More on Banks

May 1st, 2012 at 8:20 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports:

The donation scandal engulfing Act leader spread last night as it emerged he lobbied personal friend and Government minister Maurice Williamson over internet tycoon and donor .

Mr Williamson, the Minister of Land Information, last night admitted Mr Banks had lobbied him over a property purchase in Coatesville, just north of Auckland, Dotcom wanted to make. …

Mr Williamson said: “John Banks did call me to advocate on behalf of Kim Dotcom with regard to the OIO [Overseas Investment Office] application on the Coatesville property. Mr Banks and I have been good friends for years. It is a matter of record that the ministers considered the application, but declined it.”

Dotcom told the Herald Mr Banks referred to being “very close” to Williamson, whose approval was necessary before he could buy the $30 million Coatesville mansion he rents.

He said the comment was made by Mr Banks in reference to his application to buy the mansion.

“He said he knows lots of people from when he was a minister. He knows Williamson … They are very close.”

Dotcom said he believed Mr Banks spoke positively to Mr Williamson about his application.

Overseas Investment Office officials left the decision on the application to ministers, and Mr Williamson approved it in April last year.

But it was eventually declined after it was rejected by Associate Finance Minister Simon Power.

Three months after approving it, Mr Williamson changed his mind and joined Mr Power in rejecting it.

I’ll come back to this issue. Also of note is:

Mr Banks yesterday continued to refuse to be interviewed, but issued a statement in which he said he was unaware Dotcom had donated to his campaign and denied ringing the internet magnate to thank him.

“I could not have, as any such contribution was anonymous.”

But he said he had spoken to Dotcom on “other matters”.

In an interview in January, Mr Banks said those other matters included advice on Dotcom’s OIO application and residency.

He said the advice was “just the process”, and their conversation was “in total of 15 minutes, maybe 20 minutes”.

It is significant that Banks is now saying he did not thank him for the donation, because in my mind that is the issue that would most undermine a defence that the donation was anonymous. I suspect any Police investigation will focus on this issue.

Let’s look at a number of related issue.

Did Banks solicit a donation from Kim Dot Com?

Yes, there seems little dispute there. It is not denied that he suggested they make it two donations of $25,000 rather than one of $50,000. The bizarre thing however is that this has no impact on disclosure.

Can you solicit a donation and then claim it is anonymous?

At parliamentary level probably not, at local government level, basically yes you can. See this post by Andrew Geddis and this post by Graeme Edgeler.

Was Banks unusual in not declaring his donors?

No. As 3 News reported, Len Brown received $499,000 of anonymous donations (Banks had $638,512). Len Brown used the legal avenue of having most donors donate to a trust and then the trust making a donation to Len Brown. This means that Len Brown could legally know who had donated to the trust (and de facto know who had donated to him), but not have to legally disclose their identity. This is also what National used to do before the law changed for parliamentary elections with the Waitemata Trust.

So the issue is not about whether a Mayoral candidate knew who donated to them. The law allows them to know, if they structure it in the right way. The law is about the identifying donations, not donors. The key issue is whether Banks broke the law. If you think Banks is unfit to be an MP because he may have a very good idea of who his likely donors are, then one would have to argue that Len Brown is unfit to be Mayor if he has a very good idea of whom may have donated to the trust which donated to his campaign.

Should the law be changed?

Yes, absolutely. The provisions of the Electoral Act around donations should basically be put into the Local Electoral Act.

Did Banks break the law?

That is for the Police to form a view on, and a court to decide. The key issue will be whether Banks knew the that Kim DotCom was the source of the two $25,000 donations. It is very hard to prove that someone knew something. However the timing of any phone call from Banks to Dot Com will be a key issue. In the Peters and Owen Glenn case, phone records showed Peters phoned his lawyer a few seconds after talking to Owen Glenn, and his lawyer then e-mailed Glenn asking for money referring to the conversation you have had with my client. That was pretty much proof beyond reasonable doubt that Peters knew of the donation.

If Banks phoned Dot Com the same day as the donations were received, or even the next day, then it makes it look more likely that the call was to thank him for the donation as Dot Com alleges. If it was some time later, then the call being for other reasons is more plausible.

Is this just like the Winston Peters and Owen Glenn case?

Yes, and no. Both involved donations, where the MP denies they knew of the donation. Both involved very wealthy donors, who seemed to be seeking “influence” rather than ideological support of a party or policy position.

The donations to the Banks campaign was before Banks was an MP, or indeed a member of the ACT Party. It relates to his local government campaign, and the disclosure requirement is the Local Electoral Act. Breaches of that are a matter for the Police, who will investigate.

The donations from Owen Glenn was made when Peters was an MP, and was to his lawyer to effectively pay for Winston’s legal expenses. This doesn’t have to be disclosed under any law, but was required to be disclosed by Parliament’s Standing Orders around disclosure of interests. The Privileges Committee was the body responsible for investigating any breaches, and did so – finding Peters did know of the donation, and had filed a false return. Labour voted in favour of Peters both at the Privileges Committee itself, and against the finding of the Privileges Committee report. They did not accept that Peters knew of the donation, despite the massive weight of evidence from phone logs and e-mails.

Should Banks be stood down while this is investigated?

