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By the book

Written By: - Date published: 8:43 am, August 2nd, 2012 - 60 comments
Categories: accountability, john banks, john key - Tags:

“In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.” – The Cabinet Manual. John Banks lied to reporters, and the public, while a minister. That’s not upholding the highest ethical standards. When will John Key hold him to account?

Never, if Key can help it. The Banks-Key Government may fall if Key tries to hold Banks to account and Banks resigns from Parliament. At the very least, it would put the Government’s rightwing legislation on pause for at least three months.

Key came to office promising higher standards than he said we had seen from Labour. He started well, sacking Richard Worth for something that, like Banks’ actions, saw a police investigation but no prosecution. But how his standards have slipped. Since then, the ministerial resignations have been in spite of Key’s wishes, not because of them.

We just need to look to the last Labour government to see how the Banks affair would have been handled by a government with higher standards of accountability.

Helen Clark sacked Lianne Dalziel over the ‘lie in unison’ affair – just like Banks, it was about a minister lying to the press and Clark acted. Clark stood down Winston Peters over his donations row – just like Banks, it was a the leader of a support party and a donations scandal but Clark acted.

It’s pretty sad that, after four short years, far from setting higher standards of accountability than Clark, Key is plumbing new depths.

60 comments on “By the book”

  1. Kotahi Tāne Huna 1

    Key has lied and lied and lied: he embodies deceit. How on Earth can he expect higher standards of John Banks than he displays himself?

    We’re still waiting for the academics to show us a counterview, for an explanation of this money-grubbing wretch’s “seeing eye” trust arrangements. His denials of involvement in an illegal election broadcast were a tissue of lies.

    He is under investigation by the Auditor General for his corrupt sale of New Zealand legislation, his “self-advice”.

    Key is in no position to act.

    • Akldnut 1.1

      My theory is Banksie has some wood on Key and the Keysta don’t want no skeletons jumping outa the beehive closets before his pilfering is complete. (Purely my thoughts – no evidence at all)

  2. Lanthanide 2

    I’m not sure why Banks would resign from parliament if he was stood down or sacked as a minister. That smacks of supreme childishness.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Well, actually, it would be an act of honour, an admission that he wasn’t of the required character – something that we won’t see from either John Banks, Key or this government.

  3. vto 3

    Well you see, if a Fair Trading (Politics) Act was introduced to ensure that politicians acted to the same standards required of others then there would be no problem.

    “misleading and deceptive conduct in politics”, just like the current Fair Trading Act.

    So, why not?

  4. Anne 4

    John Key is the most dishonest, corrupt prime minister we have seen in a 100 years. Yet a sycophantic MSM continue to fawn over him. You have to wonder why? What is his hold over them? Are they scared of him? Are they so shallow and vain themselves, they perceive something of themselves in him?

    Or – as is most likely – he bought his popularity with the MSM by tossing ‘baubles and beads’ in their direction from time to time. Just like Turia and Sharples.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      You got it Anne. This Government has far wider latitude to move because the MSM gives it to them. Media company and news editorial relationships are something that National has right, and National has strong.

      I think its a shame that Labour didn’t beat down the system of corporate media while it had a chance and go with tory proofed full public broadcasting options.

    • BillODrees 4.2

      Anne, Are you letting Jenny Shipley off the hook?  
      She had a very low standard of integrity while PM.  And the associations she and her hubby have made, since becomming ” Consulants”,  have had dodgy odours surrounding them.  She even became an immigration consultant! 

  5. Banks was a naive fool – all he had to do was, like Len Brown’s $499,000 unknown donations, set up a Trust.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      And not get caught on camera accepting donations from Kim Dotcom at fancy parties, and then lying, again on camera, about it afterwards when asked.

      You have to face it – Len Brown is simply smarter than John Banks. That’s why Banks lost and that’s why Banks is a loser.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 5.2

      Fortran are you that desperate? Remind me how Brown lied and broke the law the way John “for sale” Banks did – you see the difference? Banks is a criminal who gets off on technicalities, and Brown isn’t.

