I'd like to say I shook my head in disbelief when I heard John Banks would not be prosecuted for his actions around his return on his 2010 mayor campaign. But to be fair, I expected that he wouldn't be prosecuted, and that shows a deep vein of cynicism on my part. I have a deep and seething anger over this.
So let's lay out the facts. John Banks received almost $100,000 in donations where he knew who the donor was. That's almost two years pay at the average wage.
An assistant filled out the declaration on the donations to the campaign.
Bank's probity extended only to asking the assistant whether the declaration was correct.
Once he had been told the declaration was correct, he signed it as being true and correct, without any further checking.
And apparently that satisfies the letter of the law.
We are asked to believe that Banks knew the law very well and ensured that he obeyed the letter of it, if not the spirit. And that's despite the obfuscations that resulted from the initial questioning of the declaration; all the claims from Banks that he could not remember. And we are asked to believe the fault lies with the law, not the man. But there are too many problems.
Declarations should never be made lightly. They deserve and require thorough reviews and checks to ensure their veracity and consistency, their accuracy. When they are declarations relating to the institutions of our society, elections and democracy in this instance, they are even more important. A properly made declaration shows the person making it means what they say, and says what they mean.
In stretching the law to its limits, in meeting the letter of the law but avoiding the spirit of it, Banks has shown himself to be contemptuous of the institution of democracy; a petty egotist.
Blaming the law is weak. ACT have trumpeted the idea of personal responsibility, in the past. Banks could accept personal responsibility in this instance, if he had any courage in his convictions. But apparently he has none, and it is my hope that his lack of courage will bring the final curtain down on the disgrace that the ACT party is today. His credibility is blown; the right will need to start a new fringe party.
Primmers - AK79, 1979