Viewport width =
May 7, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Political Porn With Hamish

Mystery and Deceit in the Banks saga

On the Thursday of this going to print, I thought I had cracked the John Banks donation saga. Unfortunately, the powers that be wouldn’t comply. You see, I have a theory, a theory as to how this whole thing “works”.

Forget Kim Dotcom. Candidates are allowed to inform individuals how they can donate anonymously. $25,000 appears to have been chosen due to other donations of the same amount coming through. It’s created a situation whereby, from
the information I have at hand, Banks couldn’t attribute an individual donation to an individual “donator”, facilitating the donation as “anonymous”. Whilst arguably unethical, it appears to be legal. It’s SkyCity that’s the clincher. Here’s what
we know;

  • ·In August 2009, a joint feasibility study for a new convention centre was carried out by the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Tourism and the Auckland City Council.
  • ·In November 2009, John Key had dinner with SkyCity casino “bosses”.
  • ·In 2010, SkyCity donated $15,000 to both Len Brown and John Banks’ Mayoral campaigns.
  • ·In 2007, SkyCity did NOT donate to John Banks’ Mayoral campaign.
  • ·In 1996 John Banks referred to casinos as “wide boys” during a speech he made in Parliament outlining his opposition to casinos.

So what’s the link? We know that SkyCity was aware of the convention centre from an early stage, as indicated by the feasibility study and John Key dinner.

The following year, something prompted

SkyCity to donate $15,000 to each of the main runners for the Auckland Mayoralty, having not donated to the Auckland
City Mayoralty in 2007. The question is, what prompted them? Could it be the convention centre?

Possibly. I asked a SkyCity spokesperson if the casino was intending on donating to Mayoral candidates at next year’s election. He indicated to me “no”, that 2010’s donation was more of a one-off.

It seems to me that SkyCity have looked at the situation and realised it would be advantageous to back both mayoral candidates should the convention centre feasibility investigations continue. If such a realisation was to have occurred, it proved fruitful last week when Len Brown voted against Councillor Cathy Casey’s motion that Auckland Council “does not support” any law change to allow SkyCity to “increase opportunities for gambling” in return for a convention centre.

It is a long bow to draw that SkyCity’s donation was the reason for Len Brown voting against the motion, but it is worth noting that such a vote doesn’t occur in a vacuum.

So what about “Banksie”? SkyCity would not answer my questions regarding it’s donation to Mr Banks or Mr Brown, or the convention centre, for that matter. On three separate occasions the only response it would provide was; SKYCITY made donations of $15,000 each to Mr Len Brown and Mr John Banks for their respective 2010 Mayoral campaigns. SKYCITY made no donations in 2007 to John Banks’ mayoral campaign.

It added that any further questions would need to be directed to the individuals.

This is despite one of my questions being “Did SkyCity intend for its donation to Mr Banks’ Mayoral campaign to be anonymous?”—not one either candidate is really in a position to answer on SkyCity’s behalf.

Why Banks would want the donation to be anonymous is clear. He opposed casinos in the 90s and didn’t want to have media attention regarding a donation from one.

I would have liked to have been able to use more facts to support my argument. Sadly, SkyCity refused to go any further than noted above. Auckland Council was unable to email me a copy of either Len Brown’ or John Banks’ donation returns due to s 110 of the Local Electoral Act 2001.

But at the very least, I think we’ve got the link and the impact the convention centre has had on the whole donations “saga”.

This doesn’t have any real impact on whether or not John Banks acted illegally, as the test for that is whether Banks knew the donation was from SkyCity. What it shows though is that SkyCity seems to have been motivated by the convention centre to donate and we have a potential reason for why Banks would not want to disclose.

It’s a shame the SkyCity wouldn’t answer any other questions, as then we might have some real scandal.

In the interest of Mike Hosking-like disclosure, I should note that I am a part-time employee of the Problem Gambling Foundation. My views do not represent that of my employer nor does my column necessarily reflect my employer’s view. 

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments (2)

Trackback URL / Comments RSS Feed

  1. John Banks says:

    Lets go gamble, Hamish.

  2. Hamish McConnochie says:

    For a more detailed analysis, please see my article on Scoop Independent News;

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1205/S00056/did-john-banks-ask-skycity-casino-to-donate-anonymously.htm

Recent posts

  1. Losing Metiria
  2. Blind Spot
  3. Aspie on Campus
  4. Issue 17
  5. Australian Sexual Assault Report Released
  6. The Swimmer
  7. European Students Association Re-emerges
  8. Can of Worms!
  9. A Monster Calls — J. A. Bayona
  10. Snapchat is a Girl’s Best Friend and Other Shit Chat
LOCKED-OUT

Editor's Pick

Locked Out

: - SPONSORED - The first prisons in New Zealand were established in the 1840s, and there are now 18 prisons nationwide.¹ According to the Department of Corrections, the prison population was 10,035 in March — of which, 50.9% are Māori, 32.0% are Pākehā, 11.0% are Pasifika, a