Key backs Banks over Dotcom donations
"Funny, yesterday a reporter was out and about looking for people who voted for Banks so she could ask their opinion. She told me no one would admit to having voted for him."Featured comment
It took a while, and he would only say so indirectly, but Prime Minister John Key is backing ACT John Banks in the wake of a police report released under the Official Information Act.
Mr Key told TV3's Q+A programme interviewer Shane Taurima yesterday that he had not read the report, and did not need to.
A transcript of their exchange (watch the full interview here):
TAURIMA: Mr Banks says he didn’t know about any donation [from Kim Dotcom]. This week’s release of sworn statements state otherwise. Do you believe he was telling the truth there?
KEY: Well, what I can tell you is there is a range of different views there…
TAURIMA: But do you believe him? Do you think he was telling the truth there?
KEY: We’ve asked directly the questions. We’ve been given assurances, and I accept the minister at his word. Let’s understand what’s happening here. This is a politically motivated attack by Labour.
TAURIMA: So you believe he was telling the truth?
KEY: If it’s not politically motivated. Let’s just go through this point.
TAURIMA:It’s a genuine question, though, Prime Minister, and it’s an easy question.
KEY: And I accept the minister at his word. And the point here is there will always be people with a different range of views. It’s important that people comply with the law. So, in my opinion, that law is very badly drafted, which is why my government’s going to fix it up. And if the Labour Party really believed in this, and it wasn’t just a way of getting to the government, they would have changed the law, and they didn’t do that.
TAURIMA:Going back to telling the truth. This week, we had a release of sworn statements that said otherwise. Are they not telling the truth, Prime Minister?
KEY: Well, that’s their view, but it has to be seen in the context of the law. The fact that someone tells you they may make you a donation doesn’t mean under the old electoral law that you know that they have.
TAURIMA:This isn’t about the issue being you. All I want to know is having read the police report, whether you believe Mr Banks when he said-
KEY: I haven’t read that police report, and I’m not going to because I don’t need to. I rely, as any prime minister would, that I enjoy the confidence-
TAURIMA: Why wouldn’t you read the police report?
KEY: Because it’s not my job to do a forensic analysis. What I can tell you is the law doesn’t work. What I can tell you is this is a politically motivated attempt by the Labour Party to get at the government. Fair enough. That’s called politics.
TAURIMA: So you believe him even though others say he was lying?
KEY: No, what I’m saying to you is accept his word. I accept that the law is very ambiguous, and I accept that the Labour Party are using this as a politically motivated attempt to get to the government. Because they’re not going after- This is a guy that lost the mayoral election. They didn’t try and test this out after he lost. They didn’t test it out for every other candidate. They’re not testing it out around the country. And, by the way, when they changed the central government law around donations, they didn’t bother to do it for local government. But today they care about it, and that’s because it’s politically motivated.
TAURIMA: Prime Minister, we have to leave it there, but we do appreciate your time. Thank you for coming in.