The contest to find a new mayor for the Super City moved up a gear yesterday when business boss Victoria Crone put her hat in the ring.
Ms Crone, 42, is the favoured candidate of National powerbrokers to go up against Labour MP Phil Goff, whose profile and 30 years in Parliament make him the early favourite to replace Len Brown.
Ms Crone said not being a serial politician was the biggest asset she brought to Auckland, with a familiar centre-right ring of addressing rates increases, perceived council wastage, transport and housing.
"I believe strongly in the values of fiscal responsibility and share this view with others on the centre-right."
After less than two years at the helm of accounting software company Xero in NZ, Ms Crone resigned yesterday to focus on the mayoralty and building a profile outside her narrow business circles.
She is also seeking a seat on the board of Contact Energy.
Ms Crone will stand as an independent, but has the support of the fledging centre-right Future Auckland and the right-leaning Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance.
Ms Crone said she would announce policies later, but is opposed to further expansion of the Waitemata Harbour for port use and open to the idea of selling council shares in Auckland Airport and Ports of Auckland. She did not say whether she supported the $2.5 billion City Rail Link.
On her Facebook page she attacked the council's growing staff numbers and the past year's costs of $792 million.
Technology and innovation are other areas she would like more focus on.
Other candidates are Orakei Local Board's Mark Thomas, right-winger Stephen Berry and activist Penny Bright and former Green Party member David Hay.