Newmarket Business Association chief executive and National Party member Cameron Brewer is taking on the Citizens & Ratepayers establishment for the Orakei seat at the Super City elections.
Mr Brewer confirmed yesterday that he was stepping down as the self-styled Mayor of Newmarket to stand as an independent candidate for the single-member Orakei ward against C&R's Doug Armstrong.
The ambitious and energetic 37-year-old is expected to give Mr Armstrong stiff competition in the Remuera and Eastern Bays heartland virtually owned by C&R since 1944.
A victory for Mr Brewer would leave C&R without a representative from its traditional powerbase on the Auckland Council.
There is also the prospect of Noelene Raffills being the only sitting C&R Auckland City councillor elected to the Auckland Council. She's standing in the Whau ward.
The only other sitting C&R city councillor standing for the Auckland Council, Paul Goldsmith, is considered a longshot in the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward, according to one poll.
The poll has former Auckland City Mayor Christine Fletcher in the lead in a comeback to politics after a nine-year break as the other C&R candidate in Albert-Eden-Roskill.
It remains to be seen how C&R will perform outside Auckland City.
"This is a decapitation strike," a senior C&R member said of the decision by Mr Brewer to challenge the right-leaning ticket.
"He is making enemies out of some of his closest friends. I'm pretty angry. John Slater feels betrayed," the member said.
Mr Slater, C&R president, Newmarket Business Association chairman and former National Party president, said approaches were made to Mr Brewer last year about standing as a C&R candidate but he indicated he was past politics.
Mr Slater did not think Mr Brewer would win Orakei against Mr Armstrong, whom he credited with doing a "stirling job as chairman of the finance committee".
From Fiji, where he is holidaying, the 67-year-old Mr Armstrong said Mr Brewer lived 17km away in Pt Chevalier and was "not one of us".
"He is a worthy opponent, but a relative novice. I stand on my record on rates and delivering amenities, such as resanding of Kohimarama beach," Mr Armstrong said.
Mr Brewer, a former press secretary to Auckland City Mayor John Banks and National Party Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, said he respected Mr Armstrong but the public were calling for new faces to bring a fresh and energetic approach to local body politics for the next six, nine or 12 years.
"I'm that person," Mr Brewer said.
He said a victory for him would impact on right-wing politics in Auckland and believed he "could play a key role in regrouping of the right" following the election.
Mr Slater's son, Cameron Slater, on his Whaleoil blog, gave Mr Brewer a taste of what to expect: "He is nothing short of a back-stabbing, carpet-bagging, prick from Pt Chev."By Bernard Orsman @BernardOrsman Email Bernard