ACT Leader John Banks has resigned from his ministerial
posts effective immediately in the wake of the Auckland
District Court decision to send him to trial over his
Mr Banks said he had told the Prime Minister's office last
week that he would offer his resignation if the matter was
committed to trial.
"I have spoken to the Prime Minister this afternoon and he
has accepted my resignation.
"I believe the decision in the Auckland District Court was
wrong and I will be contesting the charge. However I do not
want this to be a distraction from the Government's
Mr Banks was the Associate Commerce Minister, Associate
Education Minister, Regulatory Reform Minister and Small
Mr Banks said said he would continue to support the
Government on confidence and supply votes, and would stay on
as MP for Epsom and Act leader.
"My focus will now be on clearing my name and serving the
people of Epsom," Mr Banks said.
Mr Banks' resignation means National has lost two of its
support party ministers - United Future leader Peter Dunne
resigned as minister after refusing to provide emails to an
inquiry into the leak of a GCSB report.
Mr Key said he had accepted Mr Banks offer to resign as a
"Mr Banks indicated to my Chief of Staff late last week that
in the event the Judge ruled against him, he would tender his
resignation as a Minister," Mr Key says.
"It is with regret that I announce today that I have accepted
that resignation, and will be advising the Governor-General
Mr Key said that even though the events occurred before Mr
Banks entered Parliament in 2011, "this is totally the right
He said that if Mr Banks was found not guilty or made a
successful appeal, he would be reinstated as a minister.
The Prime Minister said Mr Banks had been an able, competent
and reliable minister.
Mr Banks had confirmed that he would continue to meet the
terms of Act's confidence and supply agreement with the
National Party, which meant key pieces of legislation would
not be affected.
Mr Key said Mr Banks' small business and regulatory reform
portfolios would be reallocated this week.
Banks had denied the charge of filing a false electoral
return after Wellington man Graham McCready filed a private
prosecution against him.
In the Auckland District Court this afternoon, Phil Gittos
said sufficient evidence had been presented to send the
matter to trial.
Mr McCready was not in court for the decision this afternoon.
McCready supporter Penny Bright told reporters he had not
attended court today because he was not well and was not
feeling confident after yesterday's hearing.
Banks' lawyer David Jones, QC, said he would plead not
Banks was remanded at large until December 17.
The decision came after a hearing yesterday during which
internet mogul Kim Dotcom gave evidence that he was offended
when told Banks wanted his $50,000 mayoral campaign donation
to be anonymous.
Mr Dotcom said he was asked to split his donation into two
anonymous $25,000 cheques.
"My reaction at first was I asked him why and I kind of felt
offended,'' he told the court.
Mr Dotcom also confirmed Banks was flown in his private
helicopter from Mechanics Bay in central Auckland to the
Dotcom mansion in Coatesville in 2010.
Mr Dotcom's head of security Wayne Tempero also gave evidence
of being present on the helicopter flight, and at a meeting
in Coatesville when the two $25,000 cheques were discussed.
SkyCity boss Nigel Morrison told the court of handing Banks a
cheque in an envelope at a meeting in 2010.
Mr Morrison confirmed details from his statement made to
police in 2012, including that he made the same donations to
Banks' and Len Brown's mayoral campaigns.
Banks' donation was handed over during a 10-minute meeting in
Mr Morrison's office.