Seven mayoral candidates tonight threw their support behind speeding up a second harbour crossing at a debate in Takapuna, but were divided on whether climate change is a priority.
Lawyer Ted Johnston, freelance media operator Craig Lord and Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairman Gary Brown answered "no" to making climate change a priority in a quick-fire set of questions.
The debate was hosted by the Takapuna Beach Business Association at the Elephant Wrestler pub in the seaside suburb.
Manukau councillor Efeso Collins, endorsed by the Labour and Green parties, was the only candidate not to support road as well as rail on a new harbour crossing.
The pub, full of businesspeople and National Party members, was a different audience to the night before when he released his transport plans, including fares-free public transport, to a hall of supporters at Te Atatu in West Auckland.
Asked what he would do as mayor to support the North Shore, Collins said revitalising town centres and boosting economic development will benefit communities. Later he spoke of the need for redistribution in some communities to lift all of Auckland.
The pub broke into laughter when a heckler yelled "he sounds like Jacinda".
Businessman and engineer Wayne Brown was uncomfortable answering "yes" or "no" to the questions that included should 100 per cent of rates paid by North Shore residents be spent locally. Eventually, he said yes to all four questions.
Brown does not like being pigeon-holed in the centre-right camp standing against Collins on the left, but is pitching his credentials as a "Mr Fix it" of major companies and completing existing projects before starting any new ones.
"None of my promises cost any money at all," said Brown, who has served two terms as Mayor of the Far North District Council.
Although Gary Brown represents the Albany ward, he felt at home at Takapuna, pushing the message for local boards to have greater powers to do things like awarding contracts and "listening to what people are saying".
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck spoke of building practical, affordable solutions and got applause from the audience when she said people should not be vilified if they drive a car.
Restaurateur Leo Molloy's pitch was to dismantle Auckland Transport, adding it's "time we had a clean out in town". By this he meant it was time for North Shore residents to vote out their councillors Chris Darby and Richard Hills, who were at the debate.
He also had a dig at Collins basing his campaign on "care, collaboration and courage".
"I do trade in the currency of three Cs like Efeso does. I will give you the chance to make a choice if you want change," he said.
"The reason I'm standing," Johnston told the audience, is because Auckland is in trouble with wasteful spending and unworkable policies that politicians have blamed on Covid that needs cleaning out.
When a man from the floor asked why the six candidates could not sort themselves out to challenge Collins, who has a clear run on the left, Johnston said "the reality is we've all got the right to stand".
A Ratepayers' Alliance-Curia mayoral poll has Collins, Molloy, Wayne Brown and Beck neck-and-neck with Lord not far behind.