A combative John Palino angrily brushed aside any links to the Len Brown sex scandal today when announcing he is running for mayoral office again.
"I wasn't the one who was found with his pants down in the Ngati Whatua room," Mr Palino shouted at journalists in his first answer on the issue.
The cafe operator, whose 2013 campaign became embroiled in the Len Brown, Bevan Chuang, Luigi Wewege love triangle, got peppered with questions about what he knew about the scandal and his links this time round to players in the Dirty Politics book.
Mr Wewege worked on his campaign and was allegedly involved with Ms Chuang, who later revealed she was having an affair with the Auckland mayor.
Mr Wewege left the country after allegedly helping to expose the affair.
Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater, who broke the Len Brown sex scandal story, political fixer Simon Lusk and public relations operator Carrick Graham - all players in the Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics book - have had some involvement in Mr Palino's political comeback.
Mr Palino said "Whaleoil is not working for me", but "Simon Lusk is working for me because he is the best". Carrick Graham organised today's launch at Friend of the Farmer, the cafe at Kings Plant Barn in Takanini, run by Mr Palino. Mr Slater helped with a media interview at the weekend for Mr Palino.
"There will be no dirty politics in my campaign," Mr Palino assured the large media turnout.
It was Mr Palino's first political appearance after going into hiding when the Herald revealed he had a late night meeting with Mr Brown's former mistress in a Mission Bay carpark just two days before the affair was made public in 2013.
Mr Palino has always denied having any advance knowledge of the affair.
Asked today what he talked about with Ms Chuang in a carpark at 10pm, he said: "We discussed opening up a Chinese restaurant".
Ms Chuang has maintained the meeting was to discuss whether Mr Brown might resign over the affair.
Mr Palino said he "rated his chances of winning the mayoralty very good because people want a change and I have the policies that can fix Auckland".
His main policy pitch was to reduce rates by 10 per cent, with details of $150 million of annual savings to come later in a book he is publishing.
He also claimed to be the only candidate prepared to stand up and "take care of corruption in this city", citing the case of a $15,000 rort to fix a toilet and an $18,000 bill to fix a fence.
Mr Palino was defeated in the 2013 election and has since kept a relatively low profile. He polled 108,928 votes to Mr Brown's 164,338.
Mr Palino is the third centreright candidate to announce a tilt at the mayoralty.
Businesswoman Victoria Crone has been headhunted by top National Party figures and Orakei Local Board member Mark Thomas is also in the race.
Other candidates include Labour MP Phil Goff, right-winger Stephen Berry, activist Penny Bright and former Green Party member David Hay.
Mr Brown is not seeking a third term.