to get such information after the Police report.

  3. Bunji 3

    Dale Ofsoske is/was the electoral officer for the Auckland Council elections. He is the principal of Independent Electoral Services. I’m sure the info email will reach him, but dale.ofsofske at aucklandcity.govt.nz is his direct email address as listed in various places.

    Any journo want to request that correct form from him?

  4. BernyD 4

    It’s a good argument to have him stripped of the title “Honourable” bare minimum.

  5. irascible 5

    Is there a good legal case to be made to drag Banks, kicking and screaming, into a courtroom where his deviousness can be held to scrutiny under oath and in the public eye?
    The outline of the law Mike has provided certainly implies tat Banks could be held accountable, even now, before a court of law?
    Such an action might yet persuade KeY that he can no longer protect Banks!

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Banksie could be found meth’ed out behind the K’Rd shops, a school girl in his Bentley, and ShonKey would still support him. “he was obviously just helping her with reading recovery”.

  7. xtasy 7

    Very well summarised arguments, I’d say. Yes, Banks should now present a “corrected” report. Am I wrong or right, listening to either National Radio or Radio Live a short while ago, I heard that the president of the ACT Party appears to have expressed his expectation that Banks now does exactly that.

    That may be a bit of a game changer now. Banks is becoming untenable as ACT member and MP.

    I sense somehow, we will soon get an announcement from “Banksie”. This kind of critical exposure is more than he had to face before, and his nerves must be blank and on edge.

    It is now at a point, I think, where he may seriously consider resigning as MP and minister, thus causing a by-election in Epsom!

    That would put a lot of the government’s policy changes on hold, like the partial asset sales, the welfare reforms and more.

    Banks is presently hiding from the media and public, was not in Parliament yesterday, he is “suffering”.

    • McFlock 7.1

      To resign you need a sense of shame.
      Banks has none – otherwise he would have resigned before pulling the “I can’t know it’s not true if I don’t read it before I sign it” gambit. 
      But I’m sure he’ll do the decent thing if he becomes such an embarrassment that Key offers him baubles and bonuses to leave. 

      • xtasy 7.1.1

        A sense of shame helps, but it is not necessary for being forced to resign. When a guy like Banks, MP for Epsom, does what he did, and when the media may just up the ante a bit, his colleagues will possibly realise that Banks better goes and makes room for a newly elected MP for Epsom, who will most likely be a Nat anyway.

        Banks is becoming a real liability now, and hanging onto him looks really bad, which the public will not understand anymore.

        • McFlock

          But his colleagues can’t fire him. He’s not even in the same party.
          To get rid of him they’d need to offer something better than the $200k or whatever he’s on right now. 

          • KhandallahMan

            $200k reminds me of a “change of heart” around the Britomart decision…. He campaigned heavily against Christine Fletcher in 2001 for the Auckland Mayoralty in the basis that Britomart was a folly. After he won….”a change of heart”… and he was a great buddy of the Britomart developers. ahhhhh $200k… Cheap…

  8. Dv 8

    I hear the re is a Post in London!

  9. North 9

    Unfortunately none of this will matter when the weak faced bastard turns New Zealand upon itself with visceral racial division fomented by the weak faced bastard. All to further the weak faced bastard’s determination to hand New Zealand to the ilk of him.

    History will write the weak faced bastard as the worst thing ever to happen to this country.

  10. SAM 10

    It’s surprising how given the news in Christchurch and the far reaching and unpopular effects this will have with teachers, support staff etc etc losing their jobs and the effects on students, a story about John Banks is key on this site.

    It is the reason why Labour lags. Do people care about this? No, sort out the fucking real issues.

  11. John Buchan 11

    I think the actual Auckland Council electoral officer is now Bruce Thomas, an employee of the Council. Dale Ofsoske/Independent Election Services does the hands on running of elections.

  12. Balanced View 12

    John Banks is the best example I can think of as the faults of MMP

    • felix 12.1

      What bullshit. I remember Banks as an MP under FPP and he was a corrupt lying bigoted loser then.

      I also remember him elected under FPP as the Mayor of Ak – twice – and he was a corrupt lying bigoted loser then too.

      No matter what system he’s elected under, Key won’t sack him while he needs his vote. And Banks will cling to his last pathetic shred of “power” with every fibre of his rotten, decrepit being.

      Nothing to do with MMP.

      • Balanced View 12.1.1

        I disagree.
        John Banks would not be in parliament today had it not been for MMP.

        And MMP is precisely the reason the JK will hold off as long as possible to sack him

        • McFlock

          John Banks would be a national party cabinet minister under FPP. So at the moment he’s in act. Big change.
          The problem isn’t MMP. The problem is the moral bankruptcy of the national party that leads them to laying down with dogs like banks. But then they’e not exactly non-canine themselves.

          • Balanced View

            To quote felix – what bullshit!

            It’s obvious that National – especially JK – barely tolerate Banks. They didn’t before the election, and with all the embarrassment he brings they sure as hell don’t now. He would not be in parliament without MMP.

            And you’re forgetting that the NZ public have given the mandate to National to perform the way they do. National haven’t surprised with anything they didn’t campaign on.

            • Dv

              nope he won Epson!!

              >>National haven’t surprised with anything they didn’t campaign on.
              Charter schools.

