John Banks’ conviction for filing a false election return underlines a sorry chapter in our political history, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe.
"This is a sad but just end to a long career political career.
“The court process has served to protect the integrity of our democracy and shield it from perceptions of improper influence.
“Mr Banks should accept his sentence and move on.
"His conviction is also a reminder of the dodgy deal that kept him in Parliament over the last three years - and of the heavy-handed pursuit of the media by the police in its wake.
“John Key refused for months to read the police report. In doing so he failed to uphold the integrity of the electoral system. The court has now done so.
"Unfortunately, as we have seen just this week, the National Party has learned nothing from this distortion of the MMP system.
"National has been kept in power by a self-evident manipulation of our democratic process -- relying on discredited and irrelevant support parties such as ACT and United Future which owe their place in Parliament to cups of tea and a nod and a wink.
"This week John Key again told the public who to vote for in Epsom and Ohariu in an attempt to resuscitate two spent political forces.
"New Zealanders do not like the creeping arrogance which has become evident in National's approach to government -- whether in gaming MMP, or in failing to hold its MPs accountable to the standards expected of them.
"Labour will remove coat-tailing to make the electoral system fairer and more transparent.
"We will be campaigning for a fairer, better society for all New Zealanders, and that must begin at the top.
"Mr Banks has been found guilty and been punished for his transgressions. The voters should send a strong signal to John Key and the National Party for their part in this sorry fiasco,'' David Cunliffe said.