The Herald's open season on John Banks continues, and this morning's "allegation" is really a straw-grabbing one; check this out:
A document from John Banks' mayoral campaign shows that a former National Party board member who is now an MP was a fundraiser for him.Coromandel MP Scott Simpson is listed as "National Party liaison", offering "assistance with fundraising", on the sheet from one of the original campaign meetings.Mr Simpson said he had no knowledge of the donation that has plunged Mr Banks, now leader of the Act Party and a minister, into a political storm.
This is pathetic stuff from the Herald. It's public knowledge that John Banks is a former National Party MP and Minister. It's public knowledge that Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) is a centre-right political movement whose members share similar political views to those of the National Party. And it's public knowledge that John Banks was the C&R candidate both when he won back the Auckland mayoralty in 2007 and when he lost the first supercity election in 2010.
Scott Simpson may be a National MP now. John Banks may be an Act MP and a Minister in the John Key-led government now. But what the Herald and the Labour Party don't seem to grasp is this; neither were MP's in the run-up to the local elections in October 2010; they were private citizens, just like the rest of us.
Labour and a compliant media continue to run anti-Banks stories in the hope that mud will stick, and that the more that they repeat the lie that Banks is crooked, the more people are likely to believe it. We'll say this; John Banks may be eccentric, outlandish, polarising and divisive, but we believe that he is fundamentally honest; or should we say, as honest as a career politician can be. To be sure, Banks has obfuscated this week, and one of life's great ironies has been to hear the Crown Prince of Obfuscation, the Rt. Hon Winston Peters lecturing on the subject.
Labour is walking a tightrope here. Trevor Mallard has been given to go-ahead to run the attack, and unfortunately for Labour, Mallard's reputation as the Politician Who Cried Wolf precedes him. Mallard, ably assisted by former Labour Party president Mike Williams has tried his damndest to win the prize scalp of Banks, but like most of Labour's campaigns, it is now in grave danger of backfiring. The public has showed Labour what it thinks of mud-slinging at the last two elections, and if David Shearer is serious about Labour's new direction, he should call off the dogs.
And lastly, the New Zealand Herald. It was once such a fine newspaper; now all we can charitably say about it is that the sooner it goes to tabloid format the better. For all intents and purposes Granny Herald is a tabloid dressed in broadsheet clothing, and those who made it New Zealand's best daily read must be turning in their graves.