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Banks saga condemns National

Banks saga condemns National

John Banks’ resignation was inevitable but should have come a lot sooner, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“The only reason Mr Banks has remained in Parliament for so long is because John Key and National needed his vote.

“Mr Key even tried to minimise the importance of the offence by describing Mr Banks as an ‘honest' man despite the High Court judge finding otherwise.

"The public has a right to expect the highest standards of its elected officials. The Prime Minister has presided over a serious decline in those standards.

“An incoming Labour government would move to restore confidence in this vital area of public life, including introducing initiatives to remove the coat-tailing provision from the Electoral Act.

"There has been more than a whiff of opportunism around Mr Banks since Mr Key infamously sat down with him over a cup of tea and gifted the seat of Epsom to him.

“While Mr Banks has finally stepped down, the spectre of special deals - whether over National's coat-tailing arrangements, their 'cash for access' fundraising activities, Judith Collins' promotion of a company owned by a National donor, and Maurice Williamson's attempt to influence police actions on another wealthy National donor - will follow National.

"This government’s mandate has rested on a man found guilty of a serious electoral offence; on Peter Dunne, stripped of his ministerial warrants after he lost the trust of the Prime Minister having allegedly leaked a classified GCSB report; and on a Maori Party cravenly propping up the government.

"The Banks saga has underlined how desperate National is to stay in power. New Zealanders are now asking serious questions about the integrity of this government,'' David Cunliffe said.

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