Prime Minister John Key says he never runs from public relations "stunts" such as German multi-million Kim Dotcom's visit to Parliament - but says embattled ACT leader John Banks can make his own decisions.
The minister outside Cabinet and MP for Epsom was at Parliament yesterday morning but nowhere to be seen in the afternoon when the MegaUpload founder and wife Mona took their seats in the debating chamber.
Banks today told reporters he wasn't at Parliament yesterday afternoon because he was collecting donations.
"I was out doing what I do best and that is raising funds," he told reporters, adding "just joking".
Banks said Dotcom didn't ring him and tell him he was coming to Parliament.
Asked if he should have because the pair are friends, Banks replied: "Everything that needs to be said has been said."
Key has been under pressure to sack Banks after a details of a police investigation raised questions about whether he knew about donations from Dotcom and SkyCity to his failed 2010 Auckland mayoralty campaign which were declared as anonymous.
A spokeswoman for Banks yesterday said he was not in the House because he had ''ACT party commitments".
Key today said he didn't know where Banks was. He had not spoken to him in recent days, nor had anyone from his office.
Asked if Banks should have been in the debating chamber, the prime minister replied: "It's everyone's choice".
"I am confronted from time to time with what are really fundamentally PR stunts. Yesterday's was Kim Dotcom. I've had it with others."
Key said he had a "pretty simple rule".
"I never run. As far as I'm concerned I front up. I for one am not changing my behaviours because someone wants to pull a PR stunt in Wellington."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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