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The fish rots from the head

Written By: - Date published: 8:12 pm, October 16th, 2013 - 91 comments
Categories: accountability, brand key, election 2014, election funding, john banks, john key, same old national - Tags:

The decision in the Auckland District Court today that John Banks will stand trial for signing a false declaration of his donations signals the beginning of the end of the Key government which increasingly resembles the last days of the Shipley government, only worse as shambles has been replaced by corruption.

Key blusters on as he loses two Ministers, saying he’s still got their “party” votes and nothing has changed. Yeah right. Oh and of course he says there is the Maori Party, except these days they must be wishing they hadn’t been so eager to give their confidence vote to Key and National as there is precious little else of the government’s programme they wish to support as they haemorrhage support among the tangata whenua.

Today’s decision also puts the famous tea party conversation between Key and Banks, where they stitched up what turned out to be an essential deal to provide the present Government majority masquerading as a mandate, into a new perspective. The dog-whistle went out to National voters in Epsom – hold your nose and vote for John, to make sure that we can reduce your taxes at the top end and sell Government’s high-dividend assets.

Epsom’s blue brigade obliged. They might not be so obliging, if Banks were found guilty at his forthcoming trial and was required to stand down from Parliament. If Paul Goldsmith for example were to stand at a by-election and win, then Parliament would have one less party, one less seat and the National government would have one less vote for Sky City, asset sales, employment law changes to remove worker rights, GCSB, and so on. Readers can add for themselves what I have left out.

Watch for the shifts on iPredict as this starts to sink in. I’ll make a few predictions of my own. We may well be facing an election sooner than the end of next year. Don’t be surprised if John Key is not National’s leader at that election. If Banks tries the delaying route from court to court, so much the better. It only makes National’s chances worse as their bedfellow becomes ever more toxic.

Key insisted all along that Banks had not broken the law and that he accepted him at his word. What a fool. Banks is clearly in complete denial – so apparently has been Key.

One final word of thanks and appreciation – to Graeme McCready and his support group, and to the various judges who have heard the submissions and the evidence. Finally justice has been seen to be done. They deserve our thanks, and McCready our support.

91 comments on “The fish rots from the head”

  1. vto 1

    .
    the world has moved past John Key now

    his time has been

    the nail is home

  2. karol 2

    David Cunliffe today on the possibility of a snap election:

    Asked whether Mr Key should be considering a snap election now that two of National’s support parties were led by resigned ministers, Mr Cunliffe said: “Go ahead. Make our day. We’re on a roll, we’re ready to govern.”

    • tamati 2.1

      I doubt it. The public hates unnecessary elections. JK will sooner drink Martinis with Winston or Brendan Horan and hang on another year.

      • karol 2.1.1

        Of course. Cunliffe was responding the suggestion that it would be a threat to Labour to have an early election.

        • Jim Nald 2.1.1.1

          Snap election or not, NZ presently has a government in denial.
          In denial in many senses of the word.
          In denial over numerous issues.

          • Polish Pride 2.1.1.1.1

            No not in denial at all. They have done what National will always do – enact more rightwing policies
            Give tax breaks to the rich – check
            Sell off govt ownership in state owned assets – check
            Change labour laws to be more in favour of employers – check

            Then you (the collective you) will get a Labour govt that will move things a few degrees back to the left.
            Then you’ll get another National govt that will get back in and repeat the steps listed above and again you’ll have a whinge and a moan but you’ll persist with the system and the stupidity of repeating the same pattern over and over expecting a different result and getting frustrated when there isn’t one.

            Anyone else in any similar situation would be at risk of being labeled an idiot but it is probably more that most don’t have the time to take a step back and look at the system we have in its entirety with its flaws, let alone come up with ways to fix the problems. So instead we will persist with a system that be it the Right or the Left is focused on wealth redistribution. Its just so unnecessary.

    • Mary 2.2

      I wouldn’t be confident with merely a roll. Rolls end. Labour need more than a roll. They need substance, not luck.

  3. MikeG 3

    Are you sure about the one less seat if National won the seat in a by election? If Goldsmith won then his list place would be filled by the next on Nationals list wouldn’t it?

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      Yeah, I wonder that too. Isn’t the size of parliament determined at the general election?

    • tamati 3.2

      Yeah, you’re right. If Goldsmith wins an Epsom by-election he takes Banks seat the next person on the National list enters Parliament.

      The problem being, if Banks resigns from parliament there will be a time before the by-election where the government will be one seat down.

