Banks clarifies link to Novopay firm

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 07:15 26/11/2012
John Banks
JOHN BANKS: The MP acknowledged his family trust held shares in Talent2 International until May this year.

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ACT leader John Banks has moved to quell speculation that he had a vested interest in Talent2, the Australian company behind the error-ridden teachers' payroll system Novopay.

Social media was abuzz late last week with talk that Mr Banks, who is also the associate education minister, had shares in the company.

It forced the MP for Epsom to issue a statement acknowledging his family trust held shares in Talent2 International until May this year, when the company was privatised and delisted from the Australian stock exchange.

Mr Banks said he had become a shareholder in Talent2 as a result of the company's acquisition of Sugar International, in which the Hon John Banks Family Trust held shares.

"Mr Banks declared his family trust's shareholding in Talent2 to the Cabinet Office when he first became a minister," the statement said.

The Cabinet Office had been advised the day after he sold his shares.

"He has never received any Government information or briefings regarding Talent2, or any company they are connected to, or participated in any discussions at either Cabinet or Cabinet committee."

Novopay, which has been inundated with problems since it was introduced in August, was outside Mr Banks's responsibilities as associate minister of education, the statement said. It also noted Mr Banks was not related to Talent2 chairman Andrew Banks.

The Novopay contract was signed off in September 2008 by the previous Labour government.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for Mr Banks said he was responsible only for charter schools in the education portfolio, and care had been taken to keep details of the Novopay system away from him.

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