5 Jun 2014

John Banks - a life less ordinary

6:29 pm on 5 June 2014

John Banks' political journey has been both colourful and controversial. He rose from local to national politician, becoming a talk show host along the way as well as Auckland mayor.

On Thursday, the MP for Epsom was found guilty at the Auckland High Court of filing a false electoral return over his failed bid for the mayoralty in 2010.


1946 - John Banks is born in Wellington on 2 December. He is abandoned as a baby and raised by foster parents.

John Banks speaking in Parliament.

ACT MP John Banks speaking in Parliament, 2014. Photo: RNZ

1977 - Enters local politics after running for the Birkenhead Borough Council.

1978 - Unsuccessfully stands for the National Party in the 1978 election after time in local government.

1981 - Wins Whangarei seat and holds it until 1999.

1990 - Becomes Cabinet minister in Bolger administration, holding Police, Tourism and Sport and Recreation positions.

1993 - Becomes Minister of Local Government.

1996 - Becomes Minister of Civil Defence.

1996 - John Banks is left out of the National - New Zealand First coalition government and devotes increasing time to his radio talkback show.

1999 - Does not seek re-election for National.

2000 - John Banks is awarded a QSO for public service.

John Banks and Don Brash.

John Banks and Don Brash. Photo: RNZ

2001 - Becomes the mayor of Auckland City but loses the local body election in 2004.

2005 - Is courted by the Act Party for the general election but support for his candidacy falters when he demands a high ranking.

2007 - Returns to be the Auckland City mayor.

2010 - Mounts a failed campaign to become mayor of the new Auckland supercity, meets Kim Dotcom at the internet businessman's Coatesville mansion.

2011 - Makes a decision to stand for Parliament again after Don Brash takes over ACT Party leadership.

2011 - John Banks meets John Key for an infamous cup of tea in Newmarket.

John Banks meets with John Key at a cafe in Newmarket.

John Banks meets with John Key in Newmarket, 2011. Photo: RNZ

2011 - Becomes Minister of Regulatory Reform, and Minister for Small Business as well as Associate Minister for Commerce and Education.

2011 - John Banks is made CNZM for services to local government.

2012 - John Banks is named as the ACT Party's new leader.

2012 - Amid pressure from the Opposition, the Prime Minister refuses to stand John Banks down while he's investigated over the donations and says Mr Banks had not broken the law. But Mr Banks is interviewed by the police.

2012 - The police say there's insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Banks.

2013 - Graham McCready brings a private prosecution.

John Banks.

A protester throws mud as John Banks arrives at court. Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton

2013 - Both the Auckland District Court and High Court in Auckland say John Banks should stand trial. The High Court said the trial should be given priority because it could have an impact on the general election. Other MPs call for Mr Banks' resignation and say his political career is all but over. He resigns as a minister, which sparks a snap debate in Parliament. Mr Banks announces he will stand down as the ACT Party leader and won't contest the Epsom seat.

2014 - John Banks faces an almost two week trial at the High Court in Auckland on one charge of transmitting a return of electoral expenses while knowing it was false.

June 5, 2014 - John Banks is found guilty at the Auckland High Court of filing a false electoral return.

June 13, 2014 - Banks resigns from Parliament

1 August, 2014 - John Banks found guilty of making a false electoral donation claim.

November 28, 2014-  John Banks' conviction for filing false electoral return overturned, new trial ordered

May 19, 2015 - Court orders John Banks' acquittal