I find it hard to see how this is credible. A number of MPs are under investigation by the Police for breaches of electoral laws. None of them are standing down – despite the fact these relate to breaches of the parliamentary Electoral Act not the Local Electoral Act. Helen Clark did not stand down as PM despite the referral to the Police of Labour’s $400,000 overspend.

The other factor is that the Police can take a very long time to decide on electoral law issues. Often over a year.

The appropriate threshold for a stand down in this case would be if the Police laid charges.

This is not to say that we should regard the law as the minimum ethical standard for MPs and Ministers. It is not. That is why we also have the Cabinet Manual and Standing Orders. But this allegation is about actions by Banks before he was even an MP, is not related to his duties, and the evidence is contested.

So how about the lobbying on behalf of Kim DotCom on a property purchase?

It has some parallels to the Bill Liu case

What was the case?

He was a Chinese businessman who donated to several MPs who advocated on his behalf to become a citizen. Shane Jones approved his citizenship despite strong advice from officials not to do so, as they said he had criminal convictions, and many aliases. Dover Samuels presented the citizenship to Liu in the Labour Caucus Room.

How do the cases differ?

John Banks was a private individual (neither MP, Mayor, or candidate) when he lobbied Maurice Williamson. Dover Samuels was a sitting MP.

The officials took no position on the Dot Com application, they strongly oppossed the Liu application.

Shane Jones granted Liu citizenship despite knowing of the criminal concerns. Simon Power declined consent, and Maurice Williamson after initially supporting it, also then declined it.

Should Banks have disclosed Dot Com was a donor, when he lobbied Williamson on his behalf?

Personally I think if you ever advocate on behalf of someone, you should be very upfront and transparent over your relationship and connection to them. I believe it is better to “over declare” than “under declare”. That is one reason I disclose on this blog even very minor dealings.

On the legal side, Banks as a private individual had no obligation to disclose that Dot Com had been a donor to him, even if you accept he knew Dot Com was a donor.

It will be interesting to consider whether Holly Walker’s lobbyist bill would cover situations like this one.

Again personally, I didn’t like Winston Peters lobbying to get a honorary consul position for Owen Glenn, when he knew Glenn was a donor.

I also don’t like John Banks lobbying for Kim DotCom to get a ministerial decision in his favour, when at a minimum he has good grounds to suspect that DotCom had donated to his campaign (even if he legally did not know how much, and which donations).

While disliking both sets of actions, I point out that Peters was actually the Foreign Affairs Minister when he was lobbying on behalf of Glenn, and his lawyer received the money while he was Minister. Banks was a private individual at the time he lobbied. Labour’s position was that Peters did nothing wrong with lobbying for Glenn while not disclosing he had donated $100,000 to pay Winston’s legal fees – so their outrage over Banks is totally fake.

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78 Responses to “More on Banks”

  1. Keeping Stock (10,432 comments) says:

    Rod Emmerson has an outstanding cartoon on the “cabbage boat” comment by Banks yesterday. The bloke isn’t helping himself with some of his public utterances…

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/of-banks-cabbages-and-cartoonist-named.html

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  2. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Quote of the Day: On political ‘donations’

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  3. wreck1080 (3,963 comments) says:

    From what I can see without going into details….

    John Banks lobbying for Kimdotcom to buy land.

    Then, Kim dot com gives John Bank 50k in return for the favours.

    It just reeks of corruption to me — sure, JB was a private individual bank then, but he is still a high profile political figure with the power to influence .

    It just smells very whiffy to me and will do so to the average person.

    [DPF: As I said, I disapprove of it also. I would note that the lobbying was many months after the donation]

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  4. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    If this is corruption then we should all get on the cabbage boat.

    Labour’s hysteria is totally at odds with their own record.

    Thank goodness we have blogs like yours to explain the facts and give us an accurate picture.

    If John Banks has to stand down while being investigated for something that happenend before he entered Parliament, then so should Len Brown while we pick through all his donations. I bet Mallard would be urging him to do that! And I bet The Herald won’t be going after him.

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  5. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    From the same Herald article:

    Banks has said previously he had met Dotcom….but their interactions totalled about a 20-minute conversation.

    It has since been revealed he was flown in a helicopter to the Dotcom mansion, watched a fireworks display with the MegaUpload founder and had a meal with him and his wife Mona.

    Why lie if you have nothing to hide? Key risks serious political damage if he continues to support this guy.

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  6. Bed Rater (239 comments) says:

    As much was it would pain me to see the least crazy-spendy side of the house (apparantly) lose face, it would be great to see that idiotic fool get his arse kicked.

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  7. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    So you’re basically arguing that the Minister for Regulatory Reform and Small Business (as well as Associate Education & Commerce) can be up to his eyeballs in cabbages and Kims, yet nothing’s to be done about it as far as Cabinet Responsibility goes. Caesar’s wife must be beyond reproach, but Caesar’s lapdog can piss on the rug with impunity, eh.

    [DPF: Not with impunity. The Police are investigating, and I suspect Banks will be unable to get re-elected]

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  8. David Garrett (7,544 comments) says:

    You missed your vocation DPF….I have seen legal submissions which are vastly inferior to what you argue there…

    Rodney Hide’s trip to London was completely within the rules and it still stuffed his career and indirectly – and no fault of his – the ACT Party… Because as you well know, PERCEPTION is more important than reality in politics…

    A major point you overlook in your well argued piece is that the left wing media just will not leave this alone, whereas for Clark and her cronies, an “It’s time to move on” was almost invariably obeyed.

