Super City mayoral candidate John Palino says he has the backing of Prime Minister John Key.
He has been photographed with Key at least three times this month, including twice this week. The centre-right candidate told the Herald on Sunday he believed the Nats had made "subconsciously, a tick for John Palino".
"They don't come out and say, 'We support people' ... It's how they help you out." A Key spokeswoman said the party had not officially endorsed a candidate. "The decision on the mayoralty is one for the people of Auckland."
Palino said he had also met people from the Labour Party, including Mangere MP Su'a William Sio, and was waiting to hear back from party leader David Shearer.
Palino, 53, a TV restaurateur and millionaire businessman from New York, plans to wed partner Rose Li, 32, in February.