John Banks is guilty

Who is John Banks? He is an MP for the ACT party which is in coalition with National. He was mayor of Auckland twice but when he stood for mayor again in 2010, he was defeated by Len Brown.

Yesterday he was found guilty of signing a false financial statement for this election in 2010. The financial statement showed three large donations were ‘anonymous’ which means he did not know who gave the money. However, the judge decided he did know. John Banks visited the home of Kim Dotcom who gave him a donation of $50,000 in two cheques of $25,000 each. He said he did not remember this. The other large donation was $15,000 from SkyCity. Again, he said he did not remember receiving this.

The treasurer of his election campaign prepared the financial statement. Mr Banks signed it to say it was correct. Perhaps he forgot to check the statement or perhaps he did not want to check it. The money was used for his election campaign, for posters, for printing leaflets and so on.

The law says that people who give big donations of money must be named. The police did not prosecute Mr Banks because they said there was not enough evidence. However, one man was angry about this and took a private prosecution.

What will happen to Mr Banks? He could go to prison for 2 years or pay a $10,000 fine. He cannot continue as an MP if he is convicted of a crime; however, Parliament will finish very soon because elections will take place in September.


  • stand for mayor – want to be elected
  • defeated – lost, beaten by another person
  • financial statement – a list of money in and money out
  • treasurer – a person in an organisation who looks after the money
  • election campaign – activities to help him get elected
  • prosecute (v), prosecution (n) – charge with a crime, have to go to court
  • convicted – found guilty

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