    But given the number of thorns in this, I certainly wouldn’t want to be Key…

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  9. mikenmild (11,721 comments) says:

    DPF has made a good job of this, his submissions on behalf of the government. I think it overlooks an interesting feature though, the lack of credibility in the responses from Banks. “I don’t recall” is the habitual resort of the guilty.

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  10. David Garrett (7,544 comments) says:

    Wreck: I havent got the Herald yet this am….is that the correct timeline? Banks lobbied Williamson on the land purchase BEFORE the donations were made?

    In fact someone with more time on their hands than me could usefully construct a timeline for all of this..starting from Bank’s first contact with Dotcom…or has someone already done it somewhere?

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  11. petal (706 comments) says:

    …when you are explaining, you are losing

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  12. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    For such a political animal, DPF seems strangely unacquainted with section 2.53 of the cabinet manual:

    “…In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully AND TO BEHAVE IN A WAY THAT UPHOLDS< AND IS SEEN TO UPHOLD< THE HIGHEST ETHICAL STANDARDS…"

    http://cabinetmanual.cabinetoffice.govt.nz/node/89#2.53

    I am sure DPF is familiar with the cabinet manual, so I am astonished this section needs to be brought to his attention and that mentioning it slipped his mind in his otherwise excellent cut and paste from the National party legal team.

    Perhaps Mr. Bank's amnesia is a communicable disease?

    [DPF: And I am not aware of any actions by Banks since he became a Minister, which are in breach of it.

    And please do not suggest I don’t do my own work. the last person who suggested that was very red faced after I posted a screenshot of my Google searches showing the research. No one in National suggested this post, contributed to the post or was even aware of it until it appeared]

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  13. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    I think all DPF’s comparisons as to what Labour did in the Peters or Liu’s case are irrelevant.

    This from DPF however is nearer the money:

    ‘Personally I think if you ever advocate on behalf of someone, you should be very upfront and transparent over your relationship and connection to them. I believe it is better to “over declare” than “under declare”. That is one reason I disclose on this blog even very minor dealings.’

    When taken to it’s conclusion Banks hasn’t been forthright and transparent, he’s been duplicitous as he responds, now, as Minister of the Crown. It makes no difference to the public perception that the matters are historical, it is how The Minister deals with the questions now, so far he’s been evasive to the point of showing no credibility and the dig continues. JK seems unable to appreciate that to this point. Smudging the paintwork by referring to Labour’s ‘indiscretions’ is a political response by DPF when what should have be offered by Banks was a credible response as a Minister of the Crown – he ought not to have needed any prompting or advice on that.

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  14. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    Can you solicit a donation and then claim it is anonymous?

    Yes, if you are a liar.

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  15. dime (10,109 comments) says:

    you left out

    “do normal people give a shit?”

    A) no, just political geeks

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  16. Keeping Stock (10,432 comments) says:

    Banks’ situation is rapidly becoming a distraction that John Key can do without. Although the presumption of innocence applies, I suspect that many people have already judged Banks and pronounced him guilty, even before the Police have written on the front of a file.

    But amidst all the calls for Banks to stand or be stood aside, it’s noteworthy that Labour’s most senior legal mind, Justice spokesman and shadow Attorney-General Chales Chauvel is ALSO under investigation by the Police for an alleged breach of the Electoral Act. Sure; Chauvel is not a Minister and it is accepted that a higher standard applies for the Executive, but it’s a definite double standard from Labour.

    Also, Chauvel’s case has been under investigation since August 2011, so there’s unlikely to be fast progress on the allegations against Banks.

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  17. David Garrett (7,544 comments) says:

    dime: good point…for now. But those ordinary people – aka “voters” – will certainly give a shit when Banks succumbs to the pressure and throws a hissy fit…

    Have a look at the Herald on-line this am and the transcript of the bizarre conversation about the “relationship” between Dotcom and Banks…The Herald would not dare print that if it was not an accurate transcript, and it reveals a man reacting very badly under pressure..

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  18. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    “A major point you overlook in your well argued piece is that the left wing media just will not leave this alone”

    Particularly the Herald. Before the internet the Herald insisted on people using their real names on letters to editor.

    With the internet they have no such restriction and allow the abusive letters about any ACT MP. The public have no idea how many letter with another view are not posted or delayed a long time. How much is the Herald’s left wing bias worth to left wing parties? When the Herald was daily attaching ACT I strongly argued to some in ACT for a complaint to the Press Council for their lack of balance. I got rubbished by a couple. I think National should look at this. Many in the media are out to get revenge for Key laying a complaint one the secret taping of a private conversation. The Herald is the worse and most left wing.

    You are a lawyer David. Do you think the police have prima facie case against Banks? I don’t and I base that on experts on electoral law. There was on on Close Up last night.

    Last term when Key was so popular they attacked ACT to undermine their most loyal coalition partner. Compare this with their attitude with Clark and Benson-Peep where the police found there was a prima facie case to answer but not in the public interest to prosecute. Did the Herald complain that the Commissioner of Police must have at the very least felt he was beholden to Clark?

