- Date published:
6:31 am, April 5th, 2012 - 81 comments
Categories: accountability, corruption - Tags: donations, john banks, len brown, SkyCity
Update: Labour had accused Banks of not declaring the $15,000 donation from SkyCity as required under local government electoral law. The law is strict. If he is charged and convicted he’ll be kicked out of Parliament. Key will have to take his portfolios if Banks didn’t declare the money.
Len Brown and John Banks both accepted $15,000 donations from SkyCity in 2010. Now, as Auckland mayor and the swing vote in Parliament on gambling, their positions on the Nats’ shabby ‘law for sale’ deal with SkyCity are both vital and compromised. Fortunately, both of them recently got payrises to quarter of a million dollar salaries. So they can afford to undo this conflict of interest. Make the cheques out to problem gambling, boys.
[note: Brown is cowardly refusing to state a position on the pokies for convention centre deal. He used to be strongly anti pokies. But, for some idiot reason, he’s pro the international convention centre, which will barely pay its way, if at all, and will be a costly white elephant for council and government with continual demands for ‘subvention’ (ie marketing subsidies). So, his principled and logical objection to pokies has been shelved.]
Not having Banksie on the top floor again was a short lived relief it seems. ‘Lenslide’ has quickly morphed into ‘Len Clown’, ‘Nightmayor’, ‘Brownnoser’ and even scab herder (more accurate than scab imo).
Serious thought needs to go into an electable genuine left mayoral candidate for jaffa city.
If this is ‘law for sale’, how does it differ from a Labour govt enacting laws to satisfy the unions who contribute most of their funding?
If you can establish that “enacting laws to satisfy the unions” is a fair summation of the process by which the Labour Party arrives at policy then you might have a point. Good luck with that.
“If this is ‘law for sale’, how does it differ from a Labour govt enacting laws to satisfy the unions who contribute most of their funding?”
laws helping protect workers rights =! gambling laws which attack lower socioeconomic groups
Hi Maigret (good pseudonym, btw),
Drawing analogies like this requires a bit of skill.
The Labour Party had its origins as the political wing of the Labour movement. That movement included unions but was not synonymous with it. That a Labour Party enacts policy in favour of ‘labour’ is hardly surprising, given those historical origins (and, hopefully, historical continuity).
But, if your analogy is correct, then we would have to conclude that the National Party, from its origins, is representative of a ‘movement’ based in corporate capital. Hence – as your analogy suggests – it would be no surprise to see it enacting legislation that favours corporate capital.
The important difference, however, is that ‘labour’ includes the vast majority of New Zealanders. ‘Corporate capital’, by contrast, embraces a much smaller minority.
Given that, I don’t think National would want to push your analogy too far under the nose of the ordinary New Zealander.
In a post over at Frogblog Denise Roche reckons the confirmed numbers on the dirty deal stack up 60 to 60 and it all depends on John Banks as to whether it goes through or not.
She has dug up an old speech from Banks in which he took a position vehemently opposed to the extension of casino gambling:
Will be interesting to see if the $15K donation has helped change those views or not.
That’s a very good speech extract from Denise. I’ll keep a close eye on her contributions to debate and activism.
I particularly like the use of the term ‘wide boy’. We don’t hear it anywhere near enough, given how appropriate it is in the context of this current government.
Correction – a good use of an extract of Banks’ speech. (I still think ‘wide boy’ needs to be used more :))
Indeed, very good speech by Banks – maybe the only one I would ever compliment him on.
Question now is whether Banks will stick by it or whether he has been corrupted or coerced to resile it and tow the Key/Joyce line of doing the dirty deal for SkyCity.
Anyone who received funds from skycity must, without question abstain on any vote involving that entity. That it has to be discussed because its not obvious to some elected reps is appalling
Probably not practical Tracey. If individuals / parties couldn’t take part in votes/discussions around legislation involving any link to donators, then not a whole lot would be achieved.
It does raise a bigger issue though, perhaps donations should not be allowed, and all electioneering be completed with tax payer funded budgets?
We’d have no choice – it would have to be tax-payer funded. Otherwise what you’re suggesting is the legalisation of buying influence.
I see no benefit to that – except for certain interest grousps.
