Gloriavale man convicted of beating children

A man from Gloriavale, Clem Ready, was convicted last year of beating two of his children. He has just lost he bid in the Court of Appeal to keep his name suppressed.

A daughter who ran away from Gloriavale after her sister died and complained to the police says that men are taught to be violent with their families.

Stuff: Gloriavale dad Clem Ready hit daughters with shoe, slipper, belt as discipline

A Gloriavale man who disciplined two daughters by hitting them with his hands or objects including a shoe and belt because he “thought it was doing them good” can finally be named.

Clem Ready assaulted the girls – Prayer and Constance (Connie) Ready – between 1998 to 2014, when they were aged between 5 and 17 years old.

So that’s more or less throughout their childhoods.

His battle to keep his name secret has lasted more than a year. It went all the way to the Court of Appeal where, on Thursday, his bid for name suppression was rejected.

Clem Ready first appeared in court on the charges in July last year.  He sought a discharge without conviction for the offending, but in May this year was convicted and sentenced in the Greymouth District Court to 12 months’ supervision for the abuse.

He was ordered to pay Connie Ready, who is now 24 years old, $1000 in emotional harm reparation.

Prayer Ready, who had Down syndrome, died in Gloriavale when she was 14. She choked to death on a piece of meat while in an isolation room where the door handles were disabled.

Her father was not charged for that.

Connie Ready, speaking to Stuff Circuit ahead of Thursday’s hearing, says the beatings were relentless.

“He could just be tired and come home from work, he gets annoyed so he’ll throw something at you or kick you if he gets really worked up, he’ll grab anything that’s around and lay into you with it and beat you, you know, his belt, a coat hanger, one of his tools from his work bag. Anything.”

At the May sentencing, Judge Anthony Couch said the charges related to multiple instances of assault using his open hand or objects such as a shoe, a slipper, a belt and, on one occasion, a framing square (used in carpentry).

It’s very sad to see a father resorting to beating his children.

“No estimate of the total number of assaults has been provided, but it was clearly a large number.”

“The victims were children, unable for the most part to defend themselves. The defendant was in a position of absolute authority over them. They were highly vulnerable.”

“He believed that it was appropriate, and indeed necessary, to strike his children and to cause them pain in order to discipline them and to change their behaviour. Objectively he was hurting them but, subjectively, he thought he was doing them good,” the judge said.

He hit one daughter with a framing square and explained this by saying “I was concerned for her safety and needed [her] to be like her sisters who were more respectful, happy to read or knit at home and not be so sociable.”

Using violence to try to force her into becoming what sounds like a compliant and obedient female. That’s dark ages mentality.

The judge said Clem Ready was working up to 70 hours a week. Since the offending, he had completed an anger management course, a parenting course and a restorative justice conference with Connie Ready, after which he acknowledged a sense of responsibility for the harm he caused her.

This raises a lot more questions about the well being of the other children, and also about whether this violence towards his children was isolated within one family or whether it was generally accepted practice at Gloriavale.

More detail from Stuff Circuit: OUR FATHER

“Men are taught that this is the way to run a family, to be the father of your home. If your wife won’t listen to what you say, you beat her. If your children don’t listen to you, you beat them.

“I don’t want to take away from anything that my father did because you still have a mind and a conscience and you can still say no at any point. But the system that has been created within there by the leaders – they need to be held responsible for that as well. They have allowed, encouraged, taught that this is how things should happen.”

People calling themselves Christians acting like cretins.

“I believe still there are children who suffer at the hands of their parents.”

Daily like your family did?

“Yes.”

This is alarming but not really very surprising.

‘Solo mum sanction’ solution?

The Government are trying to solve a tricky problem, the ‘solo mum sanction’. The current way of trying to force solo mothers to name the father to avoid financial penalty is far from ideal, but the proposed solution may have problems too.

RNZ: Ending solo mum sanction could cost govt $25m a year

Scrapping a sanction against some solo mums will cost more than $100 million over four years and could result in fewer parents paying child support, ministry officials say.

Single parents who refuse to identify the other parent have $22 deducted from their benefit every week per child. After 13 weeks, another $6 per family is docked.

The policy was introduced in 1990 to ensure fathers paid child support.

The Labour-led government last year confirmed it would repeal the penalty, saying there was no evidence it worked.

A Ministry of Social Development report – obtained under the Official Information Act – said the government would pay out at least $25 million more a year as a result of ditching the sanction.

Officials said they could not predict how people might respond, but warned the cost could balloon, “potentially considerably”, if people were then incentivised to rip off the system.

For example, mothers might choose not to name the father so he could avoid paying child support to the Crown and could instead pay her privately under the table.

Acting Minister of Social Development Peeni Henare said there was no evidence to suggest that might happen.

