Geddis on donations

April 29th, 2012 at 9:18 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

University of Otago Faculty of Law professor Andrew Geddis said candidates were allowed to meet potential donors and advise them how to give .

“If the candidate subsequently learns a large ‘anonymous’ donation was made to her or his campaign in the days after the conversation, the candidate can claim not to know who it came from,” Geddis said.

I made this point yesterday also. You may know they were going to be a donor, but not which donation was their one. However if the donor was thanked by the candidate afterwards for the donation, that would weaken the claim not to know.

University of Otago lecturer Dr Bryce Edwards said allowing anonymous donations was a serious loophole.

“I think from this point on there will be an increasing call for the ability of anonymous donations to be scrapped.

“It’s almost inevitable we will see that loophole close,” Edwards said.

The sensible thing to do would be to apply the the donation provisions of the Electoral Act to the .

It is worth noting that Len Brown also had anonymous donations. His were legally funneled through a trust, so they donated to the trust, and the trust donated to his campaign.

Yesterday, Labour leader David Shearer called for Prime Minister John Key to stand Banks down from his ministerial portfolios.

A spokeswoman for the prime minister said Banks had assured him he had complied with local body electoral law.

Any call for a stand down is ridiculous. While I regard the allegations by DotCom as serious, they are just untested allegations, and they in no way relate to to any actions by Banks as a Minister or MP.

If the Police investigate (which is inevitable), and if they decides to lay charges, then there could be a question of “standing down”, but if MPs and Ministers were required to stand down over untested allegations of electoral breaches then a lot of Labour MPs would still be stood down pending resolution of the complaints the Electoral Commission referred to the Police last election.

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33 Responses to “Geddis on donations”

  1. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    While I regard the allegations by DotCom as serious, they are just untested allegations, and they in no way relate to to any actions by Banks as a Minister or MP.

    LOL. Pull the other one. It’s got David Benson Pope on it.

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  2. tknorriss (327 comments) says:

    As much as I hate to find my self in agreement with lefties on “The Standard”, I believe that Banks is in serious trouble over this.

    As was pointed out, Dotcom claims to have personally handed Banks two cheques according to the Herald article. If that is true, it is hard to construe anonimity however it is looked at.

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  3. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    tknorriss

    Yes I think Banks is in very big trouble. He will need to build himself a large “NO” sign and the only party that will work with him from now on will be Labour.

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  4. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    As was pointed out, Dotcom claims to have personally handed Banks two cheques according…

    Thats when National just say Dotcom was confused…. then deny they were going to let him buy a cabinet position…..

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  5. Scott Chris (6,150 comments) says:

    and they in no way relate to to any actions by Banks as a Minister or MP

    I disagree. All his actions are subsequently tainted. If Banks is shown to be a man of shallow principles who contravenes his own professed ideals, he cannot be trusted. Key would be wise to cut him loose imo.

    Banks is just another Winston Peters really.

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  6. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Who needs enemies when…

    Today, Mr Hide told NBR ONLINE the allegations were serious and need to be cleared up as quick as possible.

    “Mr Banks needs to stand down as minister, work with the police, and shut up until the until the investigation is completed,” Mr Hide said.

    “He needs to stand down to save the Prime Minister the embarrassment of having a minister under police investigation.”

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/banks-needs-stand-down-and-shut-hide-ck-117678

    …when you get friendly advice from your predecessors.

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  7. backster (2,174 comments) says:

    Much ado about nothing.

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  8. Nostalgia-NZ (5,220 comments) says:

    ‘If the candidate subsequently learns a large ‘anonymous’ donation was made to her or his campaign in the days after the conversation, the candidate can claim not to know who it came from,” Geddis said.’

    If that isn’t encouragement to lie I wouldn’t know what would be. Even with that ‘escape hatch’ available Banksie has got the problem of discussing the amounts and the call of gratitude. Putting all the issues of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ aside, what about competency. Is a Minister competent, and one whom the PM can have ‘confidence in’ if he can’t recall phone conversations, visits to a mansion several times and even a helicopter flight from and to Mechanics Bay? Or is this just normal levels of competency in the current Government? We’ve yet to see question and answer time but to this point if Labour can’t get off the mark on this one there’s probably no need for an election in 2114 because Labour will have forgotten what elections are for while marching 3 hikois against itself.

