Political commentator: John Banks would see Phil Goff return to power

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Monday, 15 July 2019, 2:57PM

John Banks says it's very likely he'll stand again for the Auckland mayoralty.

The former National and ACT MP, who served two terms as mayor of Auckland City before the Super City merger.

It was reported yesterday that Banks has hired a team of political strategists and held focus groups to determine his chances.

He told Mike Hosking he'll make up his mind sometime in the next two weeks, but Auckland is almost broke and needs better leadership.

"We're looking a strong probability because this city has been great to me, and I'm not going to sit back and watch this mayor, who has lost interest."

Political commentator Ben Thomas says Banks will want to capitalise on the traditional right wing vote.

"Banks would be hoping that Tamihere would be able to weaken Phil Goff's enough in the west and south to allow the centre-right's traditional dominance in the east, the North Shore and the central city to allow them to go through the middle."

Massey University political lecturer Andy Asquith says voter turn-out tends to increase when there's a contested mayoral election that sparks public interest.

He believes Banks' name would do that.

"If you went out onto the street in Auckland and showed people a photo of John Banks and who John Banks was, far more people would know than Tamihere."

However, he says thinks Banks should resist the temptation.

"I think Phil Goff will be laughing all the way to the bank should John Banks stand because that would mean Phil Goff is basically against two centre-right candidates."

Banks rejects the suggestion.

"I wouldn't have thought that's how it's going to work. If we don't have a centre-right candidate for the mayoralty, we'll have the lowest turnout ever and democracy won't work at all well for Auckland."

Phil Goff has dismissed the new threat to his mayoralty, saying that Banks has given it two failed shots already.

"John's been defeated twice in running for the Auckland mayoralty, but of course, it's up to him. I would have thought he'd continue to enjoy his retirement."

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