Resignationwatch: constraints

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, May 6th, 2012 - 61 comments
Categories: act, john banks, john key - Tags:

Banks is deadmeat. It’s just a matter of time before Key gives him the boot. Politically, he must. He has grounds, even on the limited ‘ethics while a minister’ test he has created. We’re now just waiting for something sufficiently new that Key can use it as justification for an about face. Then comes the question of a by-election. And that’s where it gets tricky for Key.

Clearly, the Right has no interest in Banks hanging around when he’s no longer a minister – he’s not doing anything useful, he’s a continuing source of embarrassment to the government, and he’s taking the place someone with a future could fill. Better to have a by-election.

Things could get really interesting if Banks stayed but left ACT, even joining the Conservatives. It would be the ultimate kick in the guts for ACT, but I don’t see it happening.

Now, unless there’s a three-way shit fight between National, Catherine Isaac for ACT, and Colin Craig for the Conservatives, I can’t see a Labour candidate winning. In fact, the only reason to stand one would be to get a platform to embarrass Key. So, the result of any by-election will ultimately leave the balance of the House unchanged – with the important caveat that Craig would vote against asset sales (in the long-run, getting Colins in might not be worth that initial gain for the Left because it would give National a desperately needed partner).

What matters is the three months where the seat of Epsom would sit empty between Banks resigning and a new member being sworn in – leaving 60 v 60 on rightwing policies, which would cause legislation to fail. National can’t afford to have its agenda in hiatus for three months right now – it needs to pass the Budget, the asset sales law, and the SkyCity deal, amongst other things that the Maori Party won’t vote for.

It’s not as easy, as Matt McCarten suggests, as waiting until the day after Budget Day. While the Budget legislation will be introduced to the House on 24th of May, that is only the beginning of a lengthy process. The Budget debate (technically, the second reading of the Appropriations (Estimates) Bill) goes on for a couple of dozen hours of House sitting time. There’s only 20 hours of sitting time in a sitting week – with recess and all the other things the House does, last year it took three weeks just for the Budget debate to end. Then, the individual Votes (parts of the Budget like Health and Education) are considered by the responsible select committees, and the Budget goes back to the House for two more rounds of debate. Last year’s Budget didn’t actually finally pass until August the 12th – 3 months after it was introduced.

If Banks was going to hold on that long, he may as well hold on until December, just like Pansy Wong did. That way most of the time the Epsom seat would be empty would be while the House was risen over summer.

So, I reckon we won’t see a by-election until the end of the year, or the start of 2013. Given that Key can’t afford to have a by-election earlier, how will he keep Banks from resigning? Leaving him as a minister would be one option but that’s going to get more and more politically damaging. It is already becoming all about Key, all about his weakness and lack of principles. Just firing him risks an early resignation. So – and this shouldn’t be surprising any more of this government – we’ll see some kind of dirty deal.

61 comments on “Resignationwatch: constraints”

  1. marsman 1

    Here’s John Key of the Nasty Party:

    Twitch there Mr Key? – YouTube

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “leaving 60 v 60 on rightwing policies,”

    Or, more correctly, leaving 60 v 60 on policies the Maori Party decided to vote against. They could still abstain and allow a 60 vs 57 passage.

    They have passed, and will pass, many more rightwing policies in the future. Most notably the last 3 budgets and the next 3.

  3. Nick K 3

    Wishful thinking.

  4. james 111 4

    Why would Maori abstain when the tirbes want to buy significant portions of the Partial SOE sales for their investment portfolios, and good on them I say a wise investment choice

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Because the MP want to give Maori preferential treatment in the asset sales, which at the moment they aren’t getting.

  5. He has grounds, even on the limited ‘ethics while a minister’ test he has created.

    So all you have for sure on Banks is his ballsing up of the gotcha play on him? That’s weak, and dirty politics. It’s got nothing to do with holding government to account,m it’s trying to defeat a key MP and defeat a governem after failing at the election.

    I see you are promoting a by election. When Mallard says he wants Banks to stay for the full term is he lying?

    • felix 5.1

      “So all you have for sure on Banks is his ballsing up of the gotcha play on him?”

      Are you serial?

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      “I see you are promoting a by election. When Mallard says he wants Banks to stay for the full term is he lying?”

      Why would he be? Any by-election in Epsom is 98% likely to mean business as usual for this government. The ~3 month window of losing Banks’ vote ultimately won’t harm the government’s agenda much at all, whereas Banks staying put for the entire term is very likely to reduce National’s vote at the next election, all but guaranteeing the left a victory.

  6. captain hook 6

    msn homepage this am.
    Epsom has had enough of carpetbagger banks.
    Looks like his scumming around is over.

