John Banks and Penny Bright – this moment is legacy


There is such a deep beauty in this moment of kindness between John Banks & the undefeated Penny Bright.

Penny is a unique one of a kind voice for justice and for her great nemesis to take the time to sit with her in her final days has a kindness  attached to it that we seldom see in the bitter online call out and troll kulture we are infected with now.

Decency is rare and a basic reminder that beyond the intersectionism, the politics, the heteronormative patriarchy etc etc etc we are human beings with a common human experience that unites us 95% of the time.

For Penny to allow John to sit with her in a moment of total vulnerability shows a strength that goes beyond the arguments and debate, and for him to have the grace to accept speaks volumes of his character and provides a shared moment of humility for us all.

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In this one image they have reminded us of some of the humanity we lose in the debate.


  1. I wonder what Banks is thinking. Regret? In office he was a high-profile climate change denier and a proponent of inequality and injustice.

  2. Two noble old foes contemplate a world in which their honourable and orderly civic jousting is basically falling beneath the feet of a wall of rampaging orcs. They lived through the last of the happy times.

      • National just don’t do “civil” it is just not in their DNA.



  3. Penny has more regard among more people than she might realise, due in part to her preferred “lone wolf” status, though to be fair she did try the small left sects, unions and united fronts in earlier days, I knew her well in the ‘81 Springbok Tour and Car Industry Union battles of the 80s

    Banksie remains a prize arsehole in most respects, but it is certainly a poignant photo. Hopefully more Supercity residents can be persuaded to participate in their hellhole, because if even several hundred consistently had Penny’s commitment, things would be different indeed.

  4. Nice post. Death is what we all have in common, maybe remembering that, will make everyone nicer and make better decisions. Good luck Penny till the end.

    • ….and don’t forget taxes and nurses, as the other two certainties.

      In Zac Flemming’s (RNZ) beside interview of her, Penny did single out Banks as the mayor who honoured the notion of a fair fight. The others – from cereal nutter Hubbard to megalomaniac Goff – she dismissed as nitwits, power mongers and fools. So it’s fitting that Banks and Penny had this photo opp.

  5. ” For Penny to allow John to sit with her in a moment of total vulnerability shows a strength that goes beyond the arguments and debate, and for him to have the grace to accept speaks volumes of his character and provides a shared moment of humility for us all.”

    Oh, fuck off!

  6. Deep meaning in your words, Martyn. In the end, we all share one thing.

    The tragedy is that we can’t share that empathy before the dying of the light.

  7. Hear, hear M. Boom.

    Sure he can be a nong at times, but there was always a basic humanity about Banksy – a respect for battlers, underdogs and those on the wrong side of the tracks. His background was harrowing, verging on hellish sometimes and his way out – ‘small c’ conservatism – might not be ours. But he’s a more real dude than many others ostensibly more right-on (or ‘woke’ as you like to say).

    As for Penny Bright, I’m guilty of imbibing the sneers and jibes of the liberal-left. I confess I had her in a box. Her other interview with the Herald showed her to be a proud and defiant woman, as reasonable* as she is militant. Good on you, brave warrior:

    *Her essential thesis is correct: the corporatism and ‘managerialism’ that’s infested local government is a total rort.

  8. I would hate Banksy turn up at my death bed, same as some other characters. But has he repented, has he now seen the light, himself being a mortal, I ask?

    I am dismayed re Penny’s situation, she was a fighter, continues to fight, but like all of us, her days are numbered.

    It reminds me, and it should remind ALL, we are locked into a mortal body, no matter how good and determined our intentions and wills. We are all here for a time, to perhaps play a certain role, destined or not, we are here on borrowed time.

    Most people dodge the reality until they may have to face it, with a relative or friend facing the end, on the death bed. Most are true cowards, as I have learned again and again through my life, many people are NOT worth my time, given the shallowness, and dishonesty.

    But for Penny, I take off my hat, I bow, and I would show great respect, although I may have disagreed on some opinions and positioning and actions she took.

    Here is a true and principled fighter, one of the most deserved, fighting her last battle. It is indeed an impression worth considering, whatever his motivation, to see John Banks by her side in a bed in hospital.

    Respect Penny, perhaps respect John, provided you are sincere, let us face reality, and let us learn, take action, many of Penny’s character are needed to bring the change needed in this country, I see too few take it up, think, rethink, consider, take action, we need you, to return this country to its true spirit and character, in many ways, it is a mess at the moment, not going to be improved soon.

    Best wishes, Penny

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