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Equal before the law?

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 pm, July 26th, 2012 - 53 comments
Categories: crime, john banks, law and "order", police - Tags:

Police will not lay charges over the so-called banks.com saga. Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess held a press conference this afternoon at Police National Headquarters in Wellington. Minister John Banks would be issued with a warning over the matter, Burgess said. While he only received a warning, Banks’ actions were illegal and future occurrences were likely to be prosecuted.

Oh, wait. That’s what happened when the Police investigated a member of the press after he accidentally recorded a conversation between John Banks and John Key in a public cafe to which they had invited the media (I seem to recall that several major news organisations’ offices were raided during an election campaign too…)

When the shoe was on the other foot, when it was Banks being investigated, the Police quietly dropped the issue with a letter to Trevor Mallard. They didn’t say that Banks hadn’t broken the law, just that they couldn’t prove for sure that he had known that the statutory declaration he had signed was false because they couldn’t prove that he had checked the thing he was signing before he signed it and realised ‘hey, this donation from SkyCity and these donations from Dotcom are down as anonymous but I know I got donations from them – SkyCity handed me the cheque!’

Pretty fucken weak. Banks was all over the news denying that he had known that he had received donations and the Police investigation found that he was personally handed the cheque by SkyCity’s CEO and that Banks personally solicited the donations he received from Dotcom.

The fact that he has been caught lying about knowing about soliciting and receiving the donations surely creates a prima facie case that he knew what he was doing when he signed a declaration that listed those donations as anonymous.

To believe otherwise, we have to assume that then former minister and serving mayor, who is now a minister again, signs important statutory documents without bothering to check them.

There’s only one conclusion: if you’re a minister, the Police will treat you as above the law (speaking of which, where’s Paula Bennett’s punishment for breaching the privacy of those DPB mums). And if you’re a member of the public who gets on the wrong side of a minister, then the Police will be all over you.

But I predict this isn’t over for Banks. He’s told an awful lot of lies that the Police investigation has exposed…

53 comments on “Equal before the law?”

  1. Kotahi Tāne Huna 1

    Perhaps that is the best punishment – the exposed lies, and opprobrium, etc.

    It’s an opportunity to damage the Hollow Men and their interests. The National Party now has to protect this man, to turn a blind eye to his manifest unfitness for Ministerial responsibility.

    For two long years, bleeding support all the while, flailing around with bene-bashing and bullshit and Bill English and the shonky, bored, aggrieved whining Prime Minister.

    Almost better than a bought one.

    • McFlock 1.1

      And before every vote he should be asked if he’s read what he’s voting on.

    • Fortran 1.2

      You mean same as Helen Clark did for Winston Peters over the Glenn lies.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 1.2.1

        No doubt you see it that way. Doesn’t change how it will play out. He’s the gangrenous little finger you can’t cut off 🙂

  2. Eddie 2

    Politically, you’re probably right. There are other avenues for investigations and embarrassment. It will be a weeping sore (like asset sales, like skycity etc)

    I guess I just wish the cops would do their job. It’s shades of Field. They’re didn’t lay charges against him until he had been booted from the government.

  3. tracey 3

    The law, as usual around such matters, is too gray and gave the police little or no wiggle room. The law is never grayer than in relation to political actions… Surprise surprise!

    Banks has been shown up for what he is. Politically he is guilty, and most people recognise that.

    Mr Key looked weak with his setting of acceptable behaviour at the law, which rather begs the question of why Ms Bennett is spending money chasing accomodation grants legitimately received….

  4. Phil 4

    Possibly dealt with on the square methinks.

  5. ak 5

    Yeah gee what a surprise in modern New Keyland. Rich white male inserted by electoral rort to become crucial support for knife-edge tory govt, blatantly lies and is let off police charges. Heck no, golly, couldn’t see that coming….. whaddaya doin for lunch?

  6. Steve Wrathall 6

    Outrageous! Instead, Labour party standards of election funding ethics should have been followed: Public money should have been stolen to fund credit cards and then the law retrospectively changed to make such pilfering legal.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    There is still the lie John Key made when he made a false declaration saying he ‘had been living in his electorate for the past month’ way back when he was selected as National candidate for Helensville.

    As he does now and did so at the time , he has all ways lived in either Remuera or Parnell.

    When this was last raised some years ago, National has said it was OK since the Clerk of the House approved ( no written documentation supplied)

    Needless to say, the Chief Electoral Office who handles enrolment matters wasnt asked

  8. grumpy 8

    Good, now the cops have put the Banks saga to bed, maybe they can look at the 28 cases reported to them by the Electoral Commission.

    Hang on, those cases were sent to them well before Banks – how come they haven’t done anything yet????

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      Dont forget the cases referred to them for the local body election before that

  9. Treetop 9

    Were I to require a payout from an insurance provider and I did not read the fine print before signing and later realised that I was not covered, there is no way that the insurer would cover me or refund my premium payments.

