Auckland Mayor Phil Goff launched a bid for a second term today, saying voters have a choice between his vision for protecting the environment and his main rival John Tamihere who is stuck in the past.

He emphasised the election is one of starkly contrasting values and visions for Auckland's future.

"A Tamihere mayoralty will set Auckland back; my next term will take Auckland forward," Goff told supporters at the Diversity Centre in Papatoetoe.

He said protecting Auckland's environment and tackling climate change would be the key priorities for his second term. In 2016, Goff made transport, housing and improving democracy his main goals.

Goff, who replaced an interim transport rate with targeted rates for water and the environment, said his first term included record levels of investment to protect and enhance Auckland's environment.

This included work to dramatically reduce sewage overflows within a decade as opposed to 30 years, a massive increase in funds to stop kauri dieback spreading, and pest eradication.

He also talked of surpassing a pledge to plant one million native trees and a campaign to ban plastic bags, which the Government enacted last month.

"Aucklanders have a clear choice this mayoral election," said Goff.

"As Mayor, I will work to safeguard our children's future and our city's environment and move Auckland towards being a 21st-century city that competes with the best cities globally.

"My opponent is stuck in the past, and has no answers for the congestion, pollution and climate change challenges Auckland faces now.

"Spending more time in traffic jams while our city chokes on petrol fumes is not the future Aucklanders want, but that will be the result if my opponent is elected.

"I'm really proud of my record to protect our environment over the last three years, but there is so much more to be done so we can leave our children and grandchildren a decent legacy.

"Part of leaving a good legacy for future generations is acting on our most pressing issue – climate change. Transport emissions make up 47 per cent of overall carbon emissions. That has to change, and we need to take responsibly and lead that change," Goff said.

He said that contrary to what Tamihere said, there is no war on cars, but there is one on the congestion that hinders people from getting around the city, and on pollution.

"While I am pleased we are planting over 2.5 million trees in six years, we can't just plant our way out of climate change – we need to reduce emissions.

"Council must take the lead. This is why, under my mayoralty, from next year Council will purchase only electric and hybrid vehicles for its passenger cars.

"I have also started discussions with Government, so we can bring forward by years the conversion of our bus fleet to electric and hydrogen.

"Under my mayoralty, the days of dirty diesel buses on Auckland's streets will be numbered.

Auckland Transport plans to introduce 11 electric buses for the City Link service and up to three hydrogen fuel cell trial electric buses from November 2020.

"I will also be pushing for the electrification of the railway from Papakura to Pukekohe under the Auckland Transport Alignment Project to start as early as next year.

"Clean transport is a key part to tackling our climate change and environmental challenges, as well as making our city a better place to live.

"I am the only candidate in this election showing leadership and vision on these issues," said Mr Goff.

At his campaign launch three years ago, Goff promised a "fresh start" by supporting the thrust of the Unitary Plan by allowing the city to move up and out by not at the cost of endless sprawl and destruction of heritage housing and leafy suburbs.

He promised to work with Government to tackle the housing crisis and eliminate chronic homelessness.

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Whoever is elected mayor, Goff said, faces the challenge of rebuilding trust between the people of Auckland and the council.

"A vital element in earning back the trust of Aucklanders will be improving its democracy and transparency, where people feel confident that their elected representatives are in the driver's seat, responding to their needs as constituents and communities.

"My leadership will deliver a council that remembers that it is a transparent, democratic public institution - accountable and responsible to the people of Auckland," he said.