What Will Banksy Get?


One of the important issues for Auckland will be what ministerial post outside Cabinet ACT’s sole MP John Banks will get.

Prime Minister John Key tonight seemed to firm up on this being part of the supply and confidence deal with the former Auckland Mayor - especially as United Future’s Peter Dunne will get back his beloved inland revenue minister post.

Banks was once police minister. No chance of that but Banks’ predecessor Rodney Hide was local government minister outside Cabinet and it makes sense for that for Banks because of his mayoral experience.

Not a great outcome for present mayor Len Brown, one wouldn’t think. However Key told the Herald that won’t be the post. The hint is Corrections which puts him a long way out of the transport decision making.
But will Banksy help push through the Rail Link?

BANKSY? John Banks will not be local government minister

As we know, Banks was supportive of the CBD Link during his last failed mayoral campaign but flip-flopped towards the end of the campaign tempering his earlier support for things rail including an airport rail link. In fact on TV3, days out from voting Banks said he definitely wouldn’t support airport rail and made the definitive statement no airport rail in the world was making money.

Banks said airport rail would go broke and rail to Albany was a lunatic idea, neither of which will happen at least the next 20 years. At it turns out neither will happen for decades.

He also said that while he supports a CBD loop along with finishing motorways, rail policies have to be “affordable , reasonable and sensible -not $20b worth of rails over the next 5 years.”

And Banksy is now ACT -and they have no time for commuter rail and the rail link.

And as part of the National government, he won’t be bending the rules to step outside the line especially as he is an eastern highway-loving petrolhead at heart like someone else we know although he has continued during the election campaign to insist he supports the CBD Link.

It’s a chance for him to help change the Government’s opposition to the Link. But as Banksy smells the wind and goes with the flow, he knows he needs to be a pseudo National MP to enjoy the spoils of office.

As for transport post-election, Labour campaigned heavily in Auckland for the CBD LInk and opposed the Holiday Highway. It lost heavily including failing to win Auckland Central despite all but the hard core or non tactical voting Greens voters voting for Labour. Fair or unfair, it gives National more ammunition to say it has a mandate to proceed with the Puhoi highway -especially with a strong vote from the North.

It also can say if Aucklanders wanted the CBD Link it would have got Labour in.

Rightly or wrongly that’s how politics works.




  1. If Banks is local government minister, it will be three years of bitter warfare between Auckland and central government as Banks seeks revenge against Len Brown. Rail will be dead (he’ll do as he’s ordered), but he’ll also do everything possible to make it difficult for Brown in the hope that the Tories will retake the mayoralty. At the end of the day, politics is all Banks cares about.

  2. richard says:

    “Rail to Albany is a lunatic idea”
    I remember reading a report several decades ago for the old NZR that suggested if there was a rail tunnel to the North Shore the line would be the only one in Auckland that would operate at a profit

    The success of the Northern Express bus-way supports this analysis with well patronised buses even in off peak and at a ten minute frequency. A train via a tunnel would not only travel faster but avoiding the road Harbour Bridge would cut more than ten minutes off the travel time and therefore would gain far more passengers.

    Also, if trains travelled under the harbour they wouldn’t stop at Britomart but go on to the South, Airport, or west avoiding the need to make transfers.

    Banks is a lunatic not the trains to Albany! …

  3. Matt L says:

    Richard - While I do think we need rail to the shore eventually I don’t think it is needed just yet. As a comparison the NEX in the 12 months to September (so excluding the RWC) carried 2.1m people vs the western line alone which carried 3.6m. What’s more the rail line was growing at a faster rate so I can’t see a line to the north shore being more economical.

    While I would like to see rail over there happen soon I think the best chance of making it happen will actually be if it can be incorporated into the same tunnels that would be built for any new road crossing.

    Looking at that link from Doloras it seems John Key can see it would look pretty bad giving the job to someone who has recently lost a local body election.

    With Banks definitely out of the picture for a re-run at the mayoralty then we will definitely see someone new contesting Len at the next council elections. Cam Brewer perhaps as he has been opposing CRL which I think is part of a ploy to be able to keep his options open if he decided to take a crack at it

  4. Wasp says:

    Please, John Banks is a man of vision. He embodies all of ACT’s founding principals, he is ACT, not some washed up ex Nat Muldoonist.

    He will not be bought and sold by John Key, no way, he will not be easy. Championing public transport in Auckland means too much to him.

    Its outrageous anyone could think he will be a poodle at Keys feet having his tummy scratched occasionaly, fetching the paper in the morning and chasing the frizbees Johnny boy will throw to him every now and then at the park after a hard day at some photo opportunity.

  5. Simon C says:

    Jon Jacinda is trailing by just over 500 in Auckland Central. Denise Roche got more than 2200 votes. That was more than enough to kick Nikki Kaye out. It was only poor tactical voting by some Greens that`s kept her in it. And Auckland Central had a large number of specials in 2008 and could very well be the case again - and they normally go to the left wing. In no way did Nikki Kaye get a majority of votes in Auckland Central and should indeed be sending a large bouquet of flowers to Denise Roche for splitting the vote and allowing her to sneak through.

  6. Matt says:

    Judging by his fawning and robotic speech on the TV3 election broadcast I’d say Banks is an arse-kissing Nat through and through and about as independent of National as a beaver’s bum is from a beaver.

    Anyone pinning any hope for any Auckland rail spending support from him is going to be bitterly disappointed. As so too with thinking Nikki Kaye is going to achieve anything of value.

    It will be a wasted 3 years.

  7. Cam says:

    For John Banks to advocate more money for PT wouldn’t he have to go against his own party’s transport policy? Also wouldn’t he probably be going against the wishes of his own constiuants in Epsom who voted overwhelmingly in the party vote for National ? It’s not going to happen Banks only backed PT when it was expediant to do so he does not really give a toss about it.

    As for doing a deal in return for support, he’s essentially a National party politician in disguise. He dosn’t want anything in return other then helping the government.

  8. Ben says:

    Aww Banks doesnt want Local Govt - I think he might get what is given to him by Key and Joyce.

    All things considered and after a chat with some people, Banks would be one of the more ideal MPs for Minister of Local Govt due to his past experience especially with the City State of Auckland.

    (I also noted new MP Maggie Barry says she will “lobby” for the 2nd Crossing before or instead of the Airport Rail Link - errr Maggie might need to read up on Auckland Politics a bit more and what is planned AKL transport wise as (agree or not) both will happen by 2040)

    Look agree with me or not, Banks for Local Govt - and on one condition - no pissing matches (we leave that to NZ First Williams and the Lemon Trees Barry is going to donate) with Praetor Brown or the Auckland Senate. Other wise the CnR bloc could be denied the Praetor Chair and the Senate if West and South Auckland mobilise again as they did in 2010 for a 2nd time.

  9. ingolfson says:

    Why would he help the man who kicked his butt? No, Banks, if he has any clout, won’t spend it on the CBD tunnel.

    My bet is that he will be the last ACT MP to be in parliament, unless Rodney Hide stages a counter-coup. That party is finished. 3 years or slavery to Nats will drive away the last ACT supporters.

  10. JC says:

    Not all national party supporters at ass kisses.
    However I am disappointed that the people of Epsom voted Mr Banks into government. What were they thinking, he is too far behind the times , out of touch and is set in his ways. Bad news for Epsom. A backwards member of the new government…


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