Has anyone tried to find out if there is any evidence? Has the Ministry of Social Development got any evidence that there won’t be negative consequences or that costs won’t balloon?

Absence of evidence is not a good basis for policy change.

Fathers who don’t take financial or other responsibility for their children is possibly a significant social issue in New Zealand – I say ‘possibly’ because I don’t have evidence that it is.

Henare:

“This was a punitive measure… one that has actually proven to have no merit.”

Where is the proof it had no merit? Did it not encourage any fathers at all to be more involved in the support of their children?

He said the current penalty unfairly punished thousands of children in low-income families.

Is it unfair on children to allow their fathers to have nothing to do with their support? Is it unfair on tax payers to allow solo mothers to exclude fathers from the lives of their children?

It is certainly tough on a mother who wants to keep an arsehole father away from her family, but should the State just pick up the tab, no questions asked?

The current sanction system is far from ideal, but is there any evidence the proposed alternative will be better for children?

The John Banks paternity ruling

A judge has ruled supporting the claim that John Banks is Antony Shaw’s father. Banks had refused to acknowledge fatherhood, refused a DNA test, and did not take part in the court proceedings – if he wanted to keep this sad case a secret he should have considered what is known as the Streisand Effect.

Introduction

[1] As a child Antony Brett Shaw believed his father to be Chinese, even though he does not have Chinese features and the man his mother named played no part in his upbringing. When Mr Shaw was 29 years old his mother told him that his father was actually John Archibald Banks, a man with whom she had an intimate relationship at the time Mr Shaw was conceived.

[2] Mr Shaw is now aged 47 and lives permanently in Japan with his wife and son. He has applied under s 10 of the Status of Children Act 1969 (SoCA) for a declaration that Mr Banks is his father. Mr Banks took no steps in the proceeding and the application proceeded by way of a formal proof hearing.

Evidence relied on to prove paternity

Relationship between Mr Banks and Mrs Mayes: 1966 – 1974

[10] Between 1966 and 1969 Mrs Mayes was working as a nurse at Waikato Hospital. For some of that period she lived in the nurses’ home and for some of the time with her parents in Hamilton. She met Mr Banks at a party when she was 19. He was working as a travelling salesman for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Mrs Mayes’ brother, Bernard Shaw, recalls Mrs Mayes going out regularly with Mr Banks and that the relationship appeared to him as that of boyfriend and girlfriend.

[11] Mrs Mayes described spending a night with Mr Banks at a motel opposite the Te Rapa Racecourse in July 1969. They had sexual intercourse. Mrs Mayes says that she was seeing only Mr Banks at that time. She had previously been taking the oral contraceptive pill but had recently stopped taking it on medical advice after developing a pain in her calf. She subsequently found that she was pregnant.

[12] Mrs Mayes makes serious allegations against Mr Banks about what happened next. She says that when told of the pregnancy Mr Banks encouraged her to terminate it and arranged for a friend who worked for another pharmaceutical company to obtain quinine tablets in the hope of causing a miscarriage. She describes an occasion when both Mr Banks and his friend were present and told her how many tablets to take. Mrs Mayes was scared, however, and despite pressure from Mr Banks, refused to take the pills.

[13] Mrs Mayes commenced a brief relationship with a local Hamilton man, Harry Wong, knowing that she was some months’ pregnant. She allowed him to believe that the child was his. The relationship ended before Mr Shaw was born. However, Mr Wong (apparently under pressure from Mrs Mayes’ family) accepted that he was the father and agreed to pay child support of $5 a week, which he did for 15 years.

This deceit was tough on Mr Wong.

[14] Mrs Mayes went to a home for unmarried mothers in Auckland for the birth of her baby. Although she had allowed Mr Wong to take financial responsibility for the baby, she drew the line at entering false details on the birth certificate. No information about Mr Shaw’s father is recorded on his birth certificate.

The relationship with Mr Banks is rekindled: 1971 – 1973

[16] The relationship between Mrs Mayes and Mr Banks resumed…Mrs Mayes says that during this period Mr Banks acknowledged that he was Mr Shaw’s father.

Mrs Mayes raises the issue of paternity with Mr Banks: 1997 – 2000

[19] The first was the birth of Mr Shaw’s own son, Kent…She contacted Mr Banks when she was in Wellington and they had dinner together. She told him about Kent and showed him photographs of Kent and Mr Shaw. Mr Banks said that Mr Shaw looked like him (Mr Banks).

[20] The second event was in 1999. Mr Banks, who had been a Member of Parliament for some 18 years, was retiring that year. Mrs Mayes saw TV footage of his valedictory speech, delivered on 5 October 1999. The Hansard record of the speech confirms Mrs Mayes’ recollection of Mr Banks speaking of “the crushing heartache” of living without a mother and father. Mrs Mayes’ impression was that Mr Banks had been so upset that he was close to tears. She decided then that she should tell Mr Shaw about Mr Banks being his father

There were attempts after that to contact Banks, but a lack of success led to seeking a ruling from the Court.

