Waatea News Column: Why John Banks comments were so offensive


On MagicTalk radio this week, former Auckland Mayor and National Party stormtrooper, John Banks, allowed a caller to make deeply racist claims against Māori culture, scientifically false claims about Māori being genetically inferior and then bewilderingly warned listeners these people were going to climb through windows into our houses!

How on earth could so much ignorance appear in just one conversation?

By calling Māori a ‘stone-age culture’, the caller negates and immediately denigrates a rich culture of indigenous science, navigation by the stars and an oral tradition spanning 8 centuries. By cloaking an entire culture as ‘stone-age’, the caller effectively pronounces all Māori as prehistoric neanderthals and follows up that gross misrepresentation by parroting fake gene science from the early 2000s when Science falsely claimed certain genes could dominate people’s lives.

So genetically inferior subhumans is what this caller is calling all Māori?

What is staggering is that Banks didn’t immediately denounce such language, he instead went into some weird claim that these genetically inferior subhumans were going to climb through listeners windows!

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I mean, how jaw-dropping can one get?

It’s not that the comments were said, we want people to freely articulate their opinions because this is a democracy, what was appalling was that Banks didn’t challenge such deeply racist and false stereotypes and instead doubled down by claiming Māori were going to climb through peoples windows!

New Zealand is better than this debate.

I appear on MagicTalk weekly rounding up the Political week Fridays 3 pm

First published on Waatea News.


  1. The issue here is how we deal with this as opposed to the statements made. The statements were illogical, unscientific and not backed up by fact. That should have been the response laced with intellectual ridicule. A 2 minute response to a 2 minute dribble.

    Moreover we got cancelation, virtue signaling and B-grade celebrity thoughts on the matter. This got more headlines than our housing crisis yesterday along with some 660 scratchy tickets. FMD we are a puerile little country sometimes.

  2. People who buy into this shit, will be the same ones who like to point out there are no full blooded Maori any more, so who exactly would be coming through their bathroom window?

    • There are no full-blooded Maori anymore, and I am pretty sure that it is also a fact that pre-European Maori were also technically a ‘stone age’ society.
      While these are facts I believe the real issue lies in making judgements from these such as Maori are genetically inferior (maybe in regards to being more susceptible to certain diseases? but to classify Maori as inferior is clearly incorrect in the manner it is being suggested and intentionally inflammatory) and suggesting that Maori are about to start climbing through peoples windows just weird to honest.

  3. There should be no need for any explanation as to why what Banks did was wrong. If he was indeed non or even anti racist, he would have pushed the dump button and said, “I am not having that on my show”. He didn’t.

  4. I heard his call and Banks agreed with the guy. It fitted in with the line he was pushing .Like all racist Banks often used the line some of my best finds are Maori.
    I hope this is a wake up to these stations that they cannot peddle untruth and lies in the nme of free speach especially now when for many who are afraid to go out talk back is a comfort and a connection with the outside World
    . Those firms that pulled their adverts are to be congratulated.

  5. ‘caller effectively pronounces all Māori as prehistoric neanderthals’
    As a Neanderthal I object to this continuous negative stereotyping and bias.
    The way Homo Sapiens go on about themselves you would think they discovered fire, stone tools and skin clothing.
    I will have you know we had all that when you buggers were still evolving.
    I mean, when did any YOU kill, skin and butcher a mammoth with stone tools?

  6. Why are people like banks given a platform to espouse his same old destructive divisive crap. And for him to say he is not a racist why doesn’t he just be honest we all know he is as are many others in our country who hide behind keyboards. We don’t need people like that here they are welcome to haere ra or on ya bike.

    • About a week or so back I turned on my radio which was on that station from another occasion only to be greeted with Banks running Nancy Pelosi down, starting she was past her use bate, her use by date, that he was sure she was a good wife, mother, grandmother but….. I wished it was possible to reach down the airwaves and bop him one. I never tuned in to him and without that young woman recording this last BS from him, I like everyone else would have been unaware. What the hell else has that dinosaur put out there?

  7. “we want people to freely articulate their opinions because this is a democracy”
    This is not true. It has never been true. All opinions or comments are made in a social context and are subject to the ever changing norms and beliefs of the society they are made in. Speech never has been and never should be free. We are not totally free individuals who can speak and act without consequence. We are members of a society and our speech and actions should not be injurious to other members.

