Act party leader Jamie Whyte has told disgraced Act MP
John Banks to consider resigning before he is sentenced in
Banks was found guilty in the Auckland High Court this week
for knowingly filing a false electoral return in relation to
two $25,000 donations from Kim Dotcom for his 2010 Auckland
The court will decide in August whether to convict Banks, but
opposition MPs have been calling for him to resign as an MP
and his accompanying $162,200 annual salary.
In a statement today, Dr Whyte said Banks was legally
entitled to remain in Parliament until the sentencing
hearing, but he could also choose to step down before then.
"John and I discussed this option earlier today and we have
agreed that he will take the weekend to consider his
alternatives," Dr Whyte said.
If convicted Banks, who is the MP for Epsom, will be
automatically kicked out of Parliament, and MPs could be
recalled to Parliament during the election campaign to vote
on whether a byelection in Epsom should be held.
Banks is seeking a discharge without conviction. He could
also appeal the case.
Meanwhile, Epsom candidates fronted on TV3's The Nation this
morning -- except for National's candidate Paul Goldsmith,
who excused himself by saying he was concentrating on
campaigning for the party vote.
It is expected that National and Act will do a deal in the
electorate -- as they have in previous elections -- to
enhance the post-election prospect of a National-Act
Act's Epsom candidate David Seymour said there was currently
no deal, though he conceded that Prime Minister John Key had
been to a fundraising event for his campaign.
Labour candidate Michael Wood brought along a bag of flour as
a stand-in for Mr Goldsmith -- and promised to use it every
time Mr Goldsmith failed to front.
"The fact that Paul Goldsmith is not here today speaks for
itself. It speaks to the fact that a dirty deal has been
"There was a famous case in the early 1980s where Roy
Hattersley the deputy leader of the British Labour Party
refused to appear in interviews and refused to front up, and
he was replaced by a bag of lard.
"Every time that Paul Goldsmith fails to front in this
campaign, we are going to remind people about the dirty deal
with this bag of wholemeal flour. And this is going to sit in
place of Paul Goldsmith, who is not fronting and is
facilitating a deal with the Act party to get them in when
they don't deserve it."
- Derek Cheng of APNZ