John Banks and the whole cabbage boat business

by Toby Manhire / 30 April, 2012
Who are these people spreading absurd river-related rumours? Plus, the bloggers on the Kim Dotcom donation claims.
In the midst of the great John Dot Kim Dot Banks kerfuffle over John Dot mayoralty donations, it is important not to overlook the really important thing.

I don’t mean the fireworks or the helicopters or the frankly terrifying image that graced the cover of Saturday morning’s New Zealand Herald (right).

No, I mean the question of how John Banks got here.

Some pernicious force in New Zealand just won’t let it drop. On and on they drone, one presumes, insisting that John Banks got here on some vegetable-based river boat.

I have no documentary evidence to disprove it, but the poor man has vehemently rejected these slurs time and time again, and I say, enough.

Only yesterday, on Q+A, under a barrage of questioning by his good friend and helicopter apprentice Paul Holmes, Mr Banks felt obliged to say:

I think you think I came up the river on a cabbage boat.


Which he did not.

Hurtle back a few months to the days after the election, and look at what Banks told the press pack:

I didn’t come up the river on a cabbage boat.




How could he be clearer?

And it’s not just up the river – neither did he travel in the opposite direction.

As an embattled Mr Banks told TV3 at the height of the teapot tapes row in November:

Just listen, I think you think I came down the river on the last cabbage boat.


That was shortly after he said, following an Epsom candidates’ meeting, as reported in the Herald:

I think you think I came up the river on a cabbage boat.


The humanity!

As long ago as 1999, in the hallowed house of parliament, Mr Banks announced, in his preferred third-person and without so much as a speck of equivocation, as recorded in Hansard:

This member did not come up the river on a cabbage boat.


More to come on this. Possibly.

And by the way, here’s a selection of the NZ bloggertariat on the scandal:

• Russell Brown from Public Address sizes things up here.

• At Kiwiblog, David Farrar sees trouble for Banks if Kim Dotcom is telling the truth.

• Andrew Geddis looks at the legality, or not, of it all at Pundit.

Karl du Fresne predicts it may be curtains for Banks – “poetic justice for a man who was pathetically desperate to cling to political power”.

• Martyn Bradbury at Tumeke urges readers to call Crime Stoppers.

• The guns are out at the Standard, too, here, here and here.

• At Whale Oil, Cameron Slater scoffs at the calls for Banks to stand down.

Cactus Kate defends Banks. Sort of.

• And here’s Imperator Fish with a “statement from John Banks” (about cabbage boats, naturally).

Big hat-tip to Alastair T
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