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Original police decision over Banks needs reviewing

Original police decision over Banks needs reviewing

The government should set up a high-powered inquiry independent of any other government agency to look into recent investigations and prosecutions into allegations in the political arena, including how the police made their original decision not to prosecute John Banks, Labour’s justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.

“John Banks has now been found guilty of electoral fraud, with a high court judge finding the ACT MP had made false declarations about donations from Kim Dotcom after his failed mayoral campaign.

“During the procedural wrangling after the private prosecution was launched, every other judge that looked at the initial information found there was a case to answer, but the police and their crown law advisers didn’t.

“Did the fact that the police and other state agencies were heavily engaged in the arrest of Kim Dotcom on behalf of US authorities consciously or unconsciously affect the decision to not prosecute John Banks?

“At the time of the 2011 election John Key laid a complaint against cameraman Bradley Ambrose in relation to the so-called teapot tapes affair. That complaint was investigated with urgency by the police, search warrants were executed against various media outlets and considerable pressure was put on Mr Ambrose. He later apologised to the Prime Minister and John Banks before being given a warning by the police.

“This was a highly political complaint that looked more like damage-control of a public political stunt which the Prime Minister lost control of. It should never have been entertained by the police from the outset.

“The integrity of our electoral systems for both central and local government must be upheld in the interests of public confidence. Those charged with upholding that integrity must hold politicians and others to the highest standards and show they are truly independent of ministers.

“New Zealanders are entitled to be assured about the decision-making processes that went into the original decision not to prosecute John Banks, and the inquiry could also look at whether we need an independent agency devoted to dealing with allegations of electoral malpractice and corruption.”

ends

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