Which is the suggestion as to what currently occurs. Would you agree Frank that having “interested parties” abstain from discussion/voting would be almost impossible knowing how wide spread political donations are?
Brilliant. Essentially you are solidifying the rule of the current political elite with this idea.
Not at all, I would prefer it to be solely taxpayer funded.
But until then, as I’ve said above, impossible to extract “interested parties” with any link no matter how tenuous
You’ve deliberately and unnecessarily mixed up “interested parties” with those who actually “vote” (MP’s), clouding what is a very clear issue.
If an MP has a conflict of interest he/she must recuse themselves from the proceedings.
If you are still confused about “conflict of interest”, please ask Nick Smith. I believe he has got the idea now.
Take private money out of the equation.
Campaigns should be 80% publicly funded, and campaign spending limits dropped further.
You gotta love the leftist attitude to spending OPM.
As a net tax contributor why should I be happy that I an funding political parties that I disagree with?
The idea would have more merit if it involved restrictions on all level of private support forr political parties e.g. volunteers.
That’s the Neoliberal attitude. Avoiding corruption and conflict of interest by recusing oneself is “probably not practical” lol
An hour or so ago, this was posted on the NZH site:
This is a good deal for New Zealand. And what is the comment “costly white elephant” based on?
[google “med feasibility study convention centre’ – 0.8 to 1.4 bcr, and that was based on a rapid economic recovery. Eddie]
Why is increased gambling – which is a non-productive activity – “good for New Zealand”?
You might as well say it’s “good for New Zealand” if people drink more alcohol, smoke more cigarettes, and we have more prostitutes.
You are completely ignoring the benefit having a conference centre like this would bring. And have you seen the additional jobs this has been forecasted to provide?
Forecasts lol when were the last capitalists forecasts anything more than horoscope gazing?
The forecasts on worsening gambling problems and corporate theft of wealth from those who can least afford it are sobering though.
Selling out NZ laws and principles to a corporate for a fucking conference centre. Bunch of cheap whores we are.
Viper buddy! How are you today?
Lol, forecasts, nice work on having your cake and eating it to.
Haven’t exceptions and bending of rules traditionally happened should the positives out way the negatives? I’m thinking specifically about the tax breaks offered to encourage film makers to produce here.
Should the positives for the elite outweigh the negatives for the elite, yes that appears to be the usual Tory decision making process.
Tell the 1000 laborers that will help build it that the benefits are for the elite only.
Blinkers off Viper, sometimes the “other side” come up with some good ideas.
Keep your blinkers on mate, if NACT wanted to generate 1000 labouring jobs building something WORTHWHILE they could build Auckland rail.
Or ask NZers to rebuild Christchurch insterad of Irish.
How about that?
Sure the “other side” can come up with good ideas – attacking the poor by liberalising gambling laws for the profit of Sky City elite shareholders is not one of them.
“…sometimes the *other side* come up with some good ideas.”
Then the *other side* has their (tunnel) vision exposed, and hey presto! nothing changes cos how dare anyone provide info that shows up the Tsar as the dimwit he is.
So why not build houses? God knows we have a housing shortage in this country.
Or is New Zealand going to be building convention centres, casinos, brothels, and cigarette factories from now on? Is that the best we can do???
“Or is New Zealand going to be building convention centres, casinos, brothels, and cigarette factories from now on? Is that the best we can do???”
Yes I think that is the best we can do…as long as there are inbred idiots like ‘balanced view’ cheerleading the chase of modernity like its 1950.
Or as was pointed out to me yesterday on another issue, why not do both? 1000 jobs is 1000 jobs right?
By why create jobs in exchange for SkyCity shareholders creaming it off the poor of the country? That’s who plays the pokies after all.
Which was really quite stupid. Would have been far better if the government paid the full costs to have the films made here by NZers without involving the overseas distributors. Then the full profits and taxes would have been returned here as well.
Why was the tax payer subsidising Peter Jackson who clearly is rich enough to pay for the entire Hobbit project personally?
Government handouts and benefit payments for the ultra-rich.
What a stupid comment.
No it cuts to the chase accurately BV.
Key got his payback during the election campaign. Very staged and glaringly obvious tour of the set, he had a look of embarrassment wondering if the people could see his cronyism in action.
