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Labour calls for John Banks to be stood down

Published: 6:19AM Saturday April 28, 2012 Source: ONE News

Labour is calling for Act leader John Banks to be stood down from his Government positions over allegations about his campaign to be mayor of Auckland.

The Act leader is accused of knowingly receiving $50,000 from Kim Dotcom for his 2010 mayoral campaign, but declaring it as an anonymous contribution.

Banks allegedly asked for the donation to be divided into two so it could be kept anonymous, Dotcom told the NZ Herald.

On radio this morning, Banks said Dotcom was a friend of his, but would not confirm he had received any money from him.
Police have already been asked to look into a $15,000 donation made to Act leader Banks from SkyCity Casino towards his 2010 mayoral campaign.

Banks has been accused of not fully declaring the donation he received.

"John Key should stand John Banks down while an investigation by police is underway," Labour leader David Shearer said. 

"He cannot continue to hold ministerial roles while such serious allegations are swirling around him. I urge the Prime Minister to confront Mr Banks about the claims and get to the bottom of what has gone on."

Shearer said the donation from SkyCity raises further questions about the Government's relationship with the casino at a time when it is considering changing gambling laws to allow it to have more pokie machines.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard told ONE News last night: "John Banks' campaign knew because it was given on the same basis as Len Brown's, Len Brown declared it, John Banks should have."

Mallard has written to chief electoral officer, Bruce Thomas asking him to investigate.

"Transparency around election donations is a major protection against corruption in the New Zealand political system," said Mallard.

Banks told Newstalk ZB he is welcoming the Electoral Commission review of contributions to his campaign.

He maintains he has nothing to hide. He says he abided by the act, that the donation was anonymous, as were a number of other donations, and they are allowed to be declared as such.

Prime Minister John Key said he was unconcerned about a possible police investigation into the matter.

Key said it is a matter for Banks and he is going to stay out of it.

- With Newstalk ZB