Bridges on the fence over mayoral battle: 'I like them both'

News 04/03/2019

National leader Simon Bridges is staying quiet on who he'd prefer to be Auckland Mayor.

This year's election will see two former Labour MPs go head-to-head for the role. Phil Goff is the incumbent, and John Tamihere the outsider looking to topple him.

Mr Bridges expects just as John Key had to deal with left-leaning Mayors for most of his time as Prime Minister, he'll have the same problem.

"No comment," Mr Bridges said when first asked by AM Show host Duncan Garner which of the two he'd prefer to be Mayor.

Garner pushed him for a better answer.

"Why are you so finickity Duncan, at this early in the morning? I'll tell you why. Because I reckon we will win, and when we win, I'll have to work with whichever one it is. I like them both."

Mr Tamihere is running with a former National Party MP and Mayor Christine Fletcher at his side, and his recent application to rejoin the Labour Party was rejected.

Labour has endorsed Mr Goff, who used to lead the party.

There is a third candidate in the running - restaurateur John Palino - whose views would align better with National, but he's run twice before without success. He came second in 2013 behind Len Brown, and after being accused of engaging in dirty politics, his fortunes plummeted - coming fourth in 2016.