John Palino is weighing up having a third tilt at the Auckland mayoralty, telling the Herald he would like to be the preferred centre-right candidate to take on sitting Mayor Phil Goff in next year's local body elections.
The restaurateur turned real estate agent came second to Len Brown in 2013 with 108,000 votes, but crashed to fourth with 22,000 votes behind Vic Crone and Chloe Swarbrick in the 2016 election won by Phil Goff.
His 2013 campaign became embroiled in the Len Brown sex scandal when one of his campaign staff, Luigi Wewege, was allegedly involved with Brown's lover Bevan Chuang.
Wewege left the country after allegedly helping to expose the affair. Palino has always denied having any prior knowledge of the affair after the Herald revealed he had a late-night meeting with Chuang just two days before the scandal hit the headlines.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Palino who is expecting his first child in September and who is getting married in November and opening a cafe and dessert cafe in Ponsonby, said he would still like to be mayor.
He is passionate about creating satellite cities where people can live, work and play without long commutes, citing Manukau and Albany as good locations.
Palino said the only way to win the mayoralty was to have the backing of Labour or National, even though their candidates stand as independents.
He said he would be seeking the endorsement of the National Party, who have never publicly endorsed anybody.
"But somehow you have got to have their support so people believe you are that person they would like to come in.
"I'm the only one that has a vision and a plan to fix the problems we have got in Auckland," he said.
Goff is expected to announce later this year if he is seeking a second term in 2019.