    About a decade ago Banks said, “There’s one law, it’s for you, it’s for me, it’s for everyone.”

    No, there is one law for me and another law when you are John Banks.

  10. KJT 10

    Still waiting for Banks to join Petrovic, for doing the same things as a finance company director.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1

      Another one convicted just the other day. Her defence too was she just signed it and didnt know anything about what was in the prospectus.

  11. Tom Gould 11

    Exactly when did Banks sign the declaration? The one he knew about but couldn’t recall and remembered but forgot. Was he a Minister then?

  12. tsmithfield 12

    The problem for Banks was he didn’t have a very clever way of hiding the fact he knew who the donors were.

    If he had followed the example of Len Brown, he could have given his donors the option of donating into a trust which subsequently donated to his campaign. Then, it is only the donation from the trust that is declared, not the various donors who contributed to it, even though he may well know who they were.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 12.1

      All the more reason to outlaw the practice and fund political parties via a central body – you want to donate? Donate to that.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      So Banks is not only a fraud, but an incompetent fraud?

      • McFlock 12.2.1

        As well as being an incompetent liar (‘oooo, I don’t remember a helicopter ride to a mansion’).
        With friends like that, it just shows how low national has sunk.

        • Colonial Viper

          Perhaps it is senility setting in? Banks seems very confused from time to time; some of the interviews he did during the election campaign were shocking.

      • tsmithfield 12.2.2

        Incompetent? On this occasion, certainly.

        A fraud? Probably as much as any local body politician who uses some method to avoid having to declare donations that they have knowledge about.

        The problem seems to me to be the rules more than anything else.

        • felix

          The Police didn’t say he was within the rules though. They said it was too late to lay charges.

          • McFlock

            Indeed – the only problem with the rules seems to be an absurdly short statue of limitations.

  13. AmaKiwi 13

    Who would you trust?
    MP’s of both parties loathe referendums.
    Who would you trust to make a decision in the best interest of ALL of us?  One hundred and twenty people picked at random from the electoral roll or the people now in parliament?

    Who would you trust to pick the party leader most likely to bring us to victory in 2014? All the party members or the caucus and the unions?

    • KJT 13.1

      The answer should be pretty obvious.

      Any important decision that affects all of us, should be made, or be reversible, by all of us.

      What gives 61 people in Parliament the right to dictate to the rest of us.

      Even if we get it wrong, it is still our decision to make.

      It is time we ended Government by revolving dictatorship and introduced democracy.

      It is no coincidence that Switzerland is one of the most stable and prosperous countries on earth.


      “I find myself on the Standard again defending the principle of Democracy against the same old arguments”.

      Politicians like Banks prove that we should never entrust them with important decisions.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1


        It really is time to get rid of the elected dictatorship that we have. Sure, there were valid arguments for it a couple of centuries ago but modern technology has made it possible to engage everyone in decisions.

  14. xtasy 14

    The police say they will “warn” Banksie, and in future they will likely prosecute if they come across a similar incident! What does that tell a common person with a bit of brain?

    John Banks is let off, probably because he is a “well connected” man with “friends” (of convenience and more) in many places.

    Maybe someone had a soft heart for him within the force? Or maybe the top heads in Wellington though, ah, we may not be all too happy with some cuts to the police in future, but we prefer this lot than an alternative government.

    Anyway, fact is, the talk about “before the law” means little, as some are treated as having to abide “under the law” and others get away with very, very much “above the law”.

    Bot can be “before the law”, I presume, but one may be a few levels higher than the rest – at the bottom and “before the law”. Equality before the law is a total farce in NZ as in most other places. I have had my own experiences in that regards too, so I know full well what I am talking about.

    Collins brought in a law to “crush” boy racer cars, Tolley went crushing a car, but who is going to “crush” a running wild liar and law breaker with white shirt, suit and tie on. I’d like to see some real “crushing” (of sorts) there perhaps.

    • McFlock 14.1

      Um, no, they didn’t even do that to banks.
      Read the post again. 

      • xtasy 14.1.1

        “Minister John Banks would be issued with a warning over the matter, Burgess said. While he only received a warning, Banks’ actions were illegal and future occurrences were likely to be prosecuted.”

        It may not have happened yet, but I read the above and take it as meaning that he will be “warned” over the matter.

        So that is what I relied on.

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna

          Even when the very next paragraph starts with “No, wait…”?

  15. blue leopard 15

    Look, let’s face it, Banks got off because it would cause too much problems for the Government to find a replacement; there is no-one else in the WORLD who would agree to being part of the Act Party.

    • tracey 15.1

      the act party is crucial to nats because it allows them,

      To appear moderate
      Blame act for policies it actually supports by blaming the coalition agreement.

      • Murray Olsen 15.1.1

        Banks is also a good ACT member from National’s point of view because he can’t remember whether the policies are ACT policy or not, but will claim credit for anything pushed his way.
        I also wonder if, as ex Minister of Police, he knows a little too much to be prosecuted.

