Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has confirmed he'll be seeking a second term.
The former Labour MP told NZME on Sunday rates would have to increase over the next three years to pay for the growing city's services.
"I guess we all want to go to heaven but none of us want to die," he said, confirming he'd let rates go up 3.5 percent annually - more than the 2.5 percent of the past few years.
"I think it's the responsible thing to do to keep rates at a level where some Aucklanders who are under pressure can still afford to pay for their rates but to still deliver the things that our city desperately needs."
Mr Goff, who won easily in 2016 against Vic Crone, Chloe Swarbrick and John Palino, is set to formally declare his bid on Sunday afternoon.
His confirmed opponents so far are fellow former Labour MP John Tamihere and Mr Palino, a restaurateur who's run twice before. Ms Swarbrick is now a Green Party MP.
In his first term Mr Goff introduced a levy on fuel to help fund Auckland's transport infrastructure, rather than raise rates further, and a targeted rate on accommodation providers.
The election is scheduled for October. Nominations formally open in July.