Its been a couple of weeks since we have had the chance to test what standard of Ministerial behaviour is acceptable to John Key. I had another opportunity today in the House, armed with some new information.
It pays to remember that one of the things John Key campaigned on in 2008 was to instill high standards of ethical behaviour for Ministers. That’s one of the reasons that we have pursued the John Banks debacle because by any measure his behaviour has not reached the standards that I think New Zealanders would expect of their Ministers.
When the Police file on John Banks was released in September Mr Banks was the only one of the major players who’s witness statement was missing. And even in the summary report the three paragraphs referencing it were withheld. At the time Mr Banks claimed it was the Police who had made that decision.
Mr Banks said it was the police who decided keep his statement under wraps. Press secretary Shelley Mackey said: “Mr Banks is not responsible for what the police have released.”
We asked for all the correspondence between Mr Banks and the Police on the release of the report, and lo and behold we found a letter from Mr Banks’ lawyer that said
Accordingly, disclosure of any material relating to Mr Banks, or indeed any part of the investigation file, is opposed.
More lies, half-truths and obfuscations from John Banks. He has gone to great lengths to ensure that New Zealanders can not read what he told the Police about the donations to his Mayoral campaign. This from the man who said he had ‘nothing to fear and nothing to hide’. And all the while John Key clings on to Mr Banks to uphold his Parliamentary majority. At the expense of not only increased Ministerial standards, but almost any Ministerial standards at all.
Some might ask is this really damaging John Key. I think it is. The beginning of New Zealanders sense of disappointment in John Key can be traced to the “cup of tea” with John Banks, and his wilful ignorance of breaches of Ministerial standards just adds to the growing sense that he has failed to live up to his own hype.