When it comes to splitting hairs, I rely on the usual posters at Kiwiblog to dance on the head of a pin.
Using Housewife Logic, the obvious conclusions can be drawn:
1. You don't get to be a badass rich businessman without knowing where your money is going. You pay bills by rote, but extraordinary expenditure has its purpose, or it is dead money. I believe Dotcom's account of the 2007 mayoral campaign fund donations over Bank's account as the recipient.
2. Recipients of donations know exactly where the money is coming from. New Zealand is not so big that there are so many donors to political parties that you might overlook a piffling $25,000.
In-between elections, political individuals go to sleep of an evening, "counting the numbers". If you aren't concerning yourself with this formally, you have a "Sheriff Mackay" watching your back. You count - who's for you, who's agin and who might be influenced either way.
3. Just before an election or a membership drive, the focus switches and much time is spent poring over financial statements. Winning an election requires funds to pay for advertising and drive a party's message home. This is why donations are made to campaigns. An individual donates because they expect their business or personal future to be affected by the incoming government. This is politics and it isn't inherently a dirty business because money changes hands. It is much better that elections are influenced by money than force and the drivers of our economy are successful business people. Their concerns and opinions needs must be considered.
However to avoid undue influence, the process needs to be transparent and the 1993 Electoral Act and the Local Electoral Act protect the public from political corruption.
Conclusion: At the least, Banksie knows roughly what happened over the exchange of the $25,000 donations; Bank's best hope is escaping censure both legal and political by a highly technical argument.
He will remain guilty in the public eye. As any able housewife or businessman knows- if money appears in your account, you investigate why and who put it there. A board or campaign manager would provide the necessary information breakdown in the absence of direct hands-on involvement.
If Banks is oblivious to the basics then we might expect him to be shit at running the country.
With a failure to publicly censure Banks by Key, the public perception is of a cosy relationship between Banks and Key. Though failure to disclose knowledge of a donor is a crime, political friendship is not a crime. We are talking about a 2007 mayoral race return which doesn't impact on actions by the current government. Neither party is guilty of boiling bunnies.
However you could expect Key to come out with a public, "Maaaate. That was shoddy bookkeeping".
WP will be out the gates running by the time the dust settles