The Independent Police Conduct Authority will be investigating the police's decision not to prosecute John Banks. Good. meanwhile, one of the IPCA complainants raises a very interesting point:
"If you consider that if police had investigated at the time, which is now two years ago and Mr Banks had been prosecuted and found guilty, he would have been out of Parliament two years ago. That would have led to a by-election, so I'm quite concerned that there are political consequences to the fact that the police failed to prosecute," Brooking said.
"He [Banks] has been vital to the ability of the National Government to pass certain pieces of legislation and if he had not been there, who knows what the outcome of it all might have been."
So what legislation has Banks' vote helped pass? Basically everything since the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Amendment Act 2012 (2012 No 58) - which includes the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 allowing offshore drilling, the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2012 which further gutted the ETS, and the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2012 allowing the Minister to impose local body dictatorships. If we allow time for the case to come to be tried (about seven months from the decision to stand trial), then he's still on the hook for the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Amendment Act 2013 which further extended the Canterbury dictatorship, the Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Act 2013 which reintroduced youth rates, the Crown Minerals Amendment Act 2013 which banned anti-drilling protests, and of course the GCSB and TICS Acts. In some of these cases (notably the GCSB and TICS Acts) Banks' vote was crucial. In other words, the police's refusal to prosecute made a real difference to our law (and in the case of TICS, one that served their interests). And while a by-election would almost certainly have been won by National or another ACT glovepuppet, a week is a long time in politics. As Mr Brooking says, who knows what the outcome of it all might have been?