Proof on the balance of probabilities?

[29] Mr Shaw’s application rests to a large extent upon Mrs Mayes’ evidence. On her own account, Mrs Mayes has not always been honest. However, there is independent support for the essential elements of her account. My assessment of the evidence is as follows.

[30] First, I accept that Mrs Mayes was in a sexual relationship with Mr Banks in 1969. Her assertion is consistent with Mr Shaw snr’s description of them as boyfriend and girlfriend and his evidence of Mr Banks’ acknowledgement that there had been a sexual relationship between them. I also accept that the relationship was exclusive, at least for Mrs Mayes. She says that she was not seeing anyone else and Mr Shaw snr does not mention anyone else. Moreover, it is reasonable to infer that if there had been the possibility of another man being the father Mrs Mayes would have named him as the father rather than starting a new relationship with a Chinese man, a plan that had obvious pitfalls.

[31] Secondly, it is not credible to think that Mr Wong is Mr Shaw’s father. It is true that he accepted Mr Shaw as his child and paid child support for 15 years. But he is not recorded on Mr Shaw’s birth certificate as the father and played no part in his life, despite contributing financially. The fact that he is not named on the birth certificate is consistent with Mrs Mayes’ account that, notwithstanding her earlier dishonesty on the point, she was not willing to go so far as to make a false statement on the birth certificate.

[32] Thirdly, not only does Mr Shaw not have the appearance of having a Chinese father, his uncle has deposed to the physical likeness of Mr Shaw to Mr Banks, which he describes as “striking”. This is, of course, a matter of impression but I accept that there is a high degree of similarity between the photographs of the two.

ShawBanks

Antony Shaw (left) and John Banks

[33] Fourthly, I accept that Mr Banks and Mrs Mayes resumed their relationship for a time when Mr Shaw was a very young child and that during that time Mr Banks acknowledged that he was Mr Shaw’s father. Although there is no independent evidence of this acknowledgement, in assessing it I take into account the fact that Mr Banks has chosen not to give evidence refuting the allegation.

[34] Finally, I am satisfied from the evidence that Mr Banks has been invited by Mrs Mayes to undergo a DNA test for the purposes of establishing paternity. On Mr Shaw snr’s evidence Mr Banks declined to do so, on legal advice. In considering the weight I give to Mr Banks’ refusal, I take that into account. However, given all of the other surrounding circumstances, including his failure to take any steps at all to refute the various allegations and the obvious strength of Mr Shaw’s application, it is proper to infer from Mr Banks’ refusal to undergo a DNA test that, in his view, the result would be supportive of Mr Shaw’s claim.

Result

[35] I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Mr Banks is Mr Shaw’s father. I therefore make the declaration sought, that John Archibald Banks is the father of Antony Brett Shaw.

This is a very sad case. If as it appears from the evidence and the ruling that Banks is the father it is difficult to understand his refusal to acknowledge being the father, especially given his valedictory speech in Parliament.

Full ruling: Shaw v Banks

From Banks’ valedictory speech in 1999:

No one knows better than I the crushing heartache of living with no mother and no father. When my father was due to be released from Mount Crawford, I was living in Kaitoke with Allan McCready. What a good man to me he was; what a wonderful New Zealander. I would have been 12 years of age.

I was told: “Your father is coming to visit you tomorrow.” I was absolutely delighted. I could not remember meeting my father. I was going to be so proud that I could show off my father to the other kids. “This is my father. He may even bring my mother. He’s coming tomorrow because he said he was coming tomorrow. If my father said he was coming tomorrow, he would be here tomorrow.”

At 6 o’clock in the morning I got up and sat at the front gate waiting for him to come. I did not know what time he was going to come, but some time in the morning he was going to come, or maybe some time in the afternoon. At 8 o’clock at night I was still at the front gate and he did not turn up. I waited two more years. These things have an incredible influence on one’s life.

http://www.vdig.net/hansard/content.jsp?id=75430

The Turei show continues

Metiria Turei and media have ensured her confession about benefit fraud and her campaign for beneficiaries stayed as one of the biggest political stories.

Turei has advised that the Ministry of Social Development has been in touch with her after she wrote to them, and she will be interviewed next week.

She continued with her focus on beneficiaries in Parliament yesterday.

And media have widened the scope of their questions, including whether her daughter’s father was a flatmate, and what part if any the  father had in her support – Turei said this was a private matter.

As a press release from the Green Party:  Statement from Metiria Turei on MSD

“Today, I have spoken over the phone with an investigator from the Ministry of Social Development.

“I was phoned by this person after their office received a letter from me (attached), which I sent on Monday.

