Prime Minister John Key is standing by troubled ACT Party MP John Banks, who is facing allegations of accepting a $50,000 donation from internet millionaire Kim Dotcom, then claiming it was an anonymous donation.
Political commentator Bryce Edwards says Mr Key needs to move quickly to distance himself from Mr Banks, as his political reputation could suffer.
Mr Banks, he says he has nothing to hide, but he refuses to be drawn on whether or not he knew about the donation towards his unsuccessful mayoral campaign.
Dr Edwards says the allegations are strong, but must be treated with caution.
“It all rests on Kim Dotcom’s version of events and I can
see his story does stack up in a sense and it is all very plausible, but it is
only one person’s account,” he says.
Should the allegations hold up, Mr Banks may be sentenced to a jail term - forcing a by-election in his Epsom electorate. Dr Edwards says this will not worry the National Government.
In terms of the Government's ability to vcontrol the house and agenda, it's not a big deal. There could be a small period before the by-election, in the months leading up to it, the Government might be lacking a majority, but that would only be a temporary thing," says Dr Edwards, who believes National MP Paul Goldsmith would stand in the electorate in the event of a by-election.
Mr Banks declined to appear on Firstline this morning, but said he was looking forward to the outcome of the police investigation.