Former Labour Leader Phil Goff is likely to run for the Auckland mayoralty but not as a Labour candidate.

Mr Goff told POLITIK last night that if he runs he will run as an independent.

However he would stay on as a Labour MP until (and if) he was elected.

He said he had not discussed his intentions with the current Mayor, Len Brown, who ran under the Labour-aligned New Vision ticket.

“My values are Labour, I’ve been around too long and I’ve held those values too long to change ‘my values,” he said.

“But what I can do in a position that doesn’t require partisanship is to work fairly with people of different political persuasions.”

Mr Goff is usually described as being on the right of the Labour party and by standing as an independent he is plainly hoping that will position him as a centrist in the Auckland Mayoral contest.

“I don’t think you can run on a party ticket for the Auckland Mayoralty if the purpose of the exercise is to be able or at least in a position to try to pull the Council and the different parts of Auckland together,” he said.

“As soon as you stand on a party platform you alienate half of your electors and arguably half of the Council.

“I’m at the point of my life where I’m more interested in evidence driven solutions than ideologically driven solutions.”


The sitting mayor, Len Brown, who runs under the Labour-aligned New Vision banner, is said by people who know him well to be “desperate” to run again despite the sex scandal that has all but buried his current Mayoral term.

On the other side of the political fence National Party stalwart Mark Thomas  has announced he will run for Mayor but he is unlikely to get the support of the vestigial new centre-right group being formed with the intention of taking control of the Council.

He is simply too little known. Last night his Facebook video announcing his candidacy had attracted only 19 likes.

Nevertheless the centre right group believe Mr Goff is beatable.

They think   that his problem is that he will be seen as a politician and that Aucklanders may be cynical about that.

But the grouping has yet to find a candidate.  

Mr Goff says he will make the decision on whether to stand by Christmas, but it is abundantly clear that he has put a great deal of thought into how he would handle the job if he became Mayor.

He says he has been having intensive talks with people and groups across the city.

“I want to be certain that in that position you can do something to make a difference,” he said.

“While responsibilities have been devolved to the super city the purse strings remain firmly within the grasp of the government.

“I don’t want to spend three years cutting ribbons and not being able to do anything.”

But as Mr Brown has discovered not only is the Mayor constrained by Wellington but he has also been limited by the politics of the Council.

Mr Goff believes the Council needs to take an “Auckland Inc” approach to issues.

“I would say to them that if you come together and support what is well researched and well prepared and well-argued we’ve got a chance of taking Auckland forward.

“If you don’t do that then you are cutting the ground out from under your feet.”

He said the priority issues for Auckland had to be to relieve traffic congestion and to deliver affordable housing.

And he believes that the both the Council land the Government need to understand that Auckland makes up a third of the New Zealand economy and if it is not growing then New Zealand cannot grow.

What’s he’s saying is typical Goff. It’s moderate, restrained and very deliberate.

And that will be how he positions himself in the centre of Auckland politics which he presumably hopes will mean he can come through the middle while the right and left knock each other out.