Leo Molloy has claimed the National Party has offered to endorse him as the tightly fought race to become Auckland's next mayor heats up.
Molloy said today that he had the support of National, stating he had spoken to numerous members.
The claim comes as Molloy was named as a frontrunner for the top spot in a poll that had just over 1 per cent separating the top four candidates.
Molloy appeared on the AM show today with fellow candidate Viv Beck, who said she was seeking National Party endorsement.
Molloy interjected saying Beck was playing "political Tinder" - a referral to the dating app where those looking for love swipe right for yes or left for no.
"Viv's been playing for three months and no one is swiping right. They're all swiping right on me, they all want me," he said.
"The whole lot want me and I have said, 'No, I don't want to be pigeonholed by you, I want to appeal to all'."
AM host Ryan Bridge asked Molloy to clarify who in the party had been speaking to him.
He replied "everybody" was talking to him.
A spokesman for National Party leader Christopher Luxon said he wasn't sure who Molloy was referring to but said of the endorsement claims: "Nothing has changed, we don't endorse local candidates."
Molloy's comments on the show come after the release of the Ratepayers' Alliance-Curia mayoral poll which has Labour councillor Efeso Collins and Molloy as frontrunners in the mayoral race, each on 21.7 per cent.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck came out on 20.5 per cent and businessman Wayne Brown on 20.1 per cent.
Freelance media operator Craig Lord, who came third in the 2019 mayoral race, was four points behind the leading pack on 16 per cent.
The poll of 500 Aucklanders excluded four other mayoral candidates - Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairman Gary Brown, New Conservative Party co-leader Ted Johnston, John Lehmann and animal justice campaigner Michael Morris.
On the show, Molloy also suggested Beck should step aside because he had National's support.
Molloy's claim of endorsement comes less than a month after he was allowed to address a party event attended by National Party deputy leader Nicola Willis and other MPs.
Despite a longstanding National Party policy of not endorsing candidates at local government elections, Molloy spoke at the event attended by 100 members at a lunch at Markovina Vineyard Estate in West Auckland on May 28.
Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance spokesman Josh Van Veen said the recent poll showed the four main candidates were equally weak and uninspiring. He said Collins had the advantage thanks to the Labour Party machine.
"The time has come for National to get off the fence. In the interests of local democracy, we are calling on the Opposition to endorse a candidate for change in Auckland," Van Veen said.
The elections are set down for October 8. Voting papers will be sent out to those on the electoral roll between September 16-21. Voting opens on September 16 and votes have to be cast by noon, October 8, at the latest.
The initial results for all council votes will be made on the afternoon and evening of October 8.
Final results will be confirmed between October 14-19.
Nominations for would-be candidates - including councillors and mayoral hopefuls - close on August 12, and all candidates will be publicly revealed five days later.