Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Banks gets his revenge on Shearer over 'secret' account

Act Party leader John Banks in his office at Parliament, Wellington. 20 February 2013 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Mark MItchell
Act Party leader John Banks in his office at Parliament, Wellington. 20 February 2013 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Mark MItchell

Act Leader John Banks yesterday jumped at the chance of payback against David Shearer, demanding the Labour leader stand down over his "secret" United States bank account.

Mr Shearer strongly criticised Mr Banks last year over the Act leader's failure to remember receiving a political donation from internet tycoon Kim Dotcom and called for Prime Minister John Key to strip him of his ministerial portfolios.

Yesterday, the boot was on the other foot as Mr Shearer admitted he had forgotten to include details of a US bank account containing more than $50,000 cash when filling in his register of pecuniary interest form. Mr Shearer acknowledged he'd made the mistake during each of the preceding three years.

Mr Banks said Mr Shearer was on record as saying that anyone with a memory lapse was not fit for public office and should stand down.

"Yesterday he told us he for9got not once but on four occasions to tell the Parliament about his secret US bank account. He didn't forget to tell the IRD about this secret bank account but he forgot to tell the Parliament, he had a memory lapse.

"If you were to live up to his standards and his ideals and his rules, he should stand down, otherwise it's hypocrisy. I suggest that he's holier than thou and should take a good hard look at himself."

Mr Shearer was also the target of barbs from the Prime Minister when during question time he asked Mr Key if he stood by all of his statements.

"Yes, I do stand by all my statements, and in that I include bank statements," Mr Key said.

Earlier, Mr Key told reporters anybody could make a mistake, including himself.

"When I do, I try and tell people I've made them. It's just that you don't get cut any slack from the Labour Party when you say you've made a mistake, but when they make one they don't want anyone to have a look at it."

Mr Shearer denied he was guilty of a double standard.

"When I myself found that [bank account] error I made the move to correct it, I didn't wait for anybody else to find it."

- NZ Herald

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