Mayoral candidates Vic Crone, Phil Goff, John Palino and Mark Thomas squared off at a debate in South Auckland tonight.

More than 100 people turned out at the Acacia Cove Retirement Village in Wattle Downs to hear the candidates answer a set of questions before the floor was opened up to general questions.

The candidates each set out their number one priority if elected mayor.

Goff said he would work with central government to raise $20 billion to meet infrastructure costs, saying this could be done through infrastructure bonds.


It could not be done out of rates because that would cripple people, and the council had reached its debt limit.

Crone said she would start to shift power back to communities and aim to make savings of 5 to 10 per cent to spend on critical infrastructure.

Palino's top priority is to abolish the metropolitan urban limit which is "destroying" Auckland and build along the city's transport spine.

Thomas said he would set about rewriting the budget and spending more money on traffic and housing.

Auckland will get a new mayor after October's local body elections after Len Brown announced he was standing down after two terms.