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  19. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    “…[DPF: And I am not aware of any actions by Banks since he became a Minister, which are in breach of it…”

    Fascinating, I eagerly await your comments on the number of angels one can get on the head of a pin.

    The point is that applying some smart-alec bit of legal sophistry in order to drive a truck and trailer through the clear intent of the law (and the cabinet manual) might be cause for much back slapping merriment and another round of Bolli on the company credit card if you are wide-boy trader at Merrill-Lynch.

    But it hardly behoves the dignity of office to apply the same dubious wheeler-dealer morality when you are an elected official who has risen to lofty heights on the basis of public trust. This truism is something the cabinet manual is capable of recognising but appears to elude the wise guys around the cabinet table.

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  20. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    But those ordinary people – aka “voters” – will certainly give a shit when Banks succumbs to the pressure and throws a hissy fit…

    That’s something like what ordinary people will be seeing now – they won’t know or care about the finer details of electoral law, but they will be seeing a very uncomfortable and shifty looking Banks on the occasional news item. People judge on perceived character far more than facts and law.

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  21. Paulus (2,664 comments) says:

    The Herald are still upset, like the other 4th estate, that one of their wunderkinds namely Ambrose was effectively guilty of selling the tapes he “inadvertantly” taped of Key and Banks.

    They are determined to extract Utu.

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  22. David Garrett (7,544 comments) says:

    KS: well said Sir…but refer back to my earlier comment…the leftie media just will not leave this alone, whereas Charley Shovel being investigated was news to me, and I am both something of a political geek and a former member…my point simply being that “the media” have two competely different standards to allegations of misconduct.

    Did you see the footage of Gower pursuing Banks yesterday? Did you ever see ANY coverage of Darren Hughes after he resigned? How hard can it have been to track him down down to Paul Henry’s bach in Hawkes Bay? And that was still a very live story: Hughes foolishly coming out after the police decided not to charge him claiming he was the victim of a false complaint; the police then making it clear there was no question that it was a false complaint, just that there was insufficient evdience to proceed….

    Key just cant allow this to dominate question time and the papers for God knows how long…but then if Banks has threatened – or even hinted – that he will throw his toys of out the cot if he is stood down….Key will be wishing he was back in the relaxed world of currency trading….

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  23. Chris2 (770 comments) says:

    DPF – this an excellent analysis of the issues, putting it in context. Thank you for writing it.

    Imagine if Government officials could be so prompt in their assessment of controversial issues.

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  24. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    “David Garrett (1,510) Says: ……..
    Have a look at the Herald on-line this am and the transcript of the bizarre conversation about the “relationship” between Dotcom and Banks…The Herald would not dare print that if it was not an accurate transcript, and it reveals a man reacting very badly under pressure..”

    DG – very odd series of responses from Banks – possibly deliberate obfuscation?

    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.”

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  25. Keeping Stock (10,432 comments) says:

    Cheers David G; to be fair, Paddy Gower’s pursuit of Chris “Koru Club” Carter through the hallowed halls of Parliament a couple of years ago brought back memories of silent movies/Keystone Cops/Charlie Chaplin…

    PS: Here’s the link to Andrea Vance’s story about Chauvel:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5462143/MP-Chauvel-investigated-over-survey

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  26. Cunningham (846 comments) says:

    Banks is a dead man walking. There is NO WAY he will be able to survive this. You can just tell that the media and opposition will hammer this for all its worth until an axe is swung. John Key needs to distance himself from it as quickly as he can as it will snowball very quickly from here I suspect.

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  27. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    It’s bloody amazing the shields going up, in rough order we’ve had TV3, Clarke, Peters, Liu, Jones, Samuels, Chauvel, the Herald, Hughes, Gower – surely there couldn’t be so few who ought to somehow be compared with Banksie boy turning the dear Minister into an angelic figure in the process. The extended version of the song ‘would I lie to you,’ Banks on drums, wearing ear muffs and not more than 3 days off beat – no place for him on Dotcom’s next rap album unless it is as the bad guy sheriff in the video. What about that involuntary laugh on Q@A, pure disdain from the privileged laughing at the plebs.

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  28. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    The point is that applying some smart-alec bit of legal sophistry in order to drive a truck and trailer through the clear intent of the law (and the cabinet manual) might be cause for much back slapping merriment and another round of Bolli on the company credit card if you are wide-boy trader at Merrill-Lynch.

    Is it me or does fishboy’s rhetorical style sound remarkably like Bomber Bradbury’s….?

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  29. wreck1080 (3,963 comments) says:

    I’m not sure if John Banks is in the wrong or not. But, there are enough open questions to wonder if some dodgy dealings have been going on, and kiwis love to believe in conspiracy theories .

    Is it wrong to do favours for someone as a private person, then to accept money from that person for political purposes?

    I certainly do not trust NZ media.

    The Herald is in the business of shifting trees. The juicy stories sell. While the Herald does not necessarily ‘lie’, they are often guilty of omitting facts which can be just as bad as lying.

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  30. adze (2,129 comments) says:

    Unfortunately for Banks he doesn’t have the slick sophistry and faux-outrage offense-as-defense skills that Winston First has. It doesn’t look like he’ll last out his term, once the media sniff a weakness they just keep at it until something gives.

