NRT: Will parliament hold its own to account?

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 pm, May 17th, 2012 - 22 comments
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No Right Turn on the latest case of Banks failing to declare donations.

Will Parliament hold its own to account?

Parliament is less than six months old, and already we’ve had the first case of an MP falsifying their pecuniary interest declaration, with John Banks failing to declare a $1000 gift from Kim Dotcom. I guess people just give him thousand-dollar gift baskets all the time, so it just slipped his mind. Anyway, he will be adding it to his return of pecuniary interests. But in doing so, he will be admitting that his initial disclosure was false.

Which is a problem. Knowingly falsifying your pecuniary interest disclosure is a contempt of Parliament (Standing Order 407(h)). Which raises the question: will Banks be held to account for this breach of Standing Orders? Or will MPs look the other way as they have done in the past?

This is important. The credibility of Parliament is at stake. Either these rules mean something, or they don’t. And if MPs fail to enforce them, then they will confirm the public’s perception of a culture of corruption and a conspiracy of silence around it.

22 comments on “NRT: Will parliament hold its own to account?”

  1. higherstandard 1

    “The credibility of Parliament is at stake”

    It hasn’t had any for several decades.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      No, the last government did start to address that. Not as well as I would have liked but they did start getting some credibility back then this government went and threw it all away again.

      • higherstandard 1.1.1

        Eh, how so ?

        The only thing I can think of was the decision to publish all MPs expenses.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The last government started keeping promises which was something we hadn’t seen for a long time.

  2. alwyn 2

    According to Morning Report today this is not the first alteration to the pecuniary interest declaration.
    The said that five Labour MPs, and two National MPs, have changed their returns after the date they were due. They didn’t name them though as that might embarrass their friends.
    Thus by their reckoning this would be the eighth time it has happened this year.
    I wonder if Shearer will be complaining about all of them to the Privileges Committee?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      I would assume most would be just human error, this one of Banks’ doesn’t appear to be.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2.1.1

        Oh, you would, would you? You “assume” on the basis of, what, exactly? Your prejudices and nothing more.

        And for fuck’s sake stop wasting time on blogs and go and start your workers’ collective.

        • Draco T Bastard

          You “assume” on the basis of, what, exactly?

          The fact that the MPs responsible corrected them without prompting unlike Banks who’s been trying very hard to say that he’s done nothing wrong.

        • Colonial Viper

          And for fuck’s sake stop wasting time on blogs and go and start your workers’ collective.

          Yep. Start by renationalising all power and telecoms infrastructure in this country, without compensation, and setting them up as worker and community owned co-ops.

    • ianmac 2.2

      I believe the late corrections last year were self corrections rather than that unburied by others.
      Mr Banks has had his exposed and been forced to explain it. Different? And trying to excuse it by saying that he gave it all away is apparently not a legal excuse.

  3. burt 3

    It’s really good to see NRT calling for MPs to be held to account – something never seen when the red team were in charge.

    • Hanswurst 3.1

      It’s good to see you giving his blog credit where credit is due, even though you would seem never to have read it before.

  4. DH 4

    In the context of the whole Banks saga this doesn’t rate IMO. When you’re given a gift basket how do you know what it’s worth? It might have cost Dotcom $1000 but it wouldn’t surprise me if the contents were only worth a few hundred, hotels are notorious for racking up huge margins on stuff like that. Unless there was a receipt attached and/or it can be proven that Banks must have known it cost more than $500 the lack of a declaration means nothing to me. Wtf was in it to cost $1000 anyway, was only a gift basket (allegedly)

    • Te Reo Putake 4.1

      I saw a graphic of the contents on one of the news channels. The champagne and whiskey alone would have been several hundred bucks, but there were also numerous other treats like handmade choc’s, caviar etc. It was clearly an expensive hamper and even the most optimistic Minister would have realised that it was valuable to the point where it needed to be costed lest it breached the rules. If said Minister ever intended declaring it, that is.

  5. Treetop 5

    I actually think that who gave the gift basket is more important than the amount it cost. I also think that having the HK hotel room upgraded needs to be added to the cost of the gift basket.

    Every contact, gift, donation between Banks and Dotcom has a hidden agenda behind it e.g. money for political favours.

    • deuto 5.1

      Good points, Treetop.

      IMO, the credibility disconnect between what Banks – eventually – said re the actual accommodation (eg he negotiated the discount itself etc) versus what is now claimed by Dotcom’s staff and the hotel staff (that he was upgraded etc due to representations from Dotcom) is more important than the gift basket itself; and the crux is the “money for favours” hidden agenda.

  6. Please note new Email address,

  7. Murray 7

    So you are all looking forward to Shane Jones and David Cunliffe being held accountable for the immigration scandal involving Bill Liu?

  8. Treetop 8

    You forgot to mention Pansy Wong’s involvement and the several identities of Bill Liu. An inquiry will hopefully reveal the truth.

  9. Murray 9

    Pansy Wong, along with Dover Samuels wrote letters of support, they were not the Ministers in charge of granting residency, and later citizenship.

  10. Murray Olsen 10

    I look forward to the whole spectrum of elected representatives being held to account, all the way from Hone to Banksie. As far as I know though, Hone has only upset racists, while Banksie is happy to accept money from them.

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