Act leader John Banks has spoken for the first time since
resigning his ministerial posts yesterday, saying he hopes to
fight the decision of the court to send him to trial over his
mayoral donations in 2010, and that he would be back to fight
the 2014 election.
Mr Banks stepped down as minister yesterday after the court's
decision, and said his legal team was looking at options to
challenge or appeal that decision.
"We are not going to be sitting back and taking this
decision. We believe [the judge] was totally wrong, but we
respect that decision because nobody is above the law. I
respect that and the process of the law. Now my legal team is
looking at remedies and there are a number of remedies open
to us and we are going to pursue those options over the next
Asked if he would stand again in 2014 if the case was still
hanging over him, he said he expected it to be well and truly
over by then and he intended to stand.
"Of course. It will only be my 15th election and the people
of Epsom want a John Key-led National coalition Government in
He said he was "a born optimist and a fighter.''
"The price of progress is always trouble. I must be making
some progress, because I seemingly am always in trouble.''
"Life was never meant to be easy. This journey started for me
in the mid 1970s, 14 elections ago. There's been ups and
there's been downs. The character is defined by how quickly
you get up. And I'm up and ready to get on with it.''
Asked if it had further damaged the Act Party brand, he said
Act had always had its ups and downs.
"We were always going to be a lightning rod here with a
one-man party in Parliament in coalition with the National
Party. It was always going to be a challenge.''
He said he had decided to resign as a minister if the case
was sent to trial so it would not be a distraction for the
Government. He had told the Prime Minister's chief of staff
that last Thursday.
"But one thing is for sure. I never and I would never
knowingly sign a false election return. I wouldn't do it, I
didn't do it and I'm going through the process of the law to
"I support the Prime Minister and I support this
He said he would not abstain from voting on the SkyCity
International Convention Centre legislation, despite claims
by the Green Party he was conflicted because SkyCity's CEO
was a witness in the legal proceedings. One of the donations
in question was from SkyCity. Mr Banks said he had told the
Prime Minister he would not abstain because he believed the
convention centre was important for Auckland.
"It was me that led the convention proposition when I was
Mayor of Auckland in 2001-03. Auckland needs a convention
centre, it is a complete no-brainer