Tuesday, May 1, 2012


In a very real sense, whatever happens from now on in the John Banks-Kim Dotcom imbroglio is immaterial. The public has made up its own mind. Banks has lost where it ultimately counts most: in the court of public opinion. And he has only himself to blame, because Banks has made himself look every inch a guilty man. What has swung people against him is his extraordinarily evasive response to questions – the infantile references to cabbage boats, the pitiful “I don’t remember” mewing – which have been broadcast for all to see, and which are likely to be repeated ad nauseam until, like a maimed animal, Banks is put down.

There are now at least three counts against him. The first is that he was dishonest about the source of donations from Dotcom and SkyCity. The second is that when confronted, he was incapable of giving a straight answer. To those charges can now be added a third: that he abandoned his benefactor and former chum, Dotcom, when the German turned to him for help after his arrest. It’s distasteful enough that a sycophantic Banks should grease up to a billionaire entrepreneur as he did, but it looks almost reprehensible that he didn’t want to know Dotcom once the German was in trouble (which is presumably why the Dotcom camp turned on him by leaking the information that now has Banks writhing). No matter what people think of Dotcom, there is bound to be some public sympathy for him in the light of David Garrett’s claim on Kiwiblog that Dotcom sought assistance from Banks when he was banged up in Mt Eden (which is apparently in Banks’ electorate) but was ignored.

Perhaps Banks has learned that you can’t have it both ways: you can’t schmooze rich patrons without accepting that some sort of payback may be expected down the track. Old sayings about free lunches and supping with the devil come to mind. On the other hand, you get the feeling that Banks may be one of those men who just doesn’t learn.

Footnote: In an earlier post on this subject I wrote that a conviction for a breach of the electoral law would place Banks' Epsom seat at risk and therefore endanger the government's tenuous majority. In fact, as Duncan Garner pointed out last night on TV3, the government can count on safely retaining Epsom, but it would be left without a potentially helpful ally on its right.

1 comment:

Deborah Coddington said...

As I've said repeatedly since the perk-buster turned perk taker, Act have been nothing but trouble for National. You've chastised me for this, as being bitter, but Act jettisoned its principles for the baubles of office. If I was in the Nats' party machine right now, I'd be talking to Colin Craig about standing in Epsom (he's already indicated he wants to). If National tell Epsom voters to vote for him, they will, and National will have a very stable coalition partner. Banks was a fool to surround himself in Parliament with Rodney's men. He was told they'd love him to death, and that's exactly what's happened as they've "advised" him throughout this fiasco. And I wonder who's been whispering sweet nothings in Mallard's ear.