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ACT Party founder Douglas backs Banks

Published: 4:20PM Sunday September 23, 2012 Source: ONE News

ACT Party founder Sir Roger Douglas has given his backing to current leader John Banks, who is under fire over donations to his 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign.

Douglas told TV One's Q+A programme that the scrutiny over internet tycoon Kim Dotcom's donations to the campaign were "a total making of the media".

Banks has been under fire since police released a report in which Dotcom said he offered Banks $50,000 for his mayoral campaign during a June 2010 meeting.

Banks has maintained he did not know that two $25,000 donations he received were from Dotcom.

"I believe Mr Banks, yes," Douglas said.

"And I believe that Mr Banks may well have said what we've said to people who are possible donors. We told them the law."

No charges have been laid against Banks but opposition parties have called for Prime Minister John Key to sack the Epsom Member of Parliament from his cabinet positions, including Minister for Small Business.

Key has so far said he stands by what his cabinet member has told him of the donations.

A poll conducted by Colmar Brunton for ONE News indicates 57% of New Zealanders support Banks' dismissal from the cabinet.

But nearly one-third of respondents said he should stay and 12% said they were unsure.

Douglas said he was not surprised by the numbers saying Banks should be sacked.

"When you look at the media beat-up that we've had over the last two weeks, I'm surprised that John's done as well as he has," he said.

"What I'm concerned about is how John Banks has acted as an ACT MP... I think he has done well."