Written by Staff Writer at CNN New Zealand, Charlotte Greenfield
New Zealand MP John Banks is now the proud owner of an unexpected new bike: a baby girl born at the wheel of his bicycle.
While his wife, Erina, prepared to give birth, the Labour politician took off on a 60-mile ride to the maternity ward where he witnessed the birth of his daughter — just moments after telling Erina “it’s all a bit funny, I shouldn’t be doing that.”
Speaking to TVNZ, Banks said: “As I’m going across field, I’m putting my baby on my shoulder and sitting on the side of a hill… it was a bit of a comedic script. But a very well scripted script. I was very proud.”
New Zealand politician John Banks returns to the parliament in Wellington. Matthew Bennett/The Dominion Post via AP Images
Banks was still immersed in labor at the time of filming, having gone into labor at an unusually early stage.
“Erina had said to me that she was going to go into labor at 10 o’clock,” he said. “So I thought…’I better give myself a heads up.'”
He said it was clear Erina had pushed a lot in recent weeks, so by 10.15am he knew he needed to head for the hospital. “I just left Erina at 9 o’clock and went out on my bike. The paramedics were stopped. I was on my way to the hospital.”
Baby Grace was born early, and healthy, at Wellington’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, complete with quintessential first-time jitters. Her father didn’t react to the news — “I’m still basically an absolute zombie at this stage,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
Banks’ wife called him when she got to the hospital and explained that the baby was on her way. “It was sort of cool.”
New Zealand politician John Banks spotted taking his baby daughter Grace to the hospital from the Labor Party leader Jacinda Ardern’s office in Dunedin. Matthew Bennett/The Dominion Post via AP Images
He said he didn’t do anything special to relax with his family before the birth, and explained he wouldn’t normally have gone on a bike ride like this.
“Nothing special, just an objective,” he told TVNZ. “I’m a people’s politician, I’m around my electorate all the time. Just a normal one.”
His partner said it was important to her for Banks to know that he was needed at the hospital.
“We were both talking about that being a difficult decision to have to make,” Erina Banks told TVNZ. “I was in labor for a good seven hours in a ward. I thought it was important for him to come home to be there and help with everything. I probably would have been more stressed in the ward had he been at home.”
The new father of four was seen getting his daughters from the waiting car at the hospital, and leaving after a doctor had explained where Grace would be delivered.
After news of his wife’s labor was shared online, some commenters were skeptical Banks and his family could actually be in Dunedin.
The medical community in NZ seems happy to help John Banks cheat his way home with Grace, if he’s really this short for an EBM. #NZLL — Natalie Walker (@natw1887) June 1, 2021
New Zealand director Jim Sheridan posted on Twitter: “I wonder if some type of coupon legal advice was being given to this Labour Party ‘delivery boy’?”