Banks' departure a less messy solution

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2014
JOHN BANKS
Lawrence Smith
GUILTY AND GONE: MP John Banks.
Opinion poll

Will you miss John Banks in politics?

I will miss his colourful persona.

Hell no. Happy to see the back of him.

Yes. This will kill the ACT party.

Not really. I took no notice of him anyway.

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OPINION: John Banks' resignation may be the least surprising outcome of the last few days.

The more revealing responses have been those of many of Banks' allies.

John Key did not resile from his view that Banks was an honest man. Former ACT leader Richard Prebble insisted that Banks' crime was nothing more than a clerical error.

Given the propensity of both ACT and National to play the law and order card you would think the fact that Banks had been found guilty of a crime punishable by two years in prison or a hefty fine would have resonated more strongly.

Even more telling was Prebbles defence on Q+A that he had seen any number of electoral returns over the years that were works of fiction.

He has not been the first to make that observation amid the fallout over Banks' trial.

If true, a long line of politicians will be following Banks into court. His case has set a precedent that police cannot ignore.

With Banks gone, Parliament will have to vote a week from now to avoid triggering a by-election - a vote that is certain to succeed.

The Government, meanwhile, will have to cut its legislation to suit its cloth now that it needs the Maori Party on every vote.

That will not be as problematic as it might have been a year ago - with just five sitting weeks left before Parliament rises for the election, there are few major legislative changes that look like stalling, although the Government may have to abandon some industrial relations law reforms that the Maori Party won't support.

But that is something that can be managed in a far more orderly way than the ongoing fallout should John Banks have remained in Parliament.

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- Fairfax Media

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