  16. AmaKiwi 16

    Recall elections.
    A recall is when a set percentage of enrolled voters in an electorate sign a petition to have a bi-election to determine if their MP should be replaced.  The vote is binding.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recall_elections
    John Banks “has issues” around telling the truth as well as documented memory loss.
    The people of Epsom are entitled to decide NOW if Banks should remain or be replaced.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Not a bad idea at all.

      • McFlock 16.1.1

        Nah – the downside is that it put arnie into california.

        It’s easier for money to get people to vote against something, rather than for. The 40% candidate will always be kicked, even though the other six only got 10% each in the actual election.
        I would go for binding referenda against specific acts, though.

        If we are talking about legal tweaks, though, wtf is with the six month limitation in the electoral act? We didn’t even find out he’d cheated until month what – 8?

        • Draco T Bastard

          More than 10 months after I believe. This case proves that there should be no such limit in the electoral rules as it makes it too easy for a politician to get away with a crime.

    • Murray Olsen 16.2

      The people of Epsom would vote Louis Crimp in. Some of them have never eaten kumara because it’s not white food. Maybe they should have to eat hangi food on a marae before they’re allowed to choose someone who’s allowed to make decisions for all New Zealanders?

  17. AmaKiwi 17

    McFlock on Recall Elections.
    If you oppose recall elections, how would you suggest handling a problem of Banks and Epsom?  Aren’t the people of Epsom entitled to decide whether they still want to be represented by Banks?  
    If they can’t recall him, they have to put up with him for two and a half more years.  Even if you don’t think he’s useless as a person, he’s definitely useless as an MP.  He no longer has any leverage.
    We need a solution, folks.  Why not the Parliament Fair Trading Act?  If the voters decide the MP is not as advertised, they can get a replacement.

    • McFlock 17.1

      If the electoral act limitation wasn’t so farcical, it wouldn’t be an issue.
      If the people don’t want him, he’ll be gone in less than 2.5yrs. Even a recall election would probably take 6 months to sort, so that’s less than 2 years difference. Meh.  

  18. xtasy 18

    Where is KIM, Dotcom that is, on this?

    I suggest someone contact him and send some message to him to further enlighten us on this whole Banksie affair!

    I got these links by the way:

    Somehow the latter appears to have been “sabotaged” or is “over loaded” for some reason, no surprised there, aye?

    Kim Dotcom could perhaps assist immensely to shine more light on the Banks and Key consorts affair, could he not? Maybe he is motivated enough (in between sound casting and recording of the newest and hottest candidate hits for the top 10 or 20) to speak out?

    Campbell Live anyone? I thought he got a bit of a hot line to dottery Dot.Com?

    We need answers, we need amunition, we need freedom, democracy and accountability. Where is your so well renowned “German honesty”, dear Kimbo?

    I have LOTS more to tell and share, but I will not for now. Thank you, dear all! It is time for others to “share” now!

  19. xtasy 19

    So where does all this leave us yet again? Questions above questions, fine lines and less fine lines, I presume:

    Been there before, I am afraid. NO comprendo? Nada, nix, certainty of nothingness?

    Dumb, repeat history, and learn or learn nothing, I suppose. Viva el pueblo, sin el pueblo unida, esta es or nada?

    Buena Aventura

  20. Jenny 20

    He’s told an awful lot of lies that the Police investigation has exposed…


    An awful lot of police hypocrisy has also been exposed.

    The partisan behaviour of our senior police officers must be a worry for a democracy.

    EDDIE contrasted the extreme, needless and expensive lengths taken against the TV 3 photographer who (inadvertently we are told), treaded on Banks privacy, vs. the light handed approach to Banks himself, is very close to political influence and corruption operating within the police force.

    In my opinion these glaring differences warrant, if not an inquiry, at the very least questions in the house for the Minister to answer of police political impartiality.

  21. aerobubble 21

    So Banks didn’t read what he was signing…. ….and Key still has confidence in him as a Minister.

  22. Perhaps the Police recognised that John Banks had onset Alzhemers.

    But where does that leave New Zealand when the Ministers of the Crown have such dibilating diseases, should they morally be allowed to continue in their post.

    I think that is the question we should be asking now.

    • blue leopard 22.1

      Maggie May

      Hope someone in the Government is reading this, they might put a bill through to address such a serious issue.

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    3 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
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    3 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
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    3 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
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    3 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
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    4 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
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    4 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
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    4 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
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    4 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
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    4 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
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    4 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
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    4 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
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    4 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
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    5 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
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  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
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  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
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    5 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
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    5 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
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  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
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    5 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
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    5 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
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    6 days ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
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    7 days ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
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    7 days ago
  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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    7 days ago
  • PGF top-up for QE Health in Rotorua
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    1 week ago
  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
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    1 week ago