      • Fortran 5.2.1

        Kotahi

        I did not say or imply that Len broke the law – I said that he was more clever than Banks in soliciting donations.

        • Pascal's bookie 5.2.1.1

          Who said he solicited any donations that went to his trust?

          We know he declared the skycity ones. Why didn’t he tell them to give to the trust? Because the trust was for anon donations. derp derp.

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna 5.2.1.2

          Fortran are you being deliberately disingenuous, or are you just a bit thick? If Brown solicited donations he claimed were anonymous, he broke the law too. It’s just that you’ve got fuck all evidence he did anything of the sort.

          Are these feeble smears the best you can do?

    • Craig Glen Eden 5.3

      you obviously havent heard of the waitamata trust Fortran? no thought not.

    • tracey 5.4

      i dont think he was naieve. I think he was arrogant and truly believed he could bend and breaK RULES no one would find out. He didnt reckon on an angry millionaire chucking his toys out of the cot, even tho he had owen glen to learn from. Banks believes he can buy or barter his way in and out of everything.

  6. ad 6

    Not entirely sure this site can have it both ways:

    Complaining about an opposition apparently hamstrung by high ethical standards in one story, and then complaining that the Government’s ethical standards in carrying out government appear too low.

    I don’t support Key or Banks. Equally it’s pretty rich for Trevor Mallard to preach ethics to John Banks. John Banks takes fat donations, Trevor Mallard screws the staff. etc etc.

    It’s a downward vortex: a standard game to bring the whole of Parliament into gradual disrepute and hope that most of the stink hangs around those in power, in order that the rulers receive a more negative impact in the public than the opposition.

    But it’s absolutely the wrong way to win.

    “…until even the fruits of war are ashes in our mouths”, to take Kennedy out of context.

    • tracey 6.1

      agreed. People in glasshouses.

    • Carol 6.2

      Not entirely sure this site can have it both ways:

      Complaining about an opposition apparently hamstrung by high ethical standards in one story, and then complaining that the Government’s ethical standards in carrying out government appear too low.

      Ermmmm… this site doesn’t represent just one view. it has posts by various people and discussion ensues. The 2 posts you refer to were written by different people.

      • ad 6.2.1

        I’m all for dialogical contests, played by well armed opponents. But it’s eerie to see two authors on the same day argue against each other on the same site, over the same ground, not acknowledging each other, both effectively mirroring what they are complaining about without reflexiveness or irony.

        Not even sure that ethics and politics are that easy to sustain in space without matter cancelling antimatter.

        I guess that would be the first point. The second point, with a minor note of Frank Capra and Mr Smith Goes to Washington, is that it’s a lot more fun and a lot more hopeful to win by saying not merely what you stand against, but what you stand for. That would go not only for parties, but for us.

        • Carol 6.2.1.1

          🙄

          That’s a lot of words, ad, creating more heat than light – I get no idea from that of what YOU stand for apart from having a dig at the site.

          Congratulations on being able to use some big words and pop culture references.

          • ad 6.2.1.1.1

            Should I be given the opportunity, I would happily stretch the legs on the site. Most would figure it out from what I’ve commented previously. Meantime, I’ll take the compliment.

            • Carol 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Most would figure it out from what I’ve commented previously.

              Ditto for the post you criticise above.
              But you were asking for people to state their positions:

              is that it’s a lot more fun and a lot more hopeful to win by saying not merely what you stand against, but what you stand for.

              And yet, when you are challenged on it, when all you have done is state what you are against, you say, in effect, work it out for yourself

      • Pascal's bookie 6.2.2

        In any case. there is no contradiction in saying that Labour won’t stoop to the race baiting lies that National whole heartedly used in opposition, and saying that that National isn’t ethical in government.

