John Banks enters Parliament in 1980 after winning the National nomination for Whangarei against sitting MP John Elliott, and increasing National's majority.

Adopting Sir Robert Muldoon's maxim that all publicity is good publicity, he stakes out his political tent from the start - attacking welfare beneficiaries, soft sentencings for violent crime and funding for "disabled lesbians and other minority groups".

He berates "troublemakers" and "communists" in the trade union movement over disputes at Marsden Pt refinery.

In Opposition in 1986, Banks calls for an immediate election over Labour's anti-nuclear policy.

He practises bear-pit politics in the House. He calls Ann Hercus "Barbie doll" or "Vinegar Lil" while Russell Marshall is the "Red Reverend".

He describes Mike Moore as a "brothel-keeper from Papanui" after a rental property of Moore's is used as an illegal brothel. He alleges communists are making policy for the Labour Party.

He clashes with Prime Minister David Lange after alluding to Agriculture Minister Colin Moyle "hanging around public toilets". Calls Michael Cullen a "poofter".

The Homosexual Law Reform Bill proves an irresistable target. In its committee stages he is suspended from the House after alleging "collusion" by chairman John Terris with the Bill's sponsor, Fran Wilde.

In late 1986, amid public outcry over violent crimes, Banks releases details of previous convictions of two accused. He survives contempt of court charges.

In April 1987 he is suspended from Parliament for seven days over allegations that Cabinet Minister Richard Prebble benefited from the votes of Pacific Island overstayers in Auckland Central.

A year later he slams the Royal Commission on Social Policy as "a sickening response to a sick society. It is advocating the worst kind of wall-to-wall socialism ... when what the country needs is a massive dose of individual responsibility."

As National's employment spokesman, he proposes work schemes for the unemployed. As law and order spokesman, he promises 900 new police, longer sentences and tougher parole conditions.

After the 1990 election, Banks gets the Police, Tourism and Sport portfolios in Jim Bolger's administration. He proves a "hands-on" Police Minister, visiting crime scenes including Aramoana. But the promised 900 extra police prove difficult to deliver and crime statistics worsen. Relations with Justice Minister Doug Graham, with lawyers and the judiciary deteriorate.

In August 1992 he starts a Talkback with Banks series on Radio Pacific in which he attacks the Race Relations Office and conciliator Chris Laidlaw.

In 1993, Prebble accuses him of interfering in a police tender (for flak jackets) after the deadline is extended to allow a company owned by a Whangarei friend to make a late bid. Banks is cleared.

He is returned to Parliament with a reduced majority and loses the Police portfolio. Though he keeps Tourism and picks up Local Government, his fledgling talkback radio career will overtake his waning parliamentary star in the 1993-96 term.

Conflict of interest allegations are raised when, as Tourism Minister, he bids for the Waitangi Resort Hotel.

Relations with Cabinet ministers further deteriorate over Radio Pacific's bid for Radio New Zealand commercial stations.

The "Hone" incident on Banks' radio show, when Cabinet colleague John Carter phones in pretending to be an unemployed Maori opposed to the Government's fiscal envelope for Treaty of Waitangi claims, is another embarrassment for Bolger.

Banks goes on to attack District Court judges and gains further notoriety in 1996 by threatening to release the names of abortion doctors.

In 1996, the first MMP election, Banks' majority in Whangarei slumps to just 303 votes.

He announces he will not work with NZ First leader and former National colleague Winston Peters (with whom he has clashed, physically) and on November 1 resigns from Cabinet.

One columnist calls this making "a virtue out of an inevitability".

Three days later he takes up a breakfast slot on Radio Pacific.

Sources: Herald files; John Banks: A Biography; Banks - Behind The Mask