More on the John Banks donations

July 29th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Andrew Geddis has blogged:

That said, let’s just note what we’re left with at the end of the Police’s investigation. We know went around wealthy people and companies getting donations in the five figures. The Police clearly are of the opinion he did so in full knowledge they were giving him this significant support. But he then signed a document purporting to accurately declare who had given him the money for his campaign apparently without even reading it, but simply after asking the volunteer who put it together “you’re sure this is accurate?”

It is worth noting that while John Banks broke no laws, I don’t regard it as a good thing that he signed a donation return saying he did not know who his donors were, when he was involved in personally receiving two of the donations. It was legal, yes, but it is not a good look.

To be fair, I would point out that also may have known who many of his undeclared donors were, as he filtered his donations through a trust, which meant he could know who donated to the trust, but not have to disclose them. Just as with John Banks, broke no law – but it was also a bad look.

As many have said, the needs to be amended before the 2013 elections.

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26 Responses to “More on the John Banks donations”

  1. Tristan (63 comments) says:

    Hold up is getting past the six month time limit with out being charged the same as not breaking the law? It’s clear he filled a false return which is illegal (in national politics the time frame on this offence is three years ) they just couldn’t prove he had done it on purpose which is the more serious offence

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  2. Sofia (785 comments) says:

    John Banks is yet to explain why he asked Kim Dotcom to make his $50,000 donation in two amounts of $25,000 each.

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  3. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    It makes my blood boil when I think of all the selfless ways this humble man has served Auckland that certain nit-pickers should make it their vendetta to bring him down. He probably asked for the payments to be broken down to help Dot-Com budget his outgoings. Again, a mark of his wide capacity to consider others’ feelings.

    When this guy is knighted for public service one day they will be laughing on the other sides of their cunning faces.

    Hang on in there, Banksy, we still believe in you!

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  4. Nick K (919 comments) says:

    @ Sofia – Kim Dotcom never gave any donation to the Banks campaign. Not one cent.

    To those who think this is weird, this happens in every election (local and general) in this country, and has done since elections began. Stop pretending you’re shocked.

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  5. Sofia (785 comments) says:

    Nick K
    How incredibly perceptive of you to ascertain from my short neutral sentence that I am shocked.
    I am not.

    However the Police found –
    In June 2010, Banks also personally solicited a donation from Dotcom. It resulted in him paying two cheques of $25,000 to the Team Banksie bank account.
    Both were again recorded by the treasurer as anonymous in the electoral return.

    – which does seem to differ from your assertion.

    I simply asked why the $50,000 was requested to be in two amounts.

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  6. BeaB (1,959 comments) says:

    Two questions

    Do we care?
    Does it matter?

    My answer is no to both questions. Of course candidates ask for donations, of course they know who their donors are, of course they pretend not to. The laws are stupid and like all stupid laws they are worked around.

    Why do we allow the Left to manufacture these ‘scandals’ and then give them legs?

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  7. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    I simply asked why the $50,000 was requested to be in two amounts.

    IIRC it was reported earlier in the saga that Dotcom had requested that the donation be anonymous and Banks or advisers provided advice as to how that could be done. Giving that advice to a potential donor is not a breach of the law.

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  8. Nick K (919 comments) says:

    Sofia, Kim Dotcom never gave a single cent to the John Banks campaign. The police report is wrong (if that’s where it came from) and so are you.

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  9. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    It is worth noting that while John Banks broke no laws, I don’t regard it as a good thing that he signed a donation return saying he did not know who his donors were, when he was involved in personally receiving two of the donations. It was legal, yes, but it is not a good look.

    As you describe it, it is not legal, and it does involve breaking laws.

    If a candidate at a local body election knows the name of a donor who donated $15,000 and then signs the donation disclosure which declares that donation to be anonymous, they have committed an offence. It may not be the serious offence involving knowledge, but at the very least it will be the less serious offence involving a failure to take reasonable care.

    The police investigated John Banks for the serious offence of knowingly filing a false return. They felt they could not prove that because he never read the form he signed, and simply relied on the advice of a campaign volunteer that it was accurate. The police did not assess the evidence they found against the less serious offence of failing to take reasonable care to ensure the return was accurate because there is a six month time limit for charges under that section, which had long expired.

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  10. Nick K (919 comments) says:

    Or, John Banks could not have committed any offence at all because there is no offence for failing to file a donations return.

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  11. flipper (3,274 comments) says:

    Can we now move on to examine why the Police have yet to report on all the numerous breeches of the Electoral Act by the left and the Peters party.

    Say what you like about morality et al, Banks non offence (innocent until found guilty in Court) was long past Local Government stuff. It was a labour diversion and a media “gotcha” in return for teapot. It does bear on how he should be regarded. But why waste more time on this nonsense? Let’s look at union fraud and the left wing skulguggery for a while.

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  12. MikeG (359 comments) says:

    Nick K – I take it that you’re just playing semantics in saying that Kim Dotcom did not donate to Banks i.e. the cheques were company cheques not personal ones.