“The letter asserted my willingness to co-operate fully with an investigation into the period of time I received a benefit during the 1990s, and I confirmed that over the phone today.

“During our phone call, I made myself available to be interviewed about my case.

“We are in the process of confirming the details of that meeting, but it will take place next week.”

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1707/LettertoMSD.pdf

Patrick Gower: Conviction for fraud could see Metiria Turei quit Parliament

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei could be forced to quit Parliament if she is convicted of benefit fraud.

“While benefit fraud is legislated under the Social Security Act, we generally prosecute under the Crimes Act,” a spokeswoman for Ministry of Social Development told Newshub.

The charges usually used are:

  • Obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception (punishable by up to three years imprisonment)
  • Dishonestly taking or using document (punishable by up to seven years imprisonment)

Under the Electoral Act, if an MP is convicted of a crime punishable with a sentence of more than two years, they have to leave Parliament.

Ms Turei lied to get more money, and it goes back to when her daughter Piupiu was born. She says she had no other option, although she did have time to campaign for the McGillicuddy Serious Party in 1993 and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 1996.

Ms Turei was on the Domestic Purposes Benefit from 1993 until 1998. In three flats during that time, she lied about how many flatmates she had to get extra money.

My guess is that she will pay any money deemed to have been overpaid to her back but she won’t be prosecuted.

NZ Herald: Metiria Turei explains silence on flatmates in fraud case

In a sit-down interview with the Herald, Turei said she couldn’t condemn people who were faced with hard choices because of financial hardship.

“We have a system that leaves people with too few choices. That the only choices are bad ones. Not to pay the rent, not to pay the power bill, not to have enough food for your kids. Or, lie to WINZ and keep a secret.”

There is also the choice to work to supplement your income, or to live in a relationship with someone who contributes to your costs of living.

Metiria Turei won’t say whether one of the flatmates she failed to tell Work and Income about was a boyfriend – saying the state has no right to investigate a woman’s intimate personal life.

Actually the state does have a right under law to question whether someone claiming a sole parent benefit is living with a partner or not, and whether they are being supported by a partner. This is fundamental to how benefits are calculated and paid.

Asked if living with a partner without disclosing that to WINZ was more serious than failing to tell the agency about flatmates, Turei said it was treated differently by the agency.

“And one of the things that I will do if I get the chance is to fix that system so a woman’s personal life is not subject to questions by WINZ, by MSD. We have seen a lot of that directed at solo mums.

Currently a person stops being eligible for sole parent support if they are in a relationship.

Like it or not, that’s the rules now and it was when Turei was a beneficiary.

She said that the need to care for her baby and not her political beliefs led her to lie to Work and Income. Turei campaigned for the McGillicuddy Serious Party while receiving her benefit, and was a part of a theatre group.

“None of us had any money. I think that’s the thing – people on benefits are entitled to a life as well. They need the financial resources so they can pay the rent and put food on the table, they need a pathway out of welfare.

“But they also need to engage in the world, to be able to be with family, to have friends, to do other things, be politically engaged if that is what they choose. We shouldn’t have a benefit system that locks people out of their community.”

Some like Turei think that the state should fund a choice of lifestyle.

Others cut back on some of their social life when they have children, and when they are on a benefit.

Audrey Young:  Metiria Turei turns spotlight on her own failures

MSD investigators would not be doing their job if they did not ask whether one of the flatmates was a boyfriend living in a de facto relationship and whether they could talk to some of the flatmates.

That would elevate the issue from an overpayment to a more serious breach of the law. It is a simple question Turei has repeatedly failed to answer because she believes that the state is intruding on private lives.

On the other hand, she might discover that any offending is considered at the lowest level or that there was no offending at all because she was within the flatmate allowance.

But the actual offending and any debt has been of less concern to many of Turei’s critics than her attitude which has remained one of unswerving entitlement to break the law.

This is where Turei has got herself and her party into a quagmire from which it will be difficult to extricate itself.

Her sense of entitlement to break the law has invited a host of examples moral equivalents – hypothetical offending by other types of people, including say farmers, and other types of offending, including say tax fraud, in order to justify getting more money to feed the kids.

Many people starting small businesses suffer from financial hardship for some time, and it’s not uncommon to not pay taxes because there is a choice between that and feeding their families and paying basic bills.

But taxes shouldn’t be just waived for anyone who claims to be in financial hardship.

In the meantime, the focus is finally starting to turn away from Turei and towards the Greens’ new social welfare policy which is to remove sanctions and obligations from welfare recipients.

That includes women receiving sole parent support (the old Dpb) living with their boyfriends.

Under the Green Party policy, a man and woman can be living in a de facto relationship for three years with one of them working and earning and the other getting a benefit without losing the benefit.

There are not too many people who would see that as the fair application of a safety net.