    I thought Richard Prebble tore Mike Williams a new one on NatRadio this morning though :)

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  31. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    i think key/national are scared banks will go postal..if fired/shown the exit..

    ..banks has to know where a lot of bodies are buried…

    ..and he could bring down this govt/bury national by spilling his guts about all the sleaze/cronyism/backhanders he knows all about..

    ..that will be his last card to play..if he hasn’t played it already…

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  32. Mark (1,491 comments) says:

    It is going to be very difficult for the police to make a case it would seem. Proving Banks knew of the Dotcom donation is going to be he said/ she said and whist we can all believe it smells like a week old kipper, proving it is another issue.

    But doesn’t it all look dodgy as hell and Key must be regretting that damned cup of tea on so many levels now.

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  33. MT_Tinman (3,257 comments) says:

    KS, Mr Garrett, I doubt that Banks was elected because he is John Banks. I suspect the reverse, he was elected despite the fact that he is John Banks.

    He was elected because those in his electorate decided National needed a coalition partner.

    I suspect that while Banks is probably finished he was finished anyway and there will be no real change in the publics’ view of ACT or the coalition.

    I doubt this affair will hurt the National led government at all, taking away, as it does, the spotlight on partial asset sales the opposition have tried to attack the government with this year.

    Another quasi-communist own goal?

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  34. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    adze, while Banks doesn’t have the ” faux-outrage offense-as-defense skills that Winston First has” (very good), he is a pretty slick operator IMHO. He’s been around – National MP, Auckland Mayor, talkback host, ACT MP – and reinvented himself several times in the process.

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  35. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Look, everyone, Kim Dotcom is a married man. How dare you all.

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  36. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    tinman..care to tell us how you factor in the recent polls showing act at zero support..

    ..how you factor this into yr ‘quasi-communist own goal?’ conclusion..?

    are you just in denial…?..or trying to spin up a positive screen..?

    pgillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  37. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    you also forgot banks’ reinventions as the anti-alcohol bar-owner…

    ..and the anti-pokies-donation-gatherer..

    ..the moral universe of the banks..is decidedly opaque…(i blame his childhood…and he is far closer to his dad..than he likes to think..)

    ..with most of the time..what you are seeing/hearing with banks not being what you get/it first seems..

    ..he’s a real nowhere man…

    ..(about the only thing he has going for him is that he likes dogs…introduced dog-exercise areas to auckland..

    ..but aside from that..let’s not forget the key fact to remember from his time as auckland mayor..

    ..is that he trebled council debt…to over $750 million..

    ..’what was it spent on?’..i hear you ask..that $750 million..?

    ..and that is a very good/pertinant question…

    ..now that we are looking back in anger..

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  38. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    he [Banks] is a pretty slick operator

    Yeah, like oil is a slick. Oleaginous is a word that springs to mind.

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  39. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    The average housewife might conclude…….

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/04/bankrolled-by-dotcom.html

    I think it has the potential to stuff a few careers if charges are laid, but a week is a long time in politics.

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  40. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    [DPF: And I am not aware of any actions by Banks since he became a Minister, which are in breach of it.

    Banks’ performances on Campbell Live and Q&A were of a Minister evading the truth and stonewalling. If any other minister had gaping holes in their memory the way Banks says, they would be classified as unfit for duty. Bald lying or Alzheimers’, take your pick.

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  41. David Garrett (7,544 comments) says:

    Will de Cleene: Well said sir…you have your father’s keen perception (If you are indeed the son of the late much revered Trevor)

    And then there is the completely bizarre transcript of the conversation betweeen Radiolive and Banks where the latter – despite it being clearly explained what kind of “relationship” was being referred to – continued to think he was being accused of having a sexual relationship with Mr Dotcom….

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  42. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    David… I found it amusing that Banks kept referring to Dotcom as being married yet made no reference to his own?

    Banks attempted to play word games… And failed… Epically.

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  43. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    I’ve only just found out about the “married man” references – oh dear, Mr Banks, that’s terrible.

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  44. bka (135 comments) says:

    What determines whether a minister is sacked or stood down pending further information is the judgement of the PM. What has happened in the past, what is in the cabinet manual, whether the law has been broken or whether an investigation is under way can only be guides.
    The way Banks has handled some interviews enables people to ask John Key if he has confidence in him, apart from the actual issue.

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  45. KevinH (1,236 comments) says:

    Setting ethics to one side, Banks has not broken any laws regarding the donations or his subsequent lobbying on behalf of Mr Dotcom. Perhaps the only criticism you could make regarding this fiasco is that John Banks should have made better use of his time on Q&A , his behaviour on the show gave this story legs because as DG alluded to earlier it’s all about perceptions.

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  46. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > “I don’t recall” is the habitual resort of the guilty.

    Why would Key want a Minister suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? Banks needs medical help urgently.

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  47. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > I found it amusing that Banks kept referring to Dotcom as being married yet made no reference to his own?

    And of course Banks has been strongly anti-gay for quite some time. Some of the staunchest critics of gays have been gays masquerading as straight.

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  48. thepenismightier (2 comments) says:

    Nice round up David.

