By: Mike Hosking | Friday, May 04, 2012
So let’s have a look at the old Banks Dotcom saga as we end the week. I think we can safely say John Banks ended it better than he started.
Banks is at his best when he’s actually saying something - that’s how he’s made his name. Banks is good for a comment and when suddenly the shutters go up, so does the suspicion rate. But let’s see if we can’t separate the fact from the fiction.
Firstly, despite all the ink and hot air the fact remains, he says he’s done nothing wrong. And as we sit here this morning there isn’t a shred of evidence that he did. There are accusations and theories but no actual evidence which is why my gut tells me this is going nowhere. Clear the smoke on the Williamson phone calls, the fireworks, the cheques, the Hong Kong hotel. Get rid of all that, which really has nothing to do with breaking laws, and you’re actually still only left with Banks saying if Dotcom gave him $50,000 he didn’t know about it, and no evidence to the contrary.
As the week has gone on, the media has got increasingly desperate. The Hong Kong hotel aspect of it was stretching the bow way too far. Firstly, once again according to Banks, he sorted his own discount and he paid for the trip himself. With his own money he can do what he likes and as for journalists looking up hotel websites and quoting rack rates, that simply shows those journalists have no idea how hotel rates work.
Ringing Williamson and advocating for Dotcom is not a crime, especially when you’re a private citizen as Banks was at the time. Dotcom threatening to release phone records, so what. They talked, big deal. It’s not illegal. Banks telling Williamson Dotcom was a friend of Auckland I think was a mistake given it suggests if you cough up half a million bucks for fireworks, that’s all it takes to be a friend of Auckland which seems to suggest a cheque buys friendship. Once again not illegal but a touch tacky.
The reality is Banks’ enemies and opponents are desperate for this to stick and as the week went on, the story had more smear than detail, more vitriol than fact and that’s before you get to the bit no one has canvassed. Banks may be eclectic but in my memory he’s never been accused of not being straight up and down.
Banks had a record of being a straight shooter. He’s self made, hard working, deeply conservative, old school. I think given the record, if he says he did nothing wrong until proven otherwise, he’s earned the right to be believed.
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