  7. James N 7

    Even if Key were driven to relieve Banks of his ministerial portfolios, there is no guarantee Banks would consequently resign his seat. Key cannot kick him out of Parliament, and Banks would probably have the chutzpah/arrogance and delusions of a change in fortune to stay on the crossbenches probably still supporting the Nat agenda until the next general election.

    Incidentally does his appearance in those glasses and the whiny one-liners remind anyone else of a bad Woody Allen (albeit without the wit)?

    • Pascal's bookie 7.1

      Even if Key were driven to relieve Banks of his ministerial portfolios, there is no guarantee Banks would consequently resign his seat.

      Indeed James.

      Here’s what Hooten was saying about that in the NBR:

      In considering his options this week, Mr Key knew that had Mr Banks resigned from Parliament or gone feral on the backbench, Bill English would not have had a majority for his budget without the Maori Party.

      Those associated with Mr Banks since he entered Parliament in 1981 say there is no way he would have passively accepted a sacking. He has endured too many ups and downs to go down without a fight. To his mantra this week “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” could be added “nothing to lose.”

      http://breakingviewsnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/matthew-hooton-key-forced-to-protect.html

      Now that’s obviously an indictment on Mr Banks, who was elected purely on a platform of supporting Key. It’s also worth bearing in mind just how many right wing commenters have said that banks should be stepped down, when we hear the PM saying that it’s really not necessary.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Matt McCarten figures that Key will drop Banks after the budget:-

    But the other reason that Key will keep fudging this sordid story is that he needs Banks’ vote in Parliament on May 24 to get his Budget through. If Banks resigns, the Government will have to rely totally on the Maori Party to pass it. Having Tariana Turia holding Key to ransom isn’t something his Government could survive.

    So for the next 19 days, Key will wear the fallout and hope his reputation isn’t too damaged.

    However, on May 25, Banks’ usefulness is over. Key may well decide to cut his losses and sack Banks – hoping to force a by-election in Epsom.

    Which could possibly be true. It’s not as if National are held up by scruples or anything.

  9. Jenny 9

    Banks is deadmeat.

    EDDIE

    ACT is dead meat. leaving the Nats. to scramble around for another “Right Wing” support party.

    The most likely candidate in Epsom being the Conservatives.

    • RobertM 9.1

      The real oil on John Banks is in the Micheal Basset book review of the Goldsmith biography of John Banks. And I apologise in putting it up in reply to ‘Jenny’ who is one of the finer spirits on the Standard. But Micheal Basset’s conclusions have always been mine. To me Banks was Muldoons final insult to the old National of the Professional classes when they had ,One son in the Church, One in Law, One In Medicine, One in the Nat Cabinet.

  10. Jenny 10

    Will there be another tea party (or other such public stunt), where Colin Craig instead of John Banks will receive the Key papal blessing?

    Will the electorate put up with it?

    What should the left do?

  11. KJT 11

    While I have no time for Banks in this, what about innocent until proven guilty. for Dotcom.

    For once I find myself in agreement with Hide.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10803744
    “Our Government should have stood up for Dotcom as a New Zealand resident and simply told the US Government to prove it. Dotcom would still be in business and other digital entrepreneurs would be attracted to New Zealand for the lifestyle and for a government that sticks up for its people”.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      This government does stand up for its people it’s just that its people isn’t NZers but rich people/corporations, usually foreign.

    • Jenny 11.2

      Hear, hear.

      Over the top para-military treatment of the accused Dotcom at the behest of a foreign power.

      Secrecy and extra judicial sentencing of an accused legal New Zealand resident, the punishment being summary deportation as the sentence.

      Justice and open democracy is not being served here.

      The US government should have had to file their case and to put up their evidence in a court just like everyone else.

      Will this government uphold the rule of law?

      Will this government support the sanctity of the individual right to a fair trial?

      Or will they submit to the most venal right wing instinct to smother due process?

      • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1

        Will this government uphold the rule of law?

        Nope, rue of law would mean that they would be accountable as well and they can’t have that if they want to continue to strip NZ of its wealth.

        Will this government support the sanctity of the individual right to a fair trial?

        Nope, else Ambrose would not have been found guilty without a trail.

        Or will they submit to the most venal right wing instinct to smother due process?

        That’s what they’ve been doing for quite some time now.

        • Jenny 11.2.1.1

          No wonder Dotcom is pissed with Banks then. This so called leader of the so called party of the Libertarian Right is not interested in defending individual rights even for a friend. In his our of need instead Banks chose to disown his friend Dotcom.

