Blunder may see Dotcom's assets returned And Real Compensation?
Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:54 PM
Yet there is no money available to increase parental leave!
And whats more the US Government will not be expected or even asked to foot the bill, it will be "absorbed" into the justice budget, according to John.
The mind boggles as to what the final cost may be, especially if Kim Dot Com is found innocent, and sues.
Dotcom arrest costs taxpayer $70,000 - so far
By David Fisher
5:30 AM Wednesday Apr 11, 2012
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Taxpayers spent about $70,000 on the operation to arrest Kim Dotcom and seize his luxury cars and art.
The cost doesn't include the cost of police staff, Crown lawyers acting on behalf of the United States or time spent in court.
The January 20 raid set in motion the US Department of Justice case against Dotcom. The United States is trying to extradite Dotcom on charges of criminal copyright violation relating to his file-sharing Megaupload website.
Figures gained under the Official Information Act show police estimated the cost of arresting Dotcom at $11,482. The figure did not include police salaries.
The cars and luxury items taken from the home set taxpayers back another $62,271 with $25,000 alone spent on moving Dotcom's more expensive belongings.
Insurance for the belongings for seven weeks, which include an estimated $6 million in cars, had cost about $6800 even though they have been securely shut away in a warehouse since being seized.
Article continues below
Dotcom was an enthusiastic collector of luxury cars, ranging from a 2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe to a 1959 Cadillac El Dorado. He also had a collection of late-model Mercedes.
Once prized possessions, the cars are now expected to be auctioned in a deal struck between Dotcom's lawyers and Crown lawyers acting for the US.
The auction would be carried out with only a few cars at a time to avoid devaluing the collection.
Even though the case might be costing taxpayers, New Zealand does stand to come out ahead if Dotcom is convicted in the US.
The goods are frozen but a successful conviction could see his fortune forfeited as tainted criminal proceeds.
Official Assignee Guy Sayers said there was no mechanism for funds seized by Dotcom to be transferred to the US. He said forfeited goods would be transferred to the New Zealand government and become part of the Crown accounts.
A failed case by the US would leave the taxpayer exposed. Police commissioner Peter Marshall last week gave the High Court formal notice it would be the focus of any liability case by Dotcom if he were to sue.
Meanwhile, Dotcom has filed legal papers in US courts after moves to allow Megaupload's databases to be wiped.
Megaupload's members stored their files on more than 1100 computer servers owned by Carpathia Hosting, the company which was raided by the FBI as Dotcom was being arrested.
The FBI told Carpathia Hosting it could wipe the servers because snapshots of data from two of the servers was enough to prosecute Dotcom and his colleagues.
Carpathia sought a ruling from the court because keeping the data was costing it money - but deleting it could leave it open to a law suit.
Dotcom said the US government was allowing destruction of evidence to be used by the defence. He said Megaupload had wanted to buy Carpathia Hosting's servers for $1.4 million but the Department of Justice would not relax the freezing order to allow the money to be used.
The court papers state the FBI didn't explore the servers to look for evidence "beyond loading up to prove its case" and was now trying to block similar investigations by the defence.
* $70,000 was spent on the operation to arrest Kim Dotcom and seize his luxury cars and art.
* This didn't include the cost of police staff, Crown lawyers acting on behalf of the United States or time spent in court.
* Cars and luxury items taken from the home cost another $62,271.
* $25,000 was spent on moving Dotcom's more expensive belongings.
By David Fisher | Email David
"Can justice and ACC live symbiotically, or are justice and accident compensation forever an oxymoron" Malcolm Hood.
Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:56 PM
April 26, 2012, 10:06 am
Kim Dotcom's US lawyer is confident his client won't be extradited to the States.
Negotiations begin today over the fate of massive amounts of data that were effectively frozen after the shut down of Kim Dotcom's website Megaupload.
Megaupload US lawyer Ira Rothken says the first extradition hearing in New Zealand in August will focus on two core issues.
He says it will look at whether Kim Dotcom has committed an extraditable offence and whether that would violate New Zealand law.
"And according to our New Zealand counsel we don't think that would be the case so we're optimistic that Kim Dotcom will have a good result in New Zealand."
Ira Rothken says Megaupload has never been served with a criminal summons because New Zealand is not located within the jurisdiction of the United States.
IMHO-this is all to do with American Soldiers, utilising Wikileaks, that uses Megaupload, to shift large files
these files are to do with Collateral Murder..under investigation by the Human Rights Commission
this is causing major embarrassment to the US Government
and US Soldiers are now being denied injury insurance for compressed spines, even when it is proven that carrying heavy loads during combat, is destroying their vertebral columns and discs....
Insurance Fraud! its Global!
Posted 28 April 2012 - 10:18 AM
By David Fisher
5:30 AM Saturday Apr 28, 2012
Kim Dotcom says he gave John Banks money to help his mayoral campaign. Photos / Sarah Ivey, Jason Dorday
Act leader John Banks asked for a $50,000 political donation to be split into two parts so it could be made anonymously, says Kim Dotcom and one other witness.
Dotcom said the request was made on April 15, 2010, when Mr Banks was preparing to campaign for the Auckland mayoralty.
He said there were at times three other people in the room while the donation was discussed - and Mr Banks rang later to thank him for it.
The allegation comes after police were asked to investigate Mr Banks' listing of a $15,000 donation from SkyCity as "anonymous".
Political candidates are required by law to declare donations if they know who made them. Failure to do so is punishable by up to two years' imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine.
A vacancy is automatically created if any MP is convicted of an offence punishable by two years or more, no matter what punishment they get.
