A guy angry at something John Banks said on Radio Pacific in 1997, and some very sharp photographers have catapulted John Banks, court appearance today onto the front pages: it’s all in the image, aided by a bit of drama and conflict.
RNZ Reporter Kate Newton captured the moment when Banks was on the receiving end of a face full of mud, and tweeted it into the web-o-sphere.
It was labelled “Banks vs Mud” when retweeted by RNZ political reporter, Chris Bramwell.
Epsom MP John Banks has had a bucket of dirt thrown at him as he entered the High Court in Auckland to face trial.
Police are speaking to witnesses, and the start of the trial has been delayed.
Mr Banks will be tried by a judge at the High Court in Auckland on a charge of knowingly filing an electoral return that contained false information during his failed 2010 Auckland mayoralty campaign.
The story has also been reported by the NZ Herald:
Act’s sole MP was walking towards the court’s entrance when an elderly man stepped forward and threw a bucket load of mud at him, spattering his face and suit.
Penny Bright, who was protesting against Banks outside the court, witnessed the incident and said the man “just biffed it all over” Banks.
“He just looked like thunder,” she said of Banks, who then composed himself and walked inside.
The NZ Herald has a photo taken by Brett Phibbs, which captures the guy thowing the mud:
This is a bit of political theatre that highlights the way many see some of John Banks past performances. I don’t know what John Banks said in 1997 to upset the mud thrower, but John Banks certainly did some political, (metaphorical) mud throwing in his radio Talkback days. Lewis Stoddart wrote a university thesis (2008) on the Talkback smearing of Helen Clark, in which Banks participated:
Helen Clark, the first elected woman Prime Minister of New Zealand, has for decades been the subject of political attacks. These have been made on the basis of her history as an academic, her gender, domestic status and personal life, and not least her politics. John Banks and Lindsay Perigo, in their roles on the Radio Pacific breakfast show The First Edition, crystallised various of these attacks into a characterisation which I describe as ‘communist lesbian dictator’. This is not to say that Banks or Perigo ever owned or controlled the discourse which feeds this characterisation;…
A footnote says that Perigo succeeded Banks as host of First Edition in July 2007.
So, Banks past record as a (metaphorical) dirt thrower has come back to haunt and unsettle him as he goes to court.
The NZ Herald report by Jimmy Ellingham, then focuses on Banks’ current court case:
Banks is alleged to have knowingly received political donations from internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and SkyCity that were recorded in official returns as anonymous during his bid for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010.
The allegations relate to two $25,000 donations from Dotcom and a $15,000 donation from SkyCity.
Banks’ trial will be heard by Justice Edwin Wylie, without a jury.
It was due to start at 10am but will now begin at 11.30am.
Stuff is also reporting the mud throwing, while highlighting Banks’ current court appearance. They have a photo taken by Peter Meecham, of the aftermath of the incident as a muddied Banks heads to court, with protest banners in the background.
Update: TVNZ report
TVNZ has a video of the guy throwing mud and accusing John Banks of stealing $8000 from him.
Update #2: In court today:
Crown prosecutor Paul Dacre QC said Banks held separates meetings with Dotcom and a SkyCity executive about the donations and asked that each of the donations be made in a way so they were shown to be anonymous.
“He engineered the situation to ensure the identity of the donors would not be disclosed,” Dacre said.
During a lunch with Dotcom and his wife, Banks asked for a $50,000 donation to be split into two cheques, he said.
Banks did not recall another meeting with a SkyCity executive relating to donations, Dacre said.
Dotcom, his wife Mona, and SkyCity staff would be called as witnesses during the trial.
The defence will argue Banks believed the electoral expense returns were “true and correct” when filed.