The architect of Brexit who was stuck in New Zealand for six months during lockdown loved the place so much he's thinking of moving here.
British entrepreneur Arron Banks, who along with his colleague Andy Wigmore are labelled the Bad Boys of Brexit and funded the leave.EU campaign, has spoken out about how he was drawn to the NZ lifestyle and NZ First leader Winston Peters.
Banks was living in Herne Bay in Auckland during the first term of 2020 with his son attending private secondary school King's College, but when the country went into lockdown at the end of March their stay was extended and they ended up in the country for six months.
He and his family have since returned to the UK, but Banks said his son loved his time here and wants to come back.
"He's been talking about wanting to come back and do sixth form. Because he's a big rugby player, loves his rugby."
Banks told the Herald he loved New Zealand and that he could see himself living here for part of the year.
"It was fantastic. We had a really fabulous time. New Zealand would be a lovely place to live."
When asked whether a move was on the cards, he said: "You never know ... Possibly. Possibly. I did think I loved it a lot. It was a nice lifestyle. I'm quite international anyway so could easily see myself living part of the year in New Zealand. I kind of travel to America a lot and go all over."
However, Banks said he might have to wait until after the October election for a move as he has been contracted to provide Winston Peters with social media services to help his political campaign.
When asked why he cared about New Zealand politics, he replied: "Why wouldn't we care. And we like Winston."
"We have a worldview of the sort of politics we think is the right thing and so we are always interested."
He described Peters as a "kindred spirit" and part of the anti-woke movement.
"The bottom line is I believe he's going to do a lot better than people think he's going to do."
Banks believed the race between Labour and National would tighten and that Peters would again hold the balance of power.
"Jacinda (Ardern) is popular, but her party isn't it," he said.
"The way we see it is that the kind of left have tamed the National party. They are just neutered. And so Winston is that one person willing to kind of take the role of the anti-Christ, if you want, to the woke brigade and I think it's a vote winner."
He said Peters' greatest strength was that he was an authentic and "doesn't change his message to suit which ever way the wind is blowing".
Last month the Herald revealed Banks had contacted Peters' office in his role as the minister of Foreign Affairs, seeking help in relation to a transit visa for Australia in mid June.
But Peters' office denied he used his ministerial influence and taxpayer funded staff to ease their way and that providing consular assistance was part of his role.
In July, Banks told the UK's Telegraph: "I'm going to be on ground in New Zealand causing trouble – mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare in the New Zealand election".
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