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  9. smttc (752 comments) says:

    If he knew who made it, why would Banks care about disclosing a $50,000 donation from Dotcom. The unions make six figure donations to the Labour Party all the time. Apart from Whaleoil, does anyone really give a toss?

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  10. oddity fan (311 comments) says:

    David, you are either in denial or a haze of wishful thinking. It’s very serious, given it is occuring at the same time the public is watching political parties making submissions to the Electoral Commission. ACT has been a train wreck for a long time, only a year ago we saw Brash take over this party and now look at what has happend since.

    The old ACT men who can’t see their time has passed (Douglas, Brash and Banks) have ruined ACT, and harmed National as well.

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  11. V (720 comments) says:

    NZ, distracted by complete bollocks once again.

    So what, Dotcom donated to JB as mayor at the time. Big deal. In the case of the Sky City donation maybe JB should abstain on any vote to do with the casino, provided the Labour party do likewise as they also received donations from SkyCity.

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  12. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    The Labour Party is up to their neck lobbying trade unions for donations. They know how much they get and lobby for more. The fact that the donations are deductions taken from members pay packets does NOT make it better for the Labour Party. Rather the opposite. Yes lets tighten this up starting with trades hall.

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  13. MT_Tinman (3,203 comments) says:

    I agree with DPF in that there is nothing proven, not even any charges laid, so Banks, unless he acknowledges guilt should not stand down nor be stood down.

    What I do disagree with is that donations, made by NZers in $NZ, should be declarable.

    Let anyone foolish enough to donate to a political campaign do so anonymously as long as the donation can be proven to be in $NZ.

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  14. publicwatchdog (2,613 comments) says:

    If John Banks had ‘nothing to hide’ – then why did he hide the alleged $50,000 donation from Kim Dotcom?

    I’ve checked his 2010 Auckland Mayoral returns for myself, and on Friday 27 April (along with 2007 Auckland Mayoral candidate Lisa Prager) lodged a written complaint with the Police over Bank’s alleged failure to disclose a $15,000 donation from Sky City.

    Tomorrow, Monday 30 April 2012 at 2pm, myself and Lisa Prager will go to Auckland Central Police Station, to make another formal written complaint to Police about the alleged $50,000 donation from Kim Dotcom, and related matters.

    If Banks knew from where these alleged donation(s) came – then they were NOT anonymous, and if over $1000 in value, he had a lawful obligation to declare them.

    How dodgy is this former National Minister of Police, and current Minister of Regulatory Reform?

    How little does John Bank’s signature mean when he signs off not just dodgy electoral returns but dodgy registered prospectuses that contained untrue statements?

    Isn’t ACT the party that believes in ‘individual responsibility’?

    (Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme Registered Prospectuses dated 22 August 2008 and 18 September 2009 – for which he (and Don Brash) former fellow Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Ltd, equally signed, along with Peter Huljich, who was charged, convicted and sentenced) .

    How long is NZ Prime Minister John Key going to attempt to defend the indefensible?

    “Prime Minister John Key said today he would not be standing Mr Banks down.

    Mr Key said there was no evidence, only accusations. People making the allegations were free to test them with the police.”

    (NBR 29 April 2012)

    How shonky is that?

    I have been given the official Police file number for the first complaint, from the Detective Inspector currently in charge of investigating this matter.

    Whether this next formal written complaint will be dealt with under the same file number, or separately, will be determined tomorrow, Monday 30 April 2012.

    I agree with the former (former) Leader of the ACT Party, Rodney Hide.

    “Mr Banks needs to stand down as minister, work with the police, and shut up until the until the investigation is completed,” Mr Hide said.

    “He needs to stand down to save the Prime Minister the embarrassment of having a minister under police investigation.”

    Of course – for former Wall St banker NZ Prime Minister John Key, to take a principled position on this matter, given his previous ‘insider trader’ track record with TranzRail, is probably a bit much to expect?

    All this happening in NZ – perceived to be the least corrupt country in the world, according to the 2011 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (based on subjective opinions from anonymous business people).

    yeah right…..

    Looking forward to NZ Police vigorously enforcing ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ‘WHITE COLLAR’ CRIME – especially regarding those who are currently ‘running the country’?

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

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  15. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    NO…this is not “no big deal”…at the very least, he has comitted the cardinal sin of lying as a politician…he is a relic from the FPP pre internet days….he cannot survive this…key has to cut him loose…

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  16. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    MT Tinman

    I suspect if we go back to the Darren Hughes imbroglio DPF will have had a polar opposite stance.