    However, you write:

    “The key issue will be whether Banks knew the that Kim DotCom was the source of the two $25,000 donations. It is very hard to prove that someone knew something. However the timing of any phone call from Banks to Dot Com will be a key issue…”

    That is correct for the primary offence, however there are two offences Banks could be charged with.

    s 134 of the Local Electoral Act 2001:

    “False return

    (1)Every candidate commits an offence who transmits a return of electoral expenses knowing that it is false in any material particular, and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

    (2)Every candidate commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 who transmits a return of electoral expenses that is false in any material particular **unless the candidate proves—

    (a)that he or she had no intention to mis-state or conceal the facts; and

    (b)that he or she took all reasonable steps to ensure that the information was accurate.”

    So, we have two offences here. Everyone (including a ‘Privacy Law expert’ from KS) has been repeatedly stating that it is the Police’s job to prove Banks knew about the impropriety. But for the lesser offence (ss 2) the burden is shifted so it becomes Banks’s job to prove he had no intention and took reasonable steps to ensure it is accurate.

    That is a waaaaay harder thing to do, because the burden is shifted to Banks to prove on the balance of probabilities that he was honest.

    Disclosure: IAAL.

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  49. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    What does the Cabinet Manual say about how Ministers should act?

    “Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.”

    So if the Prime Minister’s own behaviour is less than ethical, presumably Banks is in the clear.

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  50. Tim G. (2 comments) says:

    Just a note to the author:

    Making this post a closed Q&A/FAQ might have seemed clever to you, but trying to control the debate/questions in this fashion is utterly transparent.

    You must really take your readership for fools.

    Now, be a good boy and get back to trying to distract people with the ISSUES THAT MATTER like BOAT PEOPLE.

    MAYBE YOU COULD DO A STORY ON THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF ACCIDENTAL SHOOTINGS WHILE HUNTING AS THEY SEEM TO BE TRENDING RIGHT NOW.

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  51. Keeping Stock (10,432 comments) says:

    Phillip Ure said

    you also forgot banks’ reinventions as the anti-alcohol bar-owner…

    Just because a bloke makes a decision to abstain from alcohol, it doesn’t prevent him from making a living doing something lawful. If you knew anything about Banks, you’d understand that both of his parents were alcoholics; I’d suggest that may have been a pretty strong factor in his decision not to become a drinker himself.

    And I’m surprised Phil that you would be going down this road; ’nuff said…

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  52. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=28423

    “Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister.”

    Oh no you wouldn’t, John. The PM talked tough while in Opposition but now he’s in ggovernment he’s shown to be weak.

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  53. mikenmild (11,721 comments) says:

    Perhaps John Key is developing a speciality in being bullied – Warners, SkyCity, Banks all seem to think he’s pretty soft.

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  54. Nookin (3,466 comments) says:

    thepenismightier @12.45

    The obligation on the candidate under ss(2) arises once the Crown has shown that the return was false in a material particular.

    Once that has been established, the onus falls on the candidate to show that the candidate had no intention to mis-state or conceal the facts or that the candidate took all reasonable steps to ensure that the information was accurate.

    If we have a situation where a candidate specifies that Ross69 made a donation $25,000 but in fact it was Ross12 who made the donation, the candidate would then have to show that the provisions of subsection (2) apply. The onus of showing that it was Ross 12 and not Ross 69 is still on the police. They have to show the falsity.

    The position gets a bit complicated in this case because the alleged falsity is the anonymity or otherwise of the Donor. The prosecution must prove the falsity i.e. that the donor was not anonymous but was a person whose identity was known to the candidate. The falsity is therefore the state of mind of the candidate at the time of making the declaration.

    The particular subsection does not create any sort of obligation on the candidate to make enquiries of all donations believed to be anonymous in order to rule out the possibility that they may not, in fact, be anonymous. If the candidate believes the donation to be anonymous, the candidate can sign the declaration accordingly even though the candidate may have made superficial enquiry.

    A candidate commits an offence if the candidate does know the identity of the specific donor but declares the donation anonymous. This is what the prosecution must prove before any onus goes on the candidate. In reality, the defence provided by ss(2) may have no application in this particular case. If the falsity is the statement, known to the candidate to be untrue, that there was an anonymous donation, it is very difficult to see how the candidate can then establish the lack of intention to mis-stage will conceal or that the candidate took all reasonable steps to ensure that the information was accurate.

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  55. Nookin (3,466 comments) says:

    Ross69

    You blithely ignore the fact that Banks was neither minister, nor even an MP at the relevant time.

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  56. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..And I’m surprised Phil that you would be going down this road; ’..”

    why..?

    it couldn’t be a clearer example of the moral equivalencies of the man…

    ..an ‘expert’ on the evils of alcohol…from compelling family history/experience..becomes an alcohol pusher/profiteer..

    it’d be kinda like me as a vegan opening a butchery/animal concentration camp..

    ..you can’t see that..?

    ..the man’s stated ‘beliefs’ mean nothing..not even the air he expends voicing them..

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  57. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    The agenda for this afternoon:

    1.PAUL GOLDSMITH to the Minister of Finance: What will be the main focus of the Government’s Budget on 24 May?

    2.DAVID SHEARER to the Prime Minister: What assurances, if any, has he directly received from Hon John Banks regarding donations he received for his political campaigns and when did he receive those assurances?

    3.DAVID BENNETT to the Minister of Immigration: What changes has the Government announced to deter mass arrivals of illegal immigrants and people smugglers from targeting New Zealand?