In the case of Mr Banks, a conviction would place at risk his Epsom seat under the Electoral Act and force a byelection. The loss would leave the Government exposed, with its 59 votes in the 121-seat Parliament supplemented only by United Future's one and the Maori Party's three.
Last night, Dotcom spoke from his home in Coatesville, just north of urban Auckland, to which he is bailed until a hearing on his possible extradition to the US in August on charges of criminal copyright, money laundering and racketeering.
The charges followed a high-profile arrest in January, after which Mr Banks said he hardly knew the internet tycoon.
He said his contact with Dotcom was limited to a total of 20 minutes conversation and he had been to Dotcom's mansion in Coatesville only once for dinner.
But film of the event - Dotcom's birthday party - showed Mr Banks making a toast to the tycoon.
Footage showed Mr Banks raising a glass and saying, "I'm going to propose a toast to Kim Dotcom. Please fill your glasses and stand. Happy birthday and best wishes to Kim Dotcom, Mona and his family."
Staff at the mansion said it was one of three visits. The pair also met at Princes Wharf on New Year's Eve 2010 when Dotcom put on a $600,000 fireworks display.
The pair first met in April 2010 when Dotcom sent his helicopter to collect Mr Banks from Mechanics Bay in downtown Auckland.
Dotcom said the pair met in the mansion, sitting at a large square table, and chatted.
Bodyguard Wayne Tempero was present, as was one of Dotcom's butlers. His company chief financial officer also attended briefly.
"He mentioned the elections were coming up [and] he was raising money for his campaign," Dotcom said. "He said it was hard to raise money in New Zealand, the mayoral campaign was coming up and he's trying to raise funds for that.
"I kind of liked the guy. I said, 'I'm happy to help.' I told Wayne to write a cheque for $50,000.
"His [Mr Banks'] eyes got a little bit bigger at that moment."
Mr Tempero asked the chief financial officer to come into the room to write the cheque.
"John said, 'Wait a minute'," Dotcom recalled last night. "'It would be good if you could split it up into two payments of 25 [thousand dollars], then I don't declare publicly who made it'."
Dotcom said one cheque was made out in his own name, or the name of his company Megastuff Ltd, and the other in Mr Tempero's name.
"He [Mr Banks] called me a few days after the cheques entered his bank account and he thanked me personally."
Last night, Mr Banks said there would be nothing wrong with his telling people how to give anonymously.
"If someone says to me, 'How can I put money into your campaign?' what would be wrong with telling them that - if that was that case?
"I could say, 'Firstly, you should talk to people who are raising money for me. But if you want to put money into my campaign, you can put it in two ways. You can put it in anonymously or you can put it in and have it declared.' It's quite legitimate.
"If Kim Dotcom wants to put money into my campaign anonymously he is quite entitled to do it. Whether it is 1000, 5000, 50,000 or 500,000 [dollars], he is quite entitled to do it under the act.
"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear. If Mr Kim Dotcom put money into my mayoral campaign, you should tell him I'm grateful and thank you very much."
The most recent contact was through Mr Tempero, whom Mr Banks phoned for a hotel recommendation in Hong Kong last December.
Dotcom, who rented the top floor of the Hyatt there for six years, told Mr Banks it was the best place to stay. He arranged for his limo to collect Mr Banks from the airport and later to drive him to a helicopter pad for a trip to Macau.
Mr Banks said there was no issue in his stay in Hong Kong. He paid for every aspect of the trip himself.
Act Party president Chris Simmons said he had full confidence in Mr Banks. "There's a bit of a beat-up going on. It was all to do with the mayoral campaign. It doesn't have anything to do with Act."
Prime Minister John Key did not respond to calls for comment.
By David Fisher | Email David
VIDEO Kim Dotcom's Megaupload promo song (4:16)
Banks did not reveal SkyCity as big donor
What Kim Dotcom did on his holidays
Dotcom trial may not occur - Judge
Future of frozen Megaupload data to be decided
Posted 29 April 2012 - 10:19 AM
By Chloe Johnson
5:30 AM Sunday Apr 29, 2012
John Banks has not returned calls. Photo / Richard Robinson
Act leader John Banks' $50,000 political donation from Kim Dotcom has high-lighted a loophole, say experts.
This week, Banks was accused of asking the internet tycoon to split a mayoral campaign donation into two parts of $25,000 so it could remain anonymous.
The allegation comes after police were asked to investigate Banks' listing of a $15,000 donation from SkyCity as anonymous.
Political candidates are required by law to declare donations if they know who made them. Breaches are punishable by up to two years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
University of Otago Faculty of Law professor Andrew Geddis said candidates were allowed to meet potential donors and advise them how to give anonymous donations.
"If the candidate subsequently learns a large 'anonymous' donation was made to her or his campaign in the days after the conversation, the candidate can claim not to know who it came from," Geddis said.
He said it would be "a bit odd" and "in tension with the spirit of the law" if Banks asked for the donation to be split in two.
"It makes no difference to the requirement to disclose if the donation comes in one $50,000 amount or two $25,000 payments.
"Both have to be declared," Geddis said.
A candidate must disclose, within 55 days of the election, all electoral donations made to their campaign that exceed $1000.
University of Otago lecturer Dr Bryce Edwards said allowing anonymous donations was a serious loophole.
"I think from this point on there will be an increasing call for the ability of anonymous donations to be scrapped.
"It's almost inevitable we will see that loophole close," Edwards said.
Yesterday, Labour leader David Shearer called for Prime Minister John Key to stand Banks down from his ministerial portfolios.
A spokeswoman for the prime minister said Banks had assured him he had complied with local body electoral law.
Banks did not return the Herald on Sunday's calls last night.
