Mr Corruption can't talk | The Jackal

22 Mar 2013

Mr Corruption can't talk

It was somewhat amusing to see the totally discredited John Banks get so steamed up about David Shearer's brain fade concerning an overseas bank account. The Act "leader" certainly didn't do himself any favours by trying to compare Shearer's forgetfulness to his far more numerous and egregious instances of corruption. In fact he looked downright ridiculous!

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

But the MP for Epsom, also known as the Act Party caucus, appeared to mistake the Prime Minister's remark for an endorsement of Banks' statements. He had shown an uncharacteristic distaste for the public spotlight since about the time that John Key was refusing to read the police report on donations to Banks's failed Auckland mayoral campaign. But look at him now, springing up like some great gurning Jack-in-the-box. Here, at last, was a chance to exact revenge on the cretins who gave him such a hard time last year.

Whether or not Key had empowered his teapot confidant to let rip I do not know. But it was a gift for Shearer. What better way to make his foolishness look trifling? By explicitly comparing Shearer's brain fade with his own over the Dotcom donation scandal, Banks was inviting us to recall that ugly episode, replete with allegations of impropriety. Not so in Shearer's case.

It invites us to revisit, too, the means by which Banks ended up back in Parliament, those unsightly tea stains that just won't wash out. We're invited to mull again this week's slap on the wrist given to Banks by the Ombudsman for withholding information about charter schools. To recall that the planned charter schools, which Act apparently insisted on, themselves will not be subject to the Official Information Act. And then, on top of all that, come fresh questions about whether he held shares in Novopay operator Talent2 while sitting on a committee that received updates on the school payment payroll system's progress. This is hardly a man that can boast of an exemplary commitment to disclosure and transparency.

Toby Manhire is spot on here... There's no comparison between Shearer forgetting to register his bank account and Banks' numerous instances of outright corruption, and the Actoid pontificating about Shearer's oversight just makes him look foolish!

But where I diverge from the status quo is that in my opinion Shearer admitting that he has an overseas bank account shouldn't dull Labours ability to hold the government to account.

There is no question that Shearer should have registered his pecuniary interest, and that him not doing so looks bad, but if we say that such things mean the government is somehow absolved from their numerous instances of corruption, we're saying that democracy has failed and we accept that failure... We're saying that two wrongs make those wrongs right, when each instance should instead be judged on its own demerits.

I've lost count of how many demerit points John Banks has, but it's safe to say that he has more than enough.