      • The law is not what’s written down. The law is what Parliament decides. Of the look through. The constitution act or says words to the effect that the courts can not stop hate speech bit it can punish by throwing people on jail which is just as idiotic as benefit bashing.

        For a long time freedom of speech and freedom of thought was not protected at all. It’s only relatively recently protections around free speech emerged. That should be protected. That’s what makes new Zealand a free society.

  8. The on/off switch?
    Why would you choose to listen to opinions like that?
    I don’t need protecting from John Banks.
    I can protect myself thanks very much.

  9. Has “two cheques Banksie” deteriorated with age, or just plateaued at his normal level of filth, and got sprung due to his further public media exposure?

    What an unpleasant reminder of his years of anti Pasifika and homophobic bigotry. Non existent helicopter flights to Dotcom’s mansion, a custom car park on the ratepayer for his Bentley and Harley, late night cruising around K’Rd, it all comes back, refusing to acknowledge his own son in a legal case…

    As others have said, almost as bad as the caller and Banks, were the on air producer for not ‘pulling the pin’, and the station itself for not making it clear to all and sundry that such crap is not acceptable in any circumstance.

    Hopefully this is Banks ignominious departure from public view, but hey, at least we got to witness his humiliating defeat in the first supercity Mayoral contest, where after greasing around the gay and trans sector got whipped by Len Brown and Polynesian voters!

  10. The ignorance started when he was hired for this role–given his track record. How about new talent? Instead of recycling the same tired compromised people.

  11. Since Banks is the dickhead who wanted to have motor racing in the heart of Auckland we can write off anything he says as lunacy.

    The saddest aspect is, there are so many like Banks in NZ: lunatic dickheads. Which why things are so bad, and being made worse by the minute.

  12. To be fair, Maori were supreme navigators but let’s not sugar coat their history.

    No wheel, no metal tools (so stone age is technically accurate), no written language, cannibalism and poor environmentalists (they wiped out an entire species in a few hundred years, without ever thinking about farming Moa).

    I actually consider many European traits stone age as well, religion one of them but it seems like saying the obvious now is too much to for some petals

  13. The racist unintelligent and uneducated caller as well as Banks perpetuate the reality that racism in this country, especially against Maori, is alive and well. At the same time these sorts of individuals, generally crusty old white unintelligent and uneducated men who still wallow in the barren no-man’s land of ignorance and self-pity perpetuate the myth with each other (because no-one else listens to them) that Maori are second-rate citizens in this country. They blame all the issues in society on Maori. How pathetic is that? How backward is that?

    The comments by the caller, as shocking and dreadful as they were, are more a reflection of what he and people like him are. Unfortunately, he will remain unknown, although he probably does not care because if he has the gall to make these comments on air then no doubt he espouses his true sick colours to his friends family.

    Banks on the other hand clearly supports this sort of attitude because as @J S Bark alludes to above – what about the delay or on/off button. From what I have learned Banks has displayed his anti-Maori pro-far right wing Trumpesque like attitude for a long time.

    Message to John Banks – don’t worry about being sacked John – there is always a job for you with the far right-winger Trump supporters in the USA. As for your pithy apology and comment “I am not a racist” – well, you don’t get it do you. But then again, why am I not surprised. If you’ve got a spare minute John – oh that’s right you do now – read this brilliant article by Shilo Kino. If you and people like you can’t understand it, which you probably won’t, I am sure you could find someone to explain it to you.


  14. I see the telcos went full woke and pulled advertising from Mediaworks. Is it possible then to pull support for these ISPs because they facilitate the transfer of potentially ugly content between users? Is that their intent, to publicly declare outrage against the baddies, set a precedent and then use this as collateral to sanitise everything that is transmitted through ‘their’ channels; to manufacture their utopian safe spaces? It’s pretty obvious that Williams and his charge Banks are rednecks, it could very well be imprinted in their genes (I’m more worried about the wingnuts we don’t hear from, such as those who have taken up residence in our most trusted institutions). It’s also obvious that most of the mainstream media has in the past been biased, partisan, corporate, unethical and racist. At a personal level, it would be a delusion to think these opinions will go away just through censorship; people have alternative views and should also be free to express them in their own little space (what next, monitoring people in their own homes or getting children to nark on their parents for non-conformist behaviour?). We all have different thresholds for what constitutes offense and recent events have shown the left can be as vindictive and authoritarian as the right. We shouldn’t shut down discussion, analysis or pushback of a topic before it is even broached, because this isn’t an informed and tolerant society, it’s just nothing. It’s also a dangerous precedent for the inability to uncover the truth as it is for allowing talkback gibberish. And I personally couldn’t care less about Vodafone or Spark’s ethical charters, these companies who have ripped off consumers for years while paying their management obscene salaries, they are there to provide a tax payer funded information highway not moderate the traffic with private

