Remember how Banks’ Police report came out and the statement he gave to the Police was blanked out? And remember how Banks said it was the Police’s choice, not his? Yeah, well that was a lie. Even on the most generous reading of Banks’ words, he was trying to mislead the media. What’s Key’s rule? “A Minister who lies or misleads about his actions would lose his confidence”
So, guess what Key thinks now that we know Banks lied when he said that the choice to blank out his statement was made by the Police, not him? That’s right, he doesn’t give a damn and hasn’t bothered to the facts from his minister:
GRANT ROBERTSON (Deputy Leader—Labour) to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in Hon John Banks; if so, why?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : Yes; because he is a hard-working Minister.
Grant Robertson: Is it still his policy, as he told media on 30 April this year, that a Minister who lies or misleads about his actions would lose his confidence as Prime Minister?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.
Grant Robertson: Does he think Mr Banks has met this standard, after he told the New Zealand Herald on 14 September that the police were responsible for his witness statement being withheld when, in fact, it was he who asked for it to be withheld?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have no knowledge of that. That is a matter for the Minister.
Grant Robertson: I seek the leave of the House to table a letter from David P H Jones QC, Mr Banks’ lawyer, to the New Zealand Police, dated 10 August 2012, which says that disclosure of any material relating to Mr Banks is opposed.
Another point: that letter from Banks’ lawyer, the Police would have had to get Banks’ permission to release it under the OIA. So, Banks knew it was coming out. Indeed, from the moment that Banks said he had nothing to do with withholding the Police Statement anyone with any sense knew that Banks’ communication with Police about releasing his Police Statement would be coming out eventually.
Yet, Key claims to have no knowledge of it. Is he lying? If not, why wasn’t Key briefed? This is just basic political management. When a problem is coming, you have to get your ducks in a row. Is it that the last few weeks have taught him nothing about the need to be informed about his responsibilities? Or is it that he, like Banks, is lying?