Mark Thomas announces mayoralty ambitions
The race to replace Len Brown as Mayor of Auckland next year has begun, with the deputy chair of the Orakei Local Board announcing he will run for the job.
Mark Thomas, a second term Auckland Council member and business owner, says his campaign would focus on delivering local transport priorities, resolving the debate around transport funding and working on more popular housing and growth plans for the city.
"Five years since amalgamation Aucklanders have not seen enough progress on the issues that matter most," he says. "Auckland is becoming more unaffordable, traffic congestion is getting worse and the region's growth plans have divided communities."
Mr Thomas is a former National Party candidate for Wellington Central who has also worked in the Parliamentary Research unit.
Last council election, Mr Thomas received just under 17,000 votes, compared to around 164,000 for Mr Brown.
"We have to rewrite the Auckland Plan and focus it better on the things that matter most and which we can afford."
Labour MP Phil Goff is also expected to enter the race, telling the New Zealand Herald "it is likely I will put my name forward". He said he would most probably make the announcement before Christmas.
The city's elections take place in October next year.