Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: Shame sticks to both sides of this episode

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Act MP John Banks in the dock at Auckland High Court. Photo / Dean Purcell
Act MP John Banks in the dock at Auckland High Court. Photo / Dean Purcell

For a man who has always craved respectability, having his political career end with the words "guilty as charged" must be particularly galling for John Banks.

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The Act MP was accused of filing a false electoral return during his 2010 Auckland mayoralty bid and, despite his confident assertions that the courts would see him vindicated, the judge preferred to believe that Banks did know where his campaign cheques came from and that he'd broken the law.

Interestingly, and astoundingly conveniently, the judge on Thursday did not enter a conviction against Banks. Instead, he ordered him to be sentenced on August 1, one day after Parliament is scheduled to rise to prepare for the September election. Banks' lawyer has indicated he will be applying for a discharge without conviction but even without a guilty verdict against his name, it's a sad end for a man with a 34-year political career behind him, even sadder than becoming an Act MP.

The cynical expediency of a well-known political and social conservative joining forces with a desperate, struggling political party with a neo-liberal ethos can only be equalled by the cynicism of Mana and the Internet Party jumping into bed.

There are few attractive people in this political drama.

Banks is a polarising figure, admired or loathed. Graham McCready, the convicted tax fraudster and the man who brought the private prosecution against Banks after the police declined to lay charges, is an odd creature.

The charms of Kim Dotcom have never been apparent to me and they didn't become any more obvious in this case. And the odd little man who threw a bucket of manure over Banks as he walked into court was contemptible as well.

Banks was bowing out of politics this election anyway so this will probably bring down the curtain on a colourful political career. And the sooner the rest of the clowns involved in this case exit stage left the better.

None of them was participating in this pathetic drama for the good of the community or the country. They were all about ego and payback.

I wish all of these men would take up an improving sort of a hobby - like bowls, or golf or fishing - instead of posturing on the public stage for their own self-gratification.

- Herald on Sunday

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