David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

PM stands by John Banks

Act MP John Banks and Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Act MP John Banks and Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister John Key is standing by Cabinet colleague John Banks.

Mr Key's support followed revelations in newly-released police documents that Mr Banks' campaign team for the 2010 Auckland mayoralty drew up a list of 10 rich donors to target for $25,000 each.

According to the documents, internet tycoon Kim Dotcom told police Mr Banks had asked him for two payments of that exact amount so he would not have to declare where they came from.

Today Mr Key said: "Nothing has changed when it comes to (our earlier) position. I haven't read the full (police) report, I've seen what's in the media ... Look, this is a politically motivated attack from Labour and really where they should have put their political energy is changing the law. It is very, very broad, unworkable law and that's why the Government is changing it now.''

Asked if he still had confidence in Mr Banks, he said: "Yes absolutely.''

The Prime Minister said Mr Banks hadn't broken the law and his position on the matter hadn't changed.

He said he did not plan to read the police file and it was a matter for Mr Banks whether he released a statement made to police.

The documents from the police inquiry were released last night under the Official Information Act. They give an insight into the way Mr Banks' team raised nearly $1 million during his campaign for the Auckland super city mayoralty in 2010. He lost the bid but is now the Act MP for Epsom and Minister for Small Business.

No charges were laid against Mr Banks. Police found that although he had filed a false election return, he hadn't done so deliberately, because he had signed it without reading it.

The Government is changing the law to cap anonymous donations to local election candidates at $1500.

- NZ Herald

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