The War for Auckland: A Voter's Guide

Waitematā and Gulf ward

Your Candidates

Mike Lee Mike LEE

Bill Ralston Bill RALSTON Independent

Rob Thomas Rob THOMAS Independent

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.

This endorsement is more anti-Mike Lee than pro-Bill Ralston.

Rob Thomas easily scored highest of the three candidates in Generation Zero’s rankings. He’s against sprawl and road-only transport projects, and for cycleways and inner-city intensification.

But he’s unlikely to depose the incumbent.

The best hope for that is Ralston, a charismatic former media boss renowned for his long lunches and haphazard tweeting style. He says his top priority is public transport, though he seems not to want to sacrifice road space to make it happen. But his support for the Unitary Plan is what sets him apart from his rival, who we’ve repeatedly accused of being a sea goblin trying to trap Herne Bay in a 1950s time prison.

Lee has been a great ally for public transport over the years, and a supporter of the City Rail Link. But his performance at the Unitary Plan hearings could euphemistically be described as utterly appalling. He voted against upzoning the central city; deleting unneeded heritage protections; the removal of density controls. He voted “no” nearly double the number of times of any other councillor, and in the most crucial areas of the Plan.

Doing that in a vacuum is difficult to accept. Doing it during a housing crisis, when many Aucklanders are sleeping in cars and garages, or facing the prospect of never owning a home, is impossible to accept.

Hold your nose if you have to. But we suggest voting Ralston.