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  13. Sofia (785 comments) says:

    Nick K
    “Police have established that on 09 June 2010 Mr John Banks personally solicited a donation from Mr Kim Dotcom. This request resulted in Mr Kim Dotcom paying two $25,000.00 donations to the bank account of Team Banksie 2010 on 14 July 2010. Both donations were subsequently recorded in the Electoral Return by the Treasurer for Team Banksie as anonymous.”
    – Letter to Ms Bright from Peter Read, Detective Superintendent : Southern Christchurch
    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com/

    I would think several readers here would be interested for you to detail in what way the above comments, attributed to a New Zealand Police investigation, is wrong.

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  14. Mark (1,302 comments) says:

    Lee C (4,184) Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 9:50 am
    It makes my blood boil when I think of all the selfless ways this humble man has served Auckland that certain nit-pickers should make it their vendetta to bring him down. He probably asked for the payments to be broken down to help Dot-Com budget his outgoings. Again, a mark of his wide capacity to consider others’ feelings.

    When this guy is knighted for public service one day they will be laughing on the other sides of their cunning faces.

    Hang on in there, Banksy, we still believe in you!

    Lee C if you detached your lips from Bank’s butt for long enough you will see that what he did was dodgy and underhand. Why did he ask Dotcom to split his donation and given he was a frontman getting donation how then can he claim “the volunteer did it” ? Your suggestion that the donation split was to help Doycom budget FFS what are you smoking.

    There is no room for dodgy politicians from either side of the political spectrum. At least Farrar was consistent. When a right wing politician gets caught with his pants down inevitably Farrar tries to deflect the issue onto what the labour party candidate may have done. I don’t like the labour party policies either but the right have to do as they demand from the left. Stand up and be accountable. Fuck it was screamed enough when Helen Clark was caught forging paintings etc. it is a case of its ok if we cheat but a plague on your house if you do.

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  15. eszett (2,272 comments) says:

    Lee C (4,184) Says:
    July 29th, 2012 at 9:50 am

    It makes my blood boil when I think of all the selfless ways this humble man has served Auckland that certain nit-pickers should make it their vendetta to bring him down. He probably asked for the payments to be broken down to help Dot-Com budget his outgoings. Again, a mark of his wide capacity to consider others’ feelings.

    Not quite sure whether you are taking the piss here or not

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  16. Nick K (919 comments) says:

    Sofia, Kim Dotcom may have put money into the campaign account of Banks, but it wasn’t his money. The cheques were issued in the name of Megaupload Limited. Kim Dotcom is not a director of Megaupload Limited (although he controls the directorship through his shareholding). Megaupload Limited is not Kim Dotcom. They are different legal personalities, in the same way as the trustees of Len Brown’s secret trust was a separate personality.

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  17. MikeG (359 comments) says:

    Nick K – How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    None of your last statement changes the fact that Banks knowingly received money from various people/organisations and subsequently signed a declaration stating that the donations were anonymous. Why can’t you admit that he stuffed up?

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  18. Nick K (919 comments) says:

    Mike, I’m trying not to bang my head against the wall here. Banks did *not* knowingly receive money from anyone. The police said that explicitly. Your statement is in complete contrast to what the police found. Read Graeme’s comment above ~ 11:58am.

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  19. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Banks did *not* knowingly receive money from anyone. The police said that explicitly. Your statement is in complete contrast to what the police found. Read Graeme’s comment above ~ 11:58am.

    No.

    The police imply that Banks did know who his campaign had received the money from.

    The police explicitly state that he did not know it was inaccurately recorded in the return (because he did not read the return).

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  20. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    What’s not a good look is that he told the PM and everyone else that he did not solicit donations. The facts show he did solicit donations. So he has lied to the PM and lied to the public. Just the sort of person we need in Cabinet.

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  21. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Just the sort of person we need in Cabinet.

    John Banks is not in cabinet.

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  22. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    True, Graeme, but he is a minister nonetheless. Is this the sort of person we want as a minister?

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  23. Nick K (919 comments) says:

    @ Graeme – I’m not worried about what the police might imply.

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  24. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Nick K – if you are going to claim the Police explicitly state something where not only do they not explicitly state it but they imply the opposite then perhaps you should be paying attention.

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  25. rg (190 comments) says:

    There are a lot of electoral law experts out there all of a sudden. The left will beat the drum about police favouratism, conveniently forgetting the forgery, the speeding, the theft of $300000 of taxpayers money for a pledge card, etc.
    Charles Chauvel is also being investigated by the police, what happened about that?
    John Banks is an upright citizen, it is only him and ACT that are keeping John Key in power. ACT succeeding will be the only way we avoid a Labour /Green victory at the next election. It is time some of these National stalwarts start looking at ACT policy, they may see something they like. The ACT party has kept its principles and stands fro all the things National used to, with a splash of liberalism thrown in. The onoly party of change,

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  26. bka (133 comments) says:

    Nick, re your 12.17 post yesterday; I’m no lawyer but I had a look at the relevant act while trying to figure out what was going on a couple of days ago, and on my reading it’s an offence not to file a return of electoral expenses, and the form of such a return is specified, and the form the return should take includes electoral donations.

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