By Chloe Johnson | Email Chloe
Dotcom's secret donation to Banks
Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:24 AM
08:53 Mon Apr 30 2012
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Prime Minister John Key is continuing to stand by cabinet minister John Banks over a donations row, saying calls to stand him down are a "political sideshow".
ACT MP Mr Banks is under fire over allegations he did not properly declare donations from internet tycoon Kim Dotcom and others during his failed bid to become the Auckland super city mayor in 2010.
Dotcom, the Megaupload founder who is on bail in New Zealand facing copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering charges in the United States, says he made two $25,000 donations to Mr Banks' campaign.
Dotcom says Mr Banks asked for a $50,000 donation to be split so it could be recorded anonymously.
Labour's called for Mr Key to stand Mr Banks down while the matter is investigated.
But speaking on TVNZ's Breakfast programme, Mr Key said that would not happen.
"I think that's a political sideshow, frankly ... At the end of the day, he either complied with the law or he didn't - he said he did, I have absolutely no reason to doubt him," Mr Key said.
He had been given assurances by Mr Banks that he complied with local government regulations and laws, and accepted his word - but had not directly asked about the Dotcom donation, saying "that's not my responsibility".
"If somebody thinks that John Banks isn't telling the truth, there's a very simple remedy: they go to the police.
"That's not my job to do a forensic investigation, my job is to assure myself I can retain confidence in a minister. If he tells me he followed the local government laws, then I accept him at his word."
© NZN 2012
didnt the Prime Minister defend the Honourable Nick Smith, then was pressured to release him from his portfolio's?
wow, guess Dotcom wont be going to the good ole USA after all, now that would cause far too much embarrassment! lol (IMHO OF COURSE)
Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:28 AM
Listening to NewstalkZB right now - Leighton Smith is in the middle of a full-blown damage-control divert-and-cover-up propaganda operation in defense of John What-Helicopter Banks, whose political future is currently teetering on the edge of oblivion after his being busted for a sequence of dodgy shonky $$$-hungry dealings.
Leighton opens his show by claiming that he doesn't want to talk about Banks - he wants to talk about anonymous donations. Then goes on to wax lyrical about the many reasons why political donations should be allowed to be anonymous; slipping in a caller or two that say exactly the same thing as he, then conveniently reading several emails he claims to have received (probably straight from Banks electoral office!!) reinforcing the same principles.
"But what about the right to privacy?" Leighton asks. Doesn't a person have the right to privacy anymore? He draws parallels between donating to politicians and donating to charity - claiming that if the SPCA will let you donate anonymously that you should be able to anonymously donate to politicians.
Well I have news for you Leighton Smith. Read it twice then read it thrice.
SKY CITY IS NOT A PERSON!!!!!!!
When Sky City donate a figure that ends in a bunch of zeros to a politician; then that politician (in this case John Banks) runs around campaigning for regulatory change that will enhance the profits of Sky City at the cost to the health and wellbeing of the New Zealand public - the issue isn't whether they should be anonymous. The issue is when that politician should resign. And the answer to that question is: AT 9AM THIS MORNING.
Instead, said politician is being openly applauded by Barry Soper; who himself is supposedly a political observer & investigative journalist, yet who frequently appears on NewstalkZB bestowing sage wisdom upon shonky politicians who have got themselves in a jam.
Soper's advice to John Banks on this morning's program? "If he continues to claim he doesn't know where it came from then he is within the law."
Everyone who saw John Banks on Q & A on TVNZ yesterday knows full well he is lying. To see the clip for yourself google TVNZ On Demand then go to the Q & A program for yesterday, Sunday 29/04/2012.
It is a rare sight these days to see Paul Holmes put in a credible performance as an interviewer; but even Paul was emboldened by John Banks utter refusal to address any question containing legitimate queries about his situation. His answers were obvious diversions from the questions and most tellingly, he refused to contradict anything that Kim Dotcom has said about him to date.
At this point two things are patently obvious -
1. John Banks is a political dead duck in the water
2. National & ACT (foolishly) didn't see this coming, and will try any desperate undertaking that might either delay the inevitable ousting of John Banks while they frantically scramble to find an equally pliable Plan B for Banks' ministerial portfolios, for his Epsom electorate, and to hold together their shaky coalition majority, lest this all spiral into them losing the big prize - the Beehive.
While Leighton Smith probably thinks he is doing a stellar job of convincing the last remaining portion of NZ society that doesn't have access to the freedom of information of the internet - his own diversion tactics & fallacious arguments only show his contempt for the intelligence of his audience; the degree of his own political corruption and the lack of journalistic fibre of the organisation that employs him.
We can do much better than NewstalkZB New Zealand, and in the coming years we will. Thanks to the rising tide of new media eclipsing corporate media; these clowns are on their way out.
**(Shonky dealings known of thus far; Banks signing of Huljich Wealth Management Fund false financial statements; the Teapot saga; failure to declare Sky City donation while campaigning for regulatory change to suit them; and now finally, sucking up to Kim Dotcom for $50k, getting chauffeured around in his private helicopter then claiming to not even know him.)
Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:10 AM
However there is the complaint to the police about another donation that Banks recieved...so this could see him gone? Or maybe Key will pass the new donations requirements through parliament extremely quickly, so Banks and others are all covered. IMHO
Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:42 AM
Bryce Edwards | Monday April 30, 2012
Dotcom donations complaints laid against Banks, police confirm
Something is rotten in the state of New Zealand politics. That at least will be the public’s verdict on the latest political finance scandal involving government minister John Banks and campaign finance practices.