          This act of moral cowardice alone should be enough to condemn Banks and his party of hypocrites in the eyes of the public.

    • seeker 11.3

      @KJT 11.54am

      “Our Government should have stood up for Dotcom as a New Zealand resident …”

      I’m sure good ol’ John Key would have stood up for Dot if only he had known who he was and that he was a resident of New Zealand residing in John’s own electorate of Helensville. What a pity John had no idea (as he said on TV3 Campbell Live on Friday 4-5-12)

      @Jenny 12.25pm

      “Will this government uphold the rule of law?”

      Of course it will (sarc.) After all that is all John Key is concerned about at the moment when it comes to his ministers and the guidance of the cabinet manual – the law, no ethics needed.

      Ethics are obviously too abstract and of such a vapid (wide) spectrum in the PM’s mind that they have magically (conveniently) been totally spun (dissipated) into the atmosphere, as usual.

  12. Jenny 12

    In my opinion to derail the government’s dictatorial and undemocratic over riding of parliament democracy through back door deals and manipulation.

    The left will never win in any resulting by-election in Epsom, so there is no point in even standing.

    But we may have an interest in common with the voters of Epsom in preventing manipulation and gerrymandering of their vote with secret back door electoral deals.

    The left may be best to back an independent conservative candidate.

    Someone like Gareth Morgan comes to mind.

    • Jester 12.1

      “But we may have an interest in common with the voters of Epsom in preventing manipulation and gerrymandering of their vote with secret back door electoral deals.

      The left may be best to back an independent conservative candidate.”

      Preventing manipulation with manipulation?

      • Jenny 12.1.1

        No. Just ensuring that even the mostly well off people get the representation that most accurately represents their view point.

        It is not uncommon in a democracy for those who disagree on almost every other issue to combine around some issue in common.

        I find it hard to believe that the majority of those in Epsom would be flattered to have people think that John Banks is representative of the people of their suburb.

  13. Jackal 13

    Ignoring the court of public opinion

    Any credible leader would stand John Banks down until the investigation into the so-called “anonymous” donations is concluded.

    • Ignoring the elephanatidae in the room.

      Mallard calls for anyone he accuses of something to stand down, leaving only the elephanatidae in the house?

      • felix 13.1.1

        And there’s my new word for the day 😉

      • Jackal 13.1.2

        Although I don’t like to entertain your delusions Pete George:

        I’ve pointed out before that David Shearer has spoken against the sort of “gotcha” politics that Mallard seems to be doing more than ever. But nothing is said about Mallard’s continued attacks.

        I disagree with your (and others) assertion that Trevor Mallard is undertaking Gotcha politics. Making police complaints concerning a clear breach of electoral law is not similar to making unfunded accusations like Cameron Slater for instance.

        What exactly do you think should happen? Should people just turn the other cheek and accept Banks at face value when he’s a proven liar? I don’t think so, and thankfully neither does most of the media at the moment.

        Face it Pete George, the right wing you support are largely corrupt and the public has higher moral standards… the Act party is sunk and National is taking on water. Therefore a better analogy to use is rats instead of elephants.

        • Pete George 13.1.2.1

          Making police complaints concerning a clear breach of electoral law

          Except that it’s not a clear breach of electoral law, and he’s made a number of other accusations without any known foundation apart from “there could be something worth looking in to”.

          If he made the one police complaint and left it at that he would have been within reason, but he’s made several more accusations, including the one that Judith Collins is complaining about.

          • Jackal 13.1.2.1.1

            You mean he commented about a letter that was sent by Michelle Boag to only four people (including Judith Collins) being leaked? Interesting that Collins has chosen not to ensure the ACC report that states Bronwyn Pullar tried to bribe them is changed. Wanting a proper inquiry into these matters is hardly Gotcha politics Pete George.

            It is a clear breach of electoral law… the only question is by whom?

  14. http://www.willsheberight.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/which-john-will-end-charade.html

    A.C.T. and Banks are finish, but I wonder who will fill the vacuum that will form on the right-wing of the New Zealand political spectrum.

  15. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 15

    I wish you guys would stop pretending that Colin Craig has a chance. It’s just dishonest.

    • Dunno know Gormless Fool.  What happens when ACT disappears.  Who does National go to for support?

      • Jackal 15.1.1

        In terms of politics, I don’t think it’s such a good thing. One viable rightwing party against four leftwing parties divides support. Unless people learn to strategically vote (fat chance)… the left might need to look at amalgamation?

        • mickysavage 15.1.1.1

          MMP dear Jackal

          Potential partners are more important than the number of seats. 

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 15.1.1.1.1

            What happens when ACT disappears. Who does National go to for support?

