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Chris Ford: John Banks and ACT are finished regardless of court case outcome

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Chris Ford
Chris Ford

I am currently listening to the parliamentary debate on John Banks resignation yesterday. This followed his appearance in court where he was informed that he was to stand trial over electoral donation offence allegations.

It's becoming increasingly clear that, even if Banks were to be acquitted in the upcoming court case, his political career is over. If the vox pop interviews with Epsom voters on One News last night are anything to go by, it seems that even those who voted for him don't want a bar of him. The National Party, whose safest electoral seat was lent to ACT during the time of Rodney Hide's leadership, might now want to limit the damage by withdrawing the lifeline they extended to ACT in the form of Epsom for the last nine years. I believe that John Key will now seek out alternative support lifelines on the right in the form of Colin Craig's putative Conservative Party and New Zealand First in order to stay in office post-2014.

Whatever happens to Banks as a result of his upcoming trial, his political career is over. I expect that if even he were to be convicted, the greatest sentence he might receive would be a suspended jail sentence. Under that scenario he would be out of Parliament automatically. And even if he is found not guilty, voters would just not trust him again full stop.

Either way, I expect that Banks will be forced to retire next year. After his political life is over, he will go back into private business and continue to support Tory causes. But any hope of him returning to parliamentary life or to the council table would be out of the question as even if he were to attempt another political run, voters would no longer trust him.

And Banks has himself to blame for all the troubles he has found himself in thus far.



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