This scandal therefore has the potential to have a significant impact on politics in this country. It will reinforce to the public the grubby and deceitful character of politics, and increase their suspicions about the probity of relationships and money between politicians and the wealthy. Many voters already believe that politicians, parties and governments aren’t to be trusted, and this scandal will do little to change their minds.
The Banks/Dotcom scandal is such an explosive one that it’s already being reported internationally – see, for example, the coverage in Britain Guardian newspaper: Kim Dotcom donation claims rock New Zealand coalition. The story broke, first, on TV3’s Campbell Live show on Friday, which contained revelations about Kim Dotcom’s donation to John Banks’ mayoral campaign, complete with video of Banks toasting the Megaupload founder at his birthday party – see: Banks knew about 'anonymous' Dotcom donation – reports and the actual video.
There are many aspects and ramifications of the scandal that are currently being explored in the reporting and analysis of the scandal, including the following questions.
1) Why has this scandal emerged?
The story goes (according to David Garrett commenting on Kiwiblog), that Mr Dotcom, having found himself an unwilling resident in the Epsom electorate (namely Mount Eden prison), asked the local MP (and birthday party attendee) for help but was rebuffed. It seems that the internet tycoon sought revenge on John Banks by releasing the details of his donations. And it’s now reported that Dotcom is intending to supply records to back up his claim that Banks was well aware of the origin of the anonymous donation. The on-going saga is well reported in the following items: Dotcom to supply records to prove Banks donation, Police look at Banks' Dotcom funds, and Banks' funds: Dotcom checks books.
2) Has John Banks actually broken the law, and what are the chances of a conviction?
It appears that if Banks is charged, the burden of proof will lie with the prosecution to prove that Banks knew the source of the donation. For a legal analysis see Andrew Geddis’ So let the sun shine in, face it with a grin and Graeme Edgeler’s The law may be that stupid.
3) Can John Banks and Act survive the public’s judgement?
For Banks and the Act Party this is a matter of survival so you can expect them to fight using whatever weapons they have, including legal technicalities – so there is still a strong chance that no prosecution will ever be made. Of course as Gordon Campbell points out, ‘Maintaining a defence of plausible deniability may serve to keep you out of a courtroom, but it doesn’t do much for the credibility of you and your party in the court of public opinion’ – see: On the John Banks vs Kim Dotcom saga.
Although Labour has called for Banks to stand down while the claims are investigated they have been joined by others who you would think might be a little more sympathetic to Banks including Rodney Hide along with David Farrar and Karl du Fresne, both of whom agree that it ‘doesn’t look good’.
If Banks decides to dig in, this could be played out in slow motion – very slow motion, as Cameron Slater points out. The Police record on dealing quickly with these sorts of allegations is not good and it could easily drag out until after the 2014 election – see Cameron Slater’s Stand Down?.
The situation is looking very messy for John Banks, particularly as many found his response on Sunday’s Q + A evasive and unconvincing – watch here. In this regard, John Hartevelt says that ‘Even if Banks does sneak out of this one without official censure, he has utterly failed on numerous counts of political judgement’ – see: Is Banks broken or just bruised?. Hartevelt also says that ‘John Banks has really blundered his way through’ with ‘bizarre bluff and bluster’. For similar commentary, see Russell Brown’s #JohnDotBanks and all, and my TV3 Firstline interview: Bryce Edwards on Kim Dotcom's John Banks donation and Video.
4) How will the National Government be affected by this scandal?
The impact on the National-led Government could also be significant, again with risk of ‘rottenness’ pervading its dealings with political finance, the elite, and companies such as SkyCity. There is a real danger for National that it will be strongly tainted by John Banks’ dodgy dealings, because it has arrived in the wake of increasing suspicions involving ACC, and the SkyCity convention deal (as well as Phil Heatley’s use of ministerial credit cards, and Pansy Wong’s use of parliamentary resources).
At the moment it’s being reported that the Prime Minister is standing by his minister. But as Audrey Young reminds us in her very good opinion piece today, John Key also stood by Nick Smith too – ‘until he didn’t’ – see: Banks vs Dotcom - a mystery for the police.
It’s the perception of course that will be most worrying to John Key and National. All that is missing now is for Bronwyn Pullar’s name to crop up in the mix (although Cameron Slater does say that Michelle Boag was in charge of Banks’ fundraising) and all of National’s scandals will have converged – and that’s a big danger for the Government.
5) What would happen in a by-election?
If there was a by-election, it raises some fascinating possibilities. The most likely scenario would be for list MP Paul Goldsmith to win the seat for National, thus gaining National another list MP. Of course this would also mean the demise of Act as a parliamentary party and, in all probability, as a political force. For a wider survey of what might happen, see Geoffrey Miller’s guest post on the liberation blog, which outlines Five possible consequences of the John Banks donation allegations, including a merger between Act and National.
On a lighter note John Banks’ repeated references to cabbage boats is explored by Toby Manhire (John Banks and the whole cabbage boat business), and parodied by Scott Yorke (A Statement By John Banks).
6) Will this lead to changes to political finance laws?
It seems inevitable that changes will come partly as a result of this scandal – see for example, Chloe Johnson’s Loophole may close, Chris Keall’s Banks needs to stand down and shut up – Hide, Mike Smith’s Policy for Money?, and No Right Turn’s Time to reform local electoral law.
The public are already suspicious about the cash-based relationships between politicians and wealthy individuals or corporations, and the issue of anonymous donations go to the heart of this. The disclosure of donations to political parties in 2011, due to be publicly released tomorrow, will receive more than the usual scrutiny.
