[Sitting date: 08 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:1999. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the
Prime Minister: Does he believe Hon John Banks when he said on Friday, 27 April 2012 that he could not remember a helicopter trip to the Dotcom mansion, and if not, was Mr Banks’ comment consistent with clause 2.53 of the Cabinet Office Manual, which states “… at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. Ultimately Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister)
Hon Trevor Mallard: Did he personally speak to John Banks before the House resumed last Tuesday to discuss what Mr Banks remembered with regard to the helicopter trip; and if not, why not?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Does he stand by his statement: “The appointment of a minister … has to be done on the basis that … I can look that person in the eye and have confidence that I can rely on their word.”; and if so, why did he not apply that test to John Banks?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, and that is why I would never have that member in my Cabinet.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! A point of order has been called.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I would never want to get close enough—
Mr SPEAKER: Oh, no. Order! [Interruption] No, I am on my feet and all comments will cease. Order! I guess we get into some difficulty when answers are not helpful. I did not intervene, because the line of questioning is a fairly personal line of questioning. But the Prime Minister should not have given that last part of that answer, and certainly the Hon Trevor Mallard should not have responded under a point of order in the way that he did. Let us call the score one all at this stage and move on.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Why did he not apply the “looking in the eye” test to John Banks?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because that was not necessary. What was necessary was to confirm that the allegations made by the Hon Trevor Mallard that the member had broken the Local Electoral Act were not correct. He gave me that cast-iron assurance through my chief of staff, and I accept that.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Can the Prime Minister confirm that he understands the difference between a Skycity donation and a trip to Dotcom?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, I do not have any responsibility for that, so I cannot really answer the question for the member.
Hon Trevor Mallard: When he finally did talk to John Banks, did he tell him that employing Simon Lusk was not desirable?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.