The corruption would be if politicians decided charges

Rob Stock in the SST reports:

Labour MP Phil Twyford has tabled a petition calling for an investigation into the decision not to proceed with charges against John Banks and Don Brash as directors of the Huljich KiwiSaver scheme.

Twyford won’t comment on the petition, which is the work of former Auckland mayoral candidate Penny Bright who is incensed that Banks, the minister for regulatory reform, escaped having to defend himself in court for signing a prospectus that contained false and misleading statements.

The petition now must be considered by the Commerce Select Committee, made up of nine MPs of which five are from the National Party. 

People may not be aware that there is no significance to what has happened. An MP who tables a petition does not mean they agree with ts intent. Almost all MPs will accept a petition.

The Office of the Clerk allocate the petition to a select committee. There is no vote about accepting it. It is automatic. I could do a petition asking for the House to declare war on Australia and liberate Tasmania by armed force, and it would end up with the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

The Commerce Select Committee does not need to respond to the petition, beyond reporting it to the House with no recommendations.

Now as to the substance:

The FMA said the Securities Commission “obtained the advice of respected counsel on this issue. That advice was then reviewed and confirmed by a Queen’s Counsel. The commission considered that advice and the results of its investigation carefully.

“It formed the view that there was insufficient evidence to show that either Dr Brash or Mr Banks would have known that the prospectus contained misleading information.”

What Bright is seeking to do is in my opinion a form of corruption in itself. She is asking for politicians to overturn the decision of an independent authority, and prosecute people because she does not like their politics. This is what you get in Zimbabwe, not New Zealand.

MPs should never be involved in deciding if charges should have been laid against anyone, let alone other politicians. The sole exception is of course the Attorney-General, but even then this is almost always delegated to the Solicitor-General.  And even then it is usually that the AG has to consent to a prosecution – not that the AG can determine that someone should be prosecuted, against the decision of the appropriate prosecuting authority.

So this petition will go nowhere, and that is a good thing.

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