Local Electoral Act

Meng Foon's giving $20 to a long-time acquaintance  is about respect, not corruption.

A couple of days ago, I was asked for comment* by RNZ News on a story about Gisborne mayor Meng Foon laying $20 on a pub table at a a Father's Day function.

John Banks should have been declared innocent by the Court of Appeal in November last year. But that doesn't mean he should not have been before the courts at all.

Let me start out by saying that I'm not surprised that John Banks has (eventually) been declared innocent of knowingly filing a false return of election donations.

Or, rather, he hasn't (yet) been found not-guilty of filing a false election return. That probably will happen later.

The news that the Court of Appeal has overturned the guilty verdict against John Banks' for knowingly filing a false election return in relation to his failed 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign is not surprising. To understand why, you need to remember the basis on which he was found guilty.

John Banks' political epitaph lies in the hands of a High Court judge. Will it be "John Banks, retired as MP in September", or "John Banks, kicked out of Parliament in June"?

Now that the evidence has been given and the closing arguments made, John Banks' fate lies in the hand of a High Court judge.

John Banks will have a full trial on the charge that he knowingly filed a false donation declaration after his 2010 Auckland mayoral election defeat. That's not that surprising.

So John Banks is going to have to face his day in court (actually, more likely his week or more in court, given the number of witnesses that will be heard).

His attempt to have the charge against him - that he knowingly filed a false return of donations following the 2010 Auckland mayoral election - thrown out by the judge has failed. In and of itself, that really isn't so surprising.