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John Banks - The Tight-lipped Mayor

Wed 28 Nov 2001 In: Features

Auckland Mayor John Banks is snubbing the country's gay media, answering a small number of brief questions from only through an intermediary and refusing an interview. The questions were submitted in the week after the election, the replies were received only days ago. Banks has not responded to questions or interview requests from any other gay media. For what it's worth, here are the "quick questions" submitted to Banks for the record by, and his answers: Q: Mr Banks has a reputation (fair or unfair) of being at best indifferent and at worst antagonistic to gays, gay issues and gay visibility. Can he articulate his attitude to gays and gay issues, and the place of gays in Auckland's diverse social fabric? A: The Mayor does not discriminate on the basis of race or sex. Q: Under the previous council and mayor the Hero Project was allotted a $20,000 contribution towards mounting the next Hero parade. Does Mr Banks believe this was right and proper use of taxpayers' money; will he seek to review the allocation or perhaps withdraw it completely. If the money is "safe" this time does he believe it should be allotted on the same basis the following year? A: Mr Banks does not believe it is Council's role to fund such activities. Q: How will gay residents of Auckland benefit specifically from Mr Banks' stewardship and policies (we already know that safe streets, good transport, etc. will benefit us as they benefit all residents)? A: As indicated Mr Banks does not discriminate according to race or sex and policies to clean up the streets will benefit all law abiding citizens. Q: For the past several years top level politicians including Mayor Fletcher and Prime Ministers Shipley and Clark have attended the Hero Parade and other occasional gay events throughout the year. Should such invitations be extended, what is the likelihood of Mr Banks accepting? A: Mr Banks does not support Council's money being spent on such activities and would see his attendance as inappropriate. Request for face to face interview, 30mins - 1hr. The objective is to flesh out where the mayor comes from on gay issues and Auckland gay events and presence. Should gays really be apprehensive about his term(s) as mayor? How does he relate to gay people as individuals and as a group. Is he a changed man (on gay issues) as the recent item in Express appeared to indicate? What is his understanding of gay culture and life experience. What priority will gay and lesbian issues have during his mayoralty? A: Mr Banks is not available for an interview. - 28th November 2001    


First published: Wednesday, 28th November 2001 - 12:00pm

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