John Banks - Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

24 Mar 2013

John Banks - Asshole of the Week

There's been a number of nominations for Asshole of the Week this week, from Judith Collins appointing Susan Devoy as Race Relations Commissioner and then calling Annette Sykes a stupid person for her justified criticism of that appointment to the Solid Energy debacle which highlighted Nationals incompetence, particularly by the idiot Bill English who tried to once again blame his mismanagement on Labour.

Then there was Rodney Hide proposing a slave trade of unemployed people in yet another blatant attempt to gain support by bashing some beneficiaries. However, what really takes the cake this week is yet another conflict of interest by the ever-corrupt "leader" of the Act Party John Banks.

On Wednesday, the NZ Herald reported:

Associate Education Minister John Banks had shares in Australian company Talent2 at the same time he sat on a Cabinet committee that received progress updates on a planned rollout of Talent2's Novopay payroll system before it was launched.

Mr Banks is a Minister outside of Cabinet, but is on the Cabinet Committee on State Sector Reform and Expenditure Control (SEC).

Between January and May last year SEC received key documents relating to a planned rollout of Novopay and a backup.

The question here is whether John Banks had any influence on the decision-making process concerning Novopay and the roll out of an inferior payroll system while he was set to personally gain.

The conflict of interest occurred when John Banks became Associate Minister of Education, while holding shares in a company that is a major contractor with the government.

In my opinion, the waft of corruption from John Banks over this issue has become overpowering.

On Friday, the Herald also reported:

Act leader John Bank's office has produced Cabinet Committee papers in a bid to prove that he did not take part in any meetings concerning Novopay while he was a shareholder in Novopay's parent company Talent2.

Mr Banks has previously stated that he had declared the potential conflict of interest, and had not seen any briefing papers or taken part in any meetings or discussions about Novopay before he sold his shares on May 28, last year.

Here's the relevant Register of Pecuniary Interests (PDF):

Hon John BANKS (ACT, Epsom) 1 Company directorships and controlling interests

Talent2 International Limited (ABN 19 000 737 744) (shareholder as Trustee for The Pukenui Family Trust) – Talent management solutions in HR advisory, payroll, learning and recruitment across the Asia Pacific region

So, apparently Banks divested himself of the shares at the end of May last year... However there was six months for him to have influenced the decision making process as Associate Minister while holding those shares and who's to say that he didn't influence the government previous to him becoming an MP?

The question in my mind of whether there was undue influence has been answered... Why else would National sign off and continue with such a flawed system if it wasn't for the benefit of one of their own? After all, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours is still entrenched philosophy within the old boys club.

Coupled with previous examples of corruption, that clear conflict of interest makes John Banks Asshole of the Week... He's certifiably not fit to be an MP.