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PM must stand Banks down and not allow his vote on SkyCity

16 October 2013

PM must stand Banks down and not allow his vote on SkyCity

The Prime Minister must stand John Banks down as minister and demand he abstains from voting on the NZ International Convention Centre Bill because of criminal charges he now faces over SkyCity donations to his mayoral campaign, the Green Party said today.

John Banks will face criminal fraud charges related to his 2010 Mayoral campaign after a preliminary hearing at the Auckland District Court today established he had a case to answer.

The case is a private prosecultion which centres on Mr Banks’ decision to declare as “anonymous” substantial donations to his campaign fund from SkyCity and internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

“John Banks is charged with a serious criminal office and has a very clear conflict of interest which means he must not be allowed to vote on the SkyCity Convention Centre Bill,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.

“SkyCity’s CEO Nigel Morrison gave evidence at Mr Banks’ preliminary hearing and will give evidence in the criminal case which has the potential to sink Mr Banks’ political career. At the same time the SkyCity bill relies on Mr Banks’ single vote to pass.

“Its impossible not to see that John Banks will be hugely conflicted if he votes on the SkyCity Bill, the success of which is worth more than $400 million to the casino. MPs have previously abstained from voting for much less serious conflicts of interest.

“In addition John Banks should not retain his job as a Minister while he is facing criminal fraud charges.

“I asked the Prime Minister in the House today if he had received written advice from Mr Banks that he had a potential conflict of interest, as Ministers are required to by the Cabinet Manual.

“The Prime Minster replied that he could not remember, and shrugged the suggestion off as if it was unimportant.

“John Key needs to tell us now if he has received a declaration of a conflict from Mr Banks and how he plans to manage that conflict which he is required to under the Cabinet Manual,” Mrs Turei said.


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