[Sitting date: 02 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:1856. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) to the
Prime Minister: Does he stand by all the answers he gave to Oral Question No 4 yesterday?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister)
: Yes, because unlike question No. 2 yesterday, at least the quotations directed at me were correct.
Mr SPEAKER: I call Metiria Turei. [Interruption] Order! I want to be able to hear Metiria Turei.
Metiria Turei: Does the Prime Minister require John Banks to meet ethical standards as a Minister, or will he retain his confidence in John Banks until he is convicted of electoral fraud?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: For a start-off, the member is making an outrageous assertion that the Minister would be convicted of such a thing. Secondly, the
CabinetManual is quite clear: ethical standards apply at the time of the holding of the warrant.
Mr SPEAKER: Metiria Turei. [Interruption] Order! I must be able to hear Metiria Turei.
Metiria Turei: Given the reason that the Prime Minister lost confidence in Richard Worth was “nothing of a legal nature”, why is he applying now only a legal test to John Banks?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am not. The issue in relation to Mr Worth was his ethical behaviour at the time that he was a Minister.
Metiria Turei: Can he confirm that he would have sacked Pansy Wong, had she not resigned, because of her “ethical lapses” as a Minister, not legal ones?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, I cannot confirm that.
Metiria Turei: Why, as he set out yesterday, is he applying a legal test for John Banks when he accepted Phil Heatley’s resignation because he failed to meet the Prime Minister’s high ethical standards?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: As I said yesterday, that would have been a matter in relation to a legal test had that been a proven case against Mr Heatley.
Metiria Turei: Can the Prime Minister confirm that he accepted Phil Heatley’s resignation for failure to meet his high ethical standards, before any legal or other proceedings were taken against Phil Heatley?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What I can confirm is that I tried to encourage the Minister not to resign and, quite to the contrary, the Minister did resign.
Metiria Turei: Why is it now the position of the Prime Minister to retain confidence in a Minister regardless of a breach of ethical standards when he set an ethical standard for Ministers at the beginning of his tenure as Prime Minister and he applied that ethical standard to Richard Worth, Pansy Wong, and Phil Heatley; and is it because he needs John Banks for the numbers?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In relation to the last point, no. In relation to the rest of the question, the member is actually making a whole lot of assertions that are simply not correct. The allegation against Mr Banks—[Interruption] Well, members might not like it but the allegation against Mr Banks is that he failed to meet his legal obligations in the signing of his mayoral declaration. The Minister has made it quite clear that he did meet his legal obligations. I accept that, and the fact that that member is going down this line just shows you that she thinks he met his legal obligations as well, as do those people over there.
David Shearer: What other assurances did Mr Banks give his office, apart from the fact that he had complied with the Local Electoral Act?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: That was the assurance that we sought. That was the allegation that has been made. The allegation that has been made is that the member failed to meet his legal obligations. The Minister has told us he met his legal obligations. That member wants me to sack Ministers for complying—
Grant Robertson: Oh, he’s getting angry.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: This is angry? OK, you should meet Trevor.