Rodney Hide: They're all winners, more or less

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Kim Dotcom wanted revenge on Banks and the guilty verdict gives him that. Photo / Greg Bowker
Kim Dotcom wanted revenge on Banks and the guilty verdict gives him that. Photo / Greg Bowker

Justice Wylie's decision on John Banks provides a very elegant result: everyone's a winner, sort of. Graham McCready is clearly a winner. He declared the police wrong in not prosecuting Banks. With the indefatigable Penny Bright's help, he got the case to court. That was no mean achievement.

A private citizen of very limited resource took on government might and won. Justice Wylie's decision proves McCready right and the police wrong. He toppled a minister and shook the Government's majority.

Kim Dotcom is a winner. He wanted revenge on Banks and the guilty verdict gives it to him. The judge accepted his testimony over that of Banks, which is no mean achievement.

The opposition parties are winners. They can crow through to the election that John Key's Government is tainted for being propped up by a guilty politician. Guilty of what, exactly? Well, of knowingly transmitting a false return.

Key is a winner. Banks stood down as a minister as soon as the charges were laid. Nothing changes for the Government. Its majority is safe because the judge has deferred a decision on conviction until after Parliament's last sitting day.

I suspect Key will enjoy the opposition getting themselves in a tizz over Banks. He knows it's political noise to an electorate of people concerned more about their own lives than the intricacies of electoral law and parliamentary voting procedure. Sound-bites on Banks come at the expense of the opposition talking about the issues that matter to voters. That's where elections are fought and won.

The Act Party gets to move on. The party has a new leader and Epsom candidate. The trial was a distraction. That's behind it. The party can now campaign looking to the future.

And Banks? Did he win or did he lose? Well, he's been declared guilty. That's a loss. But he hasn't been chucked out of Parliament. That's a win. And he was cleared on the SkyCity donation. That leaves him clear to appeal the verdict in respect of Dotcom's donation. He will be able to do that away from the media glare as a private citizen. I suspect he has a good chance of clearing his name. That would be a win.

I have felt sorry for Banks throughout his return to Parliament. He's been mercilessly singled out and dumped on. But now no longer. It's over. Thank goodness.

Banks has overcome extraordinary adversity. He has enjoyed enormous highs and suffered devastating lows. But through it all he has kept relentlessly positive. He has never given up. He's a winner not a loser. The guilty verdict will knock him. But not for long. A whole new life is ahead of him.

And now a new and powerful reason to make the most of it. And that's the best win of all.

- Herald on Sunday

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