It has clearly been stated as being the difference between the movie being filmed here or not. How many tax dollars and jobs are earned if it’s filmed in another country?
Oh yeah I forgot, so now any industry can blackmail the Govt. when it wants to increase profits. Very silly and dangerous precedent to be setting Ballanced View.
And you are completely ignoring the facts that,
(a) increased gambling brings increased problem gamblers
(b) since when did NZ sell it’s legislation for a convention centre?
(c) if we sell ourselves for money – you know what that’s called?
“You are completely ignoring the benefit having a conference centre”
How about you do what your name suggests and work out the benefit of money that the crown is making by changing legislation to assist building a convention centre that it would otherwise never have built (If it was viable they private sector would already have built it, wouldn’t it?)
Balance this against the cost to the crown of funding all the negative effects of gambling addictions? It’s appalling that a government would sell law-making and vulnerable people down the river so a business such as this can make a profit.
This government has a contradictory record of letting the market provide, when it wants, e.g. refusing to set aside land from property speculators in the Christchurch rebuild, as well as helping out businesses to increase profits at the expense of citizens.
“If it was viable they private sector would already have built it, wouldn’t it?”
No, the financial benefits from this are far reaching, not one entity would enjoy all of it. However, businesses far and wide would, and of course the govt would continue to earn tax al along the way.
There’s no financial benefit from this, except for the elite and SkyCity gambling interests.
There’s plenty of conference venues in Auckland already. This is just another white elephant, and an excuse to sell NZ laws out to foreign investors – yet again.
So no taxi driver will benefit as they transport delegates attending events here out to dinner? No restaurants benefiting from meals they might purchase? No food suppliers benefiting from increased trade with restaurants? And so on and so on.
Viper, let me give you an opportunity to retract that last comment of yours.
The question is – do they benefits that might accrue outweigh what the government will have to spend to make up for the negative impacts of gambling?
Plus the fact that the convention centre will probably run at a loss (the basis for assuming this is that the private sector hasn’t run with it before now). If the convention centre cannot attract enough patrons to make a profit, do you really expect that all the benefits to taxi drivers, restaurants etc will arrive?
Benefits to other businesses would occur whether the convention centre ran at a profit or not.
There’s no benefit to this convention centre.
Shit loads of unused and under utilised convention centres within 20 km of Auckland CBD.
This is another white elephant.
Never heard of people complaining that they couldn’t find a convention centre available for hire because they’ve all been booked out.
Frankly we have a total surplus of under utilised convention centres.
Yeah whatever. SkyCity shill.
“Benefits to other businesses would occur whether the convention centre ran at a profit or not.”
Not true. A new convention centre would merely channel existing spending from one area to another. Some businesses would benefit but only at the expense of other businesses which would cancel the alleged benefits out. For every new job created one will be lost elsewhere.
Apart from the sugar rush of building the edifice the only possible economic boost to the country would be from an increase in foreign users of NZ convention centres. All other business exists already. The same applies to the pokies, the money is already being spent it will just be diverted into Sky’s coffers instead of someone else’s.
It would be a boost to Auckland by taking convention business away from the likes of Wellington, but that’s not an economic gain for the country.
You’re assuming that this conference centre will merely cannibalize existing conference centers. The whole purpose of building this one would be to be able to accommodate and entice major international conferences to NZ. This would be incremental business to NZ.
Fortunately their are some proactive people left in this country, unlike the many naysayers that seem to populate this blog.
And you’re assuming those major international conferences will come to NZ just on the basis of us having a convention centre. Why would they? Is it a novel business idea to have a convention centre in a city? What does Auckland offer these international conventioners that other cities with existing convention centres don’t already offer?
As usual it’s all vague & unsubstantiated hype; ethereal promises with no evidence to support them. Lets build the perfect mouse trap and the world will beat a path to our doorstep. Proactive my arse.
♫ MONORAAAAIL!! ♫
Please give me a single example of a major international conferences which has committed to being held in Auckland if and only if this new centre goes ahead.
But that also assumed cost of construction was included. The National government have cleverly avoided this.
Yeah by selling NZ laws like Banana Republic whores do.
