[Sitting date: 03 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:1947. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the
Prime Minister: Did the assurances that Hon John Banks gave his office regarding his compliance with
the Local Electoral Act, which he has accepted, include an assurance that any donations for radio advertising during the 2010 mayoral election were correctly recorded?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the
Prime Minister: As the Prime Minister stated in the House on Tuesday, the chief of staff sought and received an assurance from Mr Banks that he had fully complied with the requirements of the Local Electoral Act in respect of donations. There were no assurances sought or received about the details of any particular donations.
Hon Trevor Mallard: How can advertising be donated anonymously, when there is a requirement for authorisation; and if the Prime Minister does not know, why did his office not ask Mr Banks?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I understand the member has already made a complaint about an anonymous donation for radio advertising, and that this has been referred to the police for investigation. He could perhaps await the outcome of that investigation to get answers to those questions.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Can the Prime Minister assure the House there is no link between the soft Crown loan Steven Joyce arranged for a radio chain he used to own and this radio advertising giving shortly afterwards to the National Party’s preferred candidate for the Auckland mayoralty?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: No. I think last week it was charter schools that were part of this conspiracy, and now something else is. The fact is the member has a complaint, he has referred that to the police, and his attempts to get more media attention by constructing conspiracy theories might or might not work. We will see.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: With the National Party, as we speak, conducting polling in the Epsom electorate with the question—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Would the member please proceed with his question, and I do want it to be something that is the Minister’s responsibility. National Party polling certainly has nothing to do with the Minister’s responsibility.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: With the National Party, as we speak, conducting polling in the Epsom electorate with the question: “Who would you vote for?”, is that an ominous sign in respect of Mr John Banks that the assurances are not being accepted by the Prime Minister?
Mr SPEAKER: The Hon Bill English, in so far as there is ministerial responsibility.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Prime Minister accepts the assurances of the member for Epsom.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Why did he say that he had absolutely no reason to doubt John Banks was unaware of the Dotcom donation, given that ACT’s own party president has said that splitting the donation from Dotcom was one of the suggestions John Banks made to Dotcom?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Prime Minister made that statement because he believes it to be the case and has not seen statements or evidence otherwise. The matter is in the hands of the police, who are rightfully investigating.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Has he or his office questioned Mr Banks about the suggestion by the ACT Party president that one of the $25,000 donations was in fact from John Banks himself, and did Mr Banks explain how he could give himself a donation and not know it?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: As I said in the first answer, an assurance was sought from Mr Banks that he had fully complied with the requirements of the Local Electoral Act in respect of donations. That assurance was given. No assurances have been sought about particular donations.