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  17. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Penny

    I think you will find the R Hon John Key has many principles.

    In fact, he has a principle for every occasion!

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  18. Nookin (3,354 comments) says:

    Luc

    Even so, he is well behind Winston who has at least 3 for every occasion.

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  19. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    Penny, do you think Helen Clark should have stood down since she actually admitted signing a painting she did not paint? I could look up the offence the police found there was a prima facie case for but I remember the penalty was at least 7 years.

    I am not a lawyer and if I was I do not think a blog is the place to try someone for an alleged criminal offence. However, when the case is resolved one way or another I think we need a law change in relation to MPs that the police investigate. For any offence that carries a penalty of two years or more the police should be obliged to prosecute if there is a prima facie case.

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  20. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    I think you will find the R Hon John Key has many principles.

    Yes, and if you don’t like them, I am sure he has others which he is prepared to sell.

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  21. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Indeed Ross, and even throw in the odd pokie machine?

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  22. Nostalgia-NZ (5,220 comments) says:

    I watched the Q@A segment about this on 1 news tonight. I wonder what sort of advice Banks is getting. The only way he could have restored confidence with the public of his capacity to be a Minister was to be forthright. Because he doesn’t understand that, he shows the role for him is a counterfeit. He doesn’t understand the responsibility of his job, he now, more apparently than before, comes across as a politician skimming the waves for a place of entitlement.

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  23. pq (728 comments) says:

    Banks gone next week apparently, new election, Nat MP Epsom

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  24. pq (728 comments) says:

    Banks will go. Wait for next week for PM announcement.
    Next new Epsom MP. not good .
    Next elections PM Key tired so much, looking for new job

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  25. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why nobody is prepared to stand up for Banks and say that this is a democracy and a free country, and that anybody should be able to give anyone any amount of money for their campaign as they please. Banks has nothing to be ashamed of, and neither should we. Banks has so far achieved two things which ACT failed to achieve in 18 years of existence – charter schools and strict regulations on government expenditure. And yet those who wish to be generals in a losing army rather than foot soldiers in a winning one have no problem throwing him under the bus. Appalling. Show some outrage over this left wing witch-hunt and defend freedom in New Zealand!

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  26. Matthew Hooton (131 comments) says:

    BlairM: I strongly say that anybody should be able to give anyone any amount of money for their campaign as they please. But that wasn’t the law at the time unfortunately. And I will also strongly say that politiciians should follow the law. Also, it is in their interests to answer simple questions when put to them on national TV if they want people to believe them.

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  27. big bruv (13,928 comments) says:

    Nothing to see her folks, move along.

    No doubt the police will investigate, the conclusion the Police will arrive at is that while there may well be a prima facie case against Mr Banks it is not in the public interest to prosecute.

    I see nothing wrong with that.

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  28. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    DPF…”…they in no way relate to his actions as an MP…”

    I was forced to resign for things that had absolutely nothing to do with my actions as an MP David, the chief of them something that happened 27 years earlier.

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  29. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    Just slightly off topic – does anyone know if business make donations out of capital and are not tax deductible or write a cheque from their day to day account and effectively save tax?

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  30. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    LOVING the lies, half-truths and obfuscations as Banksie squirms for cover.

    It’s UNCANNILY like listening to Winston :-)

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  31. KH (695 comments) says:

    There is a case to answer. The evidence is there and despite his bluster, Banks is in trouble.
    He took the money, he knew where it came from, and he needs to admit it.
    I do expect politicians to weave and dodge a bit.
    But I would have more respect for Banks if he put his hand up and said ‘Fair Cop’
    I don’t vote left, but that does not also mean I view Banks an acceptable member of parliament.
    He needs to go today.

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  32. KH (695 comments) says:

    DPFs post above is so disappointing. One eyed support and justifications are not that interesting, nor do they add anything useful to a debate. We need better posts than this.
    DPF – you are not Banksies lawyer, paid to get the guilty off the hook, by whatever arguement that can be scratched up. It’s legit for Lawyers to do it for clients. But disappointing from a columnist. Shades of Jim Minto really.

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  33. Shazzadude (529 comments) says:

    “I made this point yesterday also. You may know they were going to be a donor, but not which donation was their one.”

    Weird, I don’t seem to recall DPF rolling this excuse out when multiple blogs were made here about Winston Peters and donations.

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