The Diary
Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: One door closes ... and Banksie is job-hunting

Disgraced politician’s CV gives him options for the next step.

John Banks says he will be "perusing commercial opportunities".  Photo / Brett Phibbs
John Banks says he will be "perusing commercial opportunities". Photo / Brett Phibbs

Act MP John Banks will be job-hunting after he leaves Parliament on Friday following last week's guilty verdict on a charge of filing a false donations declaration for the Auckland mayoral race in 2010.

The 67-year-old told The Diary yesterday he wants to enter the workforce again and be an advocate for adoption and animal welfare.

"I remain strong and optimistic for the future," Banks said. "After I leave Parliament on Friday I will take the weekend off, and on Monday morning I'm perusing commercial opportunities."

He would not say what those business prospects may be. His resume is cluttered with job descriptions including salesman, restaurateur, property developer, broadcaster, company director and politician, local and national.

"I also want to continue making a difference with my animal welfare passion," he told The Diary.

"And I would also like to travel promoting the wonderful benefits of inter-country adoption."

Banks is a defender of animal rights, and says he won't give up that fight. Last month he called for a ban on the testing of synthetic cannabis on animals. He says animal rights and animal welfare have been a centrepiece of his life.

His three children, Natalia, Sergei and Alex, were adopted from a Russian orphanage. Natalia, 27, is a critical-care nurse in Melbourne, Sergei, 23, is a motor mechanic at Giltrap Prestige, and Alexander, 21, is a soldier in the New Zealand Army.

Despite the travails of his court case, Banks says he is a lucky man because of his family and friends.

"I am grateful for the huge outpouring of support and encouragement over the past few days."

Banks said he had not made a decision about an appeal.

Spinning the round ball

Kiwi actor Sam Neill has a role in a controversial new football movie, as the World Cup kicks off in Brazil on Friday. Football's governing body Fifa, a non-profit organisation with more than $1 billion in the bank, is behind a vanity project - a US$25 million ($29 million) film called United Passions. Neill plays former president Joao Havelange, who led Fifa from 1974 until 1998, with Brit Tim Roth, who plays present president Sepp Blatter.

Sam Neill (left) and Tim Roth in the Fifa whitewash film United Passions.

The movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last month, but a release date is yet to be set, which is surprising given the publicity opportunities offered by the World Cup and its estimated live global TV audience of 188.4 million.

Fifa finance director Markus Kattner said funding for the movie was approved at Fifa's 2009 congress in the Bahamas, the Associated Press reported yesterday. But some Fifa executive committee members have privately said they had no idea football income was paying for a feature film.

Early reviews have been scathing, and late-night talk host John Oliver ridiculed it. "This movie, like Fifa itself, looks terrible," he said. "Who makes a sports film where the heroes are the executives?"

He has a point. United Passions covers 100 years of Fifa history, starting with its foundation in 1904. But with the organisation paying much of the production costs and Blatter said to have kept a close eye on the production and script, how impartial could it be.

Issues of lobbying, bribery and corruption that have plagued Fifa for years are said to be lightly tackled in the film. Director Frederic Auburtin acknowledged Fifa's involvement in the film and told a British newspaper the controversial issues were insinuated or implied.

Roth told Britain's Sunday Times this week he had reservations about taking the role.

"I was like, 'Where's all the corruption in the script?" he said. "Where is all the back-stabbing, the deals? So it was a tough one.

"I tried to slide in a sense of it, as much as I could get in there."

It's not known how Neill felt about taking on the role of Havelange, who oversaw six world cups during his time in office.

The Kiwi thesp is holidaying in France, and could not be reached yesterday. Havelange, the 96-year-old who ruled Fifa for more than two decades, was forced to resign his honorary position last year when he was implicated in taking millions of dollars in kickbacks from World Cup commercial contracts. An internal ethics report said he and his former son-in-law, former Brazilian FA president Ricardo Teixeira, had improperly accepted payments in exchange for the rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cup broadcasts.

Not much has seemingly changed - some Fifa executives are now alleged to have taken bribes to give the 2022 World Cup tournament to Qatar, where working conditions have been compared to a slave state.

WAG songs for NZ

Last week we brought you All Black WAGs Daisy Aitken and Amber Vito who are tackling the cookery circuit; this week we bring you rival WAG Camilla Kerslake, girlfriend of England rugby captain Chris Robshaw, who's taking star billing in Dunedin on Friday night.

The 26-year-old classical singer will perform an intimate concert at a fundraising gala in the Luna Bar and Restaurant in support of New Zealand's Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition.

She will sing two songs from her new sexed-up opera, Life from Light, which apparently includes plenty of sex, spirituality and plastic surgery.

Last week, Kerslake performed for the Kiwi charity at a swanky cocktail party in Auckland.

The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition is understood to be close to her heart after it helped her mother, Dr Deborah Kerslake, 51, when she was diagnosed with the disease in 2011.

Kerslake is part Kiwi - born to a Welsh mother and a Kiwi father. She spent time in New Zealand as a child, attending the Vauxhall School in Devonport, She returned to her old stomping ground this week.

"Truly honoured to be welcomed back to my old school, Vauxhall, with a traditional Maori kapa haka," she wrote on Facebook with a snap of two young students in costume.

Incidentally, the school's alumni also includes another famous Kiwi songbird and Devonport native, Ella Yelich-O'Connor.

Converse-ly speaking

Fuggedabout Imelda, late-night talk king Paul Henry has a shoe collection to rival any despot first lady.

Granted they all come with laces and in audacious rainbow hues, but Henry's kicks collection is all branded Converse. Is he sponsored by the American shoe company? No, just a devotee, his TV sidekick says.

If the shoe fits ... Janika ter Ellen, Paul Henry and the footwear.

Janika ter Ellen, the prettier half of the Paul Henry Show, has taken to documenting the oh-so-many styles of Henry's hoarding on Twitter. There are hot pink, camo, tartan, tie-dyed, graffitised letters, Dr Seuss cartoons ... you name it, Henry flaunts it.

"So far, I think we're up to 11 shoes and counting. That's well more than I have," ter Ellen laughs. "He's obsessive about them. It's got to end soon. I hope."

- NZ Herald

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