A media release from Act leader Jamie Whyte:
On Thursday, Judge Wylie found John Banks guilty of knowingly filing a false electoral return.
John will be sentenced on the 1st August, and has applied for a discharge without conviction.
Until then he is legally entitled to remain as a Member of Parliament but he could also choose to step down as an MP prior to sentencing.
John and I discussed this option earlier today and we have agreed that he will take the weekend to consider his alternatives.
Act campaign manager Richard Prebble says resigning before the verdict could damage the Act brand.
. . . Mr Prebble said the affair had “probably” had an effect on Act, but in a recent Roy Morgan poll taken while Mr Banks’ trial was proceeding, the party’s support rose while that for Labour and the Greens went down.
“If he was to quit as a member of Parliament when he hasn’t been convicted, that might damage Act’s brand.” . .
I think he’s wrong about that. Banks is the party’s past and it should be looking to the future.
. . . When asked whether Mr Banks should resign, Dr Whyte yesterday told National Radio he wanted his sole MP “to follow due process”.
Dr Whyte said he hadn’t been in touch with Mr Banks since the verdict and “I’m not quite sure what his intentions are on this”.
He hadn’t spoken with Mr Banks because “these events don’t really concern the Act Party”.
“John isn’t involved in our campaign, he isn’t going to be an MP after the next election and this is as far as we’re concerned because this was to do with his mayoral campaign.
“This is not an Act Party issue,” Dr Whyte said.
It’s not an Act Party issue but it will be a distraction for the party, and for the government if Banks stays in parliament.
Even if he wants to appeal the decision or apply for a discharge without conviction, resigning would be the best thing to thing to do.