Under that policy the state would need the right to investigate someone’s private circumstances, unless the Greens want it to operate on a trust system, where it’s leader says that breaking the law to get more benefit is justifiable.

Turei’s actions were designed to turn a spotlight on the failures of the system. They have instead turned the spotlight on her own failures as a politician.

This could become a quagmire for Turei and the Greens. I don’t know how well they thought this through before making an issue of it – I suspect some idealistic tunnel vision may have missed the possible jeopardy.

But it’s the kids that cop the consequences

A difficult situation was raised on The Nation this morning – a policy where mothers who don’t name the father of their children gets less benefit.

The Nation: Lisa Owen interviews Andrew Becroft

Lisa Owen: Well, seeing as we’re talking about benefits, there is more than 13,000, and they’re mainly women, who are currently getting their benefits docked because they name or won’t name the father of their child. That equates to 17,000 children who are missing out because that money’s not in the benefit every week. Do you think that that is a policy that puts kids at the centre?

Andrew Becroft: No. I don’t. In fact, we gave to this government three, what we thought, were doable improvements that would improve the position of children at the most disadvantaged end. That was one of them – to remove that obligation.

Lisa Own: So, you believe that those sanctions – because there’s an opportunity to do it, as that piece of legislation is under review – so you do you think that they should can that? That it’s too punitive for kids?

Andrew Becroft: In principle, I don’t think it’s child-centred or child-focused. And whatever the rationale for it, it disadvantages kids and it’s not good for children.

If the welfare of the children is paramount, then this seems a draconian and punitive policy that is certain to adversely affect the kids.

Of course children not knowing who their father is is not a great situation either.

Neither is it good that fathers don’t take responsibility for the care and provision of their children.

On Thursday the Herald had an article about this with an eye raising example:  Sanction hurting solo mums by reducing benefit for not naming father

Parents who don’t legally identify the other parent have $22 deducted every week for each child. A further $6 per family is added if it continues for over 13 weeks.

Auckland woman Stephanie, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, can’t prove the father of five of her 10 children. She gets $116 deducted from her benefit every week.

Wow on both counts – the lack of proof of fatherhood of 5 of ten children, and the $116 deduction.

She said the father of four of her children has denied he is their parent. The 33-year-old is currently pursuing court action to get a paternity test. The father of her youngest child claimed he hasn’t had the birth registration papers delivered to his house for him to sign.

Stephanie said it was like the Government was punishing her and her children, when the blame sat with the fathers.

Instead it was her and her babies that went without food and clothing and struggled to make ends meet.

“Caring for them isn’t hard, but financially it is. We can’t afford heaps of things.

A certain amount of the blame is certainly with the fathers. A father should take responsibility for the care of their children, full stop.

But I don’t like the threat of a reduction of a benefit being used as stick to try to force revealing who the parent is. It shouldn’t have to come to this (parents’ responsibility), but it is also not a good way to deal with it.

But a mother who has 10 children with what sounds like at least three fathers has to take a big dollop of responsibility too.

Men have to take some responsibility for birth control if they have sex.

But the ultimate responsibility has to be with the mother. Once a woman becomes pregnant it can be her sole responsibility whether she has the baby or not.

I think it’s fair to question the responsibility of having ten children and relying on the benefit to support them. It seems an extraordinary situation.

The mother has to take some responsibility for being a solo parent – as do the fathers.

A Ministry of Social Development spokeswoman said the policy was introduced in 1990 to encourage the other parent to take responsibility and contribute to the cost of raising their child.

“If a person does not apply for Child Support or identify the other paying parent, their benefit rate will be reduced.”

The spokeswoman said an exemption can be granted for reasons such as family violence concerns, the pregnancy being a result of sexual violation and insufficient evidence being available to establish who the other parent is.

But Cole said an exemption was difficult to obtain and meant the beneficiary had to disclose their sexual history to a lawyer and then retell that story in an open-plan Winz office.

I think that’s putting sole parents in an awful situation.

But some people – both mothers and fathers – put their children in awful situations through a lack of responsibility, restraint or contraception.

This is something that has no easy solutions. The kids are the ones who will suffer – from a lack of money and from a lack of parent.

 

John Banks paternity claims

It’s unusual to see paternity claims in court and published in the media, but a case brought against John Banks claiming he is the father of an Anthony Shaw. Shaw’s mother has just gone public supporting her son’s claim.

If Banks is Shaw’s father it’s sad to see him so strongly avoiding accepting it.

NZ Herald:  Are you my father, Mr Banks?

In 2001, the year John Banks first became mayor of Auckland, anonymous letters were sent to various media organisations claiming he had fathered a child, “his 31-year-old son that he has ignored all his life since he was 3 years old”. Herald journalist Phil Taylor investigated at the time.

The mother who claims that her first-born was fathered by John Banks was a young nurse by the name of Pam Shaw. She was living in Hamilton when she became pregnant.