And it’s certainly the case that the law covering donations to local government candidates is far less restrictive than that covering parliamentary elections where anonymous donations are limited to $1500 except where the donation is made through the Electoral Commission to guarantee anonymity. The rules for parliamentary candidates would probably also have prevented Banks from accepting donations from Kim Dotcom because he would likely have been classed as ‘an overseas person’ which would have also limited such a donation to a maximum of $1500.
6) Can Labour benefit from this scandal?
National's misfortune could finally be Labour's gain. The question for Labour is will its struggling leader be able to capitalize on this in a way that he has not been able to so far? The nice guy, non-politician image Shearer has been working to cultivate seems to be tailor made to benefit his party on issues like this.
Speculation continued over the weekend about Shearer’s leadership with the Sunday Star Times saying that he was An implausible Prime Minister and Brian Edwards indulging in some ‘I told you so’ in On David Shearer And Wisdom Before And After The Event.
Audrey Young reports that Shearer has hit back, angrily denying rumours of deep divisions in his office (see: Rumours of office rift rile Shearer), singling out the Labour-aligned blog, The Standard, for particular criticism. The Herald (Labour leader shaping up as quiet achiever) and David Farrar (Let Shearer be Shearer) both argue that Shearer deserves at least until the end of the year to prove he is up to the job (although Farrar’s input will no doubt trigger a frenzy of speculation about his motives – is it a double bluff?)
While there seems to be a consensus emerging that Shearer should be given until the end of the year, Danyl Mclauchlan and Martyn Bradbury point to a speech given by David Cunliffe at the weekend, supposedly about economic development ideas, but looking more like the type of basic positioning statement that many have been waiting for from Shearer – see Mclauchlan’s Cunliffe shores up the base (which also incudes the text of the speech) and Bradbury’s Cunliffe launches 'True Labour' speech. See also, David Farrar’s analysis of the speech.
Other important or interesting political items today include:
Steve Braunias has a warning for David Shearer about who he gets into bed with in the very funny Secret Diary of David Shearer.
Matthew Hooton speculates that a Key, Peters reconciliation on 2014 cards.
Elizabeth Puranam reports that Thousands join Auckland asset sale protest on Saturday, and the Citizens Initiated Referendum petition on the assets has formally begun collecting signatures – see: Keep our assets. Sign the petition. Investment banker Rob Cameron, who led the 2009 taskforce which proposed the asset sales, has blasted the Government’s attempts to sell the policy as ‘a disaster’ – see: RNZ’s Cameron critical of efforts to sell asset sale benefits.
The Electoral Commission has released results of a survey on why record numbers of people didn’t vote in last year’s election – see: 'Low value of vote, lack of trust' key to poor election turnout.
Phil Kitchin reports that a key meeting between Bronwyn Pullar, Michelle Boag and ACC staff was recorded, and it appears to contradict ACC’s version of events – see: Recording at odds with ACC extortion allegations.
NZPD Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
blunders and lies....another politician about to the hit the skids?
seems like the hard work towards transparency is finally paying off!!!
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:32 AM
oh golly gosh....if John Banks goes....the so does the National Party's tenuous grip on Parliament?
this complete fiasco , along with the ACC fiasco could actually force a by election????
there must be a few nervous politicians right now...
so i guess it pays to stick to the Westminster Rules???
always tell the truth to your leader, as your leader does not like dirty little secrets being exposed, and having to cover/ make excuses while sorting out the mess?...
Interesting times ahead...and at least Kim Dotcom has the financial resources to fight back!!!
however, we too, in numbers can add our displeasure to the way acc is mismanaged...keep writing folks....thats all it takes...
time, and finger energy...
Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:26 PM
RIP ACT - 1993 - 2012
By David Farrar
11:08 AM Friday May 4, 2012
Wellington Political Hospital's trauma surgeons announced the ACT Party has been judged clinically dead. Photo / NZ Herald
Trauma surgeons at Wellington Political Hospital announced today that the ACT Party was judged clinically dead after succumbing to a grievous assault from Kim Dotcom.
Surgeons battled all night to save the political party, but the accumulated trauma from years of abuse meant that the patient was already in critical condition when Dotcom fell on it, crushing the remaining life out of the teenage political party.
The Association of Consumers and Taxpayers was born in 1993 to Roger Douglas and Derek Quigley, in one of the nation's first "queer" marriages. Prior to 1993, a National and Labour politician had never had a child together.
The new born infant was precocious, abbreviating its name to ACT before it even attended primary school. At three years old it got elected to Parliament despite having no current MPs there - something not achieved since 1978.
ACT's parliamentary childhood was reasonably healthy, from 1996 to 2004. It reached 11 years of age looking forward to adolescence. However the pre-teen years saw the start of its trouble years. Stepdad Richard Prebble moved out, and Father Roger disapproved of Rodney, the new stepdad. They started to argue in front of the kids.
Even worse, suave Don stole away ACT's first girlfriend, so at age 12 ACT got reduced to two MPs in 2005.
But Don's romance with ACT supporters didn't last as he left Parliament in 2007. ACT's health improved and at the age of 16 life was looking fairly good with some new MPs, and for the first time ACT had a couple of after-school jobs looking after local government and consumer affairs. Never before had ACT been in a position of responsibility.
But then the abuse started. Rodney and Heather just wouldn't stop throwing things at each other. ACT didn't even know who started the fights, but it normally ended up in the middle with the bruises to show from the domestic abuse. CYFS were called in, but the fighting and abuse continued.
A worse bruise came when Rodney and his girlfriend were playing with their model plane and it ended up scarring and concussing ACT. ACT's friends say that ACT's good looks never fully recovered from that. But worse was to come when David stole someone's wallet and ID as a joke. It was no joke, when it turned out that David had done this before, and ACT knew about it and never told anyone. ACT got beaten up by all its mates at school for not telling them about this earlier.