Zet I am not sure that Banks being found guilty of a corrupt practice in the super city election would result in his parliamentary seat being voided although I have not seen the detail. It may be that a local government corrupt practice is not a general election corrupt practice.
Micky, I think it’s worse than that, from what I’ve uncovered (after a tip off); http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/acc-skycity-nz-superannuation-what-is-the-connection/
Sky City’s tendrils are everywhere – and in this case, it may have broken the law.
And of course it would require the Keystone Cops to actually press charges.
I can’t see anything in the Local Government election law that requires donations to be declared by donor.
Len Brown, for example declared donations of $582,000 but $499,00 of that was through an anonymous trust. It doesn’t appear that you have to declare anything by donors name.
It may prove embarassing for Banks but it doesn’t appear to be a corrupt practice punishable in any way so talking about offences punishable by 2 years imprisonment does seem to be a bit over the top.
It depends if the donation was made to the trust or the candidate.
Yes, but try and PROVE that it wasn’t anonymous. This was similar to what Mike Williams said was done when large sums of money were collected from Asian donors in Auckland in, I think, 2005. He said if my memory serves me that they were given envelopes to put the money into and then he could claim he didn’t know who gave anything. If you really think that many people give large sums truly anonymously I have a bridge across the East River in New York to sell you.
Some might but not very many I suggest. That was in respect to a fuss about someone getting residency or something like that I believe. A Labour party supporting friend of mind passed on a scurilous rumour that the money was placed in envelopes but that they were numbered.
Kerry Prendergast declared that all her donations in 2007 when standing for the Wellington mayoralty were anonymous as well.
Incidentally does the statute of limitations cut in at 6 months for local body elections? Didn’t such a cutoff prevent any investigation of the Generall election returns?
Yes, but try and PROVE that it wasn’t anonymous.
Brown and Banks both received $15,000 from Sky City, Sky City confirms this and also has a policy of asking those who get donations to declare them, according to TV3
So why would Banks classify his donation as anonymous when Brown has declared openly where his donation came from ?.
A spokeswoman for Banks claims that all the donations are a matter of public record.
The appropriate public record appears to be elusive, and unless Banks can show that the donation from Sky City was treated in accordance with the electoral act in a proper manner he is looking down the barrel of a gun.
“The appropriate public record appears to be elusive, and unless Banks can show that the donation from Sky City was treated in accordance with the electoral act in a proper manner he is looking down the barrel of a gun.”
I’ce been trying to chase down and find the “public record” – no success. Unless I’m looking in the wrong and using the wrong search parameters, there is nothing in any of the Search engines.
I would be curious to knowwhere this “public record” is.
According to the Local Government Act the expenses returns must be held by, or at a place appointed by,
the CEO of the Local Authority.
I wonder if I am being unduly cynical in thinking it was no coincidence that Robertson didn’t bring this up until the Thursday afternoon before Easter, when no-one would have time to request a look at the return until at least the following Tuesday, and also didn’t bring it up until AFTER Banks had left Parliament.
That gives him much longer in the spotlight and I am sure he is aware that denials never catch up with accusations. That was how Joe McCarthy proved so successful in the 1950s.
Personally I would prefer that Mr Robertson spent his time pushing for a review of the actions on Wellingtom Waterfront with its land sales than an 18 month old return by a candidate who lost.
The Wellington Waterfront activities are, after all, going on in his electorate.
This was reported in 2010:
I can only find records of donations to parties for Parliamentary elections on this site:
But there is information on contactuing the electoral commission here:
Maybe someone should ask why the information on local election donations is not easily available online?
Anyone got the link to Bank’s 2010 Auckland Mayoral donations so we can all see for ourselves whether the $15,000 Sky City donation was declared?
Am going to find the link for the LAW regarding declarations of donations in local government elections…
Local Electoral Act 2001
109 Return of electoral expenses
(1) Within 55 days after the day on which the successful candidates at any election are declared to be elected, every candidate at the election must transmit to the electoral officer a return setting out—
(b) the name and address of each person who made an electoral donation to the candidate and the amount of each electoral donation; and
(2) Every return under subsection (1) must be in the form prescribed in Schedule 2 or to similar effect.
(4) It is the duty of every electoral officer to ensure that this section is complied with.
