Auckland's mayoral also-rans bicker and squabble
An Auckland mayoralty debate descended into farce on Monday night, with one candidate commandeering the microphone and shouting "Allahu Akbar" while others bickered over who was allowed to talk.
The debate at Shadows, a student bar at the University of Auckland, unravelled when late-arrival David Hay asked if he could have 30 seconds on the mic.
Rival candidate Alezix Heneti took exception to Mr Hay's request, considering he was not only late, but had pulled out of the race the day before and thrown his support behind the frontrunner, Phil Goff.
Mr Hay had been at another meeting and had been granted permission to speak by the Auckland University Students' Association.
"Do I get 30 seconds?" Mr Hay asked, after being given the microphone.
"You don't deserve the 30 seconds, you pulled out," yelled Ms Heneti. "You don't deserve the right to be here, no, you need to leave."
Mr Hay asked for Ms Heneti's mic to be turned down and said he was still in the running.
"You cannot withdraw from the mayoral race unless you go mad or die. I am not dead, but I might be mad."
Both were interrupted when Adam Holland, whose campaign Facebook page is adorned with a marijuana leaf, stood up and started shouting, "Vote for me! Vote for me! Who cares about them? Vote for me! I can be your Mayor."
Mr Holland, wearing Chuck Taylor shoes and a full-length smock, hogged the floor for the next two minutes, while off-stage Ms Heneti and Mr Hay almost came to blows.
Mr Hay could be seen jogging on the spot, breathing heavily, like a boxer does before a bout.
"You've turned this into a circus," shouted Mr Holland. "Oh my! There's gonna be a brawl, I can feel a brawl!"
Youngest candidate Chloe Swarbrick tried to calm him down, asking for the microphone, but was rebuffed.
"No! I'm expressing my f***ing views," Mr Holland shouted, before burping into the microphone, wailing and then shouting "Allahu Akbar!" over and over.
The whole time, the other candidates sat silently on the stage, including Penny Bright, who was uncharacteristically quiet through the entire farce.
Mr Hay later said it was the most interesting thing to happen so far during the campaign.
"The situation was utterly bizarre, but not completely out of control. I didn't fear for my own safety, or that of others."
He intended to use his 30 seconds to vouch against the first-past-the-post system used to elect the Mayor, saying he endorsed Mr Goff because he's a "realist".
"I announced my support for Phil Goff as the best of the candidates who have a realistic chance of winning. If we had Single Transferable Vote, I would not have done that. Last night's fracas would not have happened."
Mr Holland later took to Facebook to say he was "incredibly drunk".
"Honestly, if the Auckland University Students Association… are offended - I don't care."
He blamed the fracas on Ms Swarbrick, calling her "rude, loud, obnoxious" and said she was "picking fights with members of the audience".
Ms Swarbrick has been contacted for a response.
Anti-fluoride candidate Tricia Cheel wrote on her blog it was a "right bunfight" which started when Ms Heneti descended on Mr Hay like a "shriek of orange".
She also said Mr Holland was downing "jugs" and "not a good advertisement for legalising cannabis".
Ms Cheel was unsure if her message got through in the "ruckus".