Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Palino to stick around

Mr Palino said rising debt levels, shortage of homes and high housing cost remained the top issues for Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker
Mr Palino said rising debt levels, shortage of homes and high housing cost remained the top issues for Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

John Palino is going to get a new dog, start a new business and marry his fiancee after failing in his bid for the Auckland mayoralty.

But the 53-year-old New Jersey-born restaurateur is vowing to stick around and have another go for the job in 2016.

The Auckland businessman, who entered politics and started campaigning just five months ago, garnered a respectable 108,000 votes - about 53,000 behind winner Len Brown.

"Len Brown better stay on his toes, because I will be sticking around and I am definitely ready to run again next time."

Mr Palino said rising debt levels, shortage of homes and high housing cost remained the top issues for Auckland, and believed his international experience would have put him in a better position in resolve them.

"He'd be smart to use some of my policies and my plans. Will he talk to me about it? Probably not," he said.

"Len needs to listen to the people ... you do not run Auckland like this without communicating with the people."

He said the council needed to be more "open book" and its lack of transparency had "greatly contributed" to the low voter turnout.

"The support has been amazing ... there's not much I can do different, I just didn't have the money and resources that Len has," Mr Palino said.

"I did as much as I could on the budget that I had."

He spent between $120,000 and $150,000 on his campaign, and managed to raise just $15,000 in donations.

After the "disappointing" loss, Mr Palino said he would be re-focusing on his business and personal life, and on top of which is marriage to China-born Rose Li, 33, an Air New Zealand crew planner.

"We're planning to get married next year and start a family, but looking for either a poodle-spaniel or a poodle-schnauzer dog in the meantime," he said.

"I'm also looking at opening another restaurant. I have pizza dough that unfortunately all ran out while I was campaigning ... so now I am able to get them back in the shops."

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