I saw her several times at her Mt Albert home in 2001 and 2002. Her married name is Pam Mayes. Mayes told me that Banks had been a travelling salesman for pharmaceuticals company Pfizer, that they had had a sexual relationship while she was not on the contraceptive pill and that she was not seeing anyone else when she became pregnant.

Mayes claimed that when she learned she was pregnant she told Banks but he did not want to take responsibility.

No father is named on (Shaw’s) birth certificate.

Mayes decided to tell her son who his real father is, and to tell Banks that he was a grandfather and ask him to acknowledge Antony. “I thought if he can be that upset at this stage of his life about not knowing his own father, I’m going to ask him to do something about Antony.”

Mayes told me that she met Banks at least twice – in a restaurant in Wellington and at a cafe at St Lukes shopping centre. She had also written to him about her plan to tell her family about her belief that Banks was Antony’s father.

Banks did not want her to tell, Mayes said, but he did not rule out seeing Antony.

“I had always accepted what my mother told me, that Harry was my father, but I never felt Chinese and I don’t have Chinese features,” Antony said.

“But if you line up John Bank’s photograph alongside mine, there is an unbelievable likeness.”

I spoke to Bernard Shaw, an uncle Antony was close to. Bernard told me he had many conversations with Banks about it. The former police minister and Auckland mayor had said, claimed Bernard, that he couldn’t swear he wasn’t the father because he did have a sexual relationship with her.

Taylor interviewed Banks about it in 2001. Banks didn’t deny what Pam Mayes said about being the father, but warned Taylor.

Taylor: Can I ask you, is it wrong what she is saying?

Banks: No no no. I just want to say to you … just be very very careful. Seek some highly-focused, highly-placed legal advice. That’s all I want to say. Thanks for your time.

Last Thursday the issue appeared in court news: John Banks could prevent costly paternity case by taking simple DNA test, says judge

A judge says a simple DNA test could resolve a paternity dispute involving former Cabinet minister John Banks – and prevent a costly High Court trial.

The former Auckland mayor made no appearance this morning when the case had its first call in the High Court at Auckland.

Antony Shaw, 47, claims he is Banks’ son and he is asking a judge to declare that the controversial politician is his birth father.

If the case is successful, Banks could be declared Shaw’s next of kin with legal implications relating to potential claims against Banks’ will.

The court heard Shaw’s legal team, headed by Lowndes litigation partner Jacque Lethbridge, had encountered difficulties in serving documents on Banks, who they say has not engaged in attempts to resolve the claim.

Justice Tim Brewer…made the point that if Banks had been unaware of today’s hearing, media coverage since the story broke in this morning’s Herald meant the two-time Auckland mayor would now “know what’s going on”.

He added that a full High Court paternity proceeding would bring enormous costs. This could be prevented by a simple DNA test which could conclusively rule out Banks as being Shaw’s birth parent.

Today in Herald on Sunday: Mother of Banks’ alleged love child breaks her silence

In an exclusive interview with the Herald on Sunday, Shaw’s mother, Pam Mayes, said of Banks: “John is very silly. I think every child has the right to know who their parents are”.

Mayes claims she had a relationship with Banks when she was a Waikato Hospital nurse in the late 1960s. At the time Banks was a salesman for a pharmaceutical company.

Mayes told the Herald on Sunday the relationship initially ended when she found out she was pregnant.

If true that in itself is sad.

Mayes said she finally told Shaw about his biological dad after Banks revealed publicly the impact of not having a relationship with his own father in his Parliamentary valedictory speech in October, 1999.

Banks had said “No one knows better than I the crushing heartache of living with no mother and no father”.

Mayes, 69, only found out about her son’s paternity case after reading about it in the New Zealand Herald last week.

“I thought, ‘Oh, here we go – another kid has come forward’. I didn’t realise it was Antony till I read it”.

Mayes said she had been surprised neither her son, nor his legal team, had contacted her about the paternity case.

“I now regret I ever told Antony about John but back then I thought I was doing the right thing,” she said.

“He is my son. I love him and I will always be there for him. It’s a shame it’s come to this and I fear the opportunity to make peace has sailed away.”

The lack of contact between Shaw and his mother suggests all is not well in that relationship either.

Shaw’s lawyer, Jacque Lethbridge said her client also didn’t want to comment.

“These proceedings were filed at the end of last year, and despite being served in April with a full set of proceedings including the affidavit evidence, but he just hasn’t engaged at all.”

The next hearing in the dispute is set down for June 29.

If it is true that Banks is Shaw’s father – as looks likely by what has been claimed by the mother, and the likeness in appearance – then this may be more than just Banks avoiding responsibilities and contact as a father.

Banks has said he had a difficult relationship with his own father (and mother), and he may think that no relationship is better than a bad relationship.