        God knows what the ‘Mallard screws his staff’ comment has to do with anything, but it’s hilarious that ad throws it out there in a comment pretending toi be about keeping plitics wholesome.

        Another weak effort really. more complicated than tighty righty’s but still just a pile of hypocritical nasty gobshite at the end of the day. par for the course, and a pretty good example of what the post is talking about.

        • ad 6.2.2.1

          Probably you need to track more carefully how Banks and Mallard have been exchanging in Parliament over the last 48 hours.

          What if we held Labour to high standards:
          – Labour would whip the vote for gay marriage rather than make it a “conscience” issue. Didn’t. Greens did. Even the Prime Minister has been clearer than Labour on this.

          – Labour would have made a clear and strong stand about the Treaty of Waitangi and water rights, rather than parsing it off. Didn’t.

          – Labour would tell Mallard to sit down and shut up and give the attack over to someone who isn’t an appalling hypocrite on any ethical standards one could think of, particularly personal ones.

          – Labour would not not propose the unions as an exception to the lobbying register bill. Indifensible and dumb.

          But we don’t get that. We get weak opposition being blamed in one article for having too much conscience to be effective, and then something else for the Nats.

          Trying to defend one standard of ethics for government and another for opposition is rank hypocrisy of the worst order.

          • Pascal's bookie 6.2.2.1.1

            -Why is whipping vs conscience vote on marriage equality a matter of ethics?

            The bill is a private members bill, (from a Labour mp incidently). Shearer has said he will support it at every reading, and most Labour mps have done likewise. As far as I’m aware Key has said only that he will support it at first reading so I’m not sure what you are talking about in that comparison. The greens are whipping it because marriage equality is party policy.

            So again, I’m not sure why you think there are ethical issues at play here.

            -Again, I’m not sure why you think this the water rights issue is an ethical one. It’s a policy matter. Their position on policy is not one of ethics. The rhetoric they use could be described as a matter of ethics, but I think they have been fairly restrained. If you have an example of something they have said that is out of order, please be mentioning it.

            -The union exemption thing is stupid, I agree.

            -Whether or not Mallard leads an attack or whether or not he is a hypocrite is perhaps an issue, though more of a tctical one than an ethical one. But again, you need to provide details. If mallard has been breaking laws and telling lies to NZ about it, then again, please be mentioning it. To be a hypocrite you need to be doing what you accuse your opponents of.

            And there is no “complaint” about Labour being too ethical in r0b’s post. That’s just your weird interpretation of it. All I see is a statement that Labour isn’t as feral as National was, and that National is lucky on that score. If you disagree with that, I’d like to hear why.

            • ad 6.2.2.1.1.1

              -conscience votes are called that for a reason.
              -waitangi tribanal reconciles history property and ethics into justice
              – the whole house knew they were trading their ethical history and roared.
              Yout guys don’t have to get the point ; the rest of the media have today.

              • Pascal's bookie

                -conscience votes are called that for a reason.

                Yes they are. You implied there was something dubious about them, and that whipping was ethically superior. Apparently you can’t explain why. I’m not surpised by that, because the claim makes no sense.

                -waitangi tribanal reconciles history property and ethics into justice

                I’ve no idea what this means or how it relates to the discussion, so I’ll just note that you’ve not been able to come up with anything Labour has said that could be described as unethical. An example would be like the falsehoods National was spreading about beaches after the F&S ruling.

                – the whole house knew they were trading their ethical history and roared.
                Yout guys don’t have to get the point ; the rest of the media have today.

                Again, so what exactly? Political theatre doesn’t establish ethics, and it’s telling that you can’t actually make a case. The house roared. Pfft. National barracked in defense of the indefensible.

                Here’s ‘the media’ today:

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10823961

                http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/vernon-small/7394708/Banks-off-the-hook-for-now

                • Draco T Bastard

                  From the NZHearld link quoting Banks:

                  “I’m determined to stay on and there’s been a police inquiry. I told you from day one I did nothing wrong, worked within the law. The police have had an extensive investigation and I have been totally cleared.”

