It's open season on John Banks. In the wake of the allegations regarding an anonymous donation from Kim Dotcom, the Herald reports:
The donation scandal engulfing Act leader John Banks spread last night as it emerged he lobbied personal friend and Government minister Maurice Williamson over internet tycoon and donor Kim Dotcom.Mr Williamson, the Minister of Land Information, last night admitted Mr Banks had lobbied him over a property purchase in Coatesville, just north of Auckland, Dotcom wanted to make.The admission came four days after questions were first lodged.Yesterday, Mr Williamson's office maintained at 5pm that it had "no knowledge" of whether the minister and Mr Banks had discussed Dotcom's application.But at 7.22pm, Mr Williamson said: "John Banks did call me to advocate on behalf of Kim Dotcom with regard to the OIO [Overseas Investment Office] application on the Coatesville property. Mr Banks and I have been good friends for years. It is a matter of record that the ministers considered the application, but declined it."
It seems that Mr Dotcom is proving to be something of a fair-weather friend. Clearly, he expected that his donation to Banks would have strings attached.
Elsewhere it has been suggested that Dotcom is extracting revenge on Banks for not coming to his assistance after Dotcom's arrest and remand in custody earlier in the year. That is certainly not an implausible situation.
John Key has a dilemma on his hands. He has expressed confidence in John Banks as a Minister. And whilst there is nothing illegal in today's allegation about Banks having lobbied Maurice Williamson, it is, once again, all about perception.