It’s also possible that Banks has dug himself into an emotional hole – once he started to deny being the father or avoid conceding that he is the father he may be finding it hard to now admit that he could be.

There may be reasons for avoiding responsibility when the mother was pregnant but a farther shirking responsibility when a pregnancy results from a relationship normally is not good. Banks may now be unwilling to front up on this.

In 2001 Shaw was 31 so must have been born about 1970. Banks got married in 1987 and adopted 3 children from a St Petersburg orphanage.

There doesn’t seem to be any reports of Banks being a biological father apart from the Shaw claim.

Denying paternity is quite sad, for both the father and the child.

Gender equality for post-natal depression?

I’m sure that many men suffer from post-natal depression of sorts, but I question calling it post-natal depression alongside the common female condition.

I consider having children was easily the biggest and best achievement of my life, but it was also brought about the biggest change in my life. And over the next 25 years it wasn’t always easy.

Men have to adjust to possibly the love of their life transforming from mutual devotion to their focus shifted substantially on a new person in their lives. A first baby especially forces huge changes on lifestyles and relationships. Sleep deprivation on it’s own can cause problems.

The pluses far outweigh the minuses for me, but there were challenges for sure.

However men have nothing like the challenges of carrying a growing human being for about nine months, the physical trauma of giving birth, the hormonal changes during and afterwards, and the maternal instinct that demands a shift in attention to a new dependant person at their most needy and vulnerable.

But despite the differences Stuff labels father’s struggles alongside those that mothers face.

New fathers can also struggle with post-natal depression

Research from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study released in February reported 6.2 per cent of men experienced depression symptoms from the third trimester of pregnancy to nine months after birth.

That doesn’t surprise me, but I wonder how that compares to overall rates of male depression.

“It was a good eight or nine weeks of almost running out of the house to go to work in the morning so I didn’t have to be with this attention seeking little human.”

It was the midwife who joined the dots.

“I told her the baby was crying for no reason at all and she said, ‘Neil, your child is four weeks old. She is crying because she needs something.’

“She said, ‘Have you thought about the fact you might have the baby blues? What you’re experiencing are the typical signs for the dad, but it never gets spoken about'”

It was the first he had heard of it, but identifying what was going on helped him take a step back, and tackle the same feelings when they arrived after the birth his son, three years later.

“But without that chat with the midwife, I would have had myself down as not being the fathering type.”

This sounds like having difficulties adjusting to fatherhood. It’s common for people to struggle at times with major changes in their lives.

Antoinette Ben, executive director at Post and Ante-Natal Distress Support Wellington, estimated for every 10 women who asked her organisation for help, one father would come forward – and most were first-time dads.

Not surprising considering the often huge lifestyle change, relationship change, sex life change, responsibility change and change in sleeping opportunities and patterns and length.

Dr Dougal Sutherland of Victoria University School of Psychology said some dads were unable to recognise they were struggling with their mental health.

“Particularly with a first child, you’re so deeply in it with the first baby, it’s very hard to see out over the edge of the parapet, so to speak, because you’re up to your neck in nappies and bottles,” Sutherland said.

“I have certainly spoken to guys who’ve felt jealous towards the baby, they’ve felt unloved and unwanted by their partners because all the attention is focused on the baby and they’re saying ‘what about me?'”

Fathers can face real problems but I think they are different to some (not all) of the bigger changes mothers have to contend with.

Sutherland said socialising with other dads can help, as well as ensuring there was a wider support network behind them.

Boothby wanted new dads who were having a tough time to know they weren’t alone, and hoped they would have the courage to talk to someone.

“There is such a macho-ism around being a new father and being the protector –  but it is natural and there is people out there who are aware of it.”

The role of (many) fathers has changed a lot over the last half century. It is far more common now for fathers to be much more involved in the pregnancy, birth and raising of children.

It figures that that will bring with it different pressures and challenges, and that will affect mental health of some.

Fathers do have something different to contend with though – if the mother has post-natal depression that can exacerbate the pressures and stresses of being a father

Real issues, but not the same as female post natal depression.


I became a father with zero experience, but looked forward to the chance to become a dad. I encouraged an early exit from the maternity home – in those days a week was still the norm and less had to be fought for.

I just wanted to get the newly formed family home so we could do things ourselves without the interference of nurses – they meant well and were a help but also in those days tended to dismiss the input of fathers.

Having a very capable mother helped quite a bit, but for the biggest job of my life I learned on the job. that seems remarkable in a way, given the responsibilities. But humans, like any animals, have parented like this forever, using instinct and common sense.

I came through it all pretty well I think – when I see the resulting kids (now adults) and grand kids I’m very happy, and I’m grateful that the pressures and problems didn’t weigh down too heavily on me.

