It's the battle of the former Labour MPs in the race for the Auckland mayoralty: Phil Goff versus John Tamihere.

Goff is the well-known incumbent, standing on his record, and he has to defend it. He can't conjure up a whole new raft of policies without facing questions about why he isn't pursuing them already.

Tamihere also has support, informally, from some National Party people. But it's complicated.

We're in a time where, around the world, the tide suddenly runs out on establishment politicians like Goff.

Now the results of an internal first poll show one candidate has already surged out to a strong lead. Is the gap already too big to close?

Phil Goff has a big lead on John Tamihere in the race to become the next mayor of Auckland, according to the Goff campaign's internal poll results.

In a poll conducted in April, Goff was