                  So, in Tory world the police saying that the criminal couldn’t be charged due to time limitations is “totally cleared”. Tui Moment

              • Pascal's bookie

                And here’s how the NZ Herald editorial of yesterday mentions Labour in regard to the matter;

                Labour leader David Shearer put it succinctly: “This is a guy that has gone to a donor, asked for money and in one case received a cheque in his hand, then turned around and said he cannot remember receiving it. Police can’t prove it, but everyone in New Zealand knows what is going on here.”

                • xtasy

                  Tell you, time Shearer grows up and names a shame what it is: A shame!

                  He should not be the kind, humble and meek leader of sorts, he should go all out on an assault on Key and the rest. Nothing else works. Also I heard and saw the overly disciplined chanting on recent marches of protest.

                  Let me tell you: You will not scare a chicken by whispering meek sounds!

                  It is bloody time for OPPOSITION, but I see too little of it. If Labour wants to make waves, better have a brain storming session right now!

                  I am inclined to support MANA, but there are some issues there. So get your bloody shit together, Labour, if you ever will!

  7. The wording of the following petition has just been double-checked with Parliamentary staff, and can be downloaded NOW if folks want to start collecting signatures!

    Hope to have this petition presented when Parliament next sits on Tuesday 14 August 2012.

    This should help get the LAW tightened up here – although I cannot for the life of me understand how the signature of John Banks is so meaningless – given that he is the Leader of the ACT Party – which – as I understood it – was purported to be the Party which believed in ‘personal responsibility’???

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/JOHN-BANKS-POSSUM.jpg

    To the House of Representatives

    The petition of Penelope Mary Bright of 86A School Road Kingsland Auckland, Ph (09) 846 9825 and others:

    ”Respectfully requests:

    ”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.”

    There are questions to be asked.

    Such as Banks was at a meeting in Sky City and was handed a sealed envelope:

    1.What did he think it was?
    2. What would he have thought it was?
    3. How did he know to give it to who ever opened the envelope?
    4. What were the words which were spoken at the time of the exchange?
    5.Why did the administration person for Bank who processed the check write ‘anonymous’ on the register when the cheque would quite clearly have shown who it came from.
    6. How did Sky City deal with this payment as part of their tax obligations?
    ________________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

    • xtasy 7.1

      Penny, you are so very “honourable” an dignified, I sometimes despair.

      What about the “old fashioned” French way?

      I makes for “great theatre performance” too, ideally on Aotea Square!?

      We have baskets ready to “collect” the “refuse”!

    • AmaKiwi 7.2

      To Penny Bright
       
      You had a superior posting about consumers changing energy companies.  I did not copy down the details.  Now I cannot find it on The Standard.  Can you direct me to it or repeat it again.
       
      You are absolutely correct.  If enough of the public play havoc with Mighty River’s profits by switching to another company, it is no longer an attractive investment.  This is a brilliant tactic!
       
      Please re-post that here.

    • xtasy 8.1

      This Libor hype is of course a scandal of sorts, but it must be put into perspectives. It actually did little harm, as the banks engaged in manipulative activities that kept interest rates in check, so to say. That means it may in some ways actually have been in the interest of the banking customers, businesses and so lending money.

      The issue is of course the fact of manipulating the fiscal regime. Now that raises again questions like, when the trading and investment banks can do it and get away with it, why can then the states not set monetary standards and influence fiscal policies in setting interest rates to also control the currency rate, to assist trade and whatever?

      This is all a very tricky and complex field of activity though, and even if you favour socialist policies, you will always need to be mindful of fiscal and exchange rate policies that inevitably will be looked at and interacted with globally.

