Businesswoman Vic Crone is becoming noticeably absent at Auckland mayoral debates.
In the past fortnight, the centre-right candidate has missed three big events and pulled out of a mayoral debate on transport tomorrow to address the Howick Rotary Club.
Crone will also be missing from a Southern Youth Collective meet the candidates meeting on Friday to be guest speaker at a Moon Festival in Mt Wellington.
I have been invited to two, three or four events some nights and I have to make a difficult decision
She did not attend a Living Wage forum in the city on September 1, pulled out of a mayoral debate in Titirangi at the last minute for a dinner date and declined an offer to an Employers and Manufacturers Association breakfast debate to attend a private networking event.
Crone has blamed a number of diary clashes and events being arranged around Labour MP and mayoral candidate Phil Goff's parliamentary diary for not being able to attend all of the debates.
"I have been invited to two, three or four events some nights and I have to make a difficult decision and pick which one I want to go to," said Crone, who has been campaigning fulltime for six months.
Crone, who resigned her Xero job last year to stand for the mayoralty, said she had worked hard to fit around Goff's schedule when he is working at Parliament in Wellington from Tuesday to Thursday.
A recent Spinoff/SSI poll shows Crone is the leading centre-right contender on 15.5 per cent support, still a long way short of Goff on 60.3 per cent.
A spokeswoman for Crone's campaign said in the past week she had attended an Auckland University debate, Rainbow Auckland debate, community services debate, RNZ debate, met with Generation Zero, attended Kumeu, Paremoremo and Beachlands candidates' meetings, visited rest homes, markets, malls, sports games, and ethnic events and held media interviews.
If Phil Goff doesn't want to do a debate, organisers cancel it, or move it, and have also been pressured into adding other candidates by Phil's team, the spokeswoman said.
"Basically, what we have found with this election is that it's Phil's way or the highway. It's extremely disappointing not just for us, but for other candidates as well," she said.
A spokeswoman for Goff said he was accepting as many invitations as he could fit into his diary, but there were occasions when events clashed.
He was unable to attend a Dominion Rd Business Association event and Karaka Residents Association event, she said.
Mayoral events Vic Crone has missed or missing
September 1: Living wage forum - did not attend
September 6: Titirangi Residents & Ratepayers Association - pulled out of mayoral debate to attend a dinner date
September 8: Employers and Manufacturers - declined offer to attend after attending an earlier event by EMA
September 13: Campaign For Better Transport - pulled out of mayoral debate on transport to address Howick Rotary Club
September 16: Southern Youth Collective - will be guest speaker at Moon Festival