            Well not Colin Craig. He is unelectable.

            • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.1.1

              Has Colin stood anywhere yet? Surely he has to be electorate tested before you make that conclusion?

              • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                Do you remember that election we had near the end of last year?

    • RobertM 15.2

      He may be a magnet for a large range of gold diggers. After all Remuera feels like a South Island country town say Rangiora. I think on the strip, theirs one bar and possibly a resteraunt or two that serves liquor. Its about the most dry place in the country and its concievable IQ, Youth and anybody seriously sexually interesting has already left for Aus or California. Craig could concievably be found exciting here like Jorg Haider in Vienna

  16. Craig 16

    I’m just looking forward to finally being rid of the rort wing of NZ politicks.

  17. ianmac 17

    Remember the moment when Key hinted at dark secrets of a criminal nature which justified the rejection of a Resident, Kim Dotcom, to purchase a mansion? John Campbell called him on that. Kim realised that he had bought too many shares, so went to the authorities off his own bat, explained the problem, sold the excess shares and was fined $1,200NZ. Key unmasked had to agree. Very strange reason to block a $30,000,000 house sale. But it was Simon Power’s fault said Key, and no he can’t talk to him about that ’cause Simon has gone. Very very weird.

    • Carol 17.1

      And yet, Andrea Vance on Stuff the next day, just repeated Key’s unsuccessful attempt to give the reason as insider trading:

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/6866642/Dotcoms-OIO-application-declined-PM

      Prime Minister John Key has confirmed Kim Dotcom’s Overseas Investment Office application was declined because of insider trading convictions in Hong Kong.

      Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson initially approved the internet tycoon’s bid to buy the $30 million Coatesville mansion he rented in April last year.

      But then justice and associate finance minister Simon Power stepped in in July and refused to finally approve the bid because of Dotcom’s convictions for insider trading in Hong Kong seven months earlier. He was fined $1250 for the offences in January 2011.

      How is buying too many shares “insider trading”?

      • ianmac 17.1.1

        My impression Carol was that to become an Insider Trader you have an inside knowledge which gives you an unfair advantage, so you buy those shares. There must be a set limit when fewer shares is OK but if you buy more that X number you have become guilty of unlawful Insider Trading. Kim realised that the number that he bought put him over the X limit, so he “confessed” and corrected his error. They fined him anyway and the $1200NZ must be a token fine as the full blown Insider Trader can be fined heaps. (Remember when Key appeared to have an inside Knowledge and applied pressure re I think Rail Share about 6-7 years ago?)
        PS I have no Commercial knowledge or experience. I Just look for connections.

        • Carol 17.1.1.1

          Thanks. Well, yes I thought Insider Trading meant buying shares based on insider knowledge, which gives you an unfair advantage. I just didn’t understand how that could be equated with buying too many shares.

        • Reality Bytes 17.1.1.2

          I recon it’s very easy to cream a significant amount of profit purely off nothing other than insider trading once you reach a certain influential level.

          It doesn’t even have to be at a nation-state economy level (ala polis), cheating in big business is enough to provide very many opportunities to exploit. The only brakes on such run-away behavior is simply detection avoidance measures of such individuals.

    • Campbell did well here.  Key was going to hint at something really dark that he could not comment on but Campbell then put him straight immediately.  It is a shame he put Key straight so quickly.  He could have let Key answer and then led him on a bit before confronting him with the truth.

      I really get the feeling Campbell has something bigger to confront Key with and I hope to see it soon …

      • Anne 17.2.1

        I really get the feeling Campbell has something bigger to confront Key with and I hope to see it soon

        I do too. Campbell seemed almost gleeful at the end of the John Key interview, but you can never be sure with him. He’s a born actor.

        Even so, I will be watching Campbell Live tomorrow night in anticipation…

    • joe90 17.3

      I really get the feeling Campbell has something bigger to confront Key with and I hope to see it soon …

      I thought Campbells smirk and his ‘very enlightening’ comment at the conclusion of the interview hinted at more to come.

      • ianmac 17.3.1

        Yes. Key stopped his relief giggle at as soon as Campbell said, “Enlightening.” Key stared hard for a moment and his mind went tick, tick, tick, …… As did ours! 🙂

      • Carol 17.3.2

        It seemed to me that Campbell started to thank Key in a very friendly and flattering way he often thanks guests, then something seemed to occur to him and he hesitated, or stopped himself. So instead of finishing the effusive thank-you, all he seemed able to say was that the interview was….interesting/enlightening.

