The War for Auckland: A Voter's Guide

The Mayor

Your Candidates

Mario Alupis Mario ALUPIS

Aileen Austin Aileen AUSTIN Independent

Penny Bright Penny BRIGHT Independent

Patrick Brown Patrick BROWN Communist League

Tricia Cheel Tricia CHEEL STOP

Vic Crone Vic CRONE Independent

Phil Goff Phil GOFF Independent

David Hay David HAY Independent

Alex Heneti Alezix HENETI

Adam John Holland Phil O'CONNOR Auckland Legalise Cannabis

Susanna Kruger Susanna KRUGER Independent

Stan Martin Stan MARTIN Independent

Binh Thanh Nguyen Binh Thanh NGUYEN Independent

Phil O’Connor Phil O'CONNOR Christians Against Abortion

John Palino John PALINO Independent

Tyrone Raumati Tyrone RAUMATI Greater Auckland

Chloe Swarbrick Chloe SWARBRICK Independent

Mark Thomas Mark THOMAS Independent

Wayne Young Wayne YOUNG

Click below to see the Spinoff endorsements

A blue S denotes a coveted Spinoff endorsement; a grey S = a capable candidate who didn’t quite make the cut. Click here for our general backgrounder.

What happened to Rebel Vic?

She started so well, promising to crack down on land bankers and people who leave their houses empty. Spinoff overlord Duncan Greive composed a paean to her disruptive policy announcement. Herald editor-turned-blogger Tim Murphy followed him into the church of Crone, issued a mea culpa for his criminally bad hashtag #xerochance, and admitted the former Xero boss had all-but won him over during a hushed gathering of elderly Takapuna residents.

Suddenly Crone was soaring; floating high on the hot winds of Spinoff praise.

Then she began to fall.

There were the driverless buses. As a web blog, we’re in favour of “computers”. But the tech utopianism was all a bit mid-ranking Ted Talk.

More head-scratching transport policies followed. At her official campaign launch, Crone targeted the lords and ladies of the North Shore with a promise to fast-track another harbour crossing. A few days later ATAP came out, pushing the non-urgent project back to 2040 or so.

There were gaffes. The biggest came when a journalist asked whether she believed in man-made climate change. Crone said she didn’t want to be “drawn” into the “debate”. For the record the correct answer to that question is always shouting “yes” until your throat is bright red.

As Crone plummeted, Chloe Swarbrick rose; soaring upwards, upwards, to the stratospheric height of 5% in a Horizon poll published on The Spinoff. Okay. Maybe some of the euphoria surrounding her campaign has been overblown, but her ascent into the top four is truly impressive for a campaign run by a 22-year-old with a staff of herself and a budget of roughly $4 and a packet of Edam cheese.

After an initial, surprisingly fruitful effort to source policy in the hellpits of Reddit, Swarbrick began banging out webpage after webpage of shockingly sensible ideas, advocating to base rates on land, rather than capital, value, and promising to lower Auckland’s apocalyptically high house prices.

Her campaign is a damning indictment of the current crop of councillors and candidates. As Swarbrick said at The Spinoff’s mayoral debate – “I honestly thought this would be a lot harder”.

But then there’s Phil Goff.

Boring old Goff. Mr Consistent. Forty years in politics with only three sick days and one possible death; 45 years grimly locked in the same unshakeable coitus.


He’s not new. He’s not that interesting. And he’s not especially interested in being interesting.

If he’d caved in to a few NIMBY groups, promised them less high rise in return for their votes, we could be giving a coveted blue tick to the Chloenator right now. If he’d treated the race like a cakewalk, and come out with some ill-thought out transport policy we may have been pinning our Spinoff endorsement to the Crone coat of arms.

But Goff has run a good campaign.

Every meeting he goes to, he rattles off an impressive array of policy from memory, spelling out his case for a compact city built around public transport nodes. He doesn’t pander to anti-change brigadiers, and often seems to win them over with his wonkish arguments.

Many people have tried to paint his experience in politics as a disadvantage. It’s not. The mayor doesn’t have a lot of voting power. Most of his or her job is negotiating with other politicians: goading councillors into backing an agenda; desperately petitioning Government to fund sane transport projects.

Goff has that experience. He knows John Key, Simon Bridges and the other National power brokers. He’s already suffered through trying to muster some semblance of unity from the worst bunch of backstabbers in politics.

And he’s someone Aucklanders know and respect, albeit sometimes grudgingly. Most of us won’t shriek in excitement at the thought of Goff. But we can be sure he has the political skills to win support for his vision, and actually push it through any semi-functional council. We can look at his record and confidently intone: “Now there’s a man who’s not going to fuck everything up.”

At this precarious point in Auckland’s history, that’s enough for a blue tick.