    4.METIRIA TUREI to the Prime Minister: What advice, if any, has he received on Hon John Banks’ alleged actions regarding donations from Kim Dotcom?

    5.GRANT ROBERTSON to the Minister for Land Information: On what date did Hon John Banks lobby him on behalf of the application of Kim Dotcom to purchase property in Coatesville, and how did Mr Banks communicate this lobbying?

    6.Dr JACKIE BLUE to the Minister of Justice: How will the Alcohol Reform Bill provide for better community involvement in managing alcohol?

    7.Hon TREVOR MALLARD to the Associate Minister of Education: What progress has he made on setting the criteria for establishing charter schools?

    8.STEFFAN BROWNING to the Minister for Land Information: Do overseas owned companies need Overseas Investment Office approval to exclusively occupy coastal marine space?

    9.Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in all of his Ministers; if so why?

    10.JONATHAN YOUNG to the Minister for Communications and Information Technology: What progress has the Government made on its policy of delivering faster broadband for New Zealand?

    11.HONE HARAWIRA to the Minister of Housing: What assurances can he give that there will be no requirement for any existing tenant in any State house to move out of the area as a result of the Tamaki Transformation Programme for the Glen Innes redevelopment, which involves reducing the number of Housing New Zealand -owned houses from 156 to 78?

    12.Hon MARYAN STREET to the Minister of Health: What reports has he received concerning Pharmac’s provisional sole supplier contract with Pharmaco to provide new blood glucose meters for the 120,000 -plus diabetics who use them?

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  58. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    John Banks increasingly has the appearance of someone who’s a few cabbages short of a boatfull.

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  59. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    four questions about banks @ questiontime..

    ..i am quill-sharpening…

    ..phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  60. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    It’s a bit odd that Banks can’t remember anything except for definitely not thanking Dotcom for a donation.

    I wonder if he remembers to be there for Question Time.

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  61. BlairM (2,364 comments) says:

    Q. Did Banks do anything morally wrong?

    A. No. In a democracy, you should have a right to keep a donation secret if you so choose.

    See how easy that is to say?

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  62. mikenmild (11,721 comments) says:

    That’s a fine opinion Blair, but not what our law says so therefore irrelevant to the issue.

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  63. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    I disagree Blairm
    If you control public monies you should be above board and transparent in all your dealings.(that’s my reading of 2.53 in the cabinet manual).
    Therefore no secret donations and especially the “in kind” sort the unions do for Labour.

    So why do we have secret donations in the first place allowing this situation to evolve?
    Because the opposition/press/lefties would use donation lists to excoriate people and attack them/their families/businesses to cut off funding to those they don’t agree with.

    So we should change the law to make political donations over $100.00 transparent but should someone (Media/lefty trefty/whomever) contact/write about/allude to someone who has donated to a cause/org/person/campaign they should go to jail for 3 months on each count. (that would include cartoonists too :-)

    That seems fair both sides.

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  64. Nookin (3,466 comments) says:

    “That’s a fine opinion Blair, but not what our law says so therefore irrelevant to the issue.”
    Blair’s statement is correct if viewed from the perspective of a donation made by somebody in a local body election. It is incorrect from the perspective of the candidate. If the candidate knows the identity of the person making the donation, the candidate must specify the name. The obligation is set out as under (Sec 109):

    Within 55 days after the day on which the successful candidates at any election are declared to be elected, every candidate at the election must transmit to the electoral officer a return setting out—
    (a) the candidate’s electoral expenses; and
    (b) the name and address of each person who made an electoral donation to the candidate and the amount of each electoral donation; and
    (c) if an electoral donation of money or of the equivalent of money is made to the candidate anonymously and the amount of that donation exceeds $1,000,—
    (i) the amount of that donation; and
    (ii) the fact that it has been received anonymously.

    It may well be that a person makes a promise to make a substantial donation and it may be that the bank statement of the candidate reveals a series of deposits of an amount promised by the supporter. Unless that supporter however specifically acknowledges to the candidate that the donation was in fact made, or the banking records clearly disclose to the candidate the source of the donation, it is open to a candidate to say that the donation was received anonymously. It is splitting hairs but given that this is a penal provision, it will be strictly interpreted. Others have pointed out the deficiencies in the law.

    Michael: This is not public money. It is private money donated to a candidate. The Cabinet manual has no application. In this case we are talking about a local body election and the Local Electoral Act applies – not the Cabinet manual.

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  65. publicwatchdog (2,819 comments) says:

    Am looking forward to standing again in Epsom as an Independent Public Watchdog, and using the opportunity to promote the (draft) ACTION PLAN against ‘white collar’ crime, corruption and ‘corporate welfare’.

    It will be FUN!

    http://www.pennybright4epsom.org.nz

    This time, I predict a lot more interest in these issues – both nationally and internationally.

    In the meantime – on a lighter note …….

    THANK YOU DAVE STEWART! (Hilarious! ;)

    “Police have engaged riot squad tactics and a ‘full lockdown’ of parliament as the squad today arrested ACT MP John Banks for alleged corruption. The riot squad was used after attempts to arrest Bansk wee thwarted by the national Cabinet who protected him by surrounding him and throwing rocks and bottles at the cops.