  15. Lets all face it when it comes to the opportunistic and yet again self serving John Banks is he will forever to his dying day be a NZ National Party supporter/representative.
    He is only echoing to many how he and probably many current and former National Party MPs feel towards Maori. He is something NZ needs to change from and hopefully with this current government never happen again.
    Banks is a reflection of Judith Collins and her much admired Made in America as well as the Copy And Paste from America Donald Trump.
    The NZ National Party MUST go down in history as the typical Copy and Paste from America Party albeit in the so-called “Trickle Down Effect” extending down to the Donald Trump racism.
    John Banks was useless as a Police Minister after Aramoana. He showed his true colours in the split donations matter and he lacked a voice of concern at Cuppagate when having a coffee session with equally self serving John Key.
    Lets just say in regards to John Banks and John Key that they may as well have been to the ‘John” in toilet free Planet Key.

  16. To put the cat amongst the pidgeons.

    The Stone Age apparently lasted until around 2500bc
    The wheel was invented around t 3000bc.

    Therefore one could debate that cultures without the wheel were similar to stone age cultures.

    Sorry to throw facts in to such a wonderfully emotional thread.

    Oh as an afterthought. Nobody has a legal right not to be offended.
    We all get offended by something. So what?


  17. I give credit to John Banks – his longevity in being an arsehole.



    A special mention for him being Whangarei MP for 18 years and having the gall to go back years later with his Act Charter Schools because as he said it, the education system had failed Maori children. He wasn’t effective so he rode back into town with charter schools and bullshit instead of blankets, coloured beads. The idea was thne same – to abuse the locals.

    (Acknowledgement too on not remembering going to Mechanics Bay, getting in a helicopter, flying to Coatesville to a party with a massive German guy. An epic feat in not remembering.)

  18. Would you rather have a hei tiki carved from pounamu, or one moulded out of plastic?
    Would you rather walk on a marble floor or a linoleum imitation?
    Would you prefer to wear jewellery made of diamonds or cut glass?
    To chose the former is to acknowledge the wonders of the natural world, the superiority of natural products and the greatness of the cultures which work in stone, timber, flax and other natural products – stone age culture.
    Maoritanga is great because even while it has adapted to modern technologies, it still keeps its stone age roots in the natural world and just as importantly, retains natural human social relationships.
    John Banks problem is not that he is thinks Maoritanga is a stone age culture, but that, like most of the pundits and politicians of the colonialist regime, he lacks intelligence, social insight and respect for the opinions of others.
    On a marae, he would be gradually and gently educated by superior minds.
    In the colonialist system he is seen as an embarrassment to be shut up and shut down.
    To me this whole affair speaks to the failure of colonialist culture, which is inherently incapable of looking seriously into any of the social and political issues which threaten its very existence, or of engaging in honest, open, frank and informed discussion.
    Sorry folks, but I prefer the stone age.

  19. Me Neanderthal
    make stuff out of bone, wood, stone, skins – all bio-degradable.
    You modern Human( Homo Sapiens – wise person)
    Fill oceans with plastic. Fill air with pollution. Make world too hot. Have weapons destroy all life on earth.
    You clever? Me dumb?
    ’nuff said.

  20. New Zealand is so racist. Maori TV, Maori Rugby team, Maori seats, Maori scholarships, Maori business…..separate Maori health programs. What happened to equality by having the same rights for all NZ`ers, not just one race?

    • Kia ora Mike.
      Maori TV as the only broadcaster of high quality content in New Zealand. There are other channels available for those who revel in asinine American dramas and game shows. Each to his own.
      For the past twenty years my Maori doctor has provided better quality more professional health care than I had received from European doctors. Again, each to his own.
      So what are you demanding that we sacrifice? Anything that reeks of excellence?

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