Matt McCarten doesn’t pull any punches, comparing Banks to both Phillip Field and Winston Peters:
Penance depends on party of political sinner
Taito Phillip Field had constituents give their labour as a trade-off for immigration help. John Banks asked a wealthy Aucklander for $50,000 and then apparently offered, according to Kim Dotcom, to help with his immigration case.
After the chequebook came out, Dotcom said that his new best friend suggested it’d be best if the money was split into two amounts so he could pretend it was anonymous. It’s pesky when people want transparency.
When Brother Taito was exposed, the National and Act parties screamed for blood. Although our self-claimed martyr pleaded innocence, it seemed God felt a lesson was needed and off to jail he went.
When Brother Banksy’s paymaster got into a bit of bother, it seemed our MP denied ever having met Dotcom, or at least started developing a number of memory blanks. Did he dine at Dotcom’s home three times? Did he even ask for the money, despite two cheques from Dotcom arriving in Banksy’s campaign account the day after? Did he phone up and thank his donor? …
This week the police reported Banks admitted to asking for the money, knowing he received the money and signed his electoral return that omitted the identification of Dotcom’s money. But, because Banks claimed someone else filled in the form, he’s not guilty. It’d be interesting to see what would happen if a fraudster tried that in court.
Apparently if a conservative politician denies they did anything wrong, then PC Plod goes, “Right you are, sir. Have a nice day.” When a Labour politician tries the same trick, Plod humphs: “Whaddya take me for? You’re for the nick, mate.”
John Key, who in 2008 ruled out having Winston Peters in a National-led government because he denied soliciting secret donations Owen Glenn said he gave him, now welcomes Brother Banksy, who did a similar thing, alongside him at the public trough. Everyone knows Banks behaved in a manner that demeans our society. Cops won’t do anything if a misbehaving politician is needed by the government.
While the analogies with Field and Peters are valid, I think Matt is too hard on the cops at the end. Banks had a legal loophole (the six month timeout) to help him off – even if he’s guilty as sin the police can’t charge him. There is someone who can hold Banks to account though, both for his original actions and his subsequent lies. But of course Key won’t do a thing, much easier to attack others and posture about high standards than it is to live up to them.