        So I don’t know if Campbell has further rabbits in his hat, but he’s left Key a little unsettled and wondering…

    • Hami Shearlie 17.4

      Interesting that John Campbell already knew about the so-called “dark secrets” and called John Key on it! Key had to back down. Makes me think that, seeing John Campbell was a few steps ahead of Key on that subject , maybe this week Campbell will have more to reveal. Can’t wait to see if Dot.Com donated to the Nats to grease the wheels of his residency application. Campbell’s demeanor seemed to suggest that he had more in his arsenal! Brian Edwards on “The Nation” thought Key had done very well in the interview. I don’t agree. Key was caught out and exposed for exaggerating about the “dark secrets” and looked a bit deflated after that. It didn’t aid his cause to try and lay blame on Simon Power re the OIO. He hadn’t talked to Power, or anyone else involved in Dot.Com’s application to purchase the property , but he said that Simon Power was very conservative, and “this is what I think may have happened” (or words to that effect). It’s not what Key THINKS may have happened that counts, it’s what REALLY happened!

  18. Joseph Gielen 18

    long live free media lets keep paying for public broadcasting because Key and Banks sure do not like it up em?

  19. Rodel 19

    Eddie.
    Your comment on Banks

    ‘…..he’s not doing anything useful, he’s a continuing source of embarrassment to the government, and he’s taking the place someone with a future could fill…..’ sums up Banks in a nutshell.( pun intended) .

    Nat, ACT, Greens , Maori Party, or Labour,….. I don’t mind but Banks really is taking up space and we need someone useful.

  20. toad 20

    Everyone is excited about the supermoon tonight, apart from John Banks. Guess that coz he is pwned by it.

  21. Jenny 21

    Matt McCarten dissects the missteps that have led up to ACT’s downfall.

    Starting with Don Brash’s take over.

    ….. not even a party member, (Brash) offered to save Act from oblivion and take them to the dizzy heights of 15 per cent of the popular vote.

    The price was that they had to assassinate their incumbent leader.

    The idiot caucus, with the exception of MP John Boscawen, blindly swallowed the doctor’s snake-oil sales pitch and threw Hide under the bus. The doctor’s appointment of his business partner and doyen of social conservatism, John Banks, as their Epsom candidate signalled the end of any pretence of Act being a liberal, free-market vanguard…..

    I wonder if it occurred to the Act board that if they’d told Brash and Banks to disappear last year, they would probably be enjoying a resurgence with three competent true believers in Parliament: Hide, Boscawen and Catherine Isaac.

    Instead, they embarrass the Prime Minister, the Government, their supporters and expose our national politics as sleazy.

    McCarten goes on to predict the probable trajectory of this sorry chapter in New Zealand’s political history to it’s inevitable close.

    The Prime Minister’s admission that he hasn’t spoken to Banks directly, or anyone else involved, is because he needs to cover his own butt.

    John Key [also] needs to protect Banks because he needs the SkyCity pokies deal done. The hypocrisy of Banks – the anti-gambling campaigner being the deciding vote that allows 500 more pokie machines in the community – is breathtaking.

    But the other reason that Key will keep fudging this sordid story is that he needs Banks’ vote in Parliament on May 24 to get his Budget through. If Banks resigns, the Government will have to rely totally on the Maori Party to pass it. Having Tariana Turia holding Key to ransom isn’t something his Government could survive.

    So for the next 19 days, Key will wear the fallout and hope his reputation isn’t too damaged.

    However, on May 25, Banks’ usefulness is over. Key may well decide to cut his losses and sack Banks – hoping to force a by-election in Epsom. National will romp home. Having a one-MP coalition serves no purpose, anyway. Gifting Act the Epsom seat at the last election was only a benefit if Act got extra MPs from their party list. They didn’t.

    The upside for National by winning a byelection is its caucus numbers will increase by one. This negates its need for Banks and makes it much easier. No more wasted time dealing with Act, a Cabinet place opens up for one of their own, and this embarrassing distraction ends.

    To McCarten’s projection I would like to add that it is possible that National will not “romp home” in Epsom. For one reason. The National candidate for Epsom who also happens to be John Banks biographer, is also a damaged brand, being deeply involved in the rort that saw Epsom dished up to Banks.

    It is possible that after having been cynically manipulated, rather than be taken for granted again, in a byelection Epsom voters might choose an independent conservative over the unpopular and weak National candidate Paul Goldsmith.

    Enter Colin Craig. If Craig throws everything he has into it, taking into account that byelections traditionally go against the government of the day. It is quite possible that Craig could win this seat in a byelection.

    If Craig can then hold this seat through a general election and his party vote also holds up, the Conservatives could have up to 4 MPs in the next parliament possibly seeing Craig as the king maker for the next government.

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