Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Banks cites own past to reject elitist' label

John Banks says he cares about excessive Government borrowing and opportunities for the young and doesn't want to 'leave anyone behind'. Photo  / Greg Bowker
John Banks says he cares about excessive Government borrowing and opportunities for the young and doesn't want to 'leave anyone behind'. Photo / Greg Bowker

Sporting a leather jacket and a jazzy shirt, Epsom candidate John Banks yesterday launched his campaign by insisting that Act was not an elitist party.

"This Act Party could easily be conceived as a party for the elitist," he said in a speech at Newmarket's Tasca cafe.

"I'm not elite. I know my background and I know my status - and my status is that I care about the same things that you care about."

He said he wanted to make sure that people did not flee the country to live elsewhere, as 100,000 had over the past three years.

He cared about the Government borrowing too much and he cared about opportunities for the young. "I don't want to leave anyone behind."

He drew some old friends to the launch, including Dame Jenny Gibbs, retiring Act MP Sir Roger Douglas, former Labour Cabinet minister Michael Bassett and former National MP Pat Hunt, as well as Act leader Don Brash.

Also on hand was his right-hand man from mayoral campaigns, Brian Nicole, and long-time Act strategist Australian Ian Kortlang.

He reminded his audience of his earliest taste of politics - as a 14-year-old boy being fostered by Alan McCready, a former National Party Police Minister.

Mr McCready had taken the young Banksie to Parliament, sat the boy in his seat and told him, "One day you too could be an MP."

Mr Banks, whose parents both spent time in prison, went on to become a National Party Minister of Police and later Auckland City Mayor.

He said New Zealand had been generous to him in the opportunities it had offered him, and he wanted the same opportunities for young people today.

Act got 1.5 per cent in Saturday's Herald-DigiPoll survey, a result that would see the party with two seats if it retains Epsom, but none if it doesn't.

- NZ Herald

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