John Tamihere says a majority of councillors support him as he continues setting himself up to challenge Phil Goff for the Auckland mayoralty next year.

"I have got a majority because of dissatisfaction [with Goff] rather than what I was bringing," the Waipareira Trust chief executive said today.

Since throwing down the gauntlet to Goff in September, who he accused of running a "dictatorship", Tamihere said he had been polling councillors to find out how they felt about him standing.

I will know if it is a doable task within the next couple of months

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Apart from councillors Penny Hulse and John Walker, who he said are standing down, Tamihere said only councillors Josephine Bartley and Alf Filipaina said they would be backing Goff next year.

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Tamihere would not say what his policies would be - "to be forewarned is to be forearmed" - but said two areas he would focus on are social and affordable housing and the "Goff gas tax" that is hurting the poor.

With three issues to tick off - funding, putting together a citywide election team and finalising policy - Tamihere plans to make an announcement in January or February on whether he will stand and run a "ripper" of a campaign.

"I will know if it is a doable task within the next couple of months.

"You can't run a campaign for this city unless you have got three-quarters of a million dollars or thereabouts in the bank. I'm still crunching numbers," he said.

The local body elections will be held on October 12 next year.

Mayor Phil Goff is facing a potential challenge from his former Labour colleague John Tamihere.
Mayor Phil Goff is facing a potential challenge from his former Labour colleague John Tamihere.

Tamihere also revealed he would have a running mate for deputy, who would stand for a council seat, and may have other people on a ticket.

He is giving Goff eight weeks to sort out a relationship meltdown with Panuku Development over the level of social housing in developments planned by the Waipareira Trust on land sold by the council body, or he will proceed with legal action.

Tamihere is a high-profile - and often controversial - figure. A lawyer by training, he led Waipareira Trust from 1994, then served as a Labour MP from 1999 with a role as a Cabinet minister after the 2002 election.

He lost his seat in 2005 after inflammatory comments he made about colleagues, then unsuccessfully challenged Sir Bob Harvey for the Waitakere mayoralty in 2007 before a controversy as a talkback radio host.