      [correct. The number of list MPs that each party is entitled to is fixed at the election. If Goldsmith replaces Banks they lose an ally but gain an electorate MP and get to bring in a new person as a list MP taking their total MPs to 60. Of course, there’s the period when they’re one short and Banks is gone. Labour’s in that position currently: with Lianne gone, they’ve only got 33. Eddie]

      • s y d 3.2.1

        What if Goldsmith is the defence witness with name suppression who has declared that Banks didn’t read any of the returns.

        • Mary 3.2.1.1

          Then Banks and Dunne have to get a civil union and move to Russia to live as husband and husband.

      • Mike Smith 3.2.2

        National won 47.31% of the 2011 vote which entitles them to 59 seats in a 121 seat Parliament. http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2011/
        ACT (Banks) won 1 electorate seat. If Banks had to resign, ACT would lose representation and the overhang would disappear. If Goldsmith stood and won the by-election, his status would change from list to electorate MP. National would still have 59 seats, would still have confidence with the Maori Party, but would not be able to pass legislation the Maori Party did not support.

        • Te Reo Putake 3.2.2.1

          So, to get the ‘extra’ seat, National would have to put up a candidate not already in parliament?

        • Thomas 3.2.2.2

          ACT is entitled to one proportional seat, as it won 1.1% of party votes. Ergo ACT is not the cause of the overhang. The Maori party is the cause of the overhang, as they won 3 electorates but only enough party votes for two seats.
          If Banks resigns and a National candidate wins the by election, National will have 60 out of 121 MPs.

        • tamati 3.2.2.3

          Sorry Mike, but I think you’re wrong there.

    • Finn 3.3

      No, because it’s a hung parliament. In this case that means that there is one extra seat than the 120 seat regular parliament. As Goldsmith is a list MP from National, if he ran and won Act would be out, and with the party a seat would be gone, thus reducing it to the 120 seat standard.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 3.3.1

        No It doesnt. The last election determined the number of Mps, including overhang, that cannot change till next election

  4. Peter 4

    Yes good summary Mike. National could send an early signal to Colin Craig for any possible by-election, and get him in ahead, even if it means that he fights two campaigns (the by-election, then the general election). Question is, will the good burghers of Epsom swallow the deal again.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    Gotta say Cunliffe has played a good, straight bat over the past few days. Not getting dragged in (no silly “popcorn” comments), clear on the issues – with Robertson & co backing him up. It hasn’t been in the headlines but in the House the opposition have run rings round Key.

    Whatever happens to Banks, Labour do look ready for an election at any time, and I haven’t thought that for years.

    • karol 5.1

      Yes, it seems to me Cunliffe has shown discipline in sticking to a couple of key issues – eg Smith.

      And Cunliffe and Robertson have been putting pressure on the speaker to be more consistent and fair in his rulings. Today they pushed it as far as they could without being ejected from the chamber.

    • seeker 5.2

      Spot on comment gobsmacked @ 8.52pm……..completely agree. “make our day” indeed.

    • Rogue Trooper 5.3

      Very wise, not getting “dragged in”.

  6. BLiP 6

    What I don’t get is how a retired accountant can prove in Court that there is sufficient evidence for John Banks to face trial, but the New Zealand Police cannot?

    • felix 6.1

      Could be that he’s not a Mason I suppose. That’d make it easier.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1.1

        John Banks , a former minister of police, is your answer. Did I say , ‘its who you know’

        • felix 6.1.1.1

          There’s a bit more to his relationship with the police than just being a former minister.

        • thechangeling 6.1.1.2

          That’s what I thought. Cops looking after their (corrupt) mates along the top echelons.

    • tc 6.2

      Ah yes the police who get the laws they knowingly break retrospectively and conveniently altered by this govt.
      Then raid the media to retrieve a public chat made in full view of the invited media because slippery cant keep his comments appropriate.

      whose a good police force then, heel sit and roll over.

      • RedBaronCV 6.2.1

        Same police force I believe, who don’t arrest in around a third of domestic violence call outs. Seems to be a difference world at the high end of town

        • tc 6.2.1.1

          haven’t those incidents been removed from reporting making crime stats look better. Better still if you don’t arrest.

    • Thomas 6.3

      Police almost never even try to enforce electoral law.

    • Polish Pride 6.4

      Graham McCready – A retired accountant. Bankrupt, Convicted Blackmailer, Fraudster and Tax Evader. You won’t see MSM report all this although they would for anyone else…and they wonder why they are becoming more and more irrelevant for many people.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.4.1

        You are just quoting from the Oily Orca

      • miravox 6.4.2

        Yep, that’s why he does what he does.

        He doesn’t see why he should have the book thrown at him when people at the top of the tree get away with things on the grounds that it’s not worth the police time to prosecute (too big to fall?). I think I read that in the MSM during the Mallard prosecution, which he also won.

