By Warren Gamble

All right, Aucklanders ... Enough of the "I'm from Taupo" or "Whangarei" when you've been in the City of Sails since the age of two.

You can come out of the walk-in closet and say: "I am an Aucklander. Love me, love my city."

That is if you go along with a new opinion poll which has upset one of the country's natural laws - Dunedin gets the cold, Christchurch the fog, Wellington the wind, and Auckland (apart from the rain) gets the hatred of everyone else.

According to the final New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey more people outside the city love Aucklanders than hate them.

Admittedly, the lovers (14.3 per cent) just outnumber the haters (12.6), and most of the 428 people questioned have neither feeling (48.4). The poll has a 3.8 per cent margin of error.

Perhaps the rest of the country is in a more benevolent mood after the Auckland rugby team's losses, but whatever the reason, it is far more generous than the Aucklanders polled believe.

Of the 235 questioned in the city, half thought the rest of the country hated them.

Has too much coffee made Aucklanders paranoid then?

No way, says South Island-born Pam Corkery, now a staunch defender of the Auckland faith.

The Dunedin-bred Alliance list MP said contrary to the poll results, on her travels people were constantly putting Auckland down.

She said parochial pride was a natural and healthy attitude but some people took it too far.

"Sometimes it's not even nasty, it's just sympathy that you live here. They say it must be dreadful for you and I say, `No it's not, it's fabulous'."

Pam Corkery said Wellingtonians - who provided the largest regional percentage of Auckland haters in the poll - were always playing the cultural card for their city, "just because they've got a couple of outdoor cafes."

"But then you think it's either windy there or if it's not you think, 'Oh God, there's going to be an earthquake' - those are the two choices."

Former All Black and Auckland captain Sean Fitzpatrick said he was amused by his love-hate relationship with non-Auckland rugby fans.

But he enjoyed the lion's den atmosphere of venues such as Lancaster and Athletic Parks. "It was mostly good fun."

Wellington was the only centre that showed more people (18.7 per cent) hated Aucklanders than loved them (10.7). Christchurch had an equal split of lovers and haters, but the rest of the South Island - from a small sample - had two-to-one lovers.

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty region had 17.2 per cent lovers and 13.8 per cent haters, compared to Northland's 17.4 per cent lovers and 8.7 per cent haters.

From small samples, Pacific Islanders (44.4) and Maori (22.5) were the greatest Auckland lovers.

Those in the highest household income group (more than $67,000) had almost twice as much love for Aucklanders (15.7) than those earning under $19,000.

Alliance supporters (17.4) and National voters (15.4) were more inclined to love Aucklanders than other voters. More Act voters (21.2) hated Aucklanders than loved them (15.8), as did New Zealand First supporters (18.2 hate, 9.1 love) and Labour voters (13.4 hate, 12.9 love).