In this Part,—
electoral donation, in relation to a candidate at an election,—
(a) means a donation (whether of money or 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) made to the candidate, or to any person on the candidate’s behalf, for use by or on behalf of the candidate in the campaign for his or her election; and
134 False return
(1) Every candidate commits an offence who transmits a return of electoral expenses knowing that it is false in any material particular, and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to a fine not exceeding $10,000.
(2) Every candidate commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 who transmits a return of electoral expenses that is false in any material particular unless the candidate proves—
(a) that he or she had no intention to mis-state or conceal the facts; and(b) that he or she took all reasonable steps to ensure that the information was accurate.
(b) that he or she took all reasonable steps to ensure that the information was accurate.
Has anyone found the link yet to John Bank’s electoral expenses?
(2) Every return under subsection (1) must be in the form prescribed in Schedule 2 or to similar effect.
Return of electoral expenses and electoral donations
Under section 109 of the Local Electoral Act 2001
I, AB, a candidate at the election held on the day of 20 , make the following return of all electoral expenses incurred by me or on my behalf at the election and of all electoral donations made to me or to any person on my behalf.
[Here set out separately the name and description of every person or body of persons to whom or which any sum was paid, and the reason for which it was paid. Sums paid for radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, newspaper advertising, posters, pamphlets, etc, must be set out separately and under separate headings.]
[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.]
Dated at this day of 20 .
You really should include part (c) in your reproduction of section 109.
“c if an electoral donation of money or of the eqivalent of money is made to the candidate anonymously and the amount of that donation exceeds $1,000
(1) the amount of that donation
(2) the fact that it was received anonymously.”
If the money was reported under this section you would probably have to prove that John Banks knew personally when he made the return that he knew it wasn’t anonymous.
One might doubt it but you would have to prove it. It would probably require that the casino gave the cheque, or whatever, to JB personally, not just to someone to pass on to him.
Anyway I would like to see the return itself before even assuming this. The fact that Robertson says so doesn’t necessarily make it so.
“Balanced View” = applauding the National Party for further plundering the poor. Cool !
I suspect that behind that pompously presumptuous posting name is someone who would be the first to demonise and defame the poor the ranks of which he/she openly supports expanding.
We really do have a war on our hands in NZ. Roll on the Kiwi Spring !
….’Roll on the Kiwi Spring’.
Go Penny !
If revenue from a Convention Centre does not cover running costs and debt, then any profit will have to come from other businesses providing accomodation, eating and tourist ventures.
Is the capacity in these other industries not already full ? It could be foolhardy to expand the other industries in the expectation of a pay off from a new Convention Center – a sort of “loss leader” perhaps. You would have to be pretty confident of sustained and growing demand for use of the Convention Centre. Where would this come from ? Are delegates going to spend more in transport and time to fly down here rather than go to a big hotel in Hawaii or Convention Centre in Australia or Singapore or other Pacific rim centres ? Maybe if the accomodation and other costs were substantially less. Personally I would gag at the thought of attending a conference in a gambling complex over the rosd from a high rise brothel in dingy downtown Auckland. Give me Sydney or Singapore any day.
Tsar Joyce makes important decisions based on wet-dream growth forecasts he sees reflected as he watches his conehead cranium swell under new ‘minister of everything’ status.
Maybe all political donations large and small should be given to the electoral commission who pass them on to the parties they are intended for but without the names of the donors – 100% anonymous. It may not be that practical but it would take away suggestion that donations = influence.
And anyone who donates has 14 days to change their mind and get 100% of their money back. That will further complicate pollies trying to work out who donated what.
This little bit may be appearing in the MSM as well. More sh*t from SkyCity – this time involving ACC and NZ Super Fund; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/acc-skycity-nz-superannuation-what-is-the-connection/
Somehow, I dont think that our living standards are going to improve by running around after wealthy American and Asian conference-goers.
We can join the realms of lovely Pacific banana republics. Learn how to make a good coffee, how to make a good cocktail, serve nice banquets and generally wait on our wealthy conference going visitors hand and foot.
I can’t wait for my kids to grow up in this awesome economy!
Don’t forget our dear leader’s trousers with their invisible greenstone treatment!