    Mob leader Hone Key told reporters that they would not give up their man without a fight.

    “If the pigs want a rumble, we are ready” Key said through a loud hailer.

    A police spokesperson on the scene said the crowd was the worst he had seen.

    ” The Urewera raids were pretty tough and we got a pretty hard time when we raided the media after the tea pot tapes, but this shower of sh!t takes the biscuit” said the cops.

    Police used a flying wedge then repeated baton charges to apprehend the minister.

    Several members of the government were injured and many claimed police used excessive force to take down the errant MPs.

    Police said they were just doing their job.

    Police also raided Banks home and business premises and seized phone records and other material said to link the member of parliament with one of the world’s biggest copyright criminals.

    Banks was in custody and said to be sharing a cell with other gang members, and not enjoying it very much.”

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

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  66. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    John has finally explained, it was his lawyer’s fault for giving him ‘bad’ advice.
    No doubt the lawyer will step forward and confirm this or else people might think John is telling porkies, remembering right off that John didn’t say no comment, he said he didn’t ‘recall.’ The lawyer’s exact words might have been, ‘Listen John half these bananas wouldn’t know on what cabbage boat they came up the river, tell em you don’t recall a thing, act all vague as if you’re challenged somewhat – in fact act normal. Remember, never give a cabbage an even break. If you need to say, what helicopter? and then ask them what cabbage boat they came up the river on. If they’re looking a bit incredulous, tell them he’s got a wife.’

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  67. bka (135 comments) says:

    ” Len Brown used the legal avenue of having most donors donate to a trust and then the trust making a donation to Len Brown. This means that Len Brown could legally know who had donated to the trust (and de facto know who had donated to him), but not have to legally disclose their identity. This is also what National used to do before the law changed for parliamentary elections with the Waitemata Trust.”

    I am used to hearing people associated with National saying these kinds of intermediary trusts were to ensure that donors gave and then wouldn’t be known by MPs, rather than that they could be known, so that’s very upfront.

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  68. kiwi in america (2,510 comments) says:

    Penny
    We’re looking forward to you losing your deposit yet again.

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  69. Keeping Stock (10,432 comments) says:

    Phillip Ure said

    “..And I’m surprised Phil that you would be going down this road; ’..”

    why..?

    it couldn’t be a clearer example of the moral equivalencies of the man…

    ..an ‘expert’ on the evils of alcohol…from compelling family history/experience..becomes an alcohol pusher/profiteer..

    it’d be kinda like me as a vegan opening a butchery/animal concentration camp..

    ..you can’t see that..?

    ..the man’s stated ‘beliefs’ mean nothing..not even the air he expends voicing them..

    The point I was making Phil, which should have been more evident to you than most was that John Banks made a decision to reject the alcohol-fuelled lifestyle he had seen modelled in his home. Substitute cannabis for alcohol, and you might see it a little clearer..

    ..eh..?

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  70. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    and you see no moral equivalence in him becoming a pusher/peddler of that which caused his family so much damage..?

    you can’t see/understand the vegan/animal-concentration-camp link/comparison..?

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  71. Steve (4,589 comments) says:

    Strange title to this post “More on Banks”
    Do you think so DPF? There are many morons who comment here and infiltrate this blog but not Banks surely

    Morons arrive about 10.36am and then again at 3.50pm
    John Banks is laughing at you morons, wonder why?

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  72. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    From Not PC blog.

    And the problem with political donations is…

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  73. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    Fate has funny ways of doing things some times.

    An hour after Winston Peters let rip at John Banks on Radio this morning they found themselves seated side by side on a flight from Auckland to Wellington.

    Listener photographer David White was there to capture the moment. Peters looked utterly dismayed to see Banks in the middle seat, says David.

    “The whole time, they didn’t say boo,” David reports, disappointingly.

    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/the-internaut/winston-peters-john-banks-flight-photograp/

    Banks looks like he was smiling properly for a change. Peters didn’t look so keen on the seating arrangement.

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  74. burt (8,316 comments) says:

    DPF

    I did a few scratchings on something IrishBill from the standard wrote; Don’t make me take one of your Winston blog posts and turn it into a Banks version…..

    You say up above;

    “Is this just like the Winston Peters and Owen Glenn case?”

    And you say yes… yes …. there isn’t really a ‘and no’ to be elaborated once we have a yes. It’s a dodgy as Peters – end of story.

    Key simply can’t turn into a Clark and tell us to move on… surely not.

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  75. KH (695 comments) says:

    I think any politician has an obligation to the public. So when someone stuck a microphone under his nose and asked him, Banks should have spilled all the beans and answered in as much detail as possible. And even answered some things he wasn’t asked.
    In this case of course he did quite the opposite.
    Send his political career to the waste disposer I say.

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  76. TheContrarian (1,091 comments) says:

    I agree with the above – i think he is sunk
    See my humourous (though not without a grain of truth) take on John Banks…if no one minds me pimping this..

    http://thenzcontrarian.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/john-banks-on-kim-dotcom-i-did-not-have.html

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  77. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    I’m sure someone will mind you pimping that (maybe not here) but I think it’s appropriate to link to substantial posts like that – and not to cut and paste.

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  78. TheContrarian (1,091 comments) says:

    Thanks for the tip, buddy.

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