John Banks was given a very important job when government was formed after the November election, a position named Minister with Special Responsibility for Keeping His Month Shut for the Next 36 Months and Not Embarrassing the Government.
Would all of you who picked 26 weeks in the nationwide pool please raise your hands to claim your prizes. Judges will be around shortly to check your tickets.
The fact the loveable scamp Kim Dotcom is involved is just icing on the cake. He should probably be lying low at the moment, preparing for his upcoming and no-doubt amusing trial, not poking his head into national affairs. But Dotcom doesn’t seem the type to fade into the background.
If your ticket reads 18 weeks since arrest before hitting the headlines again please raise your hands, etc, etc.
Now there is nothing wrong with donating money to a politician you support, but Donation lives just down the block from Bribery so the law is fairly strict about candidates revealing who gave them what to keep everyone honest. Money flows like water and a few buckets can do just as well as a single inconvenient barrel.
But anonymous donations are OK, right? You can’t influence someone if they don’t know if the money came from you. Perhaps in theory, but information flows even more quickly than water, particularly if you allegedly ring someone up to tell them.
I am genuinely not accusing Banks of accepting money in exchange for anything. He just appears to have fallen foul of the accounting rules meant to prevent that suspicion if the first place. If he did deliberately try to hide donations then losing his seat should be the least of his problems.
However, the law does not appear to be quite clear cut (well worth a read) and it will be interesting to see if Banks campaign has indeed acted illegally. And if the law was broken, what will be done about it. And if the law was not broken, should it be changed?
Those amongst us hoping the National Government will fall are dreaming, a (currently hypothetical) bi-election will not bring down the government even if Labor wins – which it won’t. On the other hand, even if Banks successful defends himself the government loses a trickle of credibility. And trickles soon add up.