Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Act Party president flip flops on money

Act Party president Chris Simmons. Photo / Richard Robinson
Act Party president Chris Simmons. Photo / Richard Robinson

Act Party president Chris Simmons stated yesterday that Act MP John Banks had asked Kim Dotcom to split a $50,000 donation so he could claim it was anonymous - but then retracted his comment within the hour.

Mr Simmons told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme that the split was "one of the suggestions made to Dotcom" by Mr Banks.

"He has given me an indication why he made that suggestion and that was that he initially was going to put in $25,000 of his own money and he figured that other people should be putting in the same sort of numbers."

But a few minutes later, while talking to the Herald, Mr Simmons back-pedalled from his comments on Checkpoint, saying Mr Banks had not told him about the conversation with Dotcom.

"I can't say that because I don't know that and John hasn't told me that. I haven't asked John that," the Act president said.

"What John has told me is he spoke to a lot of people asking for donations.

He has told me [he] spoke to Dotcom but I haven't gone into the details of it.

"All I'm interested in [is] was that donation report above board. He's been very clear he has nothing to fear and nothing to hide."

Dotcom claims Mr Banks knew he was going to make a $50,000 donation to his Super City mayoral campaign as he had asked for it when he visited Dotcom's Coatesville mansion in 2010.

Mr Banks has so far refused to acknowledge that discussion.

Opposition MPs are calling for Prime Minister John Key to stand Mr Banks down as a minister of the Crown while police investigate complaints over the donations.

- NZ Herald

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