            • McFlock

              the 49% mandate?
              National knew what they were doing when they parachuted him in. If they wanted the electorate wishes to be represented, rather than lining their own pockets, they would have run a candidate to win.

              • Balanced View

                A much stronger mandate than was delivered to anyone else.

                As you know – National only gave Banks a leg up in the hope he brought in some additional members – a big mistake.

                Either way – MMP provided the platform for a mess like this to exist.

                • McFlock

                  FPP provided a platform for gerrymandering, electorate favouritism and other practises.
                  At least MMP means that a party with e.g. 38% of the vote cannot govern alone with a majority of seats. It would be nice if politicians, especially tory politicians, weren’t moral bankrupts though.


                  • Balanced View

                    It would also be nice if parties that gained 1.43%, 1.07%, and 0.6% of the overall vote didn’t find themselves in strong bargaining positions.

                    • McFlock

                      Better than 40% dictating over 60%.  

                    • Balanced View

                      Actually, it would be 40% dictating over 35%, 10%, 10%, and 5%.
                      I would much prefer this than the mess we have today.

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, if you’d looked at the election results link you’d see that 38.8% dictated over 39%, 20.7% (and 1.6% that didn’t get a seat).
                      Give me MMP over that any day. 

                    • Balanced View

                      Actually, you’d find that NZs democratically voted individuals into electorates. The party that won the most electorates governed.
                      So every electorate had a representative that could vote on their behalf.
                      That makes perfect sense to me

                    • McFlock

                      gerrymander. Look it up. It’s even hyperlinked for you.

                    • felix

                      Perhaps it “makes perfect sense” to you because you don’t remember how it actually worked.

                      In reality under FPP large amounts of people effectively had no way to meaningfully vote, purely by virtue of where they lived.

                      I suspect you’re too young to have voted under this system, in which case your confusion would be partly understandable. However it’s no excuse not to listen to and learn from those who did.

                • mike e

                  BV Its Back fired on National big time!
                  So are you upset that National is loosing support over this!
                  time for a cup of tea and calm down and we might get a balanced view!

                  • Balanced View

                    I’m not upset at all. Good riddance to him.
                    But I am frustrated at minorities getting opportunities to become king makers. That is NOT democratic.

            • Draco T Bastard

              It’s obvious that National – especially JK – barely tolerate Banks.

              Bollocks, Banks is Blue through and through and always has been. National will think he’s a Stirling guy but that he’s stuffed up the PR by not keeping his actions under the radar.

              • mike e

                Banks a Christian Yeah Right.
                Honesty Compassion Greed Humility
                A million Dollars Couldn’t buy him the Auckland mayoralty poetic justice.
                Corrupt Conman!

        • mike e

          Balanced view National would have some other RWNJ to do their bidding make no mistake about that.
          While Banks is around the stench will be doing more damage than good politics is a dirty business.
          MMP has national painting its self into a corner.
          Under FPP National always had the upper hand with the rural seats and gerrymandering of the electoral boundaries due to long spells in power.
          They also disenfranchised the itinerants in society by not allowing people to register up till voting day.

        • felix


          John Banks would not be in parliament today had it not been for MMP.

          Epsom is and always has been a safe National seat, one of the safest in the country. National can back any candidate they like, wearing a National ribbon or any other ribbon, and that candidate will be elected.

          Banks is the MP because – and only because – National wish it so. If National wanted someone else to be the MP for Epsom, then someone else would be.

          That applies under both MMP and FPP. (Although that’s moot, as Banks won the electorate race which is a FPP contest).

          And MMP is precisely the reason the JK will hold off as long as possible to sack him

          No, the reason Key won’t sack him as a Minister is because Key wants him as a Minister. What are you saying, that the ACT Party Leader would turn around and vote against asset sales?

          Turn it up mate.

  13. captain hook 13

    does he still remember how to tie his own shoelaces?

  14. captain hook 14

    lets see his birth certificate too.

  15. Looking forward to finding an MP who’s prepared to present the following petition:

    “That the House conduct an urgent inquiry into the findings of the Police investigation into the allegations that the Hon. John Archibald Banks, CNZM QSO, submitted a false donation return in respect to the Auckland Council Mayoral election 2010 – that it was not unlawful for the Hon. John Archibald Banks, CNZM QSO to sign and transmit his candidate’s declaration of expenses without first personally checking and verifying that the information provided (by another party) was accurate.”

    Really do think that this needs sorting – URGENTLY?

    (Given that New Zealand is ‘perceived’ to be ‘the least corrupt country in the world’ – sort of thing?)

    How is it that the signature of the Leader of the ACT Party – which purports to uphold ‘personal responsibility’ – is SO meaningless, and carries SO little weight?

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’


    • Balanced View 15.1

      On a scale of 1-10 – where would you place this level of “corruption” in this instance?

      • Huginn 15.1.1

        That’s a slippery slope, BV.

      • felix 15.1.2

        I place it pretty high on the scale BV.

        Politician running for public office promising favours in return for money and falsifying documents to hide the source of the money from public scrutiny.

        It’s pretty much a textbook description of political corruption.

  16. xtasy 16

    He is a “married man”, offensive, aye, yeah, right, yet vote for gay marriage, due to pressure by ACT members? What does J.A. Banks stand for again????

    Hahaha, I forgot:

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