Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Banks was not at Novopay meetings while shareholder in Talent2 - papers

Act Party leader John Banks. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Act Party leader John Banks. File photo / Mark Mitchell

Act leader John Bank's office has produced Cabinet Committee papers in a bid to prove that he did not take part in any meetings concerning Novopay while he was a shareholder in Novopay's parent company Talent2.

Mr Banks has previously stated that he had declared the potential conflict of interest, and had not seen any briefing papers or taken part in any meetings or discussions about Novopay before he sold his shares on May 28, last year.

However, the Cabinet Office would not release the minutes to prove that this week, and referred APNZ to Novopay Minister Steven Joyce's office to request it under the Official Information Act.

A spokeswoman for Mr Banks has now provided APNZ with Cabinet Committee minutes kept by the Cabinet Office showing the attendance record at the three meetings between January and May at which Novopay was discussed.

Those minutes show Mr Banks did not attend two of the meetings, and absented himself for part of the third meeting, on May 29, the day after his shares sold.

The minutes did not state the reason for his absence or which part of the meeting he had left for, but the spokeswoman said it was for the Novopay discussion.

She said Mr Banks' office had received a paper for that May 29 meeting on major projects which included one section on Novopay.

All papers were screened by his staff for potential conflicts, and that paper had been withheld from Mr Banks himself.

All information other than the attendance list and the headlines relating to agenda items about Novopay were blacked out.

Mr Banks' office had approached Mr Joyce and the Cabinet Office to get approval for the minutes to be released to try to put the matter to rest. His office also provided the invoice for the sale of his shares on May 28, although the amounts were blacked out.

- APNZ

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