      Yet this government could and should have done more, eg. introduce even more profound saving incentives to keep money in the country, follow similar agendas as Singapore, Norway, and other smartly investing countries. If that is not done, and if we follow the laissez faire nonsense of the past two to three decades even further, inevitably, one day we may have to take measures to become a country like North Korea.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        This Libor hype is of course a scandal of sorts, but it must be put into perspectives. It actually did little harm, as the banks engaged in manipulative activities that kept interest rates in check, so to say. That means it may in some ways actually have been in the interest of the banking customers, businesses and so lending money.

        This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. The bankers took interest rate positions which scammed huge amounts of capital from the financial system and put it in their own pockets. Investors, pension funds, savers, borrowers, all lost in turn. Here, educate yourself:

        Suppose the bankers are manipulating the interest rate so they can place bets with the money you lend or repay them – bets that will pay off big for them because they have inside information on what the market is really predicting, which they’re not sharing with you.

        That would be a mammoth violation of public trust. And it would amount to a rip-off of almost cosmic proportion – trillions of dollars that you and I and other average people would otherwise have received or saved on our lending and borrowing that have been going instead to the bankers.

        http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-07-08/libor-largest-insider-trading-scandal-ever

        • xtasy 8.1.1.1

          Come on VP, that “money” was never ever existing, it never was material and never went into retail circulation that much at all!

          It was just an artificial bull shit arrangement between banks, to pretend things were not as bad as they were. If they had followed the market interest regime, many would have had losses by the billions, and write offs would have resulted, affecting all the ones “down the line”.

          In reality , all this is just a side show of the greater picture and scenario.

          And you have not seen the end of it, not even the beginning, I am afraid. Learn to grow veges, keep your own chickens, learn to barter, get a basic trade to survive and wake up, man, because this shit society is going to hit the fan very, very soon!

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1

            Dude just because you didn’t feel the money leave your pocket didn’t mean they didn’t steal from you. Fair point that a lot of this was financial system gaming, but that gaming meant that money which could have gone into the real economy never made it there.

            It meant that big investors like the Cullen Fund, ACC, the NZ Super fund will all have lost money to the banking system.

            And yes, I back everything you say about learning practical real skills, and also, keeping fit and healthy. That’s the only insurance for the future now.

            • xtasy 8.1.1.1.1.1

              VP – get it please –

              THE MONEY DOES NOT EVEN EXIST!!!

              “Dude just because you didn’t feel the money leave your pocket didn’t mean they didn’t steal from you.”

              It is paper saying that you have some “credit”, which is under so many conditions, it means only so much (fiat money). YOU must have heard of inflation, not flagellation or whatever? So it is there on paper or on some metal piece, tomorrow you may rather melt it down.

              • Colonial Viper

                THE MONEY DOES NOT EVEN EXIST!!!

                I know what you are trying to say at one level, but we live in a bank driven capitalist political economy. And these losses from main st and from local and central governments around the world have real world consequences to peoples lives my friend.

        • xtasy 8.1.1.2

          What we are facing is a scenario, where we have countries live like an individual having three or more credit cards. Now I know the bloody scenario from own life experience. You end up in the lurch with one, so you use the other one to balance the books for that first one. Then the second one gets into deficit, so you use the third one to balance that. You end up shifting debt around, taking a bit out here and there, to fill the other gap. That is the fucking thing happening in Europe, the US, Japan and all over!

          You may not like the bloody truth, but I read a hell of a lot about it recently!

          The fact is, for too many years the western economies and peoples were lied to, cunned and sold out, by making them believe they will maintain their living standards by allowing their large manufacturing companies outsource to cheap labour countries, so they produce cheaper goods at the expense of others, while the residents in those western countries were made to believe they could maintain their life styles and balanced books by still enjoying those products now imported cheaply, but by paying for them with supposedly “hard” currency earned by selling pizzas and hair cuts to each other.

          Y ou have to be an economic IDIOT to believe such a scheme works!