        Out of adversity and all that…

      • RedBaronCV 6.4.3

        And again as Judge Mills said it is the quality of the allegations not the person making the allegations that counts. Read his judgement

  7. Anne 7

    One final word of thanks and appreciation – to Graeme McCready and his support group

    Hear hear. And so often in the past McCready was the butt of derision but he never gave up.

    @ BLiP
    Ron @5.3 on “John Banks to stand trial” has the answer.

    Banks is a former Police Minister so of course he would get special treatment from Police. Apart from the fact that police seem to love the National Party. Look how many former police members are now either in local or National politics and always it seems on the right. Banks used to go out of his way to don his Trench coat and visit every crime situation he could. He was also responsible for adding 600 extra police to their staffing but of course he ripped the Traffic Police apart to achieve that increase.

  8. vto 8

    John Key today;..

    ” .I’m not going to find someone guilty, it’s not my responsibility to do that unless they have actually done something.”

    ..
    .
    .

    • toad 8.1

      Richard Worth???

    • Jim Nald 8.2

      And there was Pansy Wong’s dealings which didn’t come out in public because she was told to go to avoid the details coming out.

      • Lanthanide 8.2.1

        Er, Pansy Wong resigned because her husband was conducting private business while on paid government flights to China. Remember the photos of him at the factory with the big banner over his head?

        • miravox 8.2.1.1

          “…her husband was conducting private business…”
          and we got some shitty locomotives out of his connections, didn’t we?

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4885018/Inquiry-into-Pansy-Wongs-husband

          Fairfax Media reported last year that Mr Wong acted from March 2005 for Pacific Power Development to help clinch a contract for the Chinese company China North Rail to supply 20 locomotives to KiwiRail. CNR has since secured a $29m contract to supply 300 flat-deck wagons to KiwiRail by the middle of this year.

          14/04/2011

          http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1207/S00438/govt-didnt-undertake-risk-analysis-on-faulty-locos.htm

          Simon Bridges claims he’s frustrated with the serious failures in the 20 Chinese locos ordered by KiwiRail. But it was his own Government that championed the low cost deal with China North Rail.

          The Minister also claims the repair work is covered by warranty from the manufacturer. But have the locomotives been paid for? Has the second batch put on hold been paid for and what happens when the warranty runs out?

          “The faults in these locomotives may never be fixed and we may end up with the bulk of these expensive locomotives mothballed and the taxpayer paying the price.

          “The Government should be held to account for this because it gave a clear signal to KiwiRail that a local build was not an option. That decision has cost jobs for workers at Hillside in Dunedin and other New Zealand firms.

          31 July 2012

          Are these two articles related, by any chance?

  9. Tracey 9

    5 years to date

    heatley resigned and reinstated
    smith resigned and reinstated
    worth resigned
    wong resigned
    kate wilkinson resigns
    aaron gilmore resigns
    jaqui blue resigns
    dunne resigned
    Banks resigned

    power gone to another job

    BUT its labour in disarray

  10. Tracey 10

    Mike, if key does not lead to next election will it be for “health reasons”?

  11. Saarbo 11

    It is unbelievable that on The NZ Herald (on line) this morning, still has Len Brown affair as their main leading article (top 2 articles) while the Banks corruption scandal is the 5th article down the page….I would have thought a prominent member of parliament facing corruption charges would warrant a little more attention.

    • Wensleydale 11.1

      It’s not THAT unbelievable. It’s the Herald. They’ve had their tongue down the back of John Key’s trousers since day one.

    • tc 11.2

      My hope from all this is that it shakes the lethargy out of non voting middle nz by watching the cronies including the MSM show true colours.

      I dont expect much different from shonkey, backers and collaborators but it does give the opposition a full set of examples including one ‘worth’ revisiting to show the undecided voters whats been ruining NZ since 08.

      They say you dont win but govts lose, banks is part of that evolving story of loss.

  12. Thomas 12

    I doubt Banks will be convicted, as that would require fairly strong evidence, which I haven’t seen. The fact that the judge didn’t summarily dismiss it, doesn’t mean much.

    Banks has done the honourable thing by resigning until the trial is over. I suspect he will be reinstated. He’s just lying low. The government majority is not imperiled by this.

    Labour would do well from a snap election. (They just couldn’t do worse than last time.) Key’s coalition partners are dying, which will be a big problem come the next election.

  13. vto 13

    John Banks doesn’t even make sense anymore – he always loses track of his sentences before he gets to the end. Witness his waffle about “… I have nothing to fear, I have nothing to hide” on te tele last night.