Even at this stage, ACT had some hope of a normal life ahead. But then Don turned up again and told ACT that he was going to take over or he would beat ACT up so badly it would die. So ACT was forced to become friends with Don and Don then got ACT stoned on cannabis. Some kids can handle cannabis, but not ACT. It fell off a cliff breaking its arms and legs.
By now ACT did not have many friends left. Don had beaten up Rodney, and the rest of ACT's friends were told to go away. Don brought in his new friends of John, Catherine and Donny. A lot of ACT's old friends were not sure about John but they loved Catherine and thought Donny was okay for a country kid. Maybe the three of them together would look after ACT and help it regain its former friends.
But people really didn't like the way Don had forced his way into the gang, and how he got ACT stoned without even checking with John first. So Catherine and Donny went away leaving John with sole care of ACT.
By this stage ACT was almost in a coma, from the combined impact of the domestic violence, the damage from the plane, being beaten up by its friends and getting stoned with Don. It did recover slightly when John got Big John to agree that Bill would stop spending so much money. ACT's friends liked this, as Bill was borrowing the money off them for his spending, and they didn't think they would get it back. It wasn't enough to get ACT off life support, but it was enough to get some of its old friends to visit it in hospital.
But then just a few weeks short of its 19th birthday, John and Kim Dotcom got into a fight. Kim gave John heaps of money and they hung out a bit, playing with their toy helicopters. But then Uncle Sam got Kim arrested for nicking some DVDs from his video store. Kim asked John to help him out, and John claimed he hardly knew Kim at all.
Well this pissed Kim off no end, so he ambushed John when he was visiting ACT in hospital, and they started brawling. They pushed and shoved each other, and John accidentally ripped out the feeding tube that was keeping ACT alive. As ACT was gasping for breath, John pushed Kim onto his hospital bed, and it collapsed under the weight.
The political surgeons rushed to the scene. They connected up the much used life support system, and tested for life. While there was the odd reflex response, they concluded that ACT was in an irreversible coma. This was the final blow after four years of trauma.
ACT's friends are very sad at this prognosis. They recall the good times they had with ACT. They remember the good things ACT achieved. They don't want to see ACT dead and buried, but they know that true friends don't let mates suffer in agony. They know it is time to turn off the life support, and let ACT die.
At the next election, National must stand in Epsom, and stand to win the seat.
By David Farrar | Email David
Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:33 AM
By John Armstrong
5:30 AM Saturday May 5, 2012
Prime Minister John Key with Act MP John Banks before their coalition talks at the Beehive, Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Banks is safe because Key needs him, but that could change
Make no mistake. The Prime Minister will dump the Honourable John Archibald Banks, QSO, CNZM, from his ministry if circumstances so dictate.
So far, circumstances do not dictate - to John Key's relief.
That is because one crucial element that would force Key's hand is missing from the furore over what Banks did or did not know with regard to some large donations to his unsuccessful campaign for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010.
As if saying so would make it happen, some media organisations this week claimed pressure was mounting in relentless fashion for Banks to be stood down as a minister while police investigate whether he broke the law.
But the wider public has yet to apply the necessary pressure to leave Key with no choice but to strip Banks of his portfolios. There is no discernible public anger at what continues to unfold. The public seems largely unbothered by the allegations.
That may be because people are not surprised Act's leader has got himself into this mess.
Banks and controversy are life-long partners. And, moreover, he is now stewing nicely in that mess, thank you very much.
This absence of any real public pressure for Banks' head appears to have persuaded the Prime Minister that he can tough it out and keep Banks on as a minister.
That is a big gamble. How long National can sustain the saturation coverage being given to the story is a moot point.
The collateral damage - if any - will be to Key's reputation if he is seen as not displaying leadership.
But Key has carefully laid out the parameters within which he will act if further revelations force him to review Banks' status.
Were Kim Dotcom, for example, to produce a tape or transcript revealing that Banks had phoned him to thank him for his supposedly anonymous donations, the Epsom MP would be in deep trouble.
Key will not sack him for not breaking the law. But he will ditch him if it turns out Banks' assurances of no wrongdoing are found to be worthless or that Banks has simply misled him.
Key has copped flak for seemingly applying a different standard to Banks' behaviour. However, the claim that Key is treating Banks in a more lenient fashion than he would ministers from his own party does not entirely stack up.
The resignations of Nick Smith and Phil Heatley followed clear errors of judgment on their part. Richard Worth' s departure - though never fully explained - seems to have been a clear breach of the standards expected of a minister.
The claim of inconsistency might apply in the case of Pansy Wong. She resigned from the Cabinet before the evidence to justify her going was produced.
Banks has escaped a similar fate because he is in a very different category.
Key would relieve Banks of his portfolios with the utmost reluctance, not because of any personal affinity he might have with Banks, but rather because Key's priority is to avoid doing anything which might fracture or weaken National's three-way confidence and supply arrangement which, apart from Act, includes separate agreements with the Maori Party and lone United Future MP Peter Dunne.
That is essentially Key's bottom line. National places huge stock on selling itself as the party of stable government. If maintaining that image means sacrificing strict adherence by ministers to the highest ethical standards, then so be it. Key is willing to pay the price and use up some of his political capital for National's greater good.
He is not going to sit back and give Labour the satisfaction of of watching part of his governing arrangement disintegrate.
In renewing its confidence and supply agreements with Act and United Future, however, National has had the lingering worry that both parties are one-MP parties. What would happen if Banks or Dunne fell under the proverbial bus?
