Act Party leader Jamie Whyte has told disgraced MP John Banks to consider resigning before he is sentenced in August.
Banks was found guilty in the High Court at Auckland this week of knowingly filing a false electoral return in relation to two $25,000 donations from Kim Dotcom for his 2010 Auckland mayoralty campaign.
The court will decide in August whether to convict Banks, but opposition MPs have been calling for him to resign as an MP. Banks would lose his accompanying $162,200 annual salary.
In a statement released yesterday, Whyte said Banks was legally entitled to remain in Parliament until the sentencing hearing, but he could also choose to step down before then.
"John and I discussed this option earlier today and we have agreed that he will take the weekend to consider his alternatives," Whyte said.
The Herald on Sunday asked Whyte whether he had asked Banks to step down but Whyte didn't want to expand on his statement. "I made a commitment to John I wouldn't expand on that press release and I want to honour that commitment," he said. "Call me on Monday."
John Banks yesterday declined to comment but Whyte said the embattled MP was "not a broken man".
"He's a fighter and he is doing okay. I think you will see that fighting spirit down to the wire."
If convicted Banks, who is the MP for Epsom, will be automatically kicked out of Parliament, meaning MPs could be recalled to Parliament during the election campaign to vote on whether to hold a byelection in Epsom.