          That is the crap that people were sold by governments wanting to keep inpower and keep their ignorant voters happy, left and right.

          So maybe look up some basic economics and learn this basic reality. We have now gone way beyond that, being as western countries, some more, some less, highly indebted to the new workshop countries selling us all the stuff we need. We no longer know and are interested in producing the stuff ourselves, so we sell milk powder, logs and sheep skins to pay for it. Regrettably too many under developed economies do the same (also tourism), so we compete with the Greeces of the world.

          That is what Roger Douglas, Prepple, Shipley, Richardson and now Key have sold us.

          Do you not bloody get it? I understand economics is not your forte!

          • xtasy 8.1.1.2.1

            The above was meant for CV – but clicked the wrong button.

            • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Do you not bloody get it? I understand economics is not your forte!

              Relax a bit dude: Max Keiser (+ Stacy Herbert), Steve Keen, William Black, Richard Wolff, Nassim Taleb, Kyle Bass, Jeremy Grantham, Tyler Durden, Bill Still, Michael Burry, Robert Reich, Dmitri Orlov, Richard Heinberg, JM Greer and many many others enlightened me a year or three ago.

              • xtasy

                I am a bit relieved, some may make sense, but never narrow your horison, it is – like much else – an evolutionary discipline of science and understanding!

        • xtasy 8.1.1.3

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libor

          LIBOR explained by the way. I hate all this, but it is real world stuff, we are all exposed to!

      • Cnut 8.1.2

        LIBOR manipulation did little harm? Sure, a tenth of one per cent might have little impact on your mortgage but on financial instruments dealing with millions if not billions over five years or more it does a lot of harm – and these instruments are not limited to financial high-rollers playing the casino. It’s stolen money from pension funds and, in the States where local authorities were hoodwinked and defrauded with complex financial instruments were based on them, has brought many to the point of bankruptcy, and bankrupted some.

        For a more informed opinion than xtasy’s I recommend:

        http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/yes-virginia-the-real-action-in-the-libor-scandal-was-in-the-derivatives.html

  8. xtasy 9

    Never forget:

    Ahem, nothing to fear, nothing to hide!

  9. xtasy 10

    http://www.gaynz.net.nz/history/BillPasses.html

    So this should “nail” Banksie for voting on gay marriage, for sure.

    How does that fit in with ACT Party principles though? See: http://www.act.org.nz/

    All I see is pics of Banksie all over their front page and a Gary Mallett from Hamilton at the bottom of the website.

    Now was this not once a “liberal” party? Where are the voices of gone by ACT pollies like Coddington, Hide, Prebble, Douglas, Franks and so forth? I see NO mention of them or any policy they may resemble! May the ACT (dead body) party has been seized by a desperado vote giver, here there and wherever the “client” National takes him? What is next to prostitution, I ask? Sell your body or your mind, or your vote for that sake?

  10. gnomic 11

    How many times do I have to explain this? In my humble opinion Key is an amoral weasel with no respect for any principle but political power for the National government. The mission of this regime is to auction off any remaining assets not in the control of private capital at the cheapest possible price. Meanwhile the questionably sane and more than likely corrupt Banksie finally destroys that teacher’s union the Nats hate so much. How much better can it get?

    As for the cabinet, what a shower. Even the somewhat lamentable Labour was superior on the whole.

  11. tracey 12

    Agreed. Sell assets mix with all blaclks, collect a knighthood, tick off cv.

  12. AmaKiwi 13

    To Penny Bright
     
    Penny, you had a superior posting about consumers changing energy companies.  I did not copy down the details.  Now I cannot find it on The Standard.  Can you direct me to it or repeat it again.
     
    Penny Bright is correct.  If enough of the public play havoc with Mighty River’s profits by switching to another company, it is no longer an attractive investment.  This is a brilliant tactic!
     
    Penny, please re-post your suggestion here.  Thank you very much.
     
     

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