Former Auckland Mayor John Banks loses paternity case

A 47-year-old man has now been declared his son.
A 47-year-old man has now been declared his son. Photo credit: Getty

Former cabinet minister and former Auckland mayor John Banks has lost a paternity case, with a 47-year-old man now declared his son.

Antony Shaw this month asked the High Court to declare the wealthy former politician was his father and has been granted that wish in a decision released on Friday.

During the hearing, Mr Shaw's mother, Pamela Mayes, alleged in an affidavit she and Mr Banks dated from 1966 to 1969, but that their relationship ended when she became pregnant and refused to terminate the pregnancy, despite pressure from him.

Ms Mayes said she raised Mr Shaw believing another man was his father but said she was prompted to come out with the truth after the birth of her grandson in 1997.

Mr Banks had refused to engage and then declined to get a DNA test, she said.

Courts cannot compel someone to give DNA in a paternity case and Mr Banks did not appear in court or respond to evidence during the proceedings.

In her ruling, Justice Patricia Courtney said it was unlikely the man Mr Shaw had believed was his father growing up actually was, because he was Chinese, while Mr Shaw described his likeness to Mr Banks as "striking".

"I accept there is a high degree of similarity between the photographs of the two," she said.

"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.

"I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Mr Banks is Mr Shaw's father."

She also awarded Mr Shaw costs.

Lawyers for Mr Shaw, who lives in Japan with his family, said he had been pursuing the issue since the early 2000s, but had to put it on hold to look after his son.

They said he was interested in his heritage and had not been motivated by money.

In an earlier statement Mr Shaw said he was "extremely disappointed" the issue had been dragged out into a costly legal debate.