National's protection racket | The Jackal

19 Sept 2012

National's protection racket

Today, John Key stated in Parliament:

The test is whether I can rely on the member’s word, and he has given me an assurance that he met the law. The police have quite clearly said there was insufficient evidence. There is a statute of limitations, and he has complied with the law.

The police have quite clearly said in their report that Banks breached the law when he signed the falsified return. They concluded that the crime met the criteria for a prosecution, but have unfortunately let Banks off the hook because of an incorrect interpretation of the Electoral Act. The statute of limitation applies 3 years after the corrupt practice was committed and a prosecution undertaken now would be within time... Besides, the corrupt practice still exists even if there is no prosecution.

So why does the evasive John Key still believe he can rely on the word of the absentee minister? The simple answer is that he cannot! Kim Dotcom was correct when he said today that the Prime Minister is only allowing Banks to damage his credibility because the Act "leader" holds a one-seat majority. If Banks is made to resign, it will be a 60/60 split with the Maori party holding the balance of power and potentially the government to ransom... It would be unlikely for instance that National's partial privatization of our power companies would then go ahead.

Key has decided to take a knock to his credibility in order to hold onto power and maybe his precious asset sales agenda. Here's the PM digging himself even deeper into Acts grave:

But what is really damning of Banks' conduct is that he requested the donations be split in half so that they could be concealed as anonymous. There are sworn statements to this effect from independent witnesses that he requested two cheques be made out for $25,000 each. Unlike John Banks, there's no reason to doubt their credibility and sworn affidavits.

The Electoral Act 1993 states:

A person is guilty of a corrupt practice who directs or procures, or is actively involved in directing or procuring, 2 or more bodies corporate to split between the bodies corporate a party donation in order to conceal the total amount of the donation and avoid the donation's inclusion by the party secretary in the return of party donations under section 210(1)(a).

Therefore Banks is clearly guilty of a corrupt practice because he willfully entered into an agreement, arrangement, or understanding to hide whom the donations were from. Under such circumstances it's reasonable to expect Banks also knew the identity of the donors in question when he signed the falsified return. He had undertaken to arrange the donations in certain amounts from them after all.

There's no question in my mind that Banks knew the return he signed contained donations from Kim Dotcom and SkyCity that were marked down as anonymous. But let's for a second say that although he personally requested the donations, he wasn't aware they were included in the falsified return.

If I signed a legal document that's found to be fraudulent then my claims of ignorance about what that document contains will not be an adequate legal defense against prosecution. People are obliged to read and understand any legal document they sign, and only mental incapacity or undue influence is a defense in such cases. Obviously Banks wasn't blackmailed to sign the return, although I'm starting to think his mental capacity is questionable. Either way, corruption and incompetence are not traits any Minister should display.

The Prime Minister is running the risk of losing all credibility in trying to protect Banks as everyone can see right through his disingenuous semantics. It seems inevitable that John Banks cannot hide forever behind the slippery John Key, who is obviously losing patience and would rather that the whole damaging affair just went away... That will only happen when Banks is sent back down the river on the next cabbage boat.