Nothing to hide over Dotcom donation, Banks says
ACT leader John Banks says he has nothing to hide over donations to his 2010 mayoral campaign.
Prime Minister John Key today rejected calls to stand Banks down from Cabinet and said he was happy with the assurances he had received from the ACT leader.
Speaking today on TVNZ's Q+A, Banks said he welcomed an inquiry as questions swirl around what he knew about an alleged $50,000 donation from billionaire German Kim Dotcom.
"I have nothing to fear and nothing to hide and I welcome the inquiry and everything will come out in the wash," Banks said.
Labour MP Trevor Mallard says he will be lodging an official complaint over claims by the Dotcom camp that they made a $50,000 donation that was later declared as anonymous, despite discussing it with Banks.
Allegations that Banks also knew about a Sky City donation, also listed as anonymous, have already been referred to police after a complaint by Mallard.
Banks said this morning the story was a "side show", a "media beat up" and "humbug".
He quoted suggestions today by academic Andrew Geddis that a loophole in the law allowed local body candidates to advise donors how to give anonymous donations.
"Have a look at the 2001 Act...yesterday the media had me going to jail, today they're saying I'm likely to be in the clear."
But when asked repeatedly if he knew that Dotcom had given him $50,000, Banks refused to answer.
"I think you think I came up the river on a cabbage boat," Banks told presenter Paul Holmes.
"I can tell you that when I signed my declaration for the mayoralty I signed it in good faith in the knowledge as justice of the peace as true and correct. "
When asked if he was suggesting that the Dotcom camp were lying Banks responded: "I don't know why you're going on about this ... I have nothing to hide. I'm very happy to have the inquiry."
TV3's Campbell Live said on Friday it had been told by Dotcom that when Banks was running for the mayoralty he had raised the subject of campaign donations with the German millionaire.
Dotcom is currently on bail and facing extradition proceedings over piracy claims lodged by American authorities.
Dotcom told Campbell Live he immediately offered Banks $50,000 and Banks gratefully accepted his offer. But he asked for the donation to be split into two payments of $25,000 each.
There was no donation from Dotcom listed on Banks' returns but there were five anonymous donations of $25,000, Campbell Live said.
Banks told Campbell Live he had no recollection of discussing a donation with Dotcom.
He is already facing questions over whether he knew about a Sky City donation of $15,000.
Electoral officer Bruce Thomas has confirmed that a complaint by Mallard over that donation had been referred to police, as required by law.
Thomas said under the Electoral Act an anonymous donation was defined as any donation "that is made in such a way that the candidate concerned does not know who made the donation".
"The electoral expenses and donations return for John Banks....included references to a number of anonymous and named donations with specified amounts."
Banks has said if Sky City had given him $15,000 it must have been done anonymously and would have been declared as such.
"I received hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars every night of the week anonymously from people into our bank account and as you know under the Act it's quite in order."
In total, Banks received about $980,000 in donations.
Labour leader David Shearer is calling for Banks to stand aside from Cabinet until the donations are investigated.