    What a dipshit comment from a loser with his brain cogs all out of sync.

    • North 13.1

      Having had the occasion many-a-time to see the austere, unflappable DCJ Gittos in action I have this mind’s eye of him delivering his judgment, his cup of strained, unsweetened tea – “Accordingly the defendant will be committed for trial………”

      And Super Botox Man has to just sit there and sip it. Hilarious ! Poetic, karmic, and bloody good job !

      Hey ShonKey Python……..sure love the “higher standards” in your Flying Circus !

    • sixincomefigure 13.2

      Lest we forget:

      Banks: “Are you saying that Dotcom’s at SkyCity?”

      RadioLive: “No, no – that you had donations to your mayoral campaign from SkyCity and two from Kim Dotcom.”

      Banks: “Oh, look, look, look, look, look, look, look [pause] this matter. I don’t know if you’re caught up with it … I have never been to SkyCity with Dotcom.”

      RadioLive: “And what about donations to your campaign? Did you have a relationship with Kim Dotcom?”

      Banks: “What’s your relationship? This is offensive! He’s a married man, what are you talking about?”

      RadioLive: “[Laughs] Not a relationship like that.”

      Banks: “No, look I don’t want to go down … I’ve had no relationship with Dotcom – he’s got a wife.”

      RadioLive: “Not like that, a business relationship.”

      Banks: [hangs up]

      RadioLive: [calls back]

      Banks: “Hello?”

      RadioLive: “Hi, I was just wanting to clear up something, I wasn’t meaning to …”

      Banks: “Just a minute, just a minute – I have never had a relationship with Dotcom, he is a married man. And I have not been to the SkyCity with the guy. So thanks for your time, thanks for your call.”

  14. Sable 14

    Banks will get off and it will all be quickly forgotten. Just look at the fat cats who embezzle and commit fraud, how many of them are languishing in prison? Bugger all. Most of those who can’t get their well paid lawyer to find an “angle” get home detention at worst whilst everyone else gets a harsh ride and is locked up for often petty offenses. The justice system in this country is as bent as a dogs hind leg, has been for years.

    • Tracey 14.1

      have you read the two decisions which have gone against him so far?

      The judiciary doesn’t have a good record during this government of pandering to them.

    • Francis 14.2

      Even if he does get the equivalent of a “slap on the hand” as a penalty, from what I understand, the conviction alone will be enough to toss him out of parliament. Please correct me if I’m wrong, though.

  15. Lanthanide 15

    So what has Goldsmith ever done, anyway?

    • s y d 15.1

      he wrote a book I believe

    • tc 15.2

      Ran a right wing agenda as a councillor so odorous even Nat voters rejoiced when his supershity aspirations came to nothing.

      Banning beggars was one of his along with whatever banksy and cammy endorsed (brewer and slater).

    • Tracey 15.3

      He writes in the local publication Eden Villager or Village and it’s tosh.

      he is the cameron brewer of central auckland, they are slowlt permeating the entire city

  16. You mean the conversation that was purposely illegally taped?

    National must be laughing, ACT is dead, so is United for that matter, and of course the conservative party, National’s aprty vote has just jumped 2%, they have won the election because of this.

    • fender 16.1

      LOL

      Told you many times to wear a helmet when riding your hover-board, I knew you would do yourself harm and end up with a head injury.

      • Brett Dale 16.1.1

        Fender:

        Seriously, if act falls, who will act supporters give their vote to? The Greens? Temana? Socialist aotearoa? No they will go into national’s camp. If only, I had a hoverboard, two years and four days until october 21 2015 though.

    • Lanthanide 16.2

      Whether the conversation was purposefully recorded or not is irrelevant.

      The conversation does not meet the threshold of the participants having “a reasonable expectation of privacy”, due to the fact that published photos of the stunt show people from the media no further than 1.5m behind John Key *without any glass between them*.

      You’d have to be deluded to think you could have a “private conversation” in a situation like that, particularly when you deliberately invited the media to attend.

      • Brett Dale 16.2.1

        Lanthanide:

        If whaleoil had left a tape recorder running in a cafe and recorded Russell Norman and Hone Harawira, and then said “It was a accident” You guys will be pissing yourself’s laughing and then you would be outraged.

        Please, it was disgusting with what bradly ambrose did, and you know it.

        • Lanthanide 16.2.1.1

          Depends if Russell Norman and Hone Hawawira had invited the media to attend their cafe meeting, and then made a half-arsed effort to exclude the media from a portion of it.

          If you want to compare apples with apples, then do it properly.

          “Please, it was disgusting with what bradly ambrose did, and you know it.”

          No, I don’t know it. Please refrain from telling me what is in my own head, because you clearly don’t know.