I was fortunate not to have to deal with  serious child health or behavioural issues, some parents have to cope with far more than I ever did.

All dads have difficulties adjusting and ongoing challenges raising a family. For whatever reason some have more serious difficulties I hope they seek and get the support they need.

“Plunket’s message to mums and dads is that it is never too early or too late to ask for help.”

Fuck and run fathers and male irresponsibility

A comment on Sensible reaction from Little on Tolley/contraception raises some of the most important issues when it comes to at risk CYF kids and contraception.

I have worked on construction sites where the usual minimum wage day labourer sorts brag about the number of females they got pregnant. One had 4 kids to 3 females and was very proud of that.

Thats a lot of low quality sperm getting sprayed everywhere and fertilising equally low quality eggs and its the tax payer that will be paying over and over for it as the low IQ progeny work their way through the welfare, education and justice system.

It has to stop.

For every women (or girl) who has a baby who is born into an at risk family/lack of family situation there is also a father (I doubt that many of these kids are the result of artificial insemination or immaculate conception).

It’s known that it’s common in the problem demographics for struggling or incompetent mothers to have multiple fathers of their children.

Not all multiple father families are a problem, far from it.

But irresponsible father families – or no responsibility father families – are a major part of the problem, from fuck and run fathers to those who can’t cope and move on.

Why is it common for males to actively have sex knowing it may result on offspring that they have little or no intention of taking any financial or parenting responsibility for?

Like drink driving forty years ago it is probably seen as a joke by some, and an achievement by others.

But the victims are many, and they include the mothers who get pressured or conned into having unprotected sex, but most importantly the victims are the many kids born into hopeless situations because they have hopeless fathers.

This is a substantial systemic male problem.

So this needs male leadership. Not the easy male leadership in politics, business and sport.

It’s very difficult leadership that’s required, both because it’s a difficult issue, and because males seem to have difficulty in taking joint responsibility for male problems.

Many males are either a part of or do nothing about masculine culture irresponsibility when it comes to contraception and fatherhood.

How about it male political leaders? Who is willing to to stand up and confront the fuck and run father mentality?

John Key?
Andrew Little?
Winston Peters?
James Shaw?
Te Ururoa Flavell?Peter Dunne?
David Seymour?

Children’s rights, fathers and war

For the record I’d like to make it clear what I think about a topic that was raised on Kiwiblog yesterday and some comments I made that were misinterpreted by some and blatantly misrepresented by others, leading to yet another string of attacks on me.

In relation to gay marriage ‘mandk’ referred to “the right of kids to have and know a father”. I responded:

There is no such right. Obviously every kid has a biological father, but that doesn’t guarantee any rights for the child (or father).

WW I and WW II are prime examples of the prority many fathers put on fighting for their country over being a father for their children.

There was a mixed reaction, with some agreeing and some disagreeing. It wasn’t worded as clearly as it could be, with some people taking it as a criticism of fathers who went to war. It wasn’t intended as such, I was simply pointing out an example of the need to defend a country overrode any so called “right” of children to have a father in their lives.

But for a very long time men have left children at home and have gone off to war. Many fathers were not able to return to their families. and some chose not to return, and otherwes returned to find family circumstances had changed, and they were no longer wanted – that would have been a very bitter return to civilian life for some.

The simple fact is that children don’t have a right to have both parents at home, it’s an advantage but not always possible – nor chosen by one or both parents.

nasska added:

You bring up a good point. Whereas the ‘ideal’ situation is for a kid to be brought up with their biological mother & father for various reasons heaps haven’t yet have still turned out good well adjusted citizens. There is no shortage of Kiwis who because of (for instance) war, road fatalities, cancer or industrial accidents have been brought up by one parent or had a step parent involved in their lives.

Sub optimum is not necessarily sub standard.

Sub optimum is very common, not just regrding parental involvement, but also with things like money.

John Key is a very good example of someone who had a sub-optimal parental and financial childhood but who managed to be very successful in his career and very popular as a Prime Minister.

And Judith said:

You are right, there are fathers and indeed mothers who abandon their children for all types of reasons, some which seem totally bizarre to us. I personally could not conceive of any reason that would make me abandon my children, or my grandchildren, but then I’ve never been put in a position where I would have to decide.

Whilst it is easy to sit and judge, and we all do, including myself, I also believe that until one is put in the same situation, we do not know what our limit would be. Some parents abandon their children because they believe they are doing the best thing for them, that their child’s life would be better without them in it.

There are also may men and a growing number of women who have work and career priorities conflicting with the needs of their children.

Absentee fathers in particular, for a variety of reasons, has long been a part of family lives.

There’s no doubt the vast majority of children are better of growing up with both own parentsSometimes that’s not possible, sometimes one or both parents decide they don’t want to be a part of the child’s life, and a small minority of parents are best kept seperated from their children.