John Banks out of Auckland mayoralty race

John Banks has pulled out of the Auckland mayoralty race before he even officially began.

The former Auckland City Mayor said on Friday he'd commissioned polling which had him running second behind incumbent Phil Goff. But there was a catch.

"The research also showed that much of my support would come from collapsing John Tamihere's support, and not enough from Phil Goff," Banks said on Friday. "This would ultimately be counterproductive for any efforts to seek the change that Auckland desperately needs."

Banks said he hopes his ideas "can provoke the other candidates into public policy discussions over this election instead of personality driven fluff as Auckland has largely had over this year".

"As it presently stands, I intend to vote for John Tamihere and Christine Fletcher, and to let them make the case for change. I will be in touch with his team to pass on the policy work that has been undertaken in case that proves useful to his campaign."

Banks defeated the incumbent Fletcher in 2001's mayoral election.

Despite several entrants, this year's race is widely considered a two-horse race between Goff and Tamihere, both former Labour MPs but with very different styles

Goff is putting himself forward as an experienced and safe pair of hands, while Tamihere's campaign so far has seen him embrace his maverick, controversial style.

Banks, a former National MP and ACT Party leader, was twice Mayor of Auckland City, but was defeated in the first supercity election by Len Brown.