          • Brett Dale 16.2.1.1.1

            Lanthanide:

            The press conference had finished, you do KNOW what bradly’s intention was, you have to be a fool to think otherwise.

            • Colonial Viper 16.2.1.1.1.1

              Public event, public place, press present, patrons around.

            • Lanthanide 16.2.1.1.1.2

              It doesn’t matter whether it was finished or not.

              They could not have had a reasonable expectation of a private conversation, when through the door right behind JK, no more than 1.5m away, was someone from the media with a camera. That is easily close enough to overhear someone’s conversation.

              I personally would never have a conversation discussing sensitive topics (like Brash being a weirdo) in such a setting. I don’t think any reasonable person would.

              Also I don’t “KNOW” what Bradley’s intention was – putting it in capitals doesn’t somehow make it true. Bradley had no idea they were going to have a private chat – because no one in their right mind would attempt to do such a thing in such a setting. But as I’ve said, the intent behind the recording is irrelevant due to the setting in which it was done.

  17. karol 17

    Gordon Campbell, excellent as always on Banks and Smith and their complete lack of morality:

    At a time when political power is being centralised downtown in the Executive, responsibility is being re-located to the suburbs. The Beehive seeks to operate as a blame free, shame free environment. At all times, plausible deniability is to be maintained. Being able to put distance between the Minister and the actions/outcomes/political fallout of policy is not simply the last desperate resort of scoundrels, but the first resort of the foot soldiers in ministerial service – who routinely congratulate themselves and each other on how cleverly they and their Minister have managed to get around the intention of the law without being proven to have breached its black and white letter. Morality is for saps, and would cost you your job. When senior politicians hold the law in such contempt – and actively seek wiggle room to get around it – they can hardly wonder why they are held in contempt by the public.

    A good analysis of the moral bankruptcy of the “neoliberals”, where winning, profits and wealth are the only considerations, and issues of ethics take a back seat.

  18. Was that “The fish rots from the head” or “The fish rorts from the head”?

  19. Ad 19

    In ethics terms, this is one of the worst weeks I can ever think of in New Zealand politics, ever.

    Alamein Kopu and Tuku Morgan were minor affronts to the sensibility compared to the simultaneous stories of MP John Banks and Mayor Len Brown.

    The Moyle Affair – where Prime Minister Muldoon effectively sought to ‘out’ MP Colin Moyle would come closest in scale.

    Both left and right are being equally delusional that neither scandal has any impact on their administration. They both have massive and lasting impacts.

    Can anyone think of a worse moment here?

    • Francis 19.1

      To be fair, Len Brown really isn’t really a candidate of the left anymore (if he ever was). He’s much closer to the political centre-right than the centre-left (in comparison, National is almost certainly in the right/far-right end of the spectrum, regardless of what they say).

      Even regardless of that, Len no longer has any ties to any of the left-wing political parties (from what I understand), whereas the government relies on John Banks to govern (and his ideologies are clearly in line with National).

    • Treetop 19.2

      “Both left and right are being equally delusional that neither scandal has any impact on their administration. They both have massive and lasting impacts.”

      “Can anyone think of a worse moment here?”

      Yes I can.

      In February 1979 when CIB silenced and bullied me because I told the cop who was involved with Moyle (June 17 1975 incident) that I was going to go to the newspaper in two weeks time. The cops name was Len and I dated him for the first six months of 1976. I was age 16. It wasn’t until 4 November 1976 that Muldoon accused Moyle of being picked up by the police.

      Before I kick the bucket I intend to do the following.

      1. Hold the police to account for their decades of lies.
      2. To co author a book about my cycles of police complaints (a long list of high ranking police, two PMs, at least three ministers and several MPs) and incompetent medical specialists (about 18)and how rape and sexual abuse has affected me since birth.

      BTW if this gets back to Len I expect that you are still in the job and it was 40 years last month.

      I read this morning that a replacement for Marshall is going to be sought.

      I will sit back as much as I can to see how the Brown/Palino affair pans out.

      This morning I realised why I had not slept well for four nights, too much transference between the Moyle affair and the Brown/Palino affair.

      Clicking the submit comment button is no accident.

  20. karol 20

    Question set for today’s question time

    11. Dr DAVID CLARK to the Minister for Small Business: What advice, if any, has he received on the impact of fraud, corruption and dishonesty on small business and what has he done about it?

  21. Anne 21

    Oh lookee here folks!

    During the course of some research into a related aspect to the current Banks saga I found this:

    Brian Rudman looks into John Banks’ dirty tricks team in 2004

    Read carefully and note the similarities. 😉

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