Edwards on Banks

September 3rd, 2010 at 9:48 pm by David Farrar

has just done a very interesting blog post on . Most will know Brian is a life long Labour activist. Further actually sent him a defamation suit in 1993, so it is fair to say they are not close. The post is titled “ – a personal reassessment”.

You’ll understand that I was not a fan of the current Mayor of Auckland then and continued not to be a fan, until very recently. On numerous occasions I expressed my dislike of him publicly,  though rather more circumspectly. …

Ten days ago I was one of five speakers at an Auckland Mayoral Fathers’ Breakfast at Sky City organised by Parents Inc., the organisation founded by Ian Grant. Each of us had seven minutes to give an inspirational address on fatherhood to the 750 men present. The Mayor of Auckland, formally hosting the event, spoke first.

I’ve heard a lot of speeches in my time and few have been memorable. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the seven minutes in which John Banks held that audience in the palm of his hand, enthralled. He did not, as his advisors have suggested, talk about his own traumatic childhood. He talked about the troubled kids he has met in the course of his job; kids on drugs, kids in trouble with the law, kids in borstals and prisons, lost boys and girls. A common theme, especially among the  boys, he observed, was the absence of a father in their lives. These were boys without role models, boys who didn’t know how to be men. Fathers mattered and fathers had a responsibility to teach their kids the difference between right and wrong.

Delivered entirely without notes, the short address was spellbinding, extremely moving, and entirely met the inspirational criteria laid down by the breakfast’s organisers. When he returned to the table, I said to him, ‘If you could talk like that during your campaign, you would certainly be the first Mayor of the Super City.’ …

And then Brian deals with the rather tragic events around James Webster:

A week later Banks was on Close Up responding to claims that his son Alex was one of the boys who had egged on 17-year-old Kings College student James Webster to go on drinking vodka, advice which at least contributed to his death.  Banks was only one of two parents to front up about their sons’ involvement. Holding back tears, he told Close Up:

‘I say as a father, there but for the grace of God, go I.  I said to Alex, this is very sad for our families and you’re going to have to stay home and not go out at night until you’ve undertaken a comprehensive First Aid course, so that you understand the dangers of alcohol and you clearly understand that if it ever happens again you’ll be in a position to save a life.

‘It’s a big thing for me to have to live with, but it’s very, very hard for the Webster family. My son now knows from experience that what happened was disastrous and if he was in that circumstance ever again, he would know what to do. And on that fateful night most people didn’t know what to do. That little guy didn’t have to lose his life.

‘Life is about accepting responsibility for the actions of yourself and for the behaviour of your sons. And in this case, you know, we’re having this conversation because, hopefully, we will save one or two or a handful of James Websters.’

Banks, it seemed to me, had practised what he preached. He had fronted up, accepted responsibility as a parent for his son’s actions and set the limits that are part of a father’s duty to his children.

John Banks is a polarising individual, admired by some, hated – not too strong a word – by others. For my part, I have not changed my view of the man I attacked on The Ralston Group, the talk-back host I deplored on Radio Pacific or the Mayor of Auckland in his previous incarnation. But either he has changed or I have. I suspect it’s the former. Certainly the person I have got to know in the past fortnight is a very fine man indeed. Or maybe there are two John Banks, two sides to the one man – the father and the politician perhaps. I’d be happy to have the father continue as Mayor.

I’m glad Brian has got to know the John Banks, that I and others know.

Tags: ,

14 Responses to “Edwards on Banks”

  1. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    It’s a nice story DPF, but I remember Banks from his days as a candidate in Mt Roskill, and his first term as Mayor. He was just so single mindedly anti-human that it would take a lot more than one nice story from Brian Edwards to sway me to his side.

    But if he has had an epiphany, and I must say he certainly does seem to have mellowed in his policies, at least, then good on him.

    I’ll think on it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    Luc, the arbiter of all our thoughts and tastes.

    Please forgive me if I don’t give a flying crap about your own observations. Doubt that I will be unique on here.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Ditto, Guy.