In Banks' case, the bus has arrived early and come perilously close to running him over. Following this week's bizarre twists and turns, who would put money on the bus not reversing right over him?
As it is, the police's track record in investigating electoral transgressions would have had Banks twiddling his thumbs on Parliament's backbenches for months had Key stood him down as a minister this week.
Banks would still have cast Act's single party vote in National's favour. Not to do so would fly against his own party's principles, as well as incurring the wrath of Epsom voters.
But Key's job is to foresee the unforeseeable. Lingering in the background is the fear that - as has often happened with demoted MPs - Banks might go feral on National and start voting against the Government.
It is virtually inconceivable that he would do so, especially with his antipathy to Labour. But the possibility, however small, cannot be ruled out. So why take the risk? Especially as Banks' vote is pivotal to National passing the Mixed Ownership Model Bill, which paves the way to the partial privatisation of state-owned energy companies.
Were Banks to find himself marooned on the backbenches, he would be more likely to resign from Parliament and force a byelection in Epsom than play the maverick.
Such a byelection would return a National MP, restoring National's ability to pass measures not supported by the Maori Party.
It would also solve another problem. Banks' behaviour over the past week is hardly going to endear him to Epsom voters come the 2014 election. National may now have little choice but to turn off the life support system that has kept Act in Parliament.
Act has hit absolute rock-bottom in recent polls. The likelihood of the party bringing more MPs into Parliament on Banks' coat-tails would have to be rated at zero.
Its value to National is now reduced solely to Banks' vote in Parliament.
So far Key has insulated National from Banks' troubles. But he needs that vote.
Act is now not only the dead parrot of Monty Python fame.
Should there be more revelations that cast serious doubt on Banks' version of events, it could turn into a rotting albatross around Key's neck.
By John Armstrong | Email John
Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:52 AM
What a plonker imo
When the story broke about the raids all media (I think) reported that the raid was led by the FBI
Now there seems to be some confusion whether they were there at all.
Is SohnKey up america's arse?
In My Opinion - yes!
Kim DotCom in my opinion has done no wrong.
John Banks - One of many MP's who suffers memory loss when it suits him! imo
Question to John Banks - Is your name John Banks?
John Banks answer - I have no recollection of that!
Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:41 AM
By Rodney Hide
5:30 AM Sunday May 6, 2012
Kim Dotcom's treatment by the New Zealand authorities deserves scrutiny. Photo / Sarah Ivey
The more I see of Kim Dotcom the more I like him. I have never met him but his bodyguard, Wayne Tempero, taught me some self-defence moves some years ago that no doubt could save my life. I haven't seen Wayne since he's worked for Dotcom but I texted him after his arrest to check he was okay.
What I know of Dotcom is through the news. The scandal to me is not that John Banks was trying to help Dotcom - or that Dotcom was helping John Banks - but that our own Government is helping the US Government destroy Dotcom.
Dotcom's internet company is precisely the type of high-value, high-knowledge business that I understood New Zealand was anxious to attract.
Dotcom has upset Hollywood. But why should that be our concern?
I am sure the invention of the printing press upset the oral storytellers of the time but, thankfully, we didn't have the government of the era destroying printing presses to protect the storytelling industry.
Our Government should have stood up for Dotcom as a New Zealand resident and simply told the US Government to prove it. Dotcom would still be in business and other digital entrepreneurs would be attracted to New Zealand for the lifestyle and for a government that sticks up for its people.
New Zealand can't build a new economy defending old technology and old business models. We could do well to become a safe haven for the new entrepreneurs.
Banks is also taking a public battering. John Key, however, is sticking up for Banks, declaring him innocent until proven guilty. Dotcom was arrested, his assets frozen and his business destroyed before he was even charged, let alone convicted.
Banks' return to Parliament has not been easy. His motive was to help Key. But it's like watching Colin Meads run on to Eden Park to help Richie McCaw.
It was first-past-the-post when Banks was last a minister. There were just two political parties. The political news was the evening TV news and in morning papers.
There was no instantly updated news through the internet, no full-length video footage of interviews online, no experts dissecting real-time events on blogs and no immediate public feedback as now occurs through Twitter feeds and Facebook.
Back in 1996, ministers were questioned at press conferences. They weren't chased through airports or in the street by a media pack with video cameras.
Politics is a different game now. It's faster. It's harder. It's more brutal.
There is no time for the politician in the eye of the storm to gather his or her thoughts, consult colleagues, or, if need be, construct a plausible story that has a chance of getting them off the hook.
When I was a new MP I was convicted by the Parliamentary Privileges Committee for saying rude things about the Speaker. MP after MP stood up in Parliament to declare me a thoroughly disreputable threat to parliamentary democracy.
The only kind word I got was from Banks the next day. He told me he had seen some hidings meted out in Parliament but nothing like the one I got.
Watching Banks under the lights of today's political scrutiny made me cringe. I felt sorry for him.
It was as if they'd thrown the ball to Meads at the Rugby World Cup, with the French pack bearing down on him. It was a political train wreck.
I have publicly battered my share of Government Ministers. I have been battered a few times myself. The stories were big news at the time. They made not a jot of difference to the state of the country.
It will be the same with the Banks story. A new scandal will fill the news vacuum.
But the Dotcom story is a different matter. We are a different country now because of the way he has been treated. And we will have a vastly different and poorer future from the one we could have had if only our Government had stood up for him as a citizen - innocent until proven guilty.
By Rodney Hide
Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:57 AM
By Cherie Howie
5:30 AM Sunday May 6, 2012
Bradley Ambrose. Photo / APN
The Attorney-General has ditched plans to demand nearly $14,000 in court costs from freelance photographer Bradley Ambrose over the long-running "teapot tape" saga.
