Pressure mounting on Banks to resign

02:59, Jun 07 2014

Pressure is mounting on ACT MP John Banks to resign from Parliament before the party moves against him.

Fairfax understands ACT leader Jamie Whyte has spoken to Banks and made it clear he thinks he should resign in the wake of a High Court finding that he was guilty of filing a false electoral return.

In a statement, Whyte said  Banks was legally entitled to remain in Parliament but he could also choose to step down as an MP prior to his sentencing on August 1.

"John and I discussed this option earlier today and we have agreed that he will take the weekend to consider his alternatives."

The party is expected to make an announcement next week.

The court ruled that a donation to his Auckland mayoral campaign from German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom should not have been declared as anonymous. 

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Banks was not convicted, an event which would trigger his automatic ejection from Parliament. The judge delayed conviction till sentencing on August 1, a day after Parliament rises.

But that would not avoid a by-election being triggered if a conviction is entered on August 1. 

Because it is within six months of an election Parliament could vote against holding the by-election, but it would have to be reconvened by Speaker David Carter in the middle of the election campaign to do so.

Banks' legal team have signalled that he will be seeking a discharge without conviction. He could also lodge an appeal if that fails but that would not avoid the by-election being triggered because it is automatic.

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