    I guess it’s just my destiny to ride Herd on you guys

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Why is it that we have to always vote based upon someones ‘personal’ qualities? Can’t we just vote according to their record and ideas?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. GJ (329 comments) says:

    Auckland will do far better under Banks leadership than Browns.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. ephemera (563 comments) says:

    @Guy Fawkes

    Do you have any views on John Banks or the content of Luc Hanson’s comment?

    A more cynical person might think you comment here purely to grow SEO link-backs for your own site.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Rich Prick (1,324 comments) says:

    I am left wondering what Banks had to do with that kid’s death. TVNZ tried hard to impute responsibility, and failed in my view. What was the story again? Banks has a son. His son happened to be there. He apparently egged some one on to do something. Hmmm, which of us has never done that at that age? What does this have to do with his adoptive father though?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    I’ll leave alone the questions of what Banks may or may not have said, and what he may or may not do. And simply observe that politics is often the process of demonising the opposition. And for those who are politically involved, vehemently believing in the inherent badness of those that they oppose.

    If you spend any time listening to those you oppose, you quite rapidly understand they are not bad people. That’s what I see here – an observation that actually John Banks is not a bad guy, he is someone who is trying to do the best that he can for those that he cares about, and (given that he is in politics) for the people of NZ in general. For someone who is politically active, this can be quite a wrenching observation – because it differs so much from their previous world view.

    There may be disagreement about the methods, and even (although more rarely) about the aims. But it is rare that I have seen someone in politics who is genuinely in it to enrich themselves, or purely for the power.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. John Ansell (861 comments) says:

    I’d be surprised if John Banks’ poll rating didn’t shoot up after that CloseUp appearance. He said the right thing at the right time in the right way, which is all he could do.

    (And if he can convert Brian Edwards, he can convert anyone.)

    I met Alex Banks once – adopted from Russia as I recall – and thought he was a very impressive, respectful and polite young man.

    Sad to learn of his involvement in this, but he’d be well equipped to take on board the lessons.

    I’m sure Len Brown is a good man too, and I know Colin Craig is. So for compassion, they’re probably all square. It then comes down to how they project likeability, energy, ideas and managerial skill.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. scrubone (2,972 comments) says:

    A lot of people become conservatives when they realise that conservatives simply have their own values and aren’t “anti-human”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    “ephemera (341) Says:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 11:33 pm
    @Guy Fawkes

    Do you have any views on John Banks or the content of Luc Hanson’s comment?

    A more cynical person might think you comment here purely to grow SEO link-backs for your own site.”

    Be as cynical as you want. David knows that it won’t bother me either way. In fact it is timely for the link to perhaps be dropped now that Brown has gone and is being revealed as a weirdo.

    As for Banks, then he does seem to be the most up front of all the candidates. I just think that the SuperCity idea is flawed. In 10 yrs the talk will be how much more efficient things will be if it was broken up again.

    Just take exception to LUC’s continual ‘Know All’ approach. He/she has to be better wasting oxygen on other more aligned blog areas where the contributors are far more likely to nod and smile and even agree. But I would think Luc will be just as fucking irritating where ever! A true Cock Nose.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. wikiriwhis business (3,309 comments) says:

    John Banks can’t run akld as a social commentator and he won’t. He definitely won’t be running it on his own.

    He wears two hats. Mayor and man. As a mayor he’s business. As a man he has a heart. He sits in the homeless shelter and has breakfast with those people. That part of him will not be in the decision making processes of running A super city.

    He wouldn’t be allowed to anyway.

    The reality is John Banks has already been given the key to the city. He really is Akld. He is the city father.

    But he has a family he has to answer to as well and they’ll be calling in favours that will affect Akld rate payers for a long time.

    Not happy with my own council in ‘dead duck’ Hamilton but I’ll be staying there.

    Julie Hardacre for mayor.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. ephemera (563 comments) says:

    @Guy Fawkes

    Criticising someone’s ‘know all approach’ is a tad ironic, given you probably hadn’t heard of John Banks before this morning.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. tvb (3,952 comments) says:

    This is interesting. Where Edwards goes others will follow. Brown really is bad for Edwards to be looking at Banksie afresh. Banksie seems to be growing as politician, being a father has been very very good for his emotional stability which has not always be in evidence. I like Banksie, there is good underneath.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.