Ambrose was embroiled in controversy and faced criminal investigation after he taped a conversation between Prime Minister John Key and Act Epsom candidate John Banks at an Auckland cafe just before the November election last year.
He said it was accidental but Key said the recording was illegal and laid a complaint with police.
Ambrose went to the High Court to ask for the conversation to be declared public. This was rejected and was followed by a memorandum filed in the Auckland High Court seeking $13,669 in costs.
But on Wednesday, Crown Law Office spokeswoman Jan Fulstow confirmed the order had been withdrawn by the Attorney-General.
The decision was prompted by the police decision on March 26 not to lay charges against Ambrose. At that time, Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said investigators had concluded the recording was more likely than not to have been deliberate.
Fulstow said the move was also prompted by "the public interest in bringing the matter to a close".
Ambrose said he was "relieved", but indicated he could not have paid anyway.
A spokeswoman for Key said:
"It's a decision for the Solicitor-General and any questions should be directed to him."
The application for costs, and their withdrawal, was made in the Attorney-General's name, but day-to-day litigation decisions are made by the Solicitor-General.
Political commentator Bryce Edwards said the decision was "a pragmatic political decision to back down".
"It's not one made on a matter of principle or logic."
It was ironic hearing the news on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, Edwards said.
"It was an issue of press freedom and the ability of journalists to go about their work. The initial decision would have impinged on that."
Ambrose said his lawyers were still deciding whether to take defamation action against Key for saying Ambrose broke the law. He is also still waiting for police to return $1000 worth of recording gear, despite repeated requests.
Auckland police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said police expected to contact Ambrose last week but, as of Friday afternoon, he had not heard from them.
Ambrose said he lost "tens of thousands" of dollars as work dried up during the scandal.
He was "pretty much back on track" with work but he would probably have moved to Australia if not for his children.
"I became completely disillusioned with the people running the country. And that's coming from someone who's been a National voter for 18 years."
By Cherie Howie | Email Cherie
Herald on Sunday Editorial: PM's apology is long overdue
Findings not quite Key's cup of tea
Banks scandal: Lost in the memory banks
John Roughan: National defies the pundits
Posted 13 May 2012 - 02:53 PM
Image from Facebook
TURNAROUND: Kim Dotcom has become the little guy.
Dotcom's straight talk wins over Kiwis
Last updated 05:00 13/05/2012
Kim Dotcom erupted on to the national stage when he was hauled at gunpoint from his multimillion-dollar mansion by New Zealand police on allegations he is an international fraudster ripping off US Hollywood studios.
He then moved into the centre of a political scandal embroiling John Key's Government over donations to John Banks.
Throughout this strange journey through the national consciousness, the man mountain German with the made-up surname has begun to win some public favour.
In an almost ironic twist, given his height, girth and extravagant persona, Dotcom has become the little guy, the David against the Goliath of Hollywood business interests, the straight talker versus the obfuscating New Zealand political establishment.
This was shown in a Sunday Star-Times readers' poll this past week where 65 per cent of respondents rated Dotcom as more trustworthy than Epsom MP Banks.
It seems improbable that there could be so much support for a man who has a list of crimes attached to his name – hacking, computer fraud, handling stolen goods, embezzlement – and now faces copyright infringement charges for which he could face up to 50 years in prison.
Public relations specialist Felicity Anderson said Dotcom has carefully turned the New Zealand public around.
"I think people thought he was just a big rich wanker. Now they are looking at him, and thinking actually 'I quite like him telling the establishment to get stuffed'," Anderson said. She believes Dotcom quickly and shrewdly worked out Kiwis are likely to react to feelings of injustice.
"I think he's been working with a local and international media team to understand the national psyche and once he tuned in to how this nation thinks, they teased out the whole idea that maybe things weren't done quite right."
Brand specialist Jill Brinsdon said Kiwis have fallen for Dotcom because he has all three elements of a "fantastic brand" – consistency, relevance and stimulation.
"He backs himself and has the courage to behave in the ways that many of us would really like to. He has this incredible X-factor, he is like a mad genius with a big heart. Like it or not, he is one of the leaders of the online world we find ourselves living in."
Also in Dotcom's favour is his sense of humour. Kiwis like a person who can laugh at himself, says Anderson. "He is really quick on his feet."
This is most wickedly shown in his Amnesia rap, produced by Printz Board, who writes songs for the Black Eyed Peas. The song was released a week after Dotcom claimed Banks had asked him to split a $50,000 donation in two anonymous contributions.
Banks' initial response was that he could not remember details.
Close to 120,000 people have viewed the video via YouTube.
Brinsdon: "It says it imaginatively, creatively and courageously. He is a huge larger-than-life character and I don't just mean physically ... He's a big boy with all the toys and he's having fun."
Dotcom is a family man with seven children, two of them adopted from his wife's brother.
"He could have gone out and done stories for Woman's Day, Woman's Weekly and flashed the family around but he hasn't. He has really been quite muted. I think people in New Zealand respect that," said Anderson.
Brinsdon again: "He's gone to jail, kept his head down, kept the family very private, and then stories come out that he happened to be the guy that donated the fireworks to Auckland and he happened to put $1m towards Christchurch."
- © Fairfax NZ News
I admire the big guy - and don't believe he did anything illegal re megaupload
My money is on the big guy forcing John Blank into early retirement
From post #35
By Rodney Hide
Posted 13 May 2012 - 04:40 PM
Kim Dot Com for PM.
"Can justice and ACC live